Obtaining Legal Residency In Mexico

Do you want to obtain legal residency  in Mexico? Either temporary or permanent, it is a process that needs patience and  professional advice. Though we’re not experts in the subject,  we believe the following information can be useful.

legal residency in mexico

When you enter Mexico as a tourist, immigration issues you tourist visa, known as an FMM that entitles you to remain in the country for a maximum of 180 days. To extend your stay, legally, you have to exit the country and re-enter for a new FMM. If you wish to stay in Mexico for longer than 180 days, or you plan to live in Mexico, you will need to apply for a Temporary Residency Visa.

The Temporary Residency Visa can be issued for one year, the first time you apply and later renewed for two, three or four years. As a temporary residency visa holder, you can enter and leave Mexico as often as you want. You may also obtain a work permit in exchange for remuneration, get local discounts at certain parks, archaeological sites, some restaurants and other services, and obtain a CURP (Unique Population Registry Code) to register a car and other procedures.

At a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico:

  • In the interview with the Consulate’s officer, you will be requested to provide documentation and information such as personal data, bank statements proving that you can support yourself financially while you are in Mexico.
  • After reviewing your documents, the immigration officer will decide whether to approve your preliminary visa or not.  The visa will be issued within ten business days, at most. During the process, you will be photographed and have your fingerprints scanned. Once the visa is obtained, you have 180 days to return to Mexico and complete the canje, or exchange.

When arriving in Mexico make sure the immigration officer sees your visa that the Consulate affixed in your passport. They will then mark the FMM canje and write 30 days, instead of 180 days of the regular FMM. This is very important for your process to run smoothly at the immigration office.

At the INM Office in Mexico:

Once you enter Mexico, you have 30 days to complete the canje process. You will need to fill out paperwork and apply at an INM office for a resident card. Many foreigners rely on information obtained on the internet or rumors from friends before applying for a visa and can run into obstacles during the process.

Temporary Residents can apply for the entry of the following related family members:

•     Their children and those of their spouse provided they are under age and not married, or under their custody or guardianship;
•     Spouse
•     Common Law Relationship, by proving their  relationship under Mexican law
•     Mother and father

These family members will be allowed to stay legally in the country under the same conditions as the temporary resident, with the possibility of obtaining a permit to work in exchange for remuneration and with the right to enter and leave the country as many times as they wish.

As we stated in the previous article, the law requires you to be in your home country to apply and have an interview at the Mexican Consulate there, before returning to Mexico. There are two exceptions to the rule: if you are in Mexico for humanitarian reasons or you have close family in Mexico (spouse or children).

One of the criteria that the Mexican authorities require for a Temporary Residency Visa is that the applicants prove that they have sufficient funds to sustain themselves while in Mexico or a steady income. The requirements, according to the Consular Section of the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. website you must prove financial solvency with any of the following documents:

•     An original and copy of investments or bank accounts with a balance of at least $25,890 during the last 12 months prior to the visa application.


•     An original and copy of documents showing that the applicant has a pension or monthly income of  $1560 USD (tax-free) during the six months prior to the visa application.

Other ways to qualify for Temporary Residency:

•     Owning real estate property with a value in excess of $ 195,000 USD
•     Participating/Owning at least a value of $100,000.00 USD shares in a Mexican company
•     Owning over $100,000.00 USD of heavy equipment or machinery in Mexico
•     Operating a business in Mexico and that legally creates at least five jobs for Mexicans

(Note that these values may change slightly at the different Mexican Consulates).

As we said in the begining, professional help is adviced if you wish to obtain your legal residency in Mexico.

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