Immigration & Visas, Money

Mexico’s UMA and Residency Qualification Criteria

UMA is replacing Mexico's 'minimum wage' as a basis for official calculations. This article describes how it affects applications for legal residency.

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For decades, official fees, fines and other calculations (including ‘economic’ solvency’ calculations for legal residency) in Mexico were based on a multiple of ‘daily minimum wage’ (Salarios Minimos).

UMA replacing ‘Minimum Wage’ for official calculations

In 2016, the Mexican government began to decouple the official ‘daily minimum wage’ from all types of official calculations, and introduced a new measure, known as Unidad de Medida y Actualización, more commonly referred to by its initials, UMA.

The UMA has enabled the country’s daily minimum salary to be increased significantly without the corresponding punitive rises in public charges and fees. Mexico’s minimum salary has been increased by inflation-busting rises year-on-year since 2017, but UMA has risen much less—in line with official inflation.  In 2021, UMA was $89.62 pesos, and the rate for 2022 will be published on January 7 (it’s estimated to rise to about $96 pesos).

Immigration offices use UMA, but Mexican consulates might not

When you apply for legal residency in Mexico under the auspice of ‘economic solvency,’ the financial criteria for qualification were tied to multiples of the minimum salary, but Mexico’s Immigration Institute, the INM, are now applying multiples of UMA to their calculations instead.

However, Mexican consulates abroad —where most applications for residency must begin— have continued to use multiples of the minimum salary and not UMA as the basis for their calculations related to residency qualification.

Implications for people seeking residency in Mexico

The implications of this for applicants seeking residency on the basis of ‘economic solvency’ depend on whether your application is processed inside Mexico, or at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico.

Applying at a Mexican consulate abroad

If you’re applying for residency for the first time, you will most likely have to apply for residency via a Mexican consulate unless your situation is one of the few that allow applications from inside Mexico.

When you apply for residency via a Mexican consulate, each consulate quotes its own criteria for ‘economic solvency’ that have been (throughout 2021) generally aligned with multiples of minimum salary, not UMA.

We’ll learn more about what consulates are quoting this year as 2022 unfolds and will publish information about that on our financial qualification article.

Processing residency-related applications in Mexico

Any residency-related matter processed at an immigration office inside Mexico, for example Family Unit applications, and residency renewals/exchanges, will apply multiples of UMA when assessing ‘economic solvency.’

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:

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