If you wish or are planning on staying in Mexico for more than 180 days, or even permanently, in this article, we will let you know the 3 best ways to obtain Mexican residency.
Even though, visitors from many countries don't need a visa to come to Mexico for tourist purposes, generally, they do need either a temporary or a permanent resident status to stay in the country for more than 180 days. This includes work visas, investors, student visas and resident visas if they wish to live in Mexico. Also, retirees can apply for temporary resident visas to live in Mexico with their income or pension from abroad. Workers can also apply for a resident visa if they have a job in the US and wish to reside in Mexico and commute to their work.
There are many benefits in having a legal residency in Mexico. The cost of living could be more affordable than many other places. You can bring your immediate family members, apply for a job, start a business, travel freely from and to Mexico, and it is also a path to naturalization. Dual or multiple citizenship is allowed by Mexican laws.
1. CONSULAR APPLICATION AND INTERVIEW.
Without further due, the first way or process to become a resident if you are abroad is to apply directly at a Mexican Consulate for a resident visa. There are differences in the application process according to each consulate, some require to schedule an appointment online or by phone, we advice you check the nearest consulate requirements on their website or consult a Mexican attorney. Depending on the grounds of your visa application, you might need to show a valid passport, birth and/or marriage certificates, bank statements, approval notice from the INM (National Migration Institute), job offer, etc.
2. PETITION IN MEXICO AND CONSULAR INTERVIEW.
WORK VISAS are only issued at a Mexican Consulate abroad with an approval notice from the INM. The employer located in Mexico must file a petition to bring a foreign worker from abroad, and once approved, the foreign worker must apply for the visa at any consulate in his/her country (or a third country in some cases) before coming to Mexico to perform any work regardless if the salary will be paid in Mexico or abroad.
FAMILY BASED VISAS are processed in the same manner as above. The Mexican or resident family member in Mexico has to file a petition to bring his/her foreign relatives. The federal Migration ACT (Ley de Migración) determines which relatives can be petitioned to obtain immigration benefits. Usually spouses, children, parents, and in some cases siblings and domestic partners (concubinato). Some categories qualify for permanent residency and others for temporary residency for up to 4 years. Permanent residency can also be obtained after 4 years of continuos legal residency.
3. ADJUNTMENT OF STATUS (REGULARIZATION)
The Mexican immigration laws consider as "irregular" a foreign person that is present in the Mexican territory without a visa or FMM (Multiple Migration Form), or has an expired FMM. Also, foreign visitors crossing the border from the US can visit Mexico for up to 7 days without a visa, provided that such foreign visitors are coming from the US and are legally admitted in that country, such as US Citizens, US permanent residents, US Visitor Visa and Schengen Visa holders. In other words, any person that can legally enter the US can also visit Mexico for a short period of time without the need to apply for a Mexican visa.
If you are irregular in Mexico, you can apply to change your immigrant status to that of a lawful resident either for humanitarian reasons or family reunification. This process is called "Regularization". Generally, any foreign person out of status might qualify for regularization based on a marriage to a Mexican or resident spouse (same sex marriages also apply), and if they have children born in Mexico.
Often, the federal government issues a immigration decree (called "Programa Temporal de Regularización") allowing irregular foreigners in Mexico to apply for regularization based on their continuous physical presence in the country for certain years, regardless if the have a Mexican or resident spouse or children born in Mexico. You should check if such program is available before you file an application.
It is important to point out that regularization is not possible based on a job offer or investment. Work visas are only issued at Mexican Consulates abroad, and the foreign worker must leave the country to attend a visa appointment at any consulate to be interviewed. If the visa is approved, then the work visa holder will be allowed to return to Mexico as a temporary resident, renewable each year.
Even though the Mexican visa application process might seem fairly simple, the immigration laws, regulations and visa policy procedures change very often and could become very tricky in many instances, not to mention the bureaucratic burden that implies for certain immigrants.
In all cases, we strongly advice to consult a Mexican lawyer specialized in immigration law. We recommend to check the lawyer's credentials before hiring services or paying attorney's fees. Lawyers admitted to practice law in Mexico must have a Licenciatura Degree in Law and a Professional Federal License (Cédula Profesional). Neither Immigration lawyers nor anyone else can predict or assure the approval of a visa or status, only Consulate Officials and the INM have the authority to decide on any application. Beware of service providers, they are not allowed to practice law, but they offer immigrant application or forms preparation services for a fee. If have questions about immigration law in Mexico, always contact an authorized attorney for legal advice, do not rely on service providers or shops that offer preparation services, even if they consult in an office behind a desk.
If you wish to know more about Mexican Visas and Residency, please call us for a consultation (+52) 664-607-5878 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org