Mexico Immigration Laws and Application Process Summary
The following Mexico immigration information is provided as a resource for our readers and will be updated periodically as policy and changes are made and brought to our attention. As with any government rules they can be dynamic in nature when it comes to implementation and timing.
As of March 2014, we believe the information we provide here is correct. We have also provided some additional links to other resources at the bottom of this page.
Before you get too far along please read these quick tips prior to starting any process through the Mexico Institute of National Immigration INM website.
The INM Website Application Page Tips and Translations:
Do not click on the “English” option at the top of the page because that will take you to the “Home” page which is the only page with the English option. We suggest using Google Translate which does a nice job of making the form and instructions usable for English-speakers.
To obtain, renew or change your immigration status, you must start here by filling out an online application, being accepted and receiving a NUE. When you go to this page, the questions are:
Question 1: “¿Qué desea hacer?” or ” What would you like to do?”
Answer: To Change from Visitante to Residente Temporal:
Choose “Canjear o reponer documento migratorio” or “Exchange or replace your immigration document status”
Question 2: Choose “Canje de FMM por Tarjeta de Visitante o de Residente” or “Exchange an FMM for a Visitor’s Card or for a Residency Card”
Then fill in your personal information into the rest of the form. If you have no CURP, then INM will assign you one later.
If you are a current FM2 or FM3 holder, you have your CURP listed on your current INM card.
If you lose your CURP, or want to check if your personal data in your CURP records is correct, go to, “Extend/Renew an Existing Residente Temporal”
Question 1: Choose “Extender la estancia” or “Extend the stay”
Question 2: Choose “Expedición de Tarjeta de Residente por Renovación“ or ” Process Renovating / Renewing My Residency Card”
Before filling out the rest of your personal information, you are offered “Conozco mi NUE” or “I know my NUE ” , the official number listed on your current FM3 card. If any of your personal data has changed, do not choose this option.
To continue on with the form and enter your personal information:
- Apellido: Your last name exactly as listed on your passport.
- Nombre(s): Your given name(s) exactly as listed on your passport.
- Fecha de Nacimiento: Birth date.
- Sexo: Mujer = Woman, Hombre = Man
- Estado Civil Actual: Casado = Married, Soltero = Single, Viuda = Widow etc.
- Lugar de Nacimiento: Place of Birth. Pais = Country, Estado = State or Province, etc
- Nacionalidad actual: Country of a your current passport.
- Passport or other documents: mostly obvious
- Pais de expedición: Country you left from.
- Domocilio del Extranjero en Mexico: Foreigner’s Home Address in Mexico
- Calle = Street
- Número exterior = House Number
- Número interior = Apartment or Unit #
- Colonia = Neighborhood name
- Estado = State
- Delegación o municipio = City or Municipality
- Código Postal = Zip Code
Click “Guardar” after checking that all your entries are correct. A PDF file of your completed data form will be offered for you to save, print, and take a copy with you to to the INM office.
IF you have not previously had an extended immigration status in Mexico, like an FM2 or FM3, you MUST begin your temporal or permanente application process through a Mexican consulate in your home country. You cannot apply within Mexico with a tourist visa.
Click HERE to find a Mexican consulate nearest where you currently reside in the U.S. or Canada.
Mexico’s Immigration Statuses and Rules as of March, 2014
The first status category is “Visitante”. This status encompasses non-working visitors (a typical tourist), working visitors, visitors for adoptions and humanitarians. It’s valid for 6 months and visitors have to leave the country by the end of the 6th month. These permits will still be handed out from the airlines, ship, or at the border. It’s important to keep your tourist visa with your passport.
If a tourist wants to upgrade their status to Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente, they will have to leave the country after 180 days and apply from their home country. INM has released the new regulations to explain how tourists can begin the residency application process by applying online or at their Mexican Consulate.
The second status category is “Residente Temporal”. With this status, temporary residents may enter and leave the country as many times as they like. Obtaining a work visa is possible and there is a 4 year limit. Foreigners who have obtained this status meet qualification characteristics such as their profession and financial status that would benefit Mexican citizens as a whole.
As you apply from the U.S. or Canadian Consulate, you will get a sticker in your passport but the actual Residente Temporal Visa is issued in Mexico. Your temporary travel permit is good for 30 days from the day you cross the border. Once in Mexico, you must appear at your local IMN office and finish the application process. Every Consulate is different, so gather and provide as much documentation as you can at home first.
As a precaution against having to make a second or third trip to INM office, we suggest having two copies of everything. DO NOT expect the Immigration office to make copies of anything, you must provide your own photo copies of all documents requested.
Some of the Mexico immigration documentation requirements are:
- Completed INM form printed on one page, double sided, properly completed and signed.
- 2 Copies of a valid passport
- Passport size pictures: 2 front and 1 right profile
- 2 Copies of Marriage Certificate
- 2 Copies of Birth Certificate
- A letter in Spanish stating your reasons for wanting to live in Mexico along with your request for a Residente Temporal or a Residente Permanente Visa.
- Proof of a Mexican address (current electric bill or water bill in your name or copy of signed lease) OR
- Copy of Trust or Possession Document of home OR
- $100K in investments
- 3 months of current bank statements showing approximately $2000 USD monthly income for an individual or approximately $3,000.00 for a couple (Some consulates ask these bank statements be translated into Spanish) and add 25% more for each additional dependent family member.
- Consular visa fee, in cash, of $36.00 Dollars (or more) applicable to some nationalities.
- Payment of consular stamp: $127.00 Dollars in cash
“Residente Temporal Estudiante”
Exchange students, researchers, and educators make up the third status category of “Residente Temporal Estudiante”.
