If you allow your Mexican temporary residency card —Residente Temporal— to expire, and you want to reapply to renew it, you will need to enter a special process known as ‘regularization.’
This article explains what happens when your residency card expires, —whether you are in Mexico, or outside of Mexico— and the process that exists for renewal of expired residency cards.
Permanent Residency Cards
If you 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.
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.
Regular renewals of residency cards
To apply for renewal of your Mexican temporary residency card while it is still valid (not expired), you must file the application for the renewal during the 30-day period before the card expires. You cannot apply for renewal before this 30-day window. Learn more about the renewal procedures for Mexican residency cards.
Residency card expires when you are inside Mexico
If you are physically in Mexico when your residency card expires, you need to enter a special process to get your legal residency status ‘regularized’. The regularization process for a temporary residency renewal must be filed within 60 calendar days of the card’s expiry date. See more information about ‘regularization’ below.
Leaving Mexico with an expired temporary residency card
If you have an expired temporary residency card and you want to leave Mexico and not renew your residency status, you can leave but you will need to attend the immigration desk/kiosk before you depart and pay a fine. The fine depends on the official’s assessment of your circumstances. Contact the INM for details about this, or visit the immigration office/kiosk at your port of exit for information.
Residency card expires when you are outside of Mexico
If you are overseas when your residency card expires, you can re-enter Mexico as a resident and apply for a regular renewal of your residency status provided that you arrive in Mexico no more than 55 calendar days after the card’s expiry date.
In all cases, you must file your application for renewal within 5 calendar days of your physical arrival date.
- you enter Mexico within 55 calendar days after the card’s expiry date and
- file your renewal application within 5 calendar days of your reentry date, and
- provided not more than 60 calendar days have passed since the card’s expiry date, then
- you can begin a regular renewal process.
If you arrive in Mexico 56-60 days after the expiry date on your resident card, you can enter a ‘regularization’ process to renew your residency but we don’t recommend you leave it to the last minute as you’re likely to run out of time before you can file your application on the system.
If your residency card expires while you’re overseas and you do not return to Mexico within 60 calendar days after the card’s expiry date, you can no longer use the card to enter Mexico as a resident and you’ll need to restart your residency application over again at a Mexican consulate abroad.
Important Note about Temporary Residency to Permanent Residency
Whether you are overseas or in Mexico, if you’re intending to exchange your current Temporary Residency card for Permanent Residency after having passed 4 consecutive years of Temporary Residency status in Mexico, you must not let your residency card expire.
If you do not renew your temporary residency card before its expiry date, you can opt to enter the ‘regularization process’ that 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.
Regularization of Temporary Residency cards
The term ‘regularization’ refers to a situation where your legal immigration status in Mexico becomes ‘irregular’ through, for example, an expired residency card.
Mexican immigration law provides for a process to ‘regularize’ your residency status, but the application for residency renewal must be filed within 60 calendar days after the expiry date on the residency card; and you must do this in Mexico; you cannot apply for your card’s renewal at a Mexican consulate abroad.
Regularization procedures are more complex and more time consuming than regular renewals and we recommend you seek assistance with the procedure.
Residency cards more than 60 days expired
If your Mexico residency card is over 60 calendar days expired, you cannot return to Mexico as a resident using the card if you’re overseas, and you cannot enter into a ‘regularization’ procedure to renew an expired residency card if you’re in Mexico. If you want to continue having legal residency in Mexico you will need to restart an application for residency, usually from a Mexican consulate abroad unless you have certain family connections in Mexico.
Don’t leave it to the last minute!
We strongly recommend that you do not leave applying for your residency renewal or ‘regularization’ process to the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time —at least 15 days and ideally 30 days— before the deadlines to file your renewal.
Applications to renew residency permits entail form-filling, letter writing and acceptance of your case file into the system. The application needs to be reviewed at the local immigration office and the application formally accepted and registered on the computer system before the expiry date on the card, or before the ‘regularization’ window passes, which is 60 calendar days after the expiry date on the card.
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, or well before the 60 calendar-day ‘regularization’ process window passes to give your application enough time to be prepared, presented, and filed.
Download our free Mexico Immigration Guide for detailed insights into rules and procedures for applying for residency in Mexico.
Get assistance with your expired temporary residency card
If you need personal assistance to help you prepare your renewal application using a regularization procedure, dealing 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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