Mexico: Eligibility, requirements, and procedures to obtain permanent residence; rights and obligations of permanent residents; conditions under which permanent residence is cancelled (2020–August 2022) [MEX201145.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Overview

Mexico's constitution provides the following:

Of Foreigners

Article 33

Those who do not possess the status [calidades] determined in constitutional Article 30 [1] are foreign persons[,] and will enjoy the human rights and guarantees this Constitution recognizes.

Foreigners may not in any manner participate [inmiscuirse] in the political matters of the country. (Mexico 1917, Art. 33, brackets and italics in original, endnote added)

In an English translation published by the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal District [Mexico City] (Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Distrito Federal), the 2011 Migratory Act (Ley de Migración) provides the following:

Article 15. Mexico will promote the access and integration of migrants who obtain a lawful status as temporary and permanent residents to and into the different spheres of Mexican economic and social life, guaranteeing respect for their identities and ethnic and cultural diversity. (Mexico 2011a, bold in original)

2. Eligibility

Legal sources report that foreign nationals can apply for permanent residence after four years of temporary residence status (MexLaw 1 May [2022]; Consultoría Migratoria Abogados n.d.a), among other conditions stated in the migration law (Consultoría Migratoria Abogados n.d.a). The Migratory Act provides the following details:

Article 54. The condition of permanent resident will be granted to the foreigner who falls into any of the following categories:

  1. [If present in Mexico] for reasons of political asylum, refugee status and complimentary protection recognition, or approval as stateless after having complied with the requirements of this Law, its Regulations, and other applicable legal provisions;
  2. [If present in Mexico] for the right to family preservation indicated in Article 55 of this Law;
  3. Those who are retired or pensioned and who receive income from a foreign government, international agency, or private company for services rendered abroad that permits them to live in Mexico;
  4. In the terms of Article 57 of this Law, [those who are present in Mexico] per decision of the Institute [2] and in accordance with the point system established for such purpose;
  5. [A foreigner for whom] four years have transpired since the foreigner has had a temporary resident permit;
  6. As a result of having children who are Mexican citizens by birth; and
  7. As a result of being a direct ancestor or descendent of an individual who is a Mexican citizen by birth, up to the second degree. (Mexico 2011a, brackets and bold in original, end note added)

MexLaw, a law firm with offices in Canada and Mexico that is "owned and operated by licensed Canadian and American lawyers" who have "partnered with Mexican lawyers" to provide services on various legal matters, including immigration to Mexico (MexLaw n.d.), summarizes the same categories of eligibility to apply for permanent residence as follows:

  • Temporary residence for four continuous years.
  • Temporary residence for two continuous years if you are married to or have family ties with a Mexican national.
  • Temporary residence for four continuous years if you have family ties or a common-law relationship with a Mexican national or a foreigner holding permanent residency.
  • You are a descendant of a Mexican national.
  • Your child has Mexican citizenship.
  • Humanitarian issues.
  • Political asylee.
  • Refugee.
  • Retiree or pensioner, who is financially solvent, through savings or a monthly pension.
  • By decision of the [National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM)], according to the points system established for this purpose. (MexLaw 1 May [2022])

According to Consultoría Migratoria Abogados, a law firm based in Mexico City with a focus on immigration law and procedures in Mexico (Consultoría Migratoria Abogados n.d.b), permanent residence may also be obtained through the [translation] "[p]oints system," based on education and work experience, which targets specialists and professionals (Consultoría Migratoria Abogados n.d.a). Article 57 of the Migratory Act includes the following details on the points system:

Article 57. The Department [of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación)] may establish a point system by means of which foreigners may acquire permanent residency through general administrative provisions published in the Federal Official Gazette without complying with the four years of prior residency. Foreigners entering Mexico under the point system will have a work permit and the right to family preservation. Therefore, they may enter with or then request the admission of the individuals indicated in Article 55 of this Law.

