Immigration & Visas, Living, Retirement, Working

Exchanging a Mexico Residency Visa for a Card

When your Mexico residency application is granted, a visa sticker is placed in your passport. This sticker needs to be exchanged for a residency card in Mexico.

Mexico Residency Visa and Cards

When you are granted a residency visa at a Mexican consulate abroad, you are issued with a visa sticker in your passport. This sticker grants you one-time entry to Mexico as a legal resident, and you must arrive at a port in Mexico within 180 calendar days of its issue date, and you must exchange this sticker for a residency card within 30 days of your arrival in Mexico.

30-day window to make the exchange

You have 30 calendar days from the date of your arrival in Mexico to begin the process to exchange your resident visa sticker for a residency card.

Your residency visa will become void if you don’t make the exchange in time

If you fail to initiate the exchange process (in Spanish termed el canje) in this time frame, the visa will become void and you will need to restart the application process again from a consulate abroad.

The residency sticker-to-card exchange process

The process begins by completing a form online, and you also have to write a letter (in Spanish) requesting the exchange of the resident visa for the resident card.  Afterwards, you attend the local immigration office where your application will be processed, and your picture and fingerprints taken digitally.  You’ll need to pay the residency permit fee, and the local immigration office will soon afterwards print a residency card for you to use.  Our Mexico Immigration Assistance service can help with your application, including the exchange process.

You need to present this residency card each time you leave and re-enter Mexico. Learn more about entry and exit procedures.

Temporary vs Permanent residency cards

If you applied for temporary residency (Residente Temporal) your first card is always valid for only one year; you need to return to the immigration office to apply for a renewal if you intend to stay in Mexico.  Renewals after your first year can be requested for 1 to 3 years (for a maximum of 4 years total).

If you applied for and were granted permanent residency (Residente Permanente) your card doesn’t carry any expiry date.  It doesn’t expire and does not need to be renewed.

Learn more about the difference between temporary and permanent residency in Mexico.

Assistance with the visa exchange procedure

If you already have your Mexican residency visa(s) in your passport(s) and now need help with the exchange procedures, our associate can assist you.

The service begins with a personal consultation with our associate to explain the procedures to you in detail and ensure that your paperwork is in good order; they will also answer any questions you have.  The service goes on to provide practical help and support as you make your own way through the visa exchange procedure including:

  • providing you with a checklist of all the documentation you’ll need to gather as part of the visa-to-card exchange procedure;
  • review of your documentation for accuracy and completeness;
  • scheduling a date for your visa exchange appointment at the immigration office in Mexico;
  • filling-out the various application forms;
  • writing the necessary letters (in Spanish); and
  • the service also provides ad-hoc advice and troubleshooting (if needed), as you move through the application.

Learn more about the visa-exchange service and make a request

Mexico Immigration Assistance – Visa Exchange 

Our associates charge a fixed fee of US$119 per person for the tele-support, to prepare all the paperwork and help you prepare for your appointment to make the visa-to-card exchange at the local immigration office in Mexico.

Learn more about the visa-exchange service and make a request

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: