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Rights & Obligations When You Have Legal Residency in Mexico


In a related article, we set out the routes and procedures that most people use to apply for, and acquire, legal residency in Mexico.

When you have been granted legal residency in Mexico, you acquire certain rights and carry certain obligations when you live here.

The rights and obligations vary depending on whether you hold Temporary or Permanent residency and this article describes the key points foreign residents ought to be aware of.

Rights and obligations of Temporary Resident card holders

Temporary resident (Residente Temporal) card holders carry the following rights and obligations and they may:

But…

  • Temporary residents cannot vote in Mexico.
  • Temporary residents can own land directly if it’s situated away from land borders and the beach; if the property is situated within 50 kilometers of the beach or 100 kilometers from a Mexican land border they can own property through a trust, or through a Mexican corporation, and have right to the property in all but name.

And…

  • Temporary residents may optionally apply for work permissions alongside their temporary legal residency status. Note that temporary residency permits sponsored by an employer are tied to that work placement.
  • Temporary residents must inform their local immigration office of any change of employment if they work here, marital status (marriage, divorce, or death of spouse), nationality, and home address within 90 calendar days of the change.
  • There are currently no maximum or minimum times temporary residents must be physically present in Mexico during the course of a year to retain their residency status; however, renewals and notifications of changes (e.g. address, marital status) must be made in Mexico.

All legal foreign residents are issued with a CURP

The CURP stands for Clave Única de Registro de Población. You are automatically assigned a CURP when you are granted legal residency in Mexico, whether you have temporary or permanent residency.  Your CURP is usually printed on your residency card, but not always.  You can find your CURP using this website.

The CURP exists to register all inhabitants in Mexico and all Mexicans living abroad, and may be called for when dealing with official matters, for example, if you want to register for Mexico’s public healthcare system, IMSS.

Rights and obligations of Permanent Resident card holders

Permanent resident (Residente Permanente) card holders carry the following rights and obligations and they may:

  • Enjoy all the rights enjoyed by temporary residents—see previous section; but note the important restriction mentioned below about permanent residency and importing foreign-plated cars.
  • Remain in Mexico indefinitely without having to renew their residency status. Permanent residency cards issued people aged 18 years and older never expire. Minors (aged under 18 years) need to renew their permanent residency cards periodically until reaching the age of 18.
  • Be granted the guarantees that the Mexican Constitution affords all Mexicans, except for the political guarantees that are reserved exclusively for Mexican citizens, e.g., voting rights.
  • Engage lucratively in any legal work activity without having to request the INM’s permission to work. Notification of job changes is still required.

But…

  • Permanent residents cannot vote in Mexico.
  • Permanent residents can own land directly if it’s situated away from land borders and the beach; if the property is situated within 50 kilometers of the beach or 100 kilometers from a Mexican land border they can own property through a trust, or through a Mexican corporation, and have right to the property in all but name.
  • Permanent resident card holders cannot import foreign-plated vehicles to Mexico, except in one of the designated Free Zones, where a Temporary Import Permit is not required. This is a notable difference to rules for temporary residents who can import foreign-plated vehicles and keep them while their temporary residency status is valid.

And…

  • Permanent residents must inform their local immigration office of any change of employment if they work here, marital status (marriage, divorce, or death of spouse), nationality, and home address within 90 calendar days of the change.
  • There are currently no maximum or minimum times permanent residents must be physically present in Mexico during the course of a year to retain their residency status; however, notifications of changes (e.g. address, marital status) must be made in Mexico.

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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