How to Obtain Residency in Mexico

Why seek to obtain residency in Mexico?

  • An absolutely gorgeous country with mountains, beaches, and historical towns.
  • A low cost of living; Mexico is competitively ranked in the Numbeo Cost of Living Index.
  • Affordable, quality real estate.
  • Geographic location – same time zone as the US and Canada, which makes it a great base for work.
  • Possible to obtain residency in Mexico without triggering tax residency if you don’t spend more than half the year in Mexico or don’t have the center of your life interests there.
  • Possible to obtain paper residency (maintaining residency with minimal physical presence, to use as a Plan B).
  • International and bilingual schools.
  • Affordable healthcare.

What are the Residency options in Mexico?

You typically obtain a 1 year temporary residency. You must then come back to Mexico to renew it, at which point you are given a 3 year temporary residency card. After these 4 years, you can apply for permanent residency, which does not expire. As things stand, there aren’t any minimum physical presence requirements apart from being present in Mexico when applying for residency.

 

  1. Residency through the ownership of local real estate (about $600,000 if you buy in your own name, or about $300,000 if you buy using a local corporation).
  2. Residency through solvency:
    • Demonstrate about $4,400 of income per month for the past 6 months.
    • Demonstrate a bank balance of about $74,000 for the past 12 months.
    • These numbers vary from embassy to embassy, as well as the documents required to apply. Professional help to navigate the process will make your life a lot easier and will save you countless hours of dealing government bureaucracy.
    • There are also options for Residency through solvency specifically aimed at retired people, with higher minimums, but that offer permanent residency straight away.
  3. Work permit.
  4. Marriage.
  5. Having a child in Mexico (permanent residency immediately for the parents, siblings and grandparents with minimal paperwork. Full details on giving birth in Mexico).
  6. A special 4 year residency is given to anyone who entered Mexico between 2015 and 2021 as a tourist. This special government program is set to expire in the coming months or so.
  7. It’s also possible, in some cases, to immediately obtain permanent residency in Mexico if you are a retiree. Typically, having a minimum monthly income of $5,500 for the past 6 months or savings of $220,000 for the past year is required.

1. What documents to you need to obtain residency in Mexico

It’s one of the core advantages of obtaining residency in Mexico – few documents are required. Depending on the visa type and where you are applying from, you need a variation of the below:

  • Passport.
  • Proof of investment, economic solvency, work contract, or family ties.
  • A bunch of Mexican Government forms to fill out and government fees to pay online.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Birth certificate in some instances.

All  documents needs to be translated into Spanish. The immigration agent will take care of this. Documents from back home must be apostilled. Police background checks are not required for residency applications.

2. If you obtain residency in Mexico, can it lead to citizenship?

A resounding yes.

 

  • You must first spend 5 years in Mexico and already be on permanent residency.
  • You must then simply demonstrate that you spent 18 months of the prior 24 months in Mexico itself.
  • A Spanish exam and Mexican culture test must be passed, but you can easily study for them.
  • Unlike countries such as Panama and Paraguay that are often touted as easy citizenship options but that are not, Mexico has a fair and transparent naturalization system. If you meet the criteria, you will be granted citizenship.

3. How my immigration agent Sergei can help you obtain residency in Mexico

obtain residency in Mexico

Sergei moved to Mexico 7 years ago with his family, obtained residency, and they are now all Mexican citizens. Needless to say, he has personal experience with the process 🙂

He helped my own family obtain residency in Mexico. If you hire him, he’ll ensure everything goes smoothly and that you don’t have to stress out over making mistakes and navigating the Mexican bureaucracy. He’ll tell you what he needs from you, and will then tell you where and when to go with which documents. His team will be with you on the ground in Mexico.

There is also a special 4-year fast track residency that can be obtained by anyone who set foot in Mexico as a tourist between 2015 and 2022. Applying for this residency will cost you a few thousand dollars in total.

This program is still active in 2024.

If you want to move ahead and obtain residency in Mexico, get in touch with Sergei through the contact form below.

If you have questions Sergei will charge you $180 to answer all your questions in detail in a 30 minute call, creditable towards his fees if you go ahead with his services.

Contact Sergei - Obtain Residency in Mexico

Or send an email to sergei@thewanderinginvestor.com.

Full transcript of “How to get Residency in Mexico”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from thewanderinginvestor.com. So today, I’m back in Mexico for a few days to see Sergei. Sergei, how are you?

SERGEI: Hi. Fine, thanks.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So we’re going to be discussing how to obtain residency in Mexico because there have been some changes. So things became a little harder.

SERGEI: Yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So Sergei, can you take us through, essentially, the three main ways that people can obtain residency here in Mexico, and what the changes have been compared to last year?

Obtain Residency in Mexico through Income

SERGEI: Okay. For example, if you want to get a residency by like financial secured people visa, it was 2,600 US dollars, and now it’s about 3,300 US dollars.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So essentially, applicants have to demonstrate that they’re earning $3,300 per month.

SERGEI: Yeah, for the last six months.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And what sort of income?

SERGEI: It doesn’t matter.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay.

