Immigration & Visas, Living, Retirement, Working

Special Procedure to Apply for Legal Residency in Mexico

Under a special procedure, you can ask to apply for Mexico residency in-country in some instances with an expired visitor permit. Here are the details

Temporary Residency Documents Mexico

Special Procedure Status (January 2022)

We have heard from the INM that this procedure continues to be current, and that offices have not been issued with instructions to withdraw it.

However, we are receiving mixed reports about how INM offices are dealing with requests for this procedure.  Some applications are being received, others are not.

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 procedures.  Special procedures can be withdrawn at any time without prior notice.

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 before January 1, 2020; OR
  • You are currently in Mexico in possession of a Visitor Permit (FMM) that expired on or after January 1, 2020 AND you have entered Mexico before as a visitor on at least two separate occasions before January 1, 2020.

FMM validity: We have heard that some INM offices are turning away applicants if their FMM was not issued for 180 days.

Caution about Tampering with your FMM form

We’ve seen stories on Social Media that suggest some people might be manually altering the number of days written on the form.  The form has a unique serial number printed on it that correlates to an electronic record of your entry to Mexico.  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 by altering the number of days written on it by the immigration official.

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$10,000 pesos, about US$500 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

Temporary residency qualification usually carries income or savings requirements and foreigners usually need to leave Mexico to begin the residency application procedure.

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 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.

The application begins with the completion of an online form and covering letter and afterwards you have to attend your local immigration office to complete further steps of the procedure and get your temporary residency card.

To begin the special procedure, contact your nearest immigration office in Mexico for advice and guidance, or consider using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service for personalized support throughout the procedure.  Note that if you hire our associates they cannot guarantee that your request for the special procedure will be accepted at your local INM office, or that any application that is accepted will be granted.

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 listed above, and you wish to apply to stay in Mexico longer term through legal residency here, it’s best to ask to apply at your earliest convenience.

Mexico Immigration Assistance

If you need assistance with your plans, our Mexico Immigration Assistance Service provides advice and practical help that helps you through the entire residency application or renewal process, including this special regularization procedure.

Note that if you hire our associates they cannot guarantee that your request for the special procedure will be accepted at your local INM office, or that any application that is accepted will be granted.

This article was originally published in the spring of 2021. The criteria of the procedure have been expanded, and his article has thus been updated and republished from the original version to reflect the new information.

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  1. Mike M says

    I’ve been here numerous times since 2007, but for some reason, only two visits (including this one) have been stamped in my current passport. Will these be sufficient? My old passport is in the US and I can’t get it without going there. I do have a record of at least one other plane ticket for a non-stamped visit, if that’s useful.


    • Mexperience says

      Hi Mike,
      You’ll need to visit your neearest INM office and talk to them to explain your situation and show them what you have in documentary evidence — they will guide you and ultimately make the decision.

  2. Johnson says

    Thank you for this article. We applied for this two days and ago and we were accepted! We have been stuck here since the pandemic started in March 2020 and we went to the immigration office to get our tourist visas regularized under humanitarian reasons (once it expired) and once we heard about the program we were very grateful because we don’t meet the complete requirements that the Mexican consulate wants in the states, however, we met all requirements here in Mexico based on the program. So we are grateful for this! We are here for 4 years now.

    • Mexperience says

      You’re welcome, Johnson. Thanks for taking the time to share some insights about your experience with this. We wish you well with your lifestyle plans in Mexico!

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