The Department [of the Interior] will allow foreigners to acquire permanent residency in Mexico through the point system. Such system must take at least the following into consideration:

  • Criteria for entry under the point system, considering the provisions of Article 18, section II of this Law [3] for establishing quotas for the entry of foreigners into Mexico;
  • The applicant's capacity, considering level of education, work experience, aptitudes in areas related to the development of science and technology, international recognition, and aptitudes for carrying out the activities required by Mexico, among others.
  • The procedure for requesting entry in such manner. (Mexico 2011a)

The 2012 Regulations Under the Migratory Act (Reglamento de la Ley de Migración) include the following provisions regarding the points system:

[translation]

Article 125. The selection criteria may include, among others, the following categories:

  • Educational level;
  • Work experience in areas of interest to the country that are in high demand and in short supply;
  • Work experience in other areas;
  • Investor;
  • Skills in science and technology;
  • International recognition or awards;
  • Proficiency in the Spanish language; and
  • Knowledge of Mexican culture.

The Ministry [of Labour and Social Welfare (Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social)] will establish the categories; the weighting of points corresponding to each category; as well as the minimum score required to enter by this means; by means of general administrative provisions to be published in the Official Gazette of the Federation.

The Ministry, together with the agencies it deems appropriate, will review the point system every three years and, if necessary, will publish the addition, amendment or elimination of categories; the weighting of points corresponding to each category; as well as the minimum scores and other information it deems appropriate in the Official Gazette of the Federation. (Mexico 2012)

3. Requirements and Procedures for Obtaining Permanent Residence
3.1 Applying from Abroad
3.1.1 Permanent Residence Visa

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) webpage on the procedure for obtaining a visa for permanent residence in Mexico, foreign nationals can apply through an online appointment, in person at one of Mexico's 148 consular offices abroad, or over the telephone at 01-877-639-4835 (01-877 MEXITEL) from Canada or the US, or at 01-800-639-4835 (01-800 MEXITEL) from Mexico (Mexico n.d.a). The same source lists the following documents required for a permanent residence visa application submitted from abroad:

  • Original visa application form
  • Original and copy of a valid passport or identity and travel document
  • One photo
  • Original proof of financial solvency
  • Original and copy of proof of legal status if the requestor is applying for the permanent residence visa at a consular office in a country where they do not hold citizenship (Mexico n.d.a).

For information on what documents are considered valid proof of financial solvency and legal status, the same source notes that applicants should consult the consular office [translation] "of [their] choice" for further details (Mexico n.d.a). The same source indicates that the application fee for a permanent residence visa is US$48.00 (Mexico n.d.a).

An information page on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website further specifies that applicants requesting a permanent residence visa as pensioners or retirees or as an individual with family ties to a Mexican citizen or permanent resident, including parents, minor children, siblings, spouses or common-law partners [4], and minor stepchildren, must also include documents that prove the applicable status or relationship used as the basis for the application (Mexico 23 July 2015). The same source adds that a spouse or cohabitating partner of a Mexican citizen or permanent resident will be granted a temporary residence visa, a status that they must maintain for two years before subsequently applying for permanent residence status at the INM (Mexico 23 July 2015).

Regarding the validity period of the permanent residence visa, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a "nonpartisan" organization with offices in North America and Europe that produces research and advocates for improved immigration and integration policies (MPI n.d.), states that it is "initially" valid for a period of 180 days (MPI Feb. 2021, 20). Once issued, sources also state that the visa can be used for a single entry into Mexico (Mexico 1 Mar. 2022; MPI Feb. 2021, 20).

3.1.2 Immigration Documents and Permanent Residence Card

According to the INM website, individuals with a Mexican visa, including a temporary or permanent residence visa, must [translation] "exchange it" for Mexican immigration documents within 30 calendar days of entering the national territory at the INM office nearest to their place of residence (Mexico n.d.b). The same source indicates that the exchange process can be conducted in person at an INM office, or initiated online, printed and subsequently submitted in person at the INM office; telephone guidance is also available at 800 00 46264 (Mexico n.d.b). The Migratory Act further provides the following:

Article 59. Temporary and permanent residents will have a period of 30 calendar days counted as of their entry into Mexico to arrange for the corresponding resident card with the [INM], which will remain current throughout the time for which their stay is authorized. This does not apply to those who request political asylum, recognition of refugee status, or approval as stateless. They will use this card to provide proof of their regular migratory status in Mexico while it is current.

Temporary and permanent residents will have the right to obtain a personal identity number (Clave Única del Registro de Población [CURP]) [5] from the Department once the resident card has been obtained. (Mexico 2011a, bold and italics in original)

The 2012 Regulations Under the Migratory Act include the following provision:

[translation]

Article 157. The card certifying the status of permanent resident shall be valid indefinitely, except in the case of foreign minors, who must renew the card every year until the age of three. From that age on, the immigration document must be renewed every four years until the holder reaches the age of majority [6].

