Guide To Mexican Residency (2023)
2023 Update: An in-depth guide to applying and gaining Mexican residency
**As of October 2023, the Mexican Government has updated both its website and residency requirements. Instead of editing my previous guide. I will keep it in place so everyone can understand the changes. Each year these requirements change and it should encourage you to apply as soon as possible.**
This article focuses on gaining temporary (4-year) Mexican residency through a clause called "Economic Solvency."
You do not need a lawyer.
You do not need to speak Spanish. ( It helps a lot, though)
This process can be completed in as little as a month.
The time-consuming part is that you must do this from within The United States. You will need to schedule an appointment (which can take anywhere from days to weeks).
There is an option for Permanent Residency, but you have to show a much larger income, and you are unlikely to gain it simply because Mexico is not as lenient unless you are officially retired or above the age of 62.
I met all the financial qualifications, and was essentially laughed at, and told I don't meet the age requirement.
Step 1: Find your local consulate and book an appointment.
Personally, I chose the Washington D.C. Consulate because:
- It was closest to my house.
- It had all the instructions on the website.
- They process the visa in-house. (Many Mexican Consulates do not have their documents on their website, and you have to email them to get them. Not all Mexican Consulates process Residency Visas, so you may, in fact, have to call or email to check.)
Here is a list of United States Consulates and their websites
United We Dream - Consulate List
This page will link you to the Washington DC consulate page for visa documents.
Visa Services For Foreigners
* I consider it the most organize of the consulates.
There, you will find the PDF document for temporary residency.
As of 2023, the requirement is in MXN instead of USD. The PDF also links to a Mexican government website providing the currency conversion rate. I would suggest you have more than the bare minimum simply because they will calculate this rate while you are at the consulate office.
This document lists the requirements for residency - When I completed it, the requirement was to show 6 months of income of $2300 USD a month ( Post Tax)
The income requirement is based on 300x the Mexican daily wage minimum wage.
*Note* As the Mexican economy grows, the minimum wage will likely increase.
While some consulates require you to call or email to make an appointment, the D.C. Branch has an online scheduler.
The problem is that appointments get booked quickly, and you will essentially need to wait until they drop new dates.
When I booked, I was lucky enough to secure an appointment three weeks out. Everyone wants to apply for residency now, so it’s understandable that their calendar is much harder to get on.
After you get your appointment, collect all your paperwork. I suggest you have 2-3 copies of each item. Sometimes they will make copies for you, and sometimes they will take yours and file it.
They will likely ask you basic questions about why you intend to come to Mexico. My replies were that I have visited multiple times and want to learn more about the culture. I also have many friends there and would like to stay long-term and build those relationships.
It took only 35 minutes for them to process my paperwork. From there, they will add a page-sized sticker to your passport and an additional page of instructions called "Expedición de documento migratorio por canje."
This page will be entirely in Spanish, but you can easily translate it with Chrome.
Step 2: Arrival in Mexico & Immigration Process
*They have updated many of their website to have an English option, but when you arrive at the “Instituto Nacional de Migración” (INM) Office, they likely wont have many people fluent in English. You also cannot bring a friend to translate for you. I suggest google translating words in your documents and familiarizing yourself with them just in case.
The sticker page in your passport requires you to enter Mexico within 6 months.
***Make sure that you show this page to the immigration officer at the airport and make sure they list your entry as resident. If they give you a tourist visa, this will vod your residency documents and you will have to complete the entire process again
Upon entering Mexico, you have 30 days to go to immigration and complete the process.
*I entered through Mexico City - Again, one of the more accessible places to enter with the best infrastructure.
Upon arrival, you will need to report to the local INM office.
If you are arriving in Mexico City, the address is:
Sección Palmas, Av. Ejército Nacional Mexicano 862-1er. piso, Polanco, Polanco II Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11530 Ciudad de México, CDMX
I recommend visiting your immigration center immediately because their websites are frequently down, and they often change the instructions.
