Mexico’s INM (National Institute of Immigration) has been working hard to modernize the processing and issuance of Mexican residency permits and, since the autumn of 2020, significant procedural improvements are being rolled-out at local immigration offices across the country for the benefit all applicants and residency card holders.
Some of the changes are happening behind-the-scenes to streamline the processes and reduce the burden of time on staff and applicants, while other changes are readily visible when you attend an immigration office.
Here’s a summary of the most visible improvements being implemented at immigration offices across Mexico:
Shorter time scales, quicker turnaround
It used to be necessary to wait weeks, or even months in some districts for residency visa stickers to be exchanged for residency cards.
It’s currently taking between 2-4 weeks for residency visas to be exchanged for residency cards. You can learn more about time scales on this article.
Printed photographs no longer required
The requirement to take printed (paper) photographs in a specific format with you when you process your residency application in Mexico has been dispensed with.
The local INM offices now have digital cameras installed at the counters and they will use these to take your photo when you attend the local office to process your residency application.
Digital fingerprint readers
Your fingerprints are taken just before a residency card is issued.
The old procedure of inking each of your fingers and thumbs and placing prints inside labelled boxes on a paper form have also been dispensed with. Local immigration offices now use a digital fingerprint readers instead, which capture the prints on your fingers and store these electronically.
Fees payment by bank card at INM offices
Before now, payment for residency-related fees and services had to be made exclusively at a local bank, requiring applicants to attend the bank to make payment (ensuring specific account numbers and names matched precisely), then afterward attend a local copy shop to make three copies of the payment receipts before returning to the INM office to present these with the application.
Today, most INM offices in Mexico offer payment by bank card instead. They accept Visa and Mastercard using an electronic terminal. (Some terminals might also accept wireless payment via payment cards registered through ApplePay and GooglePay.) This dispenses with the need to visit a bank separately and get paper copies of payment receipts.
Offices that don’t yet have card payment terminals require applicants to attend the bank to pay. Applicants that cannot or do not want to pay using a bank card need to pay in cash at a local bank. Payments in cash are not accepted at any INM office.
You can learn more about residency-related fees on this article.
Mexican consulates abroad
Mexican consulates abroad have been using digital cameras and fingerprint readers for the initial visa application process for some while now, and the recent changes being rolled-out across local immigration offices in Mexico are delivering a significant improvement in service levels which also require fewer visits to the immigration office as part of each residency applicant’s routine.
Get assistance with your residency application or renewal
When you need assistance with your Mexico residency application, renewals, or regularization procedures, our Mexico Immigration Assistance Service provides consulting, advice, and practical support that assists you through the entire residency application or renewal process, including visa exchanges, regularization procedures, and troubleshooting.