… (Mexico 2012)

The INM website lists the following documents required to obtain immigration documents from the INM for permanent residence visa holders, among others:

  • Original form to request processing of immigration application (Formato para solicitar trámite migratorio de estancia), filled out online and signed by applicant
  • Original and copy of valid identity and travel document or passport
  • Original and copy of a valid visa issued by a Mexican consular office
  • Original and copy of a valid Multiple Immigration Form (Forma Migratoria Múltiple, FMM) [also known as a tourist card]
  • Original [translation] "Basic Form" (Formato básico), duly completed
  • Original proof of payment of duties
  • Originals of three 2.5 cm x 3 cm portrait photographs (two of the front of the face, one of the right profile) (Mexico n.d.b).

The same source notes that the fee for the issuance of an immigration document for permanent residence is 5,776.00 Mexican pesos (MXN) [C$369] (Mexico n.d.b).

An article published by MexLaw further notes that residence visas are renewable "as early as" 30 days prior to their expiry (MexLaw 15 Dec. [2015]). For residence cards that have expired while the holder is abroad, the same source states that entering Mexico "within 55 days of the expiration date" is permitted, as long as the individual presents the expired card to INM officials, does not obtain a tourist stamp, and submits a renewal application at an INM office within 5 days (MexLaw 15 Dec. [2015]).

3.2 Applying from Within Mexico
3.2.1 Temporary Resident, Retiree or Pensioner, and Points System

According to an article on changing residence status in Mexico from temporary to permanent after completing a four-year temporary residence, or as a retiree or pensioner, or through the points system, the INM website states that the following documents are required for the application:

  • Original form to request processing of immigration application, filled out online and signed by the applicant
  • Original and copy of the valid identity and travel document or passport that was used to obtain temporary residence status
  • Original of a [translation] "valid and current" temporary resident card
  • Original proof of payment of application processing fees (Mexico n.d.c).

The same source adds that for individuals applying through the points system, originals and copies of documents proving that the applicant complies with the criteria and minimum scores required, in accordance with [translation] "the agreement published in the Official Gazette of the Federation," are also required (Mexico n.d.c).

For retirees or pensioners, the INM website notes that originals and copies of supporting documents showing the applicant's investments or bank accounts with an average monthly balance equal to 25,000 days of Unidad de Medida y Actualización (UMA) [7] [C$153,394] over the last 12 months, or proof of a monthly pension [translation] "free from encumbrances" equivalent to 500 days of UMA [C$3,068] over the last 6 months (Mexico n.d.c).

According to the INM website, applicants who have held temporary residence status for four years must, in the comments section, clearly indicate this as the basis on which they are requesting permanent residence and must also include an original and copy of a written statement under oath attesting to four years as a temporary resident (Mexico n.d.c).

The INM website lists the following fees associated with the application:

  • Receipt and processing of the request: 1,514.00 MXN [C$97]
  • Immigration document issuance (if authorization granted): cost varies
  • Permanent residence: 5,776.00 MXN [C$369] (Mexico n.d.c).

The same source indicates that the application must be submitted in person at the nearest INM service office (oficina de atención a trámites), but can be initiated online and printed to submit in person (Mexico n.d.c).

3.2.2 Family Reunification with Mexican Citizen or Permanent Resident

For applicants with visitor or temporary residence status in Mexico who have family ties to a Mexican citizen or permanent resident, the INM website lists the following required documents for obtaining permanent residence status in Mexico:

  • Original form to request processing of immigration application, filled out online and signed by applicant
  • Copy of the passport, identity and travel document or other official document that was used to obtain the applicant's current residence status; if using FMM, original is required
  • Original and copy of a [translation] "valid and current" FMM or a temporary resident or visitor's card
  • Original proof of payment of application processing fees
  • Original and copy of either
    • valid ID for the Mexican citizen to whom the applicant is related—passport, ID issued by Mexico's National Electoral Institute (Instituto Nacional Electoral, INE), professional licence, military service card, consular registration, naturalization letter or Mexican birth certificate and valid driver's license—or,
    • permanent resident card for the foreign national to whom the applicant is related
  • Proof of the family relationship upon which is the application is based (Mexico n.d.d).