I also suggest bringing your laptop with you in the event you have any errors in your document. They will try to tell you to schedule a new appointment, but if you can walk outside to a local coffee shop, get internet access, you can fix any errors and go to the print shop next door to make new copies quickly.
Their website has also changed from the previous years. Now the "Expedición de documento migratorio por canje." website shows a section that allows you to complete the rest of the process online ( Given that you have completed the consulate appointment)
You can now view this document in English. The the left of every tab there are button that you can press * These button are not obvious, so here is a screenshot.
Funny enough, while they have an option to view the above page and instructions in English, the page to finish the process is only in Spanish ( Use Google Translate to translate it, but switch the page back to English before clicking any next buttons; otherwise the page may stop functioning.
Below are the options you should be moving forward with - “exchange and immigrations document > Exchange FMM document for residence card”
The information you provide here must match your passport exactly. If it doesn't, they may require you to redo the online process.
Write your middle name in the same box as your first name because there will not be a specific area for middle names.
After completing the online process, you will receive a PDF document with a barcode and a Pieza number. You can use that number to check the status of your process in the future.
You will also need to provide a Mexican address. You can use your Airbnb address for this purpose. This address is not verified, and if you wish, you can change it later. None of this information will appear on your actual card, so there's no need to worry.
They also will give you your card at the end of the appointment. If for some reason their care machine is down, you can just come back to pick your card up the next day.
You will need to print out three copies of all the PDF. You can easily find a local copy/print place to do this
Once you have the documents, you can schedule your appointment.
Again, I recommend doing all of this immediately upon arrival simply because your dealing with Mexican bureaucracy and this process is suppose to be completed within 30 days of arrival, otherwise you will have to travel back to the states, book a new appointment and do the process again.
Mexican Government Website to Schedule an Appointment
I assure you that this website is down when you click it. Even if it works, it may not get a date within that 30-day window. For this reason, I suggest going to the INM office and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If they schedule it, then you have some leeway in the event that there isn’t a date within the 30-day window. If you have all your paperwork with you and you are ready to go. You can be a walk-in. You may have to wait a little longer than usually, but Id rather just spend 6 hours there getting it all down in one day VS get told to come back weeks later.
Payment of Visa
If you go back to the previous page "Expedición de documento migratorio por canje." This will also show you a section called “Duty Payment”
* Some locales will allow you to pay your fee with a Debit card in person - I wouldn’t trust their system to work. I suggest generating the payment document online.
Make sure that you choose the option for “un ano” 1 year. Why? Because the first card that you get will only be granted for 1 year. After the first year, you can come back and renew it for the additional 3 years.
If you pay for 4 years. You will not be refunded and will still need to come back and pay for the rest.
It will generate a document similar to this.
**Not that the fee used to be 3,835MXN. The price has increases to 5,108MXN.
You will also need to print this document and take it to any local bank. Show them the document, they will know what to do. You will have to pay this fee in cash and get a receipt - Which you also need to make 3 copies of.
Step 3: The Appointment
Now that you have all your documentation in order, you are ready for your appointment. I recommend arriving at least 30 minutes early because there will likely be several lines and confusion before everyone gets situated.
You can show up early without an appointment and be a walk-in, but I suggest arriving an hour before they open because there WILL be immigrants from around the world doing the same.
They will guide you from chair to chair, and multiple people will provide you with forms to sign and keep. I suggest bringing a book because the use of your phone is not allowed.
I also recommend using Google Translate to understand your forms and become familiar with the words. While they are there to assist you, if you they don’t speak English, they may not provide as much assistance.
This process took me about 3 hours of being shuffled around and waiting before I was directed to go upstairs for another hour and a half to take my photo. Fortunately, the Mexico City office creates your card while you are there.
Congratulations, you now have Mexican Residency!
** Reminder - Your initial card will only be valid for 1 year. You will need to return to the office within 30 days of your card expiring. Simply visit the website, fill out and print the renewal form, create, print, and pay for the additional 3 years, then return to the office as a walk-in to complete the process again.
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If you are planning to make the move to Mexico and want personalized assistance - Consider booking a consultation
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