Immigration

Our Immigration Services

Immigration

Mexico changed their immigration laws in May, 2011 and said changes took effect in November 2012. To be able to remain in Mexico past the 180 days on a tourist visa, one will need to obtain a Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente visa. Under prior law the change from tourist to other visa was easily done from within Mexico. Under the new law these visas must be solicited at a Mexican consulate outside Mexico unless you request the visa due to having a Mexican spouse or child or marriage or similar relationship with a person who has a residency visa. The other exception is the changing from a current existing visa (or one that expired within 60 days or less) to a new type (i.e. temporary to permanent or temporary student to temporary) or doing a regularization.

The requirement to request the visa outside Mexico also applies to student visas and visas with work permission.

The majority of people who come to live in Mexico are retired. They must demonstrate a certain level of income or assets to be able to qualify for the permanent or temporary visa.

The Mexican government published changes to the immigration regulations in October, 2014 which lower the financial requirements in order to apply for temporary and permanent visas at Mexican consulates outside Mexico. They still have not changed the rules for applying within Mexico. This will affect people who renew late and need to do a regularization (residente temporal) as well as people who want to change from temporary to permanent before completing four years residency.

VISA REQUIREMENTS AT MEXICAN CONSULATES OUTSIDE MEXICO:
To qualify for the temporary visa they must show a monthly income of 300 times the minimum wage (for 2017 it is 80.04 pesos) or 24,012 pesos or $1,158 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 6 months bank statements. People who have liquid assets may qualify showing that they have maintained an average balance of 5,000 times the minimum wage (for 2017 it is 80.04 pesos) or 400,200 pesos or $19,305 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 12 months bank statements.

To qualify for the permanent visa they must show a monthly income of 500 times the minimum wage (for 2016 it is 80.04 pesos) or 40,020 pesos or $1,930 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 6 months bank statements. People who have liquid assets may qualify showing that they have maintained an average balance of 20,000 times the minimum wage (for 2017 it is 80.04 pesos) or 1,600,800 pesos or $77,221 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 12 months bank statements. It has been reported to us that in the past there was no minimum age limit on people applying for permanent visas but now many have reported that consulates are asking to see pension or retirement income in order to apply for the permanent visa or they are not giving them to people who are under 50 or 60 years old if at all. Shop around as consulates have different internal guidelines and if you are in this situation it pays to make some calls.

You can apply for visas for your spouse (gay couples included) and children at the consulate at the same time or we can do it when you are here in Mexico once the primary applicant has their visa. Remember that in order to do this we will need birth / marriage certificates and apostilles (legalized copies for those from Canada or non Hague Convention countries).

Please be advised that the consulates might have their own special rules. Processing time varies from a few hours to a few days on average. We can consult with you prior to your trip to the consulate and then prepare you for finishing the process here in Mexico as well as advise you how to properly fill out the FMM form upon arrival so that there will be no processing delays. Clients have reported that the consulates in Laredo, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona are some of the easier ones to deal with some only requires US$1,000 per month to get temporary. While the law says you must give 6 or 12 months bank statements, many consulates only ask for 3 to 6 months. Laredo requires an appointment be made online prior to going, we can help you make your appointment and go over documentation requirements so you do not have to make two trips.

We can make your appointment for your visa at the following consulates for a small fee:

United States
Laredo, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado

South America
Quito, Ecuador; Bogota, Colombia,

Europe
London, England; Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Barcelona, Spain; Rome, Italy; Milan, Italy

Asia
Beijing, China; Hong Kong, China; Tokyo, Japan; New Delhi, India

VISA REQUIREMENTS AT THE NATIONAL IMMIGRATION INSTITUTE INSIDE MEXICO:
To qualify for the temporary visa they must show a monthly income of 400 times the minimum wage (for 2017 it is 80.04 pesos) or 32,016 pesos or $1,544 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 6 months bank statements. People who have liquid assets may qualify showing that they have maintained an average balance of 20,000 times the minimum wage (for 2017 it is 80.04 pesos) or 1,600,800 pesos or $77,221 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 12 months bank statements. This is most commonly applied to those who renew late and have to prove income again.

To qualify for the permanent visa they must show a monthly income of 500 times the minimum wage (for 2017 it is 80.04 pesos) or 40,020 pesos or $1,931 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 6 months bank statements. People who have liquid assets may qualify showing that they have maintained an average balance of 25,000 times the minimum wage (for 2017 it is 80.04 pesos) or 2,001,000 pesos or $96,526 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.73 to 1 (using December 28, 2016 exchange rate). This must be documented with 12 months bank statements. Immigration has been applying a rule the past few years that in order to change from temporary to a permanent visa that you must show that you receive a pension or retirement income, even $1.00. This has effectively stopped many people from “jumping ahead” if they only have savings and do not receive any pension or retirement income, in these cases people must complete all 4 years as a temporary before going to permanent if for only financial reasons (not family related).