Information regarding documents that can serve as proof of family relationship is available on the INM website (Mexico n.d.d).

The same source lists the following fees associated with the application:

  • Receipt and processing of the request: 1,514.00 MXN
  • Immigration document issuance (if authorization granted): cost varies
  • Permanent residence: 5,776.00 MXN (Mexico n.d.d).

The INM website further notes that the application can be started online but must be submitted in person at the INM service office associated with the applicant's place of residence (Mexico n.d.c).

4. Ability to Reacquire Lost, Stolen or Damaged Cards

The Regulations Under the Migratory Act provide the following:

[translation]

Article 162. The foreigner may request that the Institute replace the migration document certifying his or her lawful status in the event of theft, loss, partial deterioration or total destruction, as follows:

  1. He or she must submit the application for document replacement, passport or identity and travel document valid under international law and proof of payment of fees in compliance with the Federal Law on Rights (Ley Federal de Derechos). If the theft or loss of the immigration document took place abroad, the foreigner must produce, in addition to the above, a copy of the visa;
  2. He or she must appear in person before the immigration authority if the theft, loss or mutilation of the immigration document took place on Mexican territory. This appearance must be recorded in the proceedings.
  3. The immigration authority, after verifying compliance with the applicable requirements and the immigration control lists, shall issue the appropriate decision, and
  4. If the decision is positive, the immigration authority shall issue the corresponding document. Otherwise, a duly founded and warranted decision must be issued, granting a period not more than thirty and not less than fifteen calendar days for the foreign person to leave Mexican territory. (Mexico 2012)

According to the INM website, the fees for recovering lost, stolen, or destroyed immigration documents certifying an individual's legal status, including permanent residence, are as follows:

  • Border agent fee for replacement of visitor's permit (Derecho de Visitante Trabajador Fronterizo por reposición): 476.00 MXN [C$31]
  • Application for replacement of immigration document, including for permanent residence: 1,459.00 MXN [C$93] (Mexico n.d.e).

An article published by MexLaw also indicates that for individuals whose permanent residence cards were lost, stolen or destroyed in Mexico, the application for a replacement card must be done at the "[i]mmigration office," while individuals abroad must present themselves at the nearest Mexican consulate or embassy (MexLaw 15 Dec. [2015]).

The information in the following two paragraphs was provided in an article on the website of the Embassy of Mexico in Canada, last updated on 5 March 2020, regarding the issuance of a "[v]isa due to theft, loss or destruction of temporary or permanent resident card" to permanent residents abroad:

The holder of a stolen, lost or destroyed temporary or permanent residence card "must file a Request for Replacement at the closest Mexican Embassy or Consulate" and the issuance of a visa "will depend on the authorization" of the INM. Once the INM authorizes the issuance of the visa, the holder must make an appointment at the consular office and provide, in person, the following documents:

  1. Visa application form printed on one page, double-sided, properly completed and signed.
  2. Valid passport or travel and identity document, original and a photocopy of the page containing the photograph and personal data.
  3. One photograph measuring 3.9 cm x 3.1 cm, face uncovered, no eyeglasses, frontal view, in colour, with white background.
  4. Original and a photocopy of the report filed with the competent authority in the location where the theft, loss or destruction of the temporary or permanent resident card occurred.
  5. Original temporary or permanent resident card, in the case of partial destruction.
  6. Payment of fees in cash for the processing of the visa application. When the period of stay is less than 180 days, the applicant must also pay the migratory fees.

"The interested party must allow for a period of 10 working days between the date of the visa application and the date of its issuance, if appropriate." The visa "may be used for one single entry and only during the period of validity that begins on the date of its issuance." The holder must subsequently apply for a replacement of the permanent residence card at the INM within 30 days of entering Mexico (Mexico 5 Mar. 2020).

5. Rights and Obligations

The Migratory Act provides the following in Chapter II "Regarding the Stay of Foreigners in Mexico":

IX. PERMANENT RESIDENT. This visa authorizes a foreigner to remain in Mexico for an undefined period of time. The foreigner may work in Mexico in exchange for remuneration. (Mexico 2011a, Art. 52)

Mexican immigration law firms similarly state that permanent residence status in Mexico allows for an "indefinit[e]" stay in the national territory (MexLaw 1 May [2022]; Consultoría Migratoria Abogados n.d.a). According to MexLaw, permanent residence status also allows foreign nationals to enter and exit the country "as often as they wish" (MexLaw 1 May [2022]).

