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 financial 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.
We recommend that you do not leave applying for your residency renewal to the last minute. Applications entail form filling, bank payments, photographs, etc. (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).
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.
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
- Photographs in a specific format, taken in the last 30 days
- 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)
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 Income on Renewals
Under the current rules, you do not need to re-provide proof of your income 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.
*We are hearing of cases where immigration offices in some Mexican states are exercising their right to request additional information and asking applicants for recent bank statements when they apply for renewal of temporary residency. Therefore, you should be prepared to demonstrate your ‘economic solvency’ when you renew your temporary residency in case it is called for.
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:
- Present your application forms with accompanying paperwork at your nearest INM office in Mexico
- The receiving officer will review the paperwork and advise you if anything is missing, incomplete, or requires further clarification. They are very particular about photographs (size, quality, and that your features are not obscured by hair) and we recommend you use a professional local photography studio that knows what the INM expects to receive
- When the application is accepted, you’ll be given a printed sheet of paper containing your unique case file number. You (or your representative if you used one) will also be sent an email with a password to access details of your case file online
- It can take up to several weeks for the renewal to be processed. The online case file will be updated with progress, and it will also flag messages to advise you if any further information or action is required from you
- When the renewal is approved, you’ll receive an email inviting you to attend the INM office to give fingerprints
- When the fingerprints are taken and the application fee payment is verified, your renewed resident card is issued showing the new expiration date
Depending on local procedures, you will need to attend the INM offices at least twice and up to four times, excluding any additional visits you may have to make to provide additional information or rectify part of your application.
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 Visa 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: 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.
The Mexico Immigration Guide contains details about the different visa types, criteria for renewal applications, as well as permit renewal processes and fees.
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.
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