Obtaining Temporary Residency in Mexico
In a two part series, Mexlaw walks us through the process of gaining legal resident status
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 canjeprocess. 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.
To ensure a speedy and trouble free process, it is recommended to use a professional law firm, such as Mexlaw, throughout your application.
Look for part two on temporary residency in our next edition.