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Mexico’s Residency Visas and Residency Cards


This article contains a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding matters related to Mexico’s temporary and permanent residency visas and residency cards.

FAQs about Mexico’s residency visas and residency cards

This page contains Questions & Answers related to seeking legal residency: visas and permits for longer-term stays in Mexico.

What are the requirements to acquire a living/working/retirement permit in Mexico?

Mexperience publishes information and resources to help you learn about how to apply for and obtain legal residency in Mexico:

Are there minimum financial requirements required to move to and live or retire in Mexico?

Mexican immigration law stipulates that foreigners applying for residency in Mexico must be able to prove sufficient economic means to sustain themselves while in Mexico.

Read the article about financial criteria for residency in Mexico, as well as the related FAQ about obtaining residency on the basis of ‘economic solvency.’

See also: FAQs: Obtaining Residency in Mexico via ‘Economic Solvency’

How long does it typically take to obtain a residency permit for Mexico?

Timescales vary depending on availability of appointments at the consulate you apply at, as well as how busy the local immigration office is where you exchange your visa for a residency card.

For further details read: Typical time Scales for residency visas and cards – we keep this article regularly updated.

Beware of making premature travel plans

Timescales are subject to the availability of appointments (it can sometimes take weeks to obtain an appointment) and other factors including demand for permits at any given consulate or immigration office.  It may take longer than the typical timescales noted above.

We recommend that you do not make any travel plans until your visa is confirmed and issued in your passport(s); nor while you are in Mexico exchanging your visa for a residency card.

How long do Mexican residency permits last for?

Temporary residency permits last for up to 4 years, a permanent residency permit gives the holder the right to remain in Mexico indefinitely and does not expire.  See our article about time limits on Mexican visas and residency permits for details.

What is the difference between Temporary and Permanent residency?

Temporary residency permits last for between 1 and 4 years, and must be renewed to remain valid.  After four consecutive years of holding Temporary Residency you may apply to exchange Temporary residency for Permanent residency.

Permanent Residency permits have no expiry date and do not need to be renewed each year.

Read more about the similarities and differences between temporary and permanent residency in Mexico.

Do I need to have Temporary Residency before I can apply for Permanent Residency?

You don’t have to hold temporary residency before applying for and being granted permanent residency, but:

  • the financial criteria to qualify for Permanent Residency are higher; and
  • if you apply for Permanent Residency as a couple, the dependent spouse/partner will only be granted Temporary Residency to begin with; and
  • Mexican consulates may require the applicant(s) ‘to be retired’ to apply for Permanent Residency—even if they qualify economically.

Financial criteria: Read the article about financial criteria for residency in Mexico, as well as the related FAQ about obtaining residency on the basis of ‘economic solvency.’

Couples: See this additional information if you are applying for Permanent Residency as a couple.

Get practical assistance with your residency application

We have helped thousands of people plan and realize their Mexico residency application.  The Mexico Immigration Assistance Service saves time and potential inconvenience by helping you to prepare a strong application based on your situation, and mitigating the chances of having your forms, letters and other paperwork being rejected during the application procedures.

Learn more about the service and make a request here

How long can I remain outside Mexico when I have legal residency status?

When you hold a legal residency card in Mexico, you can leave and re-enter Mexico as often as you like, and there are no time limits on how long you have to remain in Mexico, nor limits on how long you can remain outside of Mexico, each year.

However, temporary residency renewals and reporting changes in personal circumstances must be undertaken in person, in Mexico—they cannot be done abroad nor by proxy.

Read our article about time limits on Mexican residency permits for details.

What happens if my residency visa or card expires?

Visa stickers and temporary residency cards carry an expiry date; permanent residency cards issued to minors need to be renewed periodically, and permanent residency cards issued to adults do not expire.

See also: How to renew your Mexico residency card and dealing with an expired residency card.

How can I apply for a work permit in Mexico?

For information about working and work permits in Mexico, see our articles and guides about Working & Self-employment in Mexico. If you would like personal advice based on your individual situation, consider using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service.

Does Mexico have a points-based system to qualify for residency?

Mexico’s 2012 immigration law references a points-based qualification system as one of the routes non-Mexicans may use to acquire residency in Mexico.  However, the points-based system has not been implemented and there is no known date as to when it might be implemented.

Until then, foreigners seeking residency in Mexico need to pursue other routes, and you can learn about the principal routes to obtain residency in Mexico here on Mexperience.

Can I leave Mexico while my residency permit is being processed or renewed?

When you are exchanging your Residency visa for a Residency card, or renewing your existing residency permit (card) you must remain in Mexico.

In exceptional circumstances, you can request a one-time temporary exit and re-entry permit from the local immigration office that is processing your residency permit.  Read our article about renewing your Mexico residency permit for details.

How can I import my personal goods to Mexico when I relocate there to live?

Mexico allows foreign residents to import personal goods tax-free when they first move here under a one-time procedure known as the Menaje de Casa. You can find details about this procedure by reading our article: importing your personal goods to Mexico.

Am I covered by Mexican Social Security for healthcare if I am legally resident in Mexico?

You can find the answer to this question on our article about health insurance options in Mexico.

How long do I have to live in Mexico before I can apply for Mexican citizenship?

You can find the answer to this question on our article: becoming a Naturalized Mexican.

Do I need to supply financial information every time I renew my temporary resident permit, or when I exchange my temporary resident permit for a permanent residency permit?

Under the immigration rules, you do not have to re-present your financial information when you renew your temporary residency permit, or exchange a temporary residency permit for a permanent residency permit after four consecutive years.  However, the immigration office reserves the right to ask for proof of financial solvency, although it is rare that they do this.

Read this article about renewing your residency permit for more details.

How do I replace a lost, stolen, or damaged residency card?

If you lose your Mexico residency card, or if it becomes damaged beyond use, you will need to apply for a replacement.  The procedures for this vary depending on whether you are inside or outside Mexico when you discover the loss.

Learn about how to replace a lost or damaged Mexico residency card

Get practical assistance with your residency application

We have helped thousands of people plan and realize their Mexico residency application.  The Mexico Immigration Assistance Service saves time and potential inconvenience by helping you to prepare a strong application based on your situation, and mitigating the chances of having your forms, letters and other paperwork being rejected during the application procedures.

Learn more about the service and make a request here

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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