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I. Introduction

Mexico’s Law of Migration provides for a number of immigration statuses that include permission to work in Mexico temporarily.[1]  None of these statuses appear to be specifically limited to low-skilled workers.[2]  However, there is a status called Visitor Border Worker that is currently limited to Guatemalan and Belizean nationals who are allowed to work for up to a year in certain Mexican states, provided that applicable requirements are met.[3]  According to the Mexican government, in practice the Border Worker status has been mostly applied for by Guatemalans who are temporarily employed in Mexico in activities such as agriculture, construction, and services.[4]

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II.  Eligibility for Admission as a Temporary Visitor Border Worker

Mexico’s Law of Migration provides that the Visitor Border Worker status may be granted to a foreigner from a country that shares a border with Mexico in order to work for up to a year in the Mexican states to be determined by Mexico’s Department of Governance.[5]  More specifically, a regulation of this Law provides that the Visitor Border Worker status may be granted to Guatemalan and Belizean individuals who are sixteen years of age or older and have a job offer for work activities located in the Mexican States of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Tabasco.[6]

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III.  Recruitment and Sponsorship

As stated above, a regulation of Mexico’s Law of Migration provides that applicants for the Visitor Border Worker status must have a job offer for work activities located in certain Mexican states.[7]  

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IV.  Visa Conditions

Mexico’s Law of Migration provides that Visitor Border Workers are allowed to work in the activity for which they have an employment offer.[8]  These workers are allowed to work in Mexico for up to a year.[9]  If these workers want to visit Mexican states other than Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Tabasco, they must obtain a permit to travel outside of these areas.[10]  This permit does not grant the right to work outside of the referred Mexican states.[11]

The Regulation of the Law of Migration generally provides that immigration statuses may be renewed and changed provided that applicable requirements are met.[12]  This Regulation also provides that quotas may be established by the Department of Governance.[13]  More specifically, the Visitor Border Workers status may be subject to quotas to be determined by the Departments of Governance and Labor.[14]

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V.  Admission Status of Family Members

Visitor Border Workers may request the admission of their spouses or partners and minor children.[15]  Children who have reached the age of majority but are incapacitated are also eligible for admission.[16]

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Prepared by Gustavo Guerra
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
February 2013



[1] Ley de Migración [Law of Migration] art. 52, Diario Oficial de la Federación [D.O.], May 25, 2011, available on the website of Mexico’s House of Representatives, http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/LMigra.pdf.

[2] Id.

[3] Id. art. 52 (IV).  See also Lineamientos para trámites y procedimientos migratorios [Guidelines for Immigration Procedures] arts. 75 & 76, D.O., Nov. 8, 2012, available on the website of Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, http://www.inm.gob.mx/static/marco_juridico/pdf/acuerdos/2012/Lineamientos_tramites_procedimientos_migratorios.pdf.

[4] National Institute of Migration, Encuesta sobre Migración en la Frontera Sur de México, 2008 [Survey on Migration in Mexico’s Southern Border, 2008], pp. 28, 31–33 (2011), http://www.inm.gob. mx/static/Centro_de_Estudios/Publicaciones/descargas/EMIF_SUR_2008.pdf.

[5] Ley de Migración art. 52 (IV).

[6] Lineamientos para trámites y procedimientos migratorios arts. 75, 76.

[7] Id.

[8] Ley de Migración art. 52 (IV).

[9] Id.  See also Reglamento de la Ley de Migración [Law of Migration Regulation] art. 155, D.O., Sept. 28, 2012, available on the website of Mexico’s House of Representatives, http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/regley/ Reg_LMigra.pdf.

[10] Id. See also Lineamientos para trámites y procedimientos migratorios arts. 75, 76.

[11] Reglamento de la Ley de Migración art. 155.

[12] Id. arts. 141-III, 152, 159.

[13] Id. art. 119.

[14] Lineamientos para trámites y procedimientos migratorios art. 76.

[15] Reglamento de la Ley de Migración art. 134.

[16] Id.

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Last Updated: 09/16/2014