Immigration & Visas, Mexico Essentials

Time Scales for Obtaining Mexico Residency Visas and Cards

When you're applying for residency in Mexico, you will need to take typical time scales into account for processing your visa and residency card

Calendar and time planning

When you’re applying for residency in Mexico, you will need to allow for application and processing times of your visa and/or residency card.

This article describes the typical time scales you ought to take into account when you intend to apply for a Mexico residency permit starting at a Mexican consulate abroad, as well as for residency-related procedures from within Mexico.

Christmas Holiday Schedules at Immigration Offices & Consulates

Christmas schedules at immigration offices: Immigration offices in Mexico will be closed from Monday December 19th, and will reopen on Monday, January 2nd. No immigration procedures will be accepted or processed after close of business on Friday December 16th.

Christmas schedules at consulates: Mexican consulates abroad are usually closed on December the 24th, 25th, and 31st—although they will also observe local holidays in addition to these days, for example, Boxing Day in the UK. (Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day fall on a weekend this year.)

Typical time scales at the Mexican consulate

Residency applications from outside of Mexico must begin with an appointment at a Mexican consulate.

Consulate appointments: It can take between a couple of weeks and several weeks (and in some places, months) to secure an appointment for residency applications at a Mexican consulate. Lead times vary by location.

Procedures for consulate appointments: The procedures for booking appointments at Mexican consulates abroad varies by location: some consulates use an online booking system, others require an email request to be sent, and others have walk-in dates.  Our associate can assist you with appointment scheduling in accordance with the policy and process in place at the consulate you apply at but they cannot ‘fast-track’ or get preferential treatment for any applicants.

Consulate visa time scales: Once you attend your interview at the consulate and file your paperwork, the consulate usually issues the visa sticker within 10 working days after your appointment date, if your application is successful.

Time scales at Mexico immigration offices

The electronic appointment system for bookings at immigration offices in Mexico is currently offline.  Therefore, applicants need to go to the local immigration office in person to request an appointment date or get a service token to undertake their procedure. (Procedures vary by location.)

Visa-to-residency-card exchange: It typically takes 2-4 weeks to complete the visa-to-card exchange process (“canje“) in Mexico. Some offices might issue the card on the same day as the appointment, but we recommend you allow up to 4 weeks wait as part of your schedule planning.  Read more details about visa-to-card exchange time scales.

Delays possible due to new card design: Due to a recent change to the design of the residency cards, printers at immigration offices are being updated and it can take longer than 4 weeks at some locations.  We understand that it’s currently taking 4-8 weeks in some places for cards to be issued.

Other procedures: Time scales for other procedures, e.g. residency card renewals, vary by office location: 2-6 weeks appears to be typical at the moment; and as with visa-to-card exchanges, some offices might issue cards or complete the procedures on the same day as your appointment.

Leaving Mexico during the process

If you need to leave Mexico while you are waiting for your residency card(s) to be (re)issued, you can apply for an exit/re-entry permit after you have submitted your paperwork for the procedure.

Note that you cannot apply for this exit/re-entry permit before you have filed your paperwork at the local immigration office and been issued with a file reference number (“pieza“).

Mexico Immigration Assistance

When you need assistance with your Mexico residency application, renewals, or regularization procedures, our Mexico Immigration Assistance Service provides consulting, advice, and practical assistance that helps you through the entire residency application or renewal process, including regularization procedures.

Please note: This is a tele-support service and our associate cannot go the local immigration office on your behalf.  In any event, you must attend in-person yourself to complete the procedures, that include things like the taking of digital photographs and fingerprints.

Learn more about Mexico visas and residency

Mexperience publishes extensive information about visas and immigration to Mexico, including: