We receive many inquiries from foreigners who have accidentally canceled their residency visas because they are unaware or did not follow the proper procedure when leaving and entering Mexico. These mistakes will result in having to initiate the residency process again and possibly explaining to INM why you attempted to mislead them.
It is essential to understand the procedure for entering and exiting Mexico when you are in the middle of a residency procedure. As well, you must follow the proper steps if you hold a residency visa.
If you must leave Mexico before your residency process is complete, you need to request an exit permit from an immigration lawyer, or you may apply for the permit at INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración). It can take up to 2 weeks to obtain the exit permit, speak to your immigration lawyer for an exact timeline as soon as you realize you need to travel.
We do not recommend traveling during the process, but if travel is unavoidable, obtain an exit permit.
When you arrive at the airport, you must report to INM to present the exit permit. Immigration must stamp your permit as you exit and also when you return to Mexico.
Failure to do so will result in an automatic cancellation of your residency process.
If you are returning to Mexico to complete your temporary residency after the consulate in your country of origin has affixed a temporary visa in your passport, be sure to present the visa page to the INM officer when you arrive in Mexico. Make sure you are given 30 days (in which to complete your process), not the 180 typically given to visitors.
Temporary and Permanent Visa holders must report to the Immigration desk at the airport to fill out an FFM, present your passport and your resident card. You will fill out an FMM and hold on to it for your return.
Upon re-entry to Mexico, present your resident card, passport, and FFM (be extra cautious and write temporary or permanent resident at the top of your FFM) and be sure the INM officer does not mark you as a tourist at 180 days.
You do not need to fill out a new FFM on the plane, only visitors do, but you may want to save it for your next trip, fill it out before heading to the airport to save time.
Residents must never enter Mexico as a tourist, always present your residency card to INM upon exit and re-entry.
Contact us if you have any questions about residency in Mexico.
The Mazatlan Post