In its chapter on the "Rights and Obligations" of migrants, the Migratory Act provides the following:

Article 8. Migrants may access public and private education services, independent of their migratory status and in accordance with the applicable regulations and legal provisions.

Migrants also have the right to receive any type of public and private medical care, independent of their migratory status and in accordance with the applicable regulations and legal provisions.

Migrants have the right to receive free, unrestricted emergency medical care required to save their lives, independent of their migratory status.

With respect to the provision of educational and medical services, no administrative act will establish restrictions on foreigners that are more extensive that those generally established for Mexicans. (Mexico 2011a, bold in original)

Regarding obligations, the same chapter of the Migratory Act includes the following provisions:

Article 16. Migrants must comply with the following obligations:

  1. With respect to foreigners with regular migratory status, the safeguarding and custody of the documentation that serves as evidence of their identities and statuses;
  2. Exhibition of the documentation that serves as proof of their identity or regular migratory status, when required by migratory authorities;
  3. Provision of the personal information required from them by competent authorities, within their powers. The foregoing, notwithstanding the provisions of the Federal Public Government Information Transparency and Access Law (Ley Federal de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública Gubernamental) and other applicable provisions; and
  4. Other obligations of the Constitution and this Law, its Regulations, and other applicable provisions. (Mexico 2011a, bold and italics in original)

Articles 54 and 55 of the same act also specify the following:

Article 54.

Foreigners granted the lawful status of permanent resident may obtain permission to work in Mexico in exchange for remuneration. This is subject to an employment offer. These individuals have the right to enter and depart from Mexico as many times as they wish.

Article 55. Permanent residents have the right to family preservation; therefore, they may enter with and then request the admission of the following people, who may reside in Mexico under the same lawful status and with the same prerogatives indicated in the foregoing article:

  1. The mother or father of the permanent resident;
  2. Spouse, who will be granted the lawful status of temporary resident for two years, after which he or she may obtain the lawful status of permanent resident, provided the marriage is still intact;
  3. Common-law partner or equivalent figure, who will be granted the lawful status of temporary resident for two years, after which he or she may obtain the lawful status of permanent resident, provided the common-law marriage is still intact;
  4. Children of the permanent resident, spouse, or common-law partner, provided the children are unmarried children and adolescents under their guardianship or custody; and
  5. Siblings of the permanent resident, provided they are unmarried children and adolescents or are under his or her legal representation.

The international [treaties (Mexico 2011b)] to which Mexico is a party and other applicable legislation will be adhered to when exercising the right established in this article for the individuals who are recognized as refugees [or granted political asylum (Mexico 2011b)]. (Mexico 2011a, bold in original)

Legal sources also state that permanent residents have the right to work (MexLaw 1 May [2022]) or pursue "lucrative" (Consultoría Migratoria Abogados n.d.a) activities in the national territory (MexLaw 1 May [2022]; Consultoría Migratoria Abogados n.d.a). However, regarding the pursuit of remunerated activities by migrants, the 2012 Regulations Under the Migratory Act include the following provisions:

[translation]

Article 140. Visas and documents proving lawful status do not grant authorization for the exercise of activities or professions that require certifications, licences, titles, permits, authorizations or the like, issued by the competent authorities in accordance with the applicable legal provisions.

It is the responsibility of the foreigner to obtain the certifications, licences, titles, permits, authorizations or the like, when the occupation he/she will be practising requires them, and of the employer to verify that the foreigner has them or, if appropriate, to arrange for them.

Foreigners with regular immigration status may hold capital interests in Mexican companies; carry out economic or business activities; acquire real estate; appear before the competent authority to request any permit, right, service or product; and open bank accounts in the national territory; in accordance with the laws and other applicable legal provisions. (Mexico 2012)

According to MPI's assessment, article 140 "does not provide further definition of the 'permits, services, or products' referred to in the provisions" (MPI Feb. 2021, 10).

Regarding additional responsibilities of permanent residents, the Migratory Act provides the following:

Article 63. The National Registry of Foreigners is comprised of information related to all foreigners who acquire the lawful status of temporary or permanent resident.

