There are several types of residency and immigration programs available for those who want to live in Mexico.
Mexico has made it easier for you to apply for residency.
This page is a general overview of all the programs Mexico has for you to travel, to immigrate, to live temporarily, or to work in Mexico.
Read the information below to decide which program is a fit for you.
Applying for residency in Mexico isn’t that difficult. Really!
The challenge for most people is knowing how to find accurate facts.
Anyone who has researched how to live in Mexico knows that there is a lot to decipher when asking for information in Facebook groups, searching Google, or reading poorly designed or outdated websites about Mexico.
The problem is there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and way too much to read through that may not apply to your personal situation and goals.
So why put yourself through stress and confusion when there’s a better way to navigate through it all?
We’ve translated what you need to do into simple explanations, with the details that matter and all the action steps required.
All of our information comes straight from Mexico’s immigration department, INM.
LIVING IN MEXICO SHORT-TERM AS A TOURIST
Tourist Card – Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM)
A FMM Card allows you to enter Mexico for up to 180 days for visitors from most countries.
You can check here at VisaHQ to be certain on the visa requirements for your country.
There are a number of ways to qualify for a visa including: economic / financial solvency, humanitarian causes, scientific research, educational studies, family reunification, religious activities and investments in Mexico (business or financial).
Read below for the details on each program, then decide which situation applies to you.
Temporary Resident – Residente Temporal – (TR)
In Mexico, you can apply to be a temporary resident under the following conditions:
1. You are married to, or have a common-law spouse that is a Mexican citizen.
Getting a visa through a marriage or proof of a common-law relationship with a Mexican National is the least complicated. You do not require pre-approval at a Mexican consulate. No financial information is required. The process can be started in Mexico, once you arrive.
2. You are married to, or have a common-law spouse that is already a Permanent Resident.
You can also obtain a TR Visa through marriage or proof of a common-law relationship to someone who is already a Permanent Resident. You do not require pre-approval at a Mexican consulate. No financial information is required.
WANT TO GET MARRIED IN MEXICO?
3. Child with a parent who is already the holder of a Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa.
For a child not born in Mexico, the child would be sponsored by the parent holder of the TR or PR visa. The child must be under 18. Financials are not required.
4. You will studying or be enrolled in a school in Mexico.
5. You will work or volunteer in Mexico.
6. You are a retiree or pensioner.
7. Your Temporary Resident visa has expired.
If your Temporary Resident Visa has expired, you must re-apply for residency. If your Temporary Resident visa has expired by less than 60 days and you are in Mexico you may apply for a Temporary Resident visa, at year ONE.
If you’re still in Mexico and your visa has expired beyond 60 days, you must leave the country and reapply from a consulate and obtain pre-approval. If you are outside of Mexico, you would re-apply at a Mexican consulate. The visa expiration date is written as day/month/year.
Permanent Resident – Residente Permanente (PR)
In Mexico, you can apply to be a permanent resident under the following conditions:
1. Your child / grandchild was born in Mexico.
Visa application based on family unity allows for foreigners with a child / grandchild born in Mexico to become a Permanent Resident immediately, foregoing Temporary Residency status. You can apply while in Mexico. No financial information is required.
2. You are a retiree / self-sufficient financially.
3. You have resided as a spouse, child or parent of a Mexican National or a Permanent Resident, and you have been a temporary resident for nearly 2 years.
Children with a Permanent Resident visa between age of 1 and 3 must renew their visa annually. Children over age 3 must renew every 4 years until 18.
4. You have resided in Mexico as a Temporary Resident for 4 years.
5. You have poor health and cannot travel (Humanitarian Visa).
These residency visas are free. They apply to both tourists and people without any visa status. They are only granted in situations where you have poor health and an impediment to travel (i.e. blindness, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease). To qualify, you’d need a doctor’s examination and letter. You’d have to renew your Humanitarian Visas annually.
NOTE: Excuses of old age, forgetting to leave Mexico, or having no method of reliable transport are not accepted by INM.
6. You qualify under Mexico’s Amnesty Program.
PERMITS TO CONDUCT CERTAIN ACTIVITIES IN MEXICO
Did you know that if you apply for residency in Mexico, that you have to wait inside the country while your application is processed, which could take many months!
If you want to leave Mexico during that time for whatever reason, you have to apply for a Travel Permission Letter, known as “Permiso para Viaje”.
A travel permission letter is what you’d need if you had already applied for an immigration status, such as a visa or renewal, but have not yet been granted it, and you need to travel outside of Mexico.
Every immigration office handles this differently, and waiting times may differ dependent on processing times, so check directly with the office closest to you. There is no expedited process.
IMPORTANT: Under no circumstances should you ever leave and re-enter Mexico while your residency application or renewal is being processed without a travel permission letter.
The requirements for a travel permission letter include: your identification, the completed forms, proof of payment of fee to the bank and your photos.
With this travel permission letter, you may leave Mexico for up to 60 days from the date of issue. When you exit, the letter must be stamped by immigration. When you return, it must be stamped by immigration again, and then you have 10 days to present the stamped letter to immigration. You will then be issued your visa.
CHANGE OF STATUS
You must report any changes to your status to immigration within 90 days. Status changes include your address, your employer, marriage, divorce, if you’re earning income, if your SAT taxation account has changed to inactive.
If you don’t advise INM of a change of status, you could be fined.
Status changes can be done online. You’d then appear at an INM office along with your passport, ID, a letter and documentation related to the change. Your passport and visa will be returned immediately. In 3 plus weeks you will receive an email from INM indicating the change is completed. INM no longer retains your visa allowing you to travel while your change is processed.
CITIZENSHIP IN MEXICO
After you’ve been a Permanent Resident for 4 years (or 2 years if you came in under a family unity application) you can apply for Mexican citizenship.
It requires that you pass an exam in Spanish about the history and culture of Mexico.
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