As we mentioned in a related article, most people who want to apply for residency in Mexico need to make their initial application at a Mexican Consulate abroad. However, when you’re here and want to renew your Mexico residency permit for further years, you must undertake the renewal process in-country. This article explains how your resident card is renewed in Mexico.
Permanent Residency Cards
If you are 18 or older and hold a permanent residency card (Residente Permanente) for Mexico, this never expires and does not need to be renewed, but you do need to advise the immigration office of things like change of address, marital status, and job if you work in Mexico.
Minors (under 18 years) with Permanent Residency must renew their cards periodically—see the section on this page about renewals for minors.
Key points about Temporary Resident permit renewals
You must be physically in Mexico
All temporary residency card renewal applications must be processed in-person at an immigration office in Mexico. You cannot apply to renew them at a Mexican consulate abroad, and you cannot renew by proxy.
Don’t leave it to the last minute
We recommend that you do not leave applying for your residency renewal to the last minute. Applications entail form-filling and other procedures, see below. The application needs to be reviewed at the local INM office and the application formally accepted and registered on the system before the expiry date.
Grace period on expired residency permits
If you intend to extend your stay as a legal resident in Mexico, we strongly recommend that you renew your permit within the 30-day window prior to the card’s expiry date.
If you forget to renew before the expiry date or if your situation prevents you from using the 30-day window prior to the expiry date, there is 55-day grace period starting on the expiry date in which you can apply to renew your temporary residency—see this article for details.
Important note about Temporary Residency to Permanent Residency
If you do not renew your temporary residency card before its expiry date and renew it within the grace period (described above), that process will reset your accrued time as Temporary Resident and issue you with a new, 1-year temporary residency permit. You’ll need to sustain that new permit for 4 consecutive years (without letting it expire) before you can apply to make the exchange from temporary to permanent residency.
Consistency in your basis for renewal
It is important to note that Temporary Residency is renewed based on the fact that the applicant’s activities in Mexico remain consistent with the activity that the visa was originally granted for: if you obtained a Temporary Residency permit as an employee, you cannot change the status to “self-employed”; if you obtained Temporary Residency by means of a work permit, you cannot request to change it to “rentista” (e.g. pensioner applying based on economic solvency).
Choices for renewal after first year
Your first temporary residency card is issued for one year, unless you obtained temporary residency on the basis of Family Unit*
After your first year living in Mexico with a temporary residency permit, you will have a choice to renew your temporary permit for a further 1, 2, or 3 years—although special rules exist for minors, see below.
If your plans are undetermined, we recommend you apply for three years, because the fee structure means that it’s considerably less expensive per year this way and you don’t have to keep returning to the INM to re-apply for residency each year.
*If you obtained residency on the basis of Family Unit, your temporary residency card is issued for two years after which you can apply for permanent residency.
Residency card renewals for minor children
If you have minor dependent children (under 18 years of age) in Mexico, note that special rules apply in regard to the issuance of their residency cards, thus:
- children under 4 years of age are given temporary or permanent residency cards for one year at a time, and these must be renewed in Mexico annually; and
- children between the ages of 4 and 17 years are issued with temporary or permanent residency cards for a maximum of 4 years at a time and must renew them in Mexico; and further note that
- children under 18 years of age holding permanent residency cards need to renew these as above. When they turn 18, their permanent residency will become indefinite and the card will no longer expire or need to be renewed.
The residency card renewal process for minors is similar to the one for adults holding residency cards, although note that the parent or legal guardian will need to be present and sign papers with/for the minor. Also note that like all renewals, these must be undertaken in person at an immigration office in Mexico, they cannot be renewed at Mexican consulates abroad nor by proxy.
Paperwork required for renewals
All applications for renewal require you to provide some essential forms and papers, thus:
- An application form, initiated online, printed and signed for submission
- Correctly filled-out ‘Formato Basico’ form, on paper and/or online
- A covering letter written in Spanish requesting the renewal of your residency permit
- Your passport (current) and a copy of its profile page
- Payment of the application fees
- Printed photographs are no longer required: staff at the INM offices now take a digital photograph of you when you attend the office to make the renewal application.
- Some offices might also request a photocopy of your existing resident card, and some might also ask for proof of your address in Mexico (e.g. a recent electricity bill).
Proof of economic solvency when renewing your Mexico residency card
Under the current rules, you do not need to re-provide proof of your economic solvency when you are applying for renewal of temporary residency*, but if you’re applying for renewal based on a local job offer, you will also need to present a letter on headed paper from the company or organization that employs you that states the ongoing nature of your employment, length of contract, and the remuneration arrangements, signed by a competent officer of the company.
*Immigration offices might ask for bank statements: Immigration offices in Mexico might exercise their right to request additional information and ask applicants for 3, 6, or 12 months of recent bank statements on application for renewal of temporary residency. If the INM does this in your case, it will apply (the lower) UMA values to the calculation. It’s not common that you need to demonstrate your ‘economic solvency’ when you renew your temporary residency, but some offices might ask for this when you come to apply for your temporary residency renewal.
The renewal application procedure is broadly identical wherever in Mexico you apply for renewal; however, we have noticed that slight variances do exist from state to state. The high-level process is:
- Complete the application forms online and write the covering letter requesting the renewal
- Present your application paperwork at your local immigration office with accompanying documentary evidence
- The receiving officer will review the paperwork and advise you if anything is missing, incomplete, or requires further clarification.
- If the application is all in order, it may be processed and completed that same day
- If you are not issued with your renewal card on the same day you submit your application, you will usually receive an email inviting you to attend the INM office to receive soon after.
- Time scales may vary by office/region and the number of cases they are processing locally.)
If your application for renewal is rejected, you will receive a written notification with an explanation about why it was rejected.
Need to leave Mexico during the permit renewal process?
If you need to leave the country while your residency permit is being processed, then you need to apply separately for an exit/re-entry permit, because you won’t be in possession of your resident card that facilitates normal exits and re-entry to the country. This permit is valid for a maximum of 60 days from the date it is issued: you must return to Mexico before it expires.
Applications for an exit/re-entry permit
You commence the application with an online form that you later print and take to your local INM office along with a photograph in a specific format (same as those for your visa), and a signed covering letter written in Spanish explaining the force majeure that requires you to leave the country. You must make this application at at the same immigration office that is processing your residency renewal, who will consider the application. There is a modest fee to apply for the permit, which you must pay at a local bank. You can find details of the process and a link to the form here (Spanish).
Important: If you are undertaking a process of “regularization,” you cannot avail yourself of this permit.
Get assistance with your residency application or renewal
If you need personal assistance to help you prepare your application (for example, completing the application forms, writing the covering letter, etc.), deal with renewal procedures, or advice with troubleshooting, consider using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service.
Learn more about residency in Mexico
Mexperience publishes information and resources to help you learn about how to apply for and obtain legal residency in Mexico:
- Renewing an expired residency card
- Learn about the principal routes to obtaining legal residency
- Here are the latest financial criteria required to qualify for residency in Mexico
- Compare the difference between Temporary and Permanent residency
- Find the latest residency-related fees charged by Mexico’s government
- Our free Mexico Immigration Guide encapsulates essential information about visas and residency permits for Mexico.
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