Special Regularization Procedure Status (2023)
We understand that this special regularization procedure remains in effect during 2023 “until further notice.” Special procedures can be altered or withdrawn at any time. It’s known as the “RNE”—Registro Nacional de Extranjeros.
We are receiving mixed reports about how INM offices are dealing with requests for this procedure. Some applications are being received, others are not.
The applicant(s) must attend a local INM office in person to request the regularization procedure—this request cannot be made by proxy.
This is a reminder that each immigration office retains absolute discretion about whether to accept or deny any application (and subsequently about whether to grant or reject any application that is accepted) made under any procedure, including special regularization procedures.
Mexico’s immigration institute, the ministry responsible for managing visitor and residency permits, has announced a special ‘regularization’ procedure, available to people currently in Mexico with expired visitor permits, that enables them to ask to apply for residency at an immigration office in Mexico, without having to leave the country.
What is the ‘regularization’ offer?
Under the Mexican immigration rules, an ‘irregular’ immigration status is one where your current immigration permit has expired, or you violate one or more of the rules associated with immigration law.
This special regularization procedure offers foreigners in Mexico holding an expired visitor permit (FMM) an opportunity to ask to apply for legal residency in Mexico in-country, without having to leave Mexico.
Who can apply under this special procedure?
This special procedure was originally announced by the INM in late spring of 2021, and in the fall of 2021 the criteria were expanded.
Through this special procedure you may ask to apply for Temporary Residency in Mexico without having to leave Mexico to apply IF:
- You are currently in Mexico and in possession of a Mexico Visitor Permit (FMM) that expired in or before 2020 (some offices accept documents that expired in or before 2021);
- You are currently in Mexico in possession of a Visitor Permit (FMM) that expired in or before 2020 (some offices accept documents that expired in or before 2021) AND you have entered Mexico before as a visitor on at least two separate occasions before January 1, 2020 (some offices accept visitor stamps in or before 2021).
Caution about Tampering with your FMM form (or stamp in your passport)
We’ve seen stories on Social Media that suggest some people might be manually altering the number of days written on the form, or on the stamp in their passport. The form has a unique serial number printed on it that correlates to an electronic record of your entry to Mexico; your passport number is also associated with this record. The number of days you are granted is stored on that record and the INM will not take kindly to anyone tampering with the form or passport stamp by altering the number of days written by the immigration official.
How do I apply?
This special ‘regularization’ procedure can be undertaken in Mexico without the need to leave the country and apply at a Mexican consulate abroad, as is normally required with most residency applications.
- To request the special procedure. You need to attend your local INM office in person to ask for advice and guidance, ask if the office is accepting these types of applications and if they are, what precise conditions apply (they vary by office) and whether they are willing to consider your application.
- Note that your visitor permit (FMM) must be expired—i.e. you are past the date when you ought to have left the country. The INM will not receive your petition if your FMM is still current.
- After your interview, the official will advise you whether or not the INM is will accept an application from you.
- If you are able to apply, the application begins with the completion of an online form and covering letter, and afterwards you have to return to your local immigration office to complete further steps of the procedure and get your temporary residency card, that will be issued for four years with no need to re-apply after the first year.
Assistance with your paperwork
If the INM office you attend agrees to accept your application and you want assistance completing the paperwork (forms and letters required), our associates can provide tele-support for this via the Mexico Immigration Assistance service. (Note that our associates cannot guarantee that your request for the special procedure will be accepted at your local INM office, or that any application that is accepted for processing will be granted.)
What does it cost?
The special procedure requires you to apply for 4 years of temporary residency and each applicant will need to pay the usual fees for a 4-year temporary residency permit, (approximately MXN$11,500 pesos, about US$600 dollars) and you will also need to pay a ‘regularization‘ fee of about MXN$1,500 pesos, plus a fine of about MXN$2,000 pesos.
Economic solvency requirement waived
However, this special procedure waives ‘economic solvency’ requirements for qualifying persons and makes it possible to ‘regularize’ your legal residency status here in Mexico, without having to apply from a consulate abroad.
Note that people who ask to apply and are accepted for residency through this special procedure will be granted four complete years of temporary residency and do not have to renew their temporary residency each year. Near the end of the four year period, holders may optionally apply to exchange their temporary residency for permanent residency.
How long does the offer last?
The immigration institute has not stated an end date for this special procedure; it can be altered or withdrawn at any time, without prior notice. If you are currently in Mexico and qualify under the criteria described above, and you wish to apply to stay in Mexico longer term through legal residency here, it’s best to ask to apply soon after your current visitor permit (FMM) has expired.
Mexico Immigration Assistance
If you want to apply for this regularization procedure, you first need to attend your local INM office in person to ask whether they will accept your application.
If the INM office you attend agrees to accept your application and you want assistance completing the paperwork (forms and letters required), our associates can provide tele-support for this via the Mexico Immigration Assistance service.
Note that our associates cannot guarantee that your request for the special procedure will be accepted at your local INM office, or that any application that is accepted for processing will be granted.
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