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.

****2021 / 2022 REGULARIZATION / AMNESTY UPDATE. Immigration is offering a program to people illegally in Mexico.  There have been no official guidelines published.  Basically it is different in each state but for here in Jalisco you need to have a visa that is expired and have entered Mexico during 2015-2019 now you can do it if you went home after and came back on a new visa as long as the new visa is expired.  You can get a full 4 year temporary with with no verification of income or assets this way.  Costs run $23,000 pesos for 4 years and include both government fees and the fines.

****2020 UPDATE. While a Federal Decree has made governmental agencies use the UMA index (Unidad de Medida y Actualización) which is 89.62 for 2022, many consulates are still using minimum wage which for 2022 is 172.87. We hope the consulates will change and use the UMA index as more people can qualify using the UMA index.

****2021 COVID UPDATE. Many consulates are limiting, restricting or not  visa and other services for foreigners and nationals and some have canceled appointments made.

****Canadians have had trouble driving crossing the USA and people will need to present negative COVID tests within 1 day to board airplanes for some countries and the list is increasing, others require proof of full vaccination.

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 2022 it is 172.87 pesos) or 51,861 pesos or $2,519 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 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 2022 it is 172.87 pesos) or 864,350 pesos or $41,979 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 exchange rate). This must be documented with 12 months bank statements.

****2022 UPDATES: Many consulates are denying younger people permanent visas, some want people to have a pension, others want a minimum age of 65 or more, younger people in their 50s are seeing resistance although we have seen people in their 40s getting them who are financially strong.   Immigration is also cracking down on foreigners with expired visas and people reporting being detained for weeks in subhuman conditions and deported.  This fact is exacerbated by the fact that many immigration officers are randomly giving people 7, 15, 30, 60 and 90 days stay in Mexico and not the 180 days which has been pretty much automatic the past 20 years.

To qualify for the permanent visa they must show a monthly income of 500 times the minimum wage (for 2022 it is 172.87 pesos) or $86,435 pesos or $4,198 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 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 2022 it is 172.87 pesos) or 3,457,400 pesos or $167,916 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 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.

***While the above is per the law, many consulates set a general amount which can be a bit higher or lower so as to not have to recalculate the amounts needed daily / weekly / monthly.

You can apply for visas for your spouse (same sex 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).  Some consulates will require the sponsoring spouse to show an extra 25% of income / assets for a family visa, this is not required inside Mexico (except for consulate family visas).

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 requiring US$1,600-1,800 per month to get temporary when they went last year, we have not heard if they will be as generous this year. While the law says you must give 6 or 12 months bank statements, many consulates only ask for 3 to 6 months. Laredo and other consulates require 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: (List subject to change with many consulates canceling or adding visas services)

United States
Laredo, Eagle Pass, San Antonio, Brownsville Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Orlando, Florida; Washington, DC; Boston, Massachusetts, among others

Canada
Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto

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:

****2021 NOTE. Immigration offices have not all gone to the UMA index for calculating income, a few offices still erroneously use the minimum wage index so we are leaving it here so you know where you stand if your local office applies income calculations as such.

To qualify for the temporary visa they must show a monthly income of 400 times UMA (for 2022 it is not updated but 2021 was 89.62 pesos) or $35,848 pesos or $1,741 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 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 / UMA (for 2022 it is not updated but 2021 was 89.62 pesos) or 1,792,400 pesos or $87,052 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 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.  ***This requalification only applies to those who let their visas expire and only then they have 60 days to do a regularization.

For regularizations you will pay a fine of 20-40 days UMA or from $1,790 – $3,584 pesos, 2021 UMA rate.

****2021 COVID LATE RENEWAL UPDATE. Please be aware that there are federal decrees to freeze expiration dates on documents.  These started last April, 2020 so if you enter the country properly or even were here and present your renewal property invoking the federal decrees you will not be late and not pay any fines.  We are not sure how much longer this will last but it appears as as of this publication until at least February 2022 or even longer with the new strains and variants of the virus.

To qualify for the permanent visa they must show a monthly income of 500 times the minimum wage / UMA (for 2022 it is not updated but 2021 was 89.62 pesos) or $44,810 pesos or $2,176 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 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 / UMA (for 2022 it is not updated but 2021 was 89.62 pesos) or $2,240,500 pesos or $180,000 / $108,814 US dollars using an exchange rate of 20.59 to 1 (using January 3, 2022 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 (same sex 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. In 2020 Immigration offered tourist visa extensions all over, in 2021 few if any offices offer them.

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 proposed dates for 2022 ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE AND ALL PASSPORT ISSUES MUST BE DONE AT CONSULATE WITH PRIOR APPOINTMENT.

There is a new mail in US passport renewal program, details here: https://mx.usembassy.gov/passports/u-s-passport-renewal-by-mail/

We can help you with the following immigration services:

  • Official Translations of Bank Statements and Birth / Marriage / Death Certificates.
  • Official Translations of negative COVID test results in order to travel
  • Obtaining US Birth, Marriage or Death certificates and / or apostilles
  • Representation at immigration hearings
  • Renewal of Residente Temporal visas or Permanent visas for minors
  • 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.
  • 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.