Under Mexico’s immigration rules, most applications for legal residency in Mexico need to begin outside of Mexico, at a Mexican consulate abroad. The few exceptions are people with certain family connections here, and those seeking residency on humanitarian grounds or through political asylum.
Opportunity if you plan to remain in Mexico longer term
A special procedure announced by the INM, Mexico’s immigration institute, that was originally introduced in the late spring of 2021, had its qualification criteria expanded in the fall of 2021—and those expanded criteria open an opportunity for some people to regularize their status and apply for legal residency in Mexico, in-country, without having to leave to apply at a Mexican consulate abroad.
Who qualifies under this special procedure?
You can now apply for Temporary Residency in Mexico without having to leave Mexico to apply IF:
- You are in Mexico and in possession of Mexico Visitor Permit (FMM) that expired before January 1, 2020; OR
- You are 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.
Who can benefit from this special procedure
The expanded criteria of the special procedure enable some people who plan to stay in Mexico longer term an opportunity apply for legal residency without having to leave Mexico. Situations may include:
‘Perpetual visitors’—people who have been continuously returning to Mexico using a visitor permit to stay here longer term may use an expired visitor permit to apply for residency in-country.
‘Snowbirds’—people who come to Mexico to live part of the year, usually during the autumn and winter months, can exchange expired visitor permits for residency permits in-country if they have entered Mexico as visitors at least twice before January 1, 2020.
Current visitors with expired permits—anyone who entered Mexico as a visitor on or after January 1, 2020, and who entered Mexico as visitors at least twice before January 1, 2020, can apply for residency in-country, without having to leave Mexico.
More details and exchange procedure
We’ve published an article that describes the special procedure, the qualification criteria, and how to begin the exchange process, if you qualify.
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.
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