Immigration & Visas, Transportation

FAQs: Mexico’s Residency Visas and Residency Cards

These are the most frequently-asked questions we receive about Mexico’s temporary and permanent residency visas and residency cards—updated regularly

Mexico Residency Visa and Cards

This article contains a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding matters related to Mexico’s temporary and permanent residency visas and residency cards.

FAQs about Mexico’s residency visas and residency cards

This section contains Questions & Answers related to seeking legal residency: visas and permits for longer-term stays in Mexico.

What are the requirements to acquire a living/working/retirement permit in Mexico?

Mexperience publishes information and resources to help you learn about how to apply for and obtain legal residency in Mexico:

Are there minimum financial requirements required to move to and live or retire in Mexico?

Mexican immigration law stipulates that foreigners applying for residency in Mexico must be able to prove sufficient economic means to sustain themselves while in Mexico.

Read the article about financial criteria for residency in Mexico, as well as the related FAQ about obtaining residency on the basis of ‘economic solvency.’

See also: FAQs: Obtaining Residency in Mexico via ‘Economic Solvency’

How long does it take to get a residency permit for Mexico?

Timescales vary depending on the consulate/immigration office.  When you have all your paperwork in order and have a confirmed appointment date at the consulate, the process is typically expedited within these timescales:

Visa applications: Mexican consulates usually process applications for a visa within 10 working days after the date of your interview/appointment at the consulate.  The consulate will place a visa sticker in your passport(s) that you must then exchange for a residency card soon after you arrive in Mexico.

Residency cards: Immigration offices in Mexico usually process your visa efficiently on the day of your scheduled appointment: sometimes cards are issued the same day, and usually within a few days (depending on how busy the local office is).  In exceptional circumstances it might take 2-3 weeks.

For more insights read: Typical Time Scales for residency visas and cards

Beware of making premature travel plans

Timescales are subject to the availability of appointments (it can sometimes take weeks to obtain an appointment) and other factors including demand for permits at any given consulate or immigration office.  It may take longer than the typical timescales noted above.

We recommend that you do not make any travel plans until your visa is confirmed and issued in your passport(s); nor while you are in Mexico exchanging your visa for a residency card.

How long do Mexican residency permits last for?

Temporary residency permits last for up to 4 years, a permanent residency visa gives the holder indefinite leave to remain in Mexico and does not expire.  See our article about time limits on Mexican visas and residency permits for details.

What is the difference between Temporary and Permanent residency?

Temporary residency permits last for between 1 and 4 years, and must be renewed to remain valid.  After four consecutive years of holding Temporary Residency you may apply to exchange Temporary residency for Permanent residency.

Permanent Residency permits have no expiry date and do not need to be renewed each year.

Read more about the similarities and differences between temporary and permanent residency in Mexico.

Do I need to have Temporary Residency before I can apply for Permanent Residency?

You don’t have to hold temporary residency before applying for and being granted permanent residency, but the financial criteria to qualify for permanent residency are higher, and some consulates may require the applicant(s) to be retired to apply for Permanent Residency—even if they qualify economically.

Read the article about financial criteria for residency in Mexico, as well as the related FAQ about obtaining residency on the basis of ‘economic solvency.’

Get practical assistance with your residency application

We have helped thousands of people plan and realize their Mexico residency application.  The Mexico Immigration Assistance Service saves time and potential inconvenience by helping you to prepare a strong application based on your situation, and mitigating the chances of having your forms, letters and other paperwork being rejected during the application procedures.

Learn more about the service and make a request here

How long can I remain outside Mexico when I have legal residency status?

When you hold a legal residency card in Mexico, you can leave and re-enter Mexico as often as you like, and there are no time limits on how long you have to remain in Mexico, nor limits on how long you can remain outside of Mexico, each year.

However, temporary residency renewals and reporting changes in personal circumstances must be undertaken in person, in Mexico—they cannot be done abroad nor by proxy.

Read our article about time limits on Mexican residency permits for details.

What happens if my residency visa or card expires?

Visa stickers and temporary residency cards carry an expiry date; permanent residency cards do not expire.

Residency visa (sticker)

If you have a residency visa (sticker) in your passport issued by a Mexican consulate you must arrive in Mexico and exchange it for a residency card within 180 calendar days of its issue date.

If you allow the visa sticker to expire, it becomes void and you need to restart your residency application at a Mexican consulate abroad. Note that permanent residency cards do not expire, but permanent residency visa stickers do expire as described above.

Temporary residency cards

If you have a temporary residency card and it expires, the rules about its validity and renewal depend on whether you are inside or outside of Mexico when the card expires. Our article about expired and renewal of residency cards describes the rules in detail.

Temporary resident cards can be renewed up to 30 days prior to their expiry date, and renewal requests must be filed in Mexico.

How can I apply for a work permit in Mexico?

For information about working and work permits in Mexico, download our free eBook about Working & Self-employment in Mexico. If you would like personal advice based on your individual situation, consider using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service.

Does Mexico have a points-based system to qualify for residency?

Mexico’s 2012 immigration law references a points-based qualification system as one of the routes non-Mexicans may use to acquire residency in Mexico.  However, the points-based system has not been implemented and there is no known date as to when it might be implemented.

Until then, foreigners seeking residency in Mexico need to pursue other routes, and you can learn about the principle routes to obtain residency in Mexico here on Mexperience.

Can I leave Mexico while my residency permit is being processed or renewed?

When you are exchanging your Residency visa for a Resident card, or renewing your existing residency permit (card) you have to remain in Mexico.

In exceptional circumstances, you can request a one-time temporary exit and re-entry permit from the local immigration office that is processing your residency permit.  Read our article about renewing your Mexico residency permit for details.

How can I import my personal goods to Mexico when I relocate there to live?

Mexico allows foreign residents to import personal goods tax-free when they first move here under a one-time procedure known as the Menaje de Casa. You can find details about this procedure by reading our article: importing your personal goods to Mexico.

Am I covered by Mexican Social Security for healthcare if I am legally resident in Mexico?

You can find the answer to this question on our article about health insurance options in Mexico.

How long do I have to live in Mexico before I can apply for citizenship?

You can find the answer to this question on our article: becoming a Naturalized Mexican.

Do I need to supply financial information every time I renew my temporary resident permit, or when I exchange my temporary resident permit for a permanent residency permit?

Under the immigration rules, you do not have to re-present your financial information when you renew your temporary residency permit, or exchange a temporary residency permit for a permanent residency permit after four consecutive years.  However, the immigration office reserves the right to ask for proof of financial solvency, although it is rare that they do this.

Read this article about renewing your residency permit for more details.

How do I replace a lost/stolen residency card?

If you are inside Mexico when you lose your residency card, you’ll need to attend your local INM office to apply for a replacement; you can find details here.

If you are outside Mexico when the loss happens, you should contact your nearest Mexican consulate for guidance.

Note that these procedures apply to permits which have not expired—see question above about resident permit expiry.

If you need help with the procedures to replace your lost/stolen residency permit our Mexico Immigration Assistance service can help.

Get practical assistance with your residency application

We have helped thousands of people plan and realize their Mexico residency application.  The Mexico Immigration Assistance Service saves time and potential inconvenience by helping you to prepare a strong application based on your situation, and mitigating the chances of having your forms, letters and other paperwork being rejected during the application procedures.

Learn more about the service and make a request here

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:

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