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Mexican Residency Visas: A straightforward process

Every year, millions of tourists visit Mexico’s beaches, mountains, deserts, and cities. They fall in love with the culture, the people, and the food. Many of them decide they would like to obtain residency and live either full or part-time in Mexico. Obtaining legal residency in Mexico is a common topic on social media and it’s important to get the facts straight. Here is some important information you should know about obtaining residency in Mexico.

Types of Residency Visas & Their Requirements

There are a variety of visa types, which we have outlined below. The financial amounts listed below are based on immigration law, however, it is important to note that each Mexican consulate calculates economic solvency slightly differently (based on the exchange rate and what rate they use to calculate solvency). The below amounts may or may not be what is required by your local Mexican consulate and it is vital you review their requirements before applying for your visa.

  1. ECONOMIC SOLVENCY VISA: For foreigners that can prove they can financially support themselves while living in Mexico, you must show the equivalent or above $71,655 USD to $73,647 USD in savings per person or $4,300 USD to $4418 USD in monthly tax-free income per person.
  2. THE INVESTORS VISA: For foreigners who own or participate in a Mexican corporation with an investment equal to or above $4,978,600.00 Mexican pesos.
  3. PROPERTY OWNER VISA: For foreigners who own real estate in Mexico with a value exceeding $9,957,000.00 Mexican pesos.
  4. FAMILY UNION VISA: For foreigners who can prove direct kinship to a Mexican citizen or resident. You will need to provide: original marriage certificate for a spouse or birth certificate if registering a child. You will also present a proof of investments or bank accounts with an avarage monthly balance equivalent to $1433 USD for the last 12 months or proof of employment or pensión with monthly tax-free income greater tan the equivalent of 1,433 USD for the last 6 months.
    It is important to note that previously, presenting a marriage certificate and/or birth certificate was required only at the consulate office when applying for a visa. These documents were not necessary to present at the Mexico migration office. However, recent changes in the residency card application process in Mexico now mandate the presentation of apostilled and translated kinship documents to complete the procedure.
  5. JOB OFFER VISA: For foreigners with a job offer issued by a Mexican company and authorized by INM (Mexican Immigration Authority).
  6. RETIREMENT VISA: For retirees and pensioners with proof of economic solvency equivalent to or above $286,620 USD in savings or $7,165 USD in monthly tax-free pension.

The Residency Process

Obtaining Mexican residency is a relatively straightforward process that begins outside of Mexico at a Mexican consulate. The total length of time it takes from start to finish is completely dependent on your closest Mexican consulate and the immigration office closest to you in Mexico.

    • Schedule an appointment with your nearest Mexican consulate located outside of Mexico. This does not need to be in your home country but many people start the process from their home country. Make sure to review the complete list of documents you will need to provide for the appointment.
    • Attend the appointment. You will be required to show all the documents outlined on their website, including bank and investment statements, real estate documents, etc.
    • Have the visa affixed to your passport. This is often, but not always, given the same day of your appointment, if you are approved.
    • Enter Mexico within 180 days of receiving the visa. If you do not enter Mexico within 180 days, you will need to start with the Mexican consulate again. When you enter Mexico, you may be asked to complete an FMM. You MUST be sure you do NOT identify yourself as a tourist and make sure the immigration official is aware of your Mexican visa affixed to your passport. Please note, recent changes in the immigration process have eliminated FMMs at some points of entry. If you are not required to fill out an FMM, the immigration officer will stamp your passport and write CANJE (exchange) in your passport and give you 30 days.
    • Once you pass through immigration, you have 30 days to file for the exchange, or CANJE, process. This must be done with your local immigration office in Mexico and it is highly recommended you hire an immigration specialist to assist you to ensure the process goes smoothly. You will be required to provide the following:
    • a. Passport
    • b. Your original FMM
    • c. Proof of address (optional but preferable)
    • d. Your signature on the following documents:
    •      1. Procedure application
    •      2. Mexican Government Private Policy Agreement
    •      3. Personal Information form (Formato Básico)
    •      4. Letter addressed to the I.N.M. requesting the “Canje” procedure
  • Receive your residency card. INM will notify your immigration specialist via email when your card is ready. You will need to go with the immigration specialist to receive your card.

How long is the process?

The length of time it takes from when you enter Mexico to when you receive your residency card varies by the immigration office. However, in general, the process can take three to four weeks. You can also opt for the expedited process which would take between two and four days.

Important: Once you enter Mexico and start the exchange process, you cannot leave Mexico for any reason until you complete the process and receive your residency card. If you must leave the country during the exchange process, you must request permission to leave from INM. Your Mexlaw immigration specialist can help you with this process.

If you are interested in learning more about the residency process in Mexico or are ready to apply for your Mexican residency, please contact Mexlaw’s Immigration Services Department today.