Removal Of Immigration Documents Upon Entry Has Simplified The Process For Cancun Visitors
Visitors to Cancun can now enjoy a visa-free six-month visit to Mexico after an old piece of immigration red tape was removed from the arrival process. Cancun is currently the only airport in Mexico to enjoy the benefit.
We previously reported on the airport removing the Forma Multipla Migratoria, or FMM for short, which was notorious for slowing the arrival process across the country. Although the form was necessary in previous years, most visitors were allotted the 180-day visit, but during the pandemic, that all changed.
Visitors to the country were surprised to find that their allotted number of days was drastically smaller, sometimes as low as a week. For the vast majority of travelers to the region, the change went unnoticed, as a week was the average length of a stay in Cancun. But longer-term travelers like digital nomads, backpackers, and Europeans with far more vacation time were left confounded by the sudden shortening of their visit.
Those who chose to go over the days they were given were usually forced to pay a fine before being allowed to leave the country. Many could not travel on buses or other forms of booked transport with an expired immigration document. It was also extremely easy to lose the little document. Barely covering the size of a passport page, many tourists lose the FMM and are treated as if overstaying when exiting the country, making them subject to the same fine even if they were given a longer stay.
The Government never gave a full explanation as to the strategy shift, but many speculated it was designed to counter any foreigners abusing the extended stay by effectively living in the country and making border runs.
Thankfully, that is now set to disappear. Instead of being left to the discretion of an immigration officer, all arrivals from most countries will now receive a stamp on arrival, granting them 180 days in Mexico. While most visitors to Cancun will barely register the difference in their stay time, they will feel it at the airport, where immigration should hopefully be a breeze.
The news will be a welcome breath of fresh air for those intent on longer stays or further Mexican exploration. Tulum, in particular, has become a hub for remote workers and digital nomads, building a vibe similar to its Southeast Asian counterpart, Bali. These travelers typically move much slower, making home bases for a few months before moving on.
Other travelers hoping to explore the country can reroute their arrival through Cancun before moving on elsewhere to ensure they receive the maximum amount of days. It should be clear that those going through any other airport are not guaranteed 180 days, although the rules state they may be allowed up to that much. It’s also not required that the visitors leave from Cancun, so wherever the trip ends can be a valid exit.
Cancun makes an excellent introduction to Mexico, where tourists can relax for a few days before delving into the rich Mayan culture on show in the Yucatan region. The arrival of the Maya Train next year could herald a new stage in the region’s tourism experience, with well over forty Mayan sites now easily accessible to those staying in the once-isolated resort towns.
There are suggestions that the new system will be expanded to other parts of the country in the near future, with Mexico City and some of the popular West coast destinations likely benefiting greatly. The Mexican capital is now, controversially, being flooded with digital nomads who fall in love with the city’s history but forward-thinking momentum.
Those traveling to Cancun in the near future should ensure they have all details of their trip available when moving through immigration. Despite the new process, immigration officers can still question your presence in the country, and while it’s unlikely you’ll be denied, having your documents and proof of accommodation in order is good practice when traveling.
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