Foreigners are obligated to notify the [INM] of any change in civil status, change in nationality that differs from nationality upon entry, change of address, or change in workplace within 90 days after such change occurs. (Mexico 2011a)

6. Loss of Permanent Residence Status

Mexico's constitution provides the following:

The Executive of the Union, with prior hearing, may deport [expulsar] from the national territory foreign persons on the basis [fundamento] of the law, which will regulate the administrative procedure, as well as the place and time that the detention lasts.

… (Mexico 1917, Art. 33, brackets and italics in original)

The Migratory Act also indicates the following:

Article 64. The [INM] must cancel temporary or permanent resident status for the following reasons:

  1. The foreigner states that his or her departure is final;
  2. The foreigner is authorized another lawful status;
  3. The foreigner provides false information or exhibits fake or legitimate official documentation that has been illegally obtained to the [INM];
  4. The foreigner loses his or her lawful status for the other reasons established in this Law;
  5. The foreigner loses recognition of his or her refugee status or complimentary protection pursuant to applicable legal provisions; and
  6. [The national security or public safety is compromised as a result of their background in Mexico or abroad. (Mexico 2011b)] (Mexico 2011a)

According to MexLaw, individuals whose permanent resident card was lost, stolen or destroyed, will face cancellation of their permanent residence visa should they enter or exit the country as a tourist and will be required to begin the visa process again, including departing Mexico and re-applying for a residence visa (MexLaw 15 Dec. [2015]).

The information in the following two paragraphs was provided by representatives of Sin Fronteras IAP, a non-profit Mexican civil society organization that promotes and advocates for the rights of migrants (Sin Fronteras IAP n.d.), in an interview with the Research Directorate:

  • There are [translation] "few" ways to lose permanent residence status, and the loss of status "has not been as common" in the last three years. There is one case where a permanent resident forfeited their lawful status because they lost their immigration documents abroad and upon their return to Mexico did not submit a request for replacement within the 6-month window allowed by the INM.

The following state protection mechanisms are available to individuals who have lost their permanent residence status in Mexico:

  • An appeal for review (recurso de revisión) petitioning the INM to re-evaluate the case;
  • A nullity trial (juicio de nulidad) against the INM before a court of administrative justice;
  • Amparo proceedings (juicio de amparo), for alleged human rights violations during the immigration process or when the nullity trial finds unfavourably for the former permanent resident.

Sin Fronteras is aware of two cases of individuals who obtained permanent residence through a refugee claim and subsequently, with authorization from the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados, COMAR), returned to their country of origin to assist a family member; upon their return to Mexico, the immigration officer denied their permanent residence status. Both cases are going through an appeal for review (Sin Fronteras IAP 26 July 2022).

Information on the existence of other conditions that have led to the cancellation of permanent residence status in Mexico could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

6.1 Loss of Permanent Residence Visa

Article 43 of the Migratory Act provides the following regarding permanent residence visas:

Article 43. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 42 of this Law, migratory authorities may deny the issuance of visas, legal admission into Mexico, or stay to foreigners who fall under one of the following conditions:

  1. [If national security or public safety is compromised as a result of their background in Mexico or abroad. (Mexico 2011b)]
  2. If they do not meet the requirements established in this Law, its Regulations, and other applicable legal provisions.
  3. [If it is verified that the documents or elements provided are not authentic. (Mexico 2011b)]
  4. If subject to the express prohibitions of a competent authority.
  5. If provided for under other legal provisions.

Migratory authorities will have the means necessary for verifying the foregoing conditions within their sphere of competence. They may request the information from foreigners that is required for this purpose.

The fact that a foreigner has not complied with section II of this article will not impede a migratory authority from again reviewing his or her visa request, provided this Law, its Regulations, and other applicable legal provisions are complied with.