The fourth status is “Residente Permanente” and means you have “No Immigrant” status. With this status you may stay in the country indefinitely, you have the right to work, and you do not have to renew your status. Permanent residency can be granted after 4 years of Temporary Residency or may be applied for immediately if you meet the criteria.
In order to skip the Residente Temporal status and go directly to Residente Permanente, bring all of the documentation required for Residente Temporal status and:
Provide Documentation of Proof of Financial Independence by Average Bank Balance: Provide 12 months of original bank statements (plus copies) as proof of income or savings/investments, to show equivalent to twenty five thousand days of the general minimum wage in the District Federal for the previous twelve months. The average monthly balance of about $125,000 USD (exactly $1,619,000 pesos) at $13:1 MXN:USD.
Using Method of Regular Deposits of Income or Pension Receipts: Have a minimum monthly investment account or work income deposits or pension deposits that are the equivalent of five hundred days worth of the current minimum wage in the Federal District, for each of the previous six months – with original and copies of original bank statement. This translates to about $2,500 USD (exactly $32,380 pesos) a month of regular deposits.
Some INM offices are reducing the monthly income or pension deposit requirements by 1/2 for applicants who own property in Mexico.
Many INM offices are requiring applicant spouses to have bank statements and/or property listed in the spouse’s name. One work-around for this: Have the primary applicant (the person whose name is on the accounts and real estate) get approved first, then have the spouse/dependent file a subsequent application as a family member of the primary Residente Permanente.
Residents may also gain Permanent residency through 2 years of marriage or a common law relationship with a Mexican citizen. However, permanent residency also depends on the applicant successfully completing 2 years of temporary residency concurrent with the marriage.
Some Foreigners will also be able to apply for permanent residency through a point system. If an applicant has enough points based on level of education, work experience, skills in the development of science and technology, international surveys, and other professional areas, they may apply for permanent residency before the 4 years is up. There isn’t much documentation regarding the point system for residency yet.
How The Income Is Determined
The daily minimum wage increase in Mexico went into effect as of January 1, 2014 and covers the two geographic areas which Mexico is divided for purposes of minimum wage calculations.
Area “A” includes all of Mexico’s major cities and entry ports, while Area “B” covers all other municipalities in Mexico. The legal minimum daily wage in the Federal District in 2014 for geographic areas “A” and “B” is now $67.29 pesos (approximately US $5.15) and $63.77 pesos (approximately US $4.88), so 400 times that is $26,916 pesos, or $2,070.00 dollars at an exchange rate of 13 pesos to the dollar.
This amount is increased by 50% for each dependent. A married couple applying for the new Residente Temporal visa are required to have a minimum monthly income of approximately $3,000.00.
An applicant for Residente Permanente must show either the same 20,000 days minimum wage in investments (20,000 days minimum wage is 1,345,800 pesos, or $103,523.00 dollars) or a monthly employment or pension income of 500 times the minimum wage. That would be $2,588.00 dollars per month of income. A married couple would require $3,882.00 per month of income.
Proof of sufficient monthly income, as per the chart below (2014 Federal District minimum wage [“FDMW”]= 67.29 MXN; exchange rate used = 13. MXN/$1)
Mexico Immigration Individual Monthly Income Requirements
Produce documentation showing
Monthly income of:
400 X FDMW
Avg daily acct balance of:
20,000 X FDMW
Monthly income of:
500 X FDMW
Avg daily acct balance of:
25,000 X FDMW
Married couples qualifying income is approximately $3000 US per month for temporal and $3800 for permanente.
After the first time application, proof of income and residency will no longer be required for the following three years or until your renewal date (if less than 4 years). Instead, what is required is a letter signed by the visa holder that all information on the original application is still valid. There will be no renewals required of a permanent visa card and it will allow working.
The regulations for the new immigration law (la ley aduana) went into effect November 10, 2012,. The current fees are:
3,130 MXN/1 year
4,690 MXN/2 years
5,940 MXN/3 years
7,040 MXN/4 years
3,815 MXN one time
The link to check on the status of your application is: Currently, the link to apply for Residente Temporal is: http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Migrantes
Mexico Visa FAQ’s
|What is the difference between Temporal and Permanente?||Temporal is good for up to four years with a fee for each year (payable each year, or in any combination, or as a one-time fee). After four years on a Temporal Visa, you must change to a Permanente.
Permanente permits you to live in Mexico indefinitely with a one-time fee, after four years residence.
|Do the years under the FM system count toward the Residente visas?||Yes|
|What are the time options for each visa?||
Temporal: 1 to 4 years
Permanente: No limit
|Changing from an FM visa to a Permanente (or Temporal) can be done in Mexico?||Yes, if you have had an FM2 or 3 for 4 years.|
|What are the income requirements when dealing with a husband and a wife, and/or family? On, combined incomes?||It can be if you want; for instance, if only one of you has the basic qualifying income, or account balance.To include a spouse, or any other qualifying family member, you add 100 to the number of days required for the valid Residente visa – per person. You will also need documentation proving the relationship (i.e., an apostilled marriage license).To add your spouse to your Residente Temporal, you add 100 to the 400 days of FDMW. So, for you to qualify as a couple, you need 500 days of FDMW or, $33,645 MXN, or $3000 USD income per month.For all other purposes, a “family” visa adjunct is treated individually.|
How The New Residency Statuses Affect Importing A Car
Aduana is the agency that dictates auto import issues. Auto permits now line up with your visa status, but you MUST notify Aduana whenever your immigration status changes before it does. Also, if you are changing to a permenente status you must formally import your US or Canadian plated vehicle before your temporal status expires. There are also regions of Mexico where permits are not required like Baja, parts of Sonora and Quintana Roo.
Need More VISA Information?
You can call the INM Immigration Hotline at 01-800-004-6264
24 hours / day and 7 days a week
Some English spoken