With a few exceptions —mostly related to Family Unit circumstances— all applications for Mexican residency must begin outside of Mexico, via a Mexican consulate.
You can apply for residency in Mexico from any Mexican consulate world-wide; whether it is in your home country, or a ‘third country.’
However, if you apply from a country that is not your home country, or documents you have in support of your residency application were not issued in the country where you apply, you will need to get those key documents that support your application, e.g. marriage certificates and bank statements, ‘legalized,’ also known as ‘apostilled.‘
Special Procedure for Residency Applications
Under a special procedure announced by the INM some people with expired visitor permits may exchange these for residency permits in-country without having to leave Mexico. Learn more about the special procedure to find out if you qualify.
Applying via a Mexican consulate in your home country
If you apply for legal residency in Mexico from your home country, the Mexican consulate will not normally ask for your home country issued documents, e.g. marriage certificates, bank statements, etc., to be notarized or apostilled (in Canada, ‘authenticated’) to accept them.
However, if your documents were not issued in your home country (e.g. you got married abroad) or you are applying for Mexican legal residency from a third country instead of your home country, the Mexican consulate will ask for key documents to be apostilled.
Applying via a Mexican consulate in a ‘third country’
Sometimes, it might not be possible or practical to apply for legal residency in Mexico via a Mexican consulate in your home country. This could be because:
- You are legally resident and situated in another country; or
- You are currently situated in a country that is geographically closer to Mexico than your home country; or
- There isn’t a Mexican consulate in your home country; or
- You are in Mexico now and need to leave to apply, and want to make the application from a country that is geographically closer to Mexico than your home country.
Key documents will need to be apostilled (legalized)
As part of every application for legal residency in Mexico, the Mexican consulate will ask to see key support documents: the most common are marriage certificates, bank statements and investment account statements—but there may be others, depending on which route you use to apply for residency.
If you decide to apply for legal residency in Mexico from a third country i.e., a country that is not your home country, —or a country different to where any of your key documents, especially marriage certificates and bank statements are issued— then you will need to get these documents notarized/apostilled in your home country (or the country in which they were originally issued) and couriered to you to support your application via the Mexican consulate in the third country.
Some documents need to be notarized first: Some documents can be directly apostilled, e.g. birth and death certificates, marriage certificates; however, some types of documents need to be notarized first and then sent to be apostilled (or ‘Authenticated’ in Canada)—examples include bank statements and investment account statements.
Note for Canadians: Canada is not signatory to the international Apostille convention, and instead uses its own ‘Authentication’ procedure. Documents issued in Canada need to be ‘Authenticated’ and then must be sent to a Mexican consulate in Canada to be ‘legalized’ for Mexico.
Avoid having your legal documents turned away
If you show up at a Mexican consulate without certain types of documents having been apostilled where this is required, they will turn your application away and ask you to return with certified documents.
Online services exist that can handle the notarization and apostilles for you. If you decide to use a third party service to do this, you will need to hire the services in the country where the documents were originally issued.
How to get your documents apostilled
Learn about preparing key documents with apostilles where this is required for submission to a Mexican consulate by reading our article about the notarization and apostille (legalization) of documents for use in Mexico.
Mexico Immigration Assistance Service
If you would like assistance with your legal residency application, whether you are applying for the first time, renewing an existing permit, or need help with troubleshooting, consider using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service.
As part of the service, our associates provide a personalized check list of documents you will need to prepare for your application and will also advise which ones, if any, need to be apostilled before they will be accepted. Learn more about the service.
Learn more about Mexico visas and immigration
Mexperience publishes extensive information about visas and immigration to Mexico, including:
- Our free Mexico Immigration Guide that encapsulates what you need to know about applying for visas and residency permits.
- Our article about temporary and permanent residency describes legal residency in Mexico, and our FAQs page is updated regularly.
- Our latest articles about visas and immigration keep you apprised of current situations including financial criteria for residency, fees, and procedures.
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