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.
If you applied for and were granted permanent residency, then there is no need to renew your permit; however, the criteria for permanent residency are stricter than those for temporary residency, and some people also apply for temporary residency when they are not intending to settle permanently in Mexico, or not certain about their plans.
If you hold a temporary residency permit, your first permit is always issued for only one year. You must attend your local Immigration Office (INM) within 30 days prior to the permit’s expiration date to apply for a renewal.
Key Points Regarding 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.
If something is amiss with your application, you will be turned away to correct something(s) that will create a delay in the filing, and we therefore recommend you start the renewal process at the beginning of the 30-day window before the permit expires.
Beware — expired residency permits
We strongly recommend that you don’t let your residency permit expire. If you do, you will either need to leave the country and begin the application process all over again at a Mexican Consulate abroad, or enter into a “regularization” procedure for renewal in Mexico, which is more complex and carries penalty charges which will add to your costs in addition to the regular renewal fees.
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
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. 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.
The paperwork you need to renew your residency permit depends, in part, on what type of temporary residency permit you have. You can find the details of the different visa types, criteria, fees, and processes in the Mexico Immigration Guide.
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 at a local bank (fees vary depending on how many years you renew for).
- NB: Printed photoghraphs 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 exercise their right to request additional information and ask applicants for recent bank statements when they apply 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 very rare that you need to demonstrate your ‘economic solvency’ when you renew your temporary residency.
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:
- Make an appointment at your local INM office
- Present your application forms with accompanying paperwork on your appointment date
- 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. Following improvements to procedures, most applications are now processed within hours or within a few working days.
- 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 it within a week. (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,” (e.g. see note about expired residency permits, above) 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:
- 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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