Immigration & Visas, Mexico Essentials

Covid and Expiring Mexico Visitor and Residency Permits

Advice for holders of Mexico Visitor Permits, Residency Visas, and expiring (expired) Residency Cards during Covid travel restrictions

Mexico Immigration Documents

We are receiving emails from people who arrived in Mexico under the auspice of a Visitor Permit (FMM) as well as people with residency visas or cards who are finding it difficult or impossible to travel before the permits expire due to Covid.  This article contains practical information for people in this situation.

Visitors Currently in Mexico with a Visitor Permit (FMM)

Mexico’s Visitor Permits (FMM) are issued for a maximum of 180 calendar days and are not renewable or extendable.  In a limited number circumstances a FMM may be exchanged for a residency permit inside Mexico, but only if you have family roots here, or on humanitarian grounds.  If you are currently in Mexico under the auspice of a Visitor Permit (FMM) and you cannot travel, it is recommended that you:

Overstay your Visitor Permit expiry date: Allow the Visitor Permit (FMM) to expire and remain in Mexico until you can leave.  There is normally a fine to pay when you overstay the Visitor Permit—which is no more than ~$6,000 pesos, although it’s usually much less than this, around $500 pesos.  We understand that the fines might be waived for a short period after it is deemed to be safe to travel again as part of an amnesty due the current Covid situation; if you do this and you are flying out of Mexico, we recommend you go to the airport with your expired FMM at least a couple of days before your flight date so that you can attend the INM office and explain your situation; or

Contact your local INM: Contact your nearest immigration office and ask them for advice.  We understand that most INM offices are advising holders to overstay their FMM until it’s deemed safe to travel.  We understand that some offices are offering the exchange of an expired FMM for a 6-month visitor visa on humanitarian grounds.  We have also heard that some offices are offering foreigners a means to return to their home country through repatriation flights where these are available; note that these must be paid for by travelers taking-up the offer, they are not free flights.

Important note about Temporary Import Permits (TIP) for Foreign-Plated Vehicles

Visitors: If you drove into Mexico as a visitor with a visitor’s permit (FMM) and your foreign-plated vehicle has a TIP, that TIP is directly associated with your FMM.  We have heard from Banjercito that these TIPs are not extendable and that after 180 days they will become invalid; the vehicle will be illegal in Mexico; and holders will lose their deposits.  We therefore suggest that if you are in Mexico with a vehicle and FMM/TIP that you drive out of Mexico before the FMM/TIP expires.

Residents: Residente Temporal permit holders who have a foreign-plated vehicle in Mexico under a TIP can continue to keep their vehicles in Mexico for so long as the Residente Temporal permit remains valid.

See also: Foreign Plated Vehicles in Mexico

Residents in Mexico with expiring or expired Residency Permits (Cards)

If you currently hold a Residente Temporal residency card and it’s coming due for renewal, here is some advice about what you can do.  Note that Residente Pemanente residency cards do not expire—whether you are inside Mexico or overseas.

Inside Mexico with a Temporary Residency card near expiry date: If you are currently in Mexico and have a temporary residency card that is near (within 30 days of) its expiry date and you intend to remain legally resident in Mexico, you should begin the process to renew the permit at your local immigration office.  The immigration office might not be able to complete the processing before the Covid situation improves, but you should submit the renewal application within the 30 day window before the card’s expiry date.

Outside of Mexico with a Temporary Residency card: If you are overseas and your temporary residency card is near its expiry date note that you cannot renew it outside of Mexico.  If you cannot return to Mexico before the card expires, you have a maximum of 55 calendar days’ grace after the expiry date on the card to return to Mexico and begin your temporary residency renewal under the regular renewal process.  You must file your renewal no more than 5 calendar days after your arrival date in Mexico.  We strongly recommend you allow at least 15 days in your scheduling to file the renewal, and ideally, closer to 30 days.  Your card must not be more than 60 calendar days past the expiry date when you file.

Inside Mexico, expired Temporary Residency card: If you’re currently inside Mexico and your residency card has expired, you will need to enter a ‘regularization’ procedure to renew your residency card.

Holders of Mexico Residency Visas (Stickers)

If you have applied for and received a Mexican residency visa sticker in your passport (you get this before you complete the process and exchange the visa for a residency card), note that the sticker is valid for 180 calendar days from the issue date printed on the sticker.

If you can’t travel to Mexico at this time: If you have the sticker in your passport but cannot travel presently, you have until the visa (sticker) expiry date to arrive in Mexico and submit (file) your paperwork requesting an exchange of the visa for a residency card.  The visa sticker must be current (not expired) on the date you submit your paperwork at the local immigration office, so we recommend you arrive in Mexico at least two full weeks before the expiry date on the visa and that you attend your local immigration office in short order to begin the exchange process.

If your sticker expires before you can get to Mexico and exchange it: If the residency visa sticker in your passport expires before you can enter Mexico and begin the exchange process, you have to return to a Mexican consulate overseas and re-start the residency application process.  Contact the consulate that issued your residency visa sticker for advice.

Get assistance with your residency application or renewal

If you need personal assistance to help you prepare your application (for example, completing the application forms, writing the covering letter, etc.), deal with renewal procedures, or advice with troubleshooting due to Covid, consider using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service.

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