Changes in Mexico Visa requirements for Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente

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 a 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 permits.

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 of 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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 26,508 pesos or $1,369 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 441,800 pesos or $22,808 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 44,180 pesos or $2,281 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 1,767,200 pesos or $91,233 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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. 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 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.

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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 35,344 pesos or $1,825 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 1,767,200 pesos or $91,233 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 44,180 pesos or $2,281 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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 2018 it is 88.36 pesos) or 2,209,000 pesos or $114,042 US dollars using an exchange rate of 19.37 to 1 (using January 3, 2018 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.

Mexican Citizenship
You can apply for Mexican citizenship if you have a Mexican parent. 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.

Lic. Spencer Richard Mc Mullen is a licensed Mexican attorney (Federal cedula #7928026, Jalisco State cedula #114067) as well as a State and Federal Court authorized expert translator with postgraduate diploma courses in Notarial Law, Condominium Law, Contracts, Civil and Business Procedure, Probate Law and Municipal Law, among others. He has completed more than 3 years of a registered internship working with a notary public preparing, reviewing and translating hundreds of real estate deeds after a 20+ year career in mortgage finance in the US where he approved loans, did escrows and drew up deeds and mortgage documents for thousands of transactions. He currently heads up a team of litigating attorneys with offices in Chapala and Guadalajara, Jalisco.www.chapalalaw.com 376-765-7553, USA 805-683-4848

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 2018 year are: January 2, February 14, March 14, April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, august 8, September 12, October 10, November 14 and December 13.  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 the 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

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    • Dear Mr. Leffel, thank you for your comment and observation, but we do credit our sources and all post.
      If you do see something we missed, of course, we would appreciate it be brought to our attention.
      Sincerely TMP Team