SERGEI: It can be active or passive.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Perfect.

Obtain Residency in Mexico through Savings

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah. The second way it’s savings. It was about 46,000 US dollars, but now it’s 55,000 US dollars for the last 12 months, for the last year, is the first way.

Residency through real estate investment in Mexico

SERGEI: The second way, it’s like investment. If you want to buy property, you can make it in two ways. The first one, you can use your own company, you can open the company, and you can buy property. It should be not less than 220,000 US dollars. But it was, in the last year, 175,000 US dollars.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Big increase.

SERGEI: Yeah. And it’s if you open a company. If you will buy the property for your own name, it should be not less than 440,000 US dollars now, and it was 350,000 US dollars.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So essentially, the requirements went up about 20%, which is quite substantial. I’m not too worried about the investment one, because the reality is if you can afford to put at least $200,000 to $400,000 in local real estate, generally speaking, you can demonstrate a bank balance of $55,000 for the last 12 months. So I’m not too worried about that one. It’s really for people, the monthly income and the savings. I know it’s quite hard for people who work, generally, not too hard to show this, but for people that are retired, that are on social security, etc., it can be hard to move to Mexico now. So now, such people would, unfortunately, have to go to other countries, look at other alternatives, because it is becoming more expensive to move to Mexico.

How to get permanent residency immediately in Mexico

SERGEI: About retiring people, it’s like a special pension program for retiring. In some embassies and some consulates, we have opportunity to have to get PR from the very beginning. We need to demonstrate income not less than 5,500 US dollars monthly for the last six months, or savings, it’s the same 220,000 US dollars.

LADISLAS MAURICE: For the last 12 months.

SERGEI: Yeah. Of course, we need to start from the email to the consulate. And if they accept and if they say, “Yes, we have this program,” we can show. And after the interview, we will get a special residential visa with a PR. And when we will come to Mexico, we will change to the PR because, as you know, for the temp residency, you need to renew every year. For PR, it’s constantly, it’s for the whole life without the expiration date.

Exact process to get residency in Mexico

LADISLAS MAURICE: I think let’s discuss the difference between temporary residency and permanent residency in a bit and the path to get there. But when you say, and I think this is very important for people to understand, you say depending on the consulate, because it’s not, Mexico, these are the rules and every consulate sticks to them. Each consulate kind of creates their own criteria. There’s just a minimum and then they can add.

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And that’s why you need to, I really recommend people use professional help to navigate the whole process because there’s often a difference between what people read online and what actually happens in reality.

SERGEI: Yeah, that’s right.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And you need to contact the consulate, you need to write a motivation letter to receive your residency, etc. It’s a whole process. And Latin America being Latin America, things are quite bureaucratic. And there’s a lot of formality in the whole process. And you want to make sure that you respect this way of doing things to really obtain the documents that you want to obtain. So let’s go back to temporary residency versus permanent residency.

So ultimately, what everyone wants, to your point, is permanent residency because in Mexico, once you have permanent residency, it’s forever.

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah, for all the time without an expiration date, and you don’t need to change it to something else. Only for the passport.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. And there’s no minimum physical presence requirements to keep it active.

Minimum presence requirement for temporary residency in Mexico

SERGEI: No, no, you can travel whatever you want, how long, it doesn’t matter, because for the temporary, it has like a recommendation, not a strict rule that it’s better to be in Mexico one month per year in total, just to show that you’re interested in this country, and you want to follow. But for the PR, nothing.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. So this is really interesting, because when you compare with most other permanent residencies in the world, just looking at a few Latin American ones, for example, in Panama, once you’re a permanent resident in Panama, you need to set foot in Panama every two years to keep it active. In Paraguay, it’s once every three years. In a lot of European permanent residencies, it’s also once a year, once every two years. But here in Mexico, you have it, you can show up 15 years later, the rules don’t change, and you’re still a permanent resident of Mexico, which makes it a fantastic Plan B.

So let’s say that I’m not a retired person that can have permanent residency immediately, or I’m not the father of a child, because that’s another way that you specialize in, is helping people give birth in Mexico, because when you give birth in Mexico, the kid is not only Mexican from Day One, but the whole family gets PR. That’s a special case, there’s a link below if you want more information on this. Then, let’s say, I go the normal route, I show a bit of income, I show that I have like three-and-a-half thousand dollars of income a month, you help me with the process to go through the embassy or the consulate. What card do I get? Like, what’s the residency card that I get?

SERGEI: You will come in Mexico within 180 days, and here in 30 days, we will change this special residential visa to the plastic. It will be temporary residency card for one year.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So I get my temporary residency for one year. After a year, I want to renew it. How does it work?

SERGEI: After a year, you need to renew it for one year. Sometimes, it’s possible for two years, sometimes, for three years. It should be four years in total with a temporary residency. And for the fifth year, you can change it for the permanent residency.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So I’m trying to understand, so do I immediately get, after my first year, three years, or do I just get renewed for another year? Like, how does it work exactly?

