Yes, you can work in Mexico, but unless you own your own business there, it won’t be easy and probably not very lucrative. Remember, the average minimum wage in Mexico is half or less of what it is in the U.S. Many workers in Mexico earn much less than minimum wage. There is stiff competition for jobs, and you will not be allowed to do a job that will take work away from local employees.

Officially, to get working papers, you must have a job offer from a company that will process for you a temporary resident visa for lucrative purposes. If you want to start working right away, you can either start your own business and set up a Mexican corporation, or you can try to prove that:

1) Your endeavor is unique and only you are capable of doing it (you’d be surprised at what qualifies)

and/or

2) You will be creating employment for Mexicans.

In your favor, Mexico welcomes foreign investment and offers countless opportunities for new businesses.

Getting a Work Visa

Several FM-3 business designations have been created since the passing of NAFTA. For short business trips, a 30-day visitante representative comercial visa can be obtained for free at the border or airport. If you will be in Mexico longer than 30 days, or repeatedly, get the visitante hombre de negocios FM-3 business visa from any Mexican Consulate.

Setting up Your Own Business

Mexico is a largely First-World country, with good infrastructure, fast and reliable telecommunications, and excellent healthcare. It welcomes foreign investment and makes it easy for foreigners to get residency and set up a business there—even if you’re a small entrepreneur. And foreigners can own 100% of a Mexican corporation. If you’re from the U.S. or Canada, Mexico is quite simply your closest, most convenient expat destination.

The negative media and the recession—which helped make Mexico Latin America’s hardest-hit economy in recent years—spell opportunity for you. Talk to the immigration authorities in your area about your options. We also recommend that you consult with a local Mexican attorney. NAFTA has made living and doing business in Mexico easier than ever before.

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