We know the uncertainty of moving to a different country can be freighting, but don't worry. We will make this process smooth and hassle-free for you. Mexico offers a wide array of Immigration options for those foreign individuals who wish to stay in Mexico for a longer period than as a simple tourist.
Here are the options.
Before deciding which kind of Visa is suitable for each person, you must understand the timeframe for each one of them. There are two available options, which are:
- Non-Immigrant Permits are for people who intend to visit Mexico for a specific purpose and then depart; or
- Immigrant Permits are for people who wish to gain long-term permanent residence in Mexico.
If you intend to visit Mexico for a short period, during vacations or a long weekend, for example as a tourist or business trip then you’re eligible for Mexico’s Visitor Permit. Usually, a Visitor’s Permit is issued when you arrive in Mexico and you complete a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM): these forms are issued by airlines and are also available at ports of entry.
Generally, (depends mainly on the foreigner’s citizenship) the Visitor Permit is valid for up to a maximum of 180 days, and upon expiry, you will need to leave the country. There are some cases in which this period of time can be renewed, although specific conditions apply.
Temporary Resident Visa
Now, if you intend to stay in Mexico for over 180 days, then you will be temporarily residing in Mexico, in this case, the Temporary Resident Visa (Permit) allows any foreign citizen to stay in Mexico for up to four years. The Temporary Resident Visa is a renewable, long-term residency permit that gives legal temporary residency status to the holder. This means that you will be able to enter and leave Mexico within that specific period. Consider that initially, the Residence Visa is issued only for one year, and it can be renewed for an additional period of one, two, or three years.
Can I work in Mexico with my Temporary Residence Visa? The answer is no but with an “add-on” known as a “Work Permit”, you can work.
There are various categories under which the Temporary Resident visas are granted, and these relate to the activities you intend to undertake while in Mexico. Under the terms of the Temporary Resident Visa, you are authorized to only undertake certain, specific, activities which may be lucrative or non-lucrative.
The key aspect that the Mexican authorities require for the issuance of a Temporary Resident Visa is if the applicant has enough economic solvency to reside in Mexico or has a proven steady source of income.
We have three options:
- A Job Offer by a Mexican Company will grant a Temporary Residence Visa.
- Steady income by an international company or sufficient funds to stay in Mexico and not work for a Mexican Company. Let’s try to understand that most Mexican Laws tend to be protectionist, and their “spirit” is to protect Mexican Citizen's Job Opportunities from foreigners.
- Temporary Resident Visa by Investment.
How do I file for a Temporary Residence Visa? First of all, Temporary Residence Visas are not applied from within Mexico, there are several exceptions, but the general rule is that the Temporary Residence Visa is applied for at any Mexican Consulate. Now, this does not mean the Temporary Residence Visa is authorized by the Consulate, instead, they just pre-authorize the application and place a visa stamp in your passport.
When you arrive in Mexico you have to attend your local immigration office within 30 days of arrival and undertake a procedure called “canje” which means "exchange" your temporary resident visa (passport stamp) for a Temporary Resident Permit (Plastic Card).
All Temporary Residency Cards are valid for only one year initially; they must be renewed after the first year for a further one, two, or three years if you wish to remain legally resident in Mexico. After four years of holding a Temporary Residency, you can apply to exchange the temporary residency for a Permanent Residency.
If the Temporary Residence was obtained because a Job Offer was made by a Mexican Company, then such company is responsible for all the paperwork and expenses of getting the foreigner into Mexico and obtaining the Residence Visa Card. Naturally, you would be able to work for that Company and have a Tax ID Number, Social Security, and Bank Account.
If the Temporary Residence Visa was obtained evidencing solvency or a source of foreign steady income, and you would like to work in Mexico, then you would require a Work Permit, besides the Temporary Residence Card. This Work Permit application is filed until the Foreign Citizen has obtained its Temporary Residence Card.
Temporary Resident Visa by Investment
Perhaps you went down to a Folkloric Little Town in Mexico and just fell in love with the place, and now you want to buy a piece of land and live there. Or perhaps you met some interesting people on your trip and want to start a business in Mexico. In either case, you are eligible for a Temporary Resident Permit by Investment.
To open a business, make an investment or create a corporation in Mexico, it is very important to verify the amounts that will prove temporary residency as an investor. The estimated amount that you must have for investment must be greater than 4.2 million Mexican pesos. However, there are consulates that require higher or lower amounts to grant you temporary residency as an investor.
Mexico’s Permanent Resident Immigration Status
Permanent resident visas are issued to foreign nationals who have the intention of living in Mexico and intend to settle permanently or for an indefinite period in Mexico.
To apply for and be granted a permanent resident visa, the applicants must:
- Have certain close family connections in Mexico, or
- Apply for retirement status and prove they have sufficient qualifying monthly savings (Some consulates require applicants to be retired, even if they comply with economic qualifications), or
- Have four consecutive years of regular status as Temporary Resident, or
- Have two consecutive years of regular status as Temporary Resident where that Temporary residency was issued through marriage to a Mexican citizen or a foreign permanent resident, or
- Be granted residency on humanitarian grounds or through political asylum.
Just as a Temporary Resident, the Permanent Resident Card, cannot be issued to you in Mexico; you must apply for it at a Mexican consulate anywhere in the World. Similarly, the Permanent Resident Card is not authorized by the Consulate, instead, they just pre-authorize the application and place a visa-stamp in your passport. When you arrive in Mexico you must attend your local immigration office (Oficinas del INM) within 30 days of arrival and undertake a procedure called “canje” which means "exchange" your temporary resident visa (passport stamp) for a Permanent Resident Permit (Plastic Card). Permanent Residency cards do not expire, but you must notify the immigration office of certain changes, for example, change in address or marital status.
As Start-Ops we want to make every step, easy as pie, that is why we are eager to help you provide a deeper and thorough explanation of your specific need. We are more than happy to walk with you every step.
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