SERGEI: Depends. For example, usually, it’s for one year. But for example, if we use the lawyer’s service, we can help with some documents. We can present these documents to the immigration office and can obtain it for the maximum of three years.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So, again, Mexico, there’s what’s on paper, and then there’s how things work in different offices, because different offices throughout the country have different interpretation of the rules. Some are happy to dish out the three-year residency, others are less happy to do so. So it’s a big country, 130 million people–

SERGEI: Yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: with a lot of different branches of immigration, and things are a bit different from one place of the country to the other. So again, that’s why you want professional help so that you don’t waste time. And, is there any minimum presence requirements to maintain temporary residency? So you said, earlier, it is recommended one month per year?

SERGEI: Yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: What do you mean by recommended?

SERGEI: That a lot of lawyers say that you need to demonstrate that you’re interested to continue this program, you’re interested in this country, and so on, and it’s better to visit every year for some time. One month, it’s like not something strict. It can be maybe less one week or something like this, but it’s better to come every year.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So from the discussions we’re having, it’s not really, again, in the law that you need to do this. Technically, in the law, as long as you’re a temporary resident and you just come back to renew, you’re fine. But again, in Mexico, everything’s a little ambiguous, open to interpretation, and things evolve. And so, generally, and if you take a step back, if you want to get permanent residency in a country, the country asking you to spend a few weeks every year, coming to Cancun for two weeks every year to work towards your permanent residency and just drinking beers on the beach, that’s really not too much to ask.

SERGEI: Yeah.

Residency in Mexico through work permit

LADISLAS MAURICE: [laughs] So Sergei, any other ways to obtain residency here in Mexico?

SERGEI: Yeah. We have some different ways. For example, it’s like a working visa. If you have a job here in Mexico, it’s not so hard to get working permission. And then we will change it for the temporary residency with working permission. Other way, it’s a student visa. If you have like, some university, you can show the documents to the Mexican embassy, and they will help you with the Mexican visa. There, you can get temporary residency, too.

Other way it’s like a marriage with a Mexican, for example. And it’s a short way, too. In two years, you can apply the documents for the permanent and immediately for the Mexican passport. Yeah, it’s like a childbirth in two years, but with the childbirth, it’s PR from very beginning. And with a marriage, it’s temporary, but in two years, you will change for PR.

How to apply for Mexican Citizenship

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. And then tell us about the process to apply for Mexican citizenship, because you did it for yourself and your family. Correct?

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah, we already have like five Mexican passports. Two of them is for the kids who were born here in Mexico, and three of them, one kids outside of Mexico and my and my wife’s passport. The main rule, you need to stay in Mexico for two years, after when you will get temporary residency plus PR. I mean that the last year with a temporary and the first year with a PR.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay.

SERGEI: That means, for example, if you start from very beginning like a tourist, all the process can take five years until you apply the documents for the Mexican citizenship. And during these two years, you can travel not more than 180 days in total. And all these all other time you need to stay in country in Mexico one-and-a-half year. Then you will pass an exam. We will prepare for this exam, not so–

LADISLAS MAURICE: So you help people prepare for the exam and all that?

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay.

SERGEI: We have like a special program. We help with all the documents, with the courses, Spanish courses, with the questions, answers, with everything, yeah. And after, when you will pass an exam, they will say you’re perfect, congratulations, and you will wait maybe six months in average. During these six months, you don’t need to stay in Mexico, you can travel. And when they will send you the invitation letter, you need to come back to Mexico just to receive this [carta de introducción, transition 00:12:43] letter. And after, you can apply the documents for the Mexican passport. It’s really easy, in maybe two, three weeks, you will get your Mexican passport, your [INE 00:12:54], it’s Mexican ID. And that’s all. And you can travel.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Your wife told me that you failed the test a few times.

SERGEI: [pauses]

LADISLAS MAURICE: [laughs] I’m joking.

SERGEI: [laughs]

LADISLAS MAURICE: No, no, he didn’t fail. I was just joking.

SERGEI: No, no, no.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And we were discussing that it’s one of the advantages of Mexico is that the process actually works.

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Because a lot of people they say you do this, you spend this amount of time, etc., then you can apply for citizenship. And yeah, you can apply, but your file will be gathering dust in some office for a few years.

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And there are a few countries in Latin America that are known for this. You were saying like Chile, for example?

SERGEI: Yeah, there in Chile, it takes really long. You can wait until the confirmation that everything’s okay maybe two, three years.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Gosh.

SERGEI: Yeah. And then maybe two, three years more to finish all the processes.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And here in Mexico, so between applying for citizenship and getting it, if you pass the test, six months, roughly.

SERGEI: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And everything here is in time. Of course, if we will have some changes like new COVID or something like this one, everything was like blocked, everything is in lockdown, it can be some changes. But now, everything is really smoothly and without any problem.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Fantastic. So thank you very much, Sergei. This was very helpful. So if you’re interested in obtaining residency here in Mexico, there’s a link below with more information on the process. And also, you can get in touch with Sergei, there’s more information on his fees as well. Great. Sergei, always a pleasure. Thank you.

SERGEI: Yeah. Thank you so much.

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