You can apply for visas for your spouse (gay couples included) and children at the consulate at the same time or we can do it when you are here in Mexico once the primary applicant has their visa. Remember that in order to do this we will need birth / marriage certificates and apostilles (legalized copies for those from Canada or non Hague Convention countries).

*2016 Note – Immigration has changed their position during the past year and now will deny renewals for temporary visas for people who entered Mexico with permission to work for a company and then change to be self employed. They are alleging that the same entry conditions do not exist. We feel this is a violation of the 5th Article of the Mexican Constitution as well as Human Rights so please plan accordingly if you are inside Mexico and wish to switch jobs.

People who find themselves within Mexico and due to health reasons cannot travel can get humanitarian visas if a doctor from a government clinic prepares a letter describing their situation and that they are unable to travel. Old age, forgetting to return, or having a junker car that will not make it to the border are not valid reasons.

Please be advised that the consulates might have their own special rules. People have reported that the Mexican Consulates in Laredo, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada are very lenient and have approved people for temporary visas with income as little as $1,000.00USD per month. Processing time varies from a few hours to a few days on average. We can consult with you prior to your trip to the consulate and then prepare you for finishing the process here in Mexico as well as advise you how to properly fill out the FMM form upon arrival so that there will be no processing delays.

The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara would like to inform the U.S. citizen community that American citizens who need to renew or add pages to their passports, do notarials or report a lost/stolen passport can meet with American Consulate staff to submit applications or to notarize documents during the staff’s monthly visit to the Lake Chapala Society and the American Legion Post 7. While the visits often fall on the first or second Wednesday of every month, not all do. The new dates for consular visits for the 2017 year are: January 11, February 01, March 01, April 5, May 17, June 7, July 12, August 2, September 13, October 4, November 8, and December 6.  We can also turn in your passport renewals to the US Consulate in Guadalajara if you are unable to go due to age or health reasons. They can be picked up afterwards during the consulate’s monthly visits or sent by Fedex.

The new times for consular services provided at the American Legion in Chapala will be from 9:30 am to 10:30 a.m., and at The Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Payments for Consular Services offered in the Lake Chapala area are done by bank check from Banamex in Chapala, Avenida Madero #222, made out to “United States Disbursing Officer”, no other forms of payment are accepted. If you go to the United State Consulate in Guadalajara then you may pay by credit card or cash in pesos or US Dollars.

We can help you with the following immigration services:

  • Official Translations of Bank Statements and Birth / Marriage / Death Certificates
  • Obtaining US Birth, Marriage or Death certificates and / or apostilles
  • Representation at immigration hearings
  • Renewal of Residente Temporal visas
  • Finalization of visas obtained at Mexican consulates (temporal and permanente)
  • Notifications of change of employment / address / marital status (Remember you have 90 days)
  • Work permission, new and renewal and registration with the tax authorities (SAT)
  • Student visas
  • Registration of Companies or Updating of their “Constancia de Inscripcion de Empleador” to be able to hire foreigners
  • Dual nationality / Mexican citizenship
  • Travel Permission to Leave / Enter while papers in process (Remember if you are in process and leave without permission they will cancel your renewal or process)
  • Registering your new immigration document with Aduana to extend your temporary vehicle import permit (law gives you only 15 days)
  • Humanitarian visas for people who came as tourists but are too sick to travel back out of Mexico.
  • 2017 Amnesty Regularization Program for people illegally in Mexico since prior to January, 2015
  • Immigration Litigation – Appeals (recursos), Federal Nullity Suits (Juicio de Nulidad), Amparo Directo y Amparo Contra Leyes

We also do US Tourist Visas for Mexican nationals or people who are residents in Mexico who wish to travel to the US as tourists. For American Citizens we can help with their passport renewal application as well as making an appointment at the consulate except if your passport was lost or stolen, in those cases you must appear personally in front of a US Consular representative.

Mexican Citizenship
We can help you be a Mexican citizen if you have a Mexican parent and can do everything without you having to come to Mexico personally. Foreigners who have completed 5 years with an FM2 (inmigrante), inmigrado or residente temporal or permanente or any combination of the aforementioned documents may apply to be naturalized citizens.
People married to Mexican citizens (with their marriage duly registered in Mexico), people with a Mexican child or who are from a Latin American country only need wait 2 years to obtain citizenship.