Mexico Changes Regulations to its Nationality Law

Mexico Changes Regulations to its Nationality Law

Today (November 25, 2013) Mexico published in the Official Federal Gazette (D.O.F) changes to correspond with the changes in the new immigration law. The new immigration law was published May 25, 2011, but did not take effect until after the regulations to the law were published on September 28, 2012 (both to take effect November 9, 2012, per the regulations).

The changes affected other laws such as the Nationality Law, and repealed certain portions of the Population Law, such as requiring foreigners to pay for permission to marry or divorce.

The changes in the new immigration law eliminated the immigration statuses of No Inmigrante, Inmigrante, and Inmigrado, and replaced them with Visitante, Residente Temporal, and Residente Permanente conditions of stay.

For people who seek to become citizens of Mexico, these changes are important as they clarify uncertainty in the relationship between the two laws, although it will be interesting to see how it is implemented. The changes state that the Secretary of Exterior Relations will start to count the time on the new documents from the date the new immigration law took effect. So, most people with existing immigration documents will already have one year under their belt to count toward citizenship.

Under the prior regulations to the Nationality Law and the current law, in order for time to count toward citizenship requirements, one must have resided in Mexico for a period of two to five years, as well as held a specific type of immigration document during that time period. The time period is 5 years for those who wish to acquire citizenship by virtue of residence in Mexico, and as little as two years for those with a Mexican spouse (same sex couples included), those with a child born in Mexico or those who were born in a Latin American country.

The key here is the specific type of immigration document needed in order to count the two or five year period. Up to and until today, the document was Inmigrante (FM2) or Inmigrado. Many years ago this was not an issue, and people could count time on an FM2 or FM3 as well as inmigrado to be able to meet the requirement.

The confusion began with the implementation of the new immigration law where the FM2 (Inmigrante) and FM3 (No Inmigrante) were made equivalent to the new Residente Temporal, and the old Inmigrado was made equivalent to the new Residente Permanente. More doubt existed when the rules to become a citizen referred to documents that no longer existed: and if the FM2 and FM3 were equivalent to Residente Temporal, and time on FM2 counted but FM3 did not, how would they handle that?

The changes now clarify the position of the SRE (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores), and, in my opinion, makes it easier for certain people to become citizens, as some people may only qualify to be Temporary Residents due to income or by choice (in order to be able to drive their foreign plated cars). Now (well, starting November 2012), their time as Residente Temporal will count toward the two or five years necessary to become citizens.

Lic. Spencer Richard McMullen, Cédula Federal # 7928026, Perito Traductor Folio 641

Original publication in the DOF


About the Author:

Litigating Attorney and Official Court Translator in the State of Jalisco, Mexico