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Mexico has a complete legal policy on immigration, which is primarily regulated by the Migration Act and the General Population Act, among other laws, affecting both Mexicans and foreigners.

In this newsletter, we will focus on explaining the different methods by which foreigners wishing to visit, either for tourism, business, retirement, work, study, or for those seeking permanent residency in Mexico or Mexican citizenship

Firstly, we look into the classifications of a foreigner in Mexico:

a. Non-immigrant: this is a person who, with the permission from the Ministry of the Interior, enters a country temporarily either as a: (i) tourist; (ii) trans-migrant; (iii) visitor; (iv) religious minister; (v) political asylum; (vi) refugee; (vii) student; (viii) correspondent.

b. Immigrant: this is a person who is legally in the country with the purpose of settling there, and will become a migrant: (i) an annuitant; (ii) an investor; (iii) a professional; (iv) a person in a trustworthy work position; (v) a scientist; (vi) a technician; (vii) family members; (viii) an artist and athlete; (ix) a freelancer .

c. Migrant: this is a person who acquires the rights of permanent residency in the country.

The type of permit (visa) assigned and granted by the Ministry of the Interior depends on the reasons for which the foreigner seeks to enter and remain in the country, which include the following:

a. Visitor Visa WITHOUT permission to participate in income generating activities. It allows the foreigner to remain in the country for no more than 180 days consecutive days from the date of admission. This visa is automatically granted to tourists entering the country;

b. Visitor Visa WITH permission to participate in income generating activities. This authorizes the foreigner to remain in the country for no more than 180 days consecutive days from the date of admission.

c. Visitor Visa for adoption proceedings. This authorizes the foreigner who is following an adoption process in Mexico to remain in the country until the time in which the adoption proceedings have been resolved, the adoptee is registered in the Civil Registry as well as receiving a passport and all the necessary paperwork has been issued which guarantees that the adoptee is able to leave the country.

d. Temporary Resident Visa. This authorizes the foreigner to remain in the country for a period not exceeding four years. The applicant is entitled to carry out specific activities either for profit or nonprofit, depending on the classification of the visa. The foreigner must also prove that they have sufficient funds to stay in the country and/or have a steady income.

e. Temporary Resident Student Visa. This authorizes the foreigner to remain in the country for the duration of the academic course they have attested they will be completing in an educational institution that is within the national education system.

f. Permanent resident visa. This authorizes the foreigner to remain indefinitely in the country. This visa will be granted when the applicant fulfills any of the following circumstances: (i) political asylum; (ii) the right to preserve the family unit; (iii) pensioners who receive a pension from a foreign government and which allows them to live in the country; (iv) four years have passed since the foreigner has had a temporary resident visa (two years if they are legally married to a Mexican spouse or the spouse has permanent residency); (v) when the foreigner’s children were born in Mexico and were nationalized at birth; (vi) for being the lineal descendant to the second degree of a Mexican by birth; and (vii) by decision of the National Migration Institute.

Visitors, except those who are in the country for humanitarian reasons and who have links with a Mexican or a foreigner with permanent residency in Mexico, will not be able to change the conditions of their stay and will have to leave the country once they have completed their full period of authorized residency.

Temporary and permanent residents have a period of thirty calendar days from the date of admission into the national territory in which to negotiate with the Institute for the corresponding residency card, which will then remain in effect for the designated time period of stay. With this card, the regular migration status in the national territory will be authorized while it is in effect.

Additionally, the foreigner will have certain obligations, such as: (i) register with the National Register of Foreigners; (ii) notify the National Migration Institute any changes in their immigration status (such as marital status, nationality, home address, place of work) within 90 days of any such change.

You can apply for your visa in person or hire a representative for advice who can apply on your behalf and do all the paperwork.