[In the event in which the judicial authority imposes a final non-appealable conviction on the foreigner, the [INM] will evaluate his or her migratory status, addressing the principles of social reintegration and family reunification. (Mexico 2011b)] (Mexico 2011a, bold in original)

6.2 Ability to Contest Loss of Status

The information in the following paragraph was provided by the representatives of Sin Fronteras IAP:

While measures to contest the loss of permanent residence status are [translation] "available to anyone," "access to justice" is "complicated" for immigrants and refugees in Mexico, due to the lack of awareness of the options for recourse made available by the INM, as well as the absence of an explanation when negative decisions are handed down to applicants. Further, while legal counsel is not required to appeal for review, the claimant must satisfy specific requirements for the appeal to result in a favourable decision; because of a lack of awareness of these requirements, "many" people fail to fulfill them and are thus barred from accessing this recourse. Although individuals can represent themselves in nullity trials as well, such proceedings involve "complicated" court "practice" and "technicalit[ies]"; this is where organizations like Sin Fronteras intervene to provide assistance to claimants in challenging the loss of their status (Sin Fronteras IAP 26 July 2022). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

7. Regularization of Migratory Status for Refugees

Article 2 of the Migratory Act provides the following:

The following are the principles on which the nation's migratory policy is upheld:

Unrestricted respect for the human rights of migrants, citizens, and foreigners of any place, nationality, gender, ethnicity, age, and migratory status, with a special focus on vulnerable groups, such as minors, women, [I]ndigenous individuals, adolescents, elderly individuals, and crime victims. In no event is irregular migratory status on its own considered the perpetration of a crime, nor will it be considered the perpetration of illicit acts by the migrant as the result of his or her not being documented.

… (Mexico 2011a)

The information in the following paragraph was provided in a January 2019 report on migration detention in Mexico, published by Sin Fronteras IAP:

While no statistical data on the prevalence of this situation exists, migrants with familial ties of the first or second degree to a Mexican citizen, who may, as such, qualify for permanent residence status, [translation] "in accordance with Articles 54 and 55 of the Migratory Act," have been documented to be among the migration detention centre population in the state of San Luis Potosí. This practice "violates" the right to due process and an adequate defense, as in certain cases, migrants are deported without having had access to legal advice. The three following cases were documented as examples:

In the current monitoring period, at least three people with Mexican daughters who were denied immigration status were identified: a woman who had been imprisoned and who, upon being "released," was taken directly to an INM van to be transferred to the detention centre in Iztapalapa, without being given the option of regularizing her status, even though she was the mother of a Mexican daughter. A Nicaraguan man who had a Mexican daughter had been in detention for several days while the veracity of the document proving him to be the father was being verified. Finally, another Nicaraguan man with a Mexican daughter, in whose case paternity was proven by way of the corresponding birth certificate, was nonetheless deported without verification of the paternity, in addition to being placed under an entry restriction [in Mexico], making it impossible for him to regularize his status if he returned to the country, and thereby ignoring the best interests of the child as the minor was separated from her father. (Sin Fronteras IAP Jan. 2019, 21, 22)

Additional information on access and availability of permanent residence rights and services in the following paragraph was provided by a quarterly report covering the period from July to September 2021 by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), an international humanitarian organization founded in Denmark that works to assist and protect the rights of refugees and displaced persons (DRC n.d.), and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an international Catholic humanitarian organization that operates programs in "over" 50 countries with a mission to "accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons" (JRS n.d.):

Claimants who are granted refugee status in Mexico are not automatically conferred the status of permanent residence and must instead "separately apply" for it through the INM. In municipalities like Tapachula (Chiapas), delays in appointments required to submit applications for permanent residence are "excessive," reaching up to four months. The delay in INM appointments has affected both the regularization and the integration process for recognized refugees, including through local integration programs led by the UNHCR, and has also prevented refugees from travelling outside of the state of Chiapas to other states, where delays are shorter, to regularize their status. Quantitative surveys of 394 households covering a total of 892 individuals, in addition to qualitative focus group discussions, key informant interviews, direct observations, and a media review, conducted between July and the end of September 2021, found that friends, relatives, and acquaintances of "[s]ome individuals covered by Protection Monitoring" were "detained by INM and returned to Tapachula despite having presented a permanent resident card." Additionally, and without providing further details, the survey found that 1.9 percent of foreign nationals surveyed had obtained a permanent resident card, "even amongst those who have had their asylum applications granted." The report notes that

[t]his has prevented individuals who are otherwise eligible for UNHCR's local integration program from effectively relocating to other parts of the country, considering that the obtention of permanent residence is a practical precondition to be able to move freely within the country and thus resettle elsewhere. (DRC and JRS 26 Nov. 2021, 1, 3, 14, 15)

According to the quarterly report by DRC and JRS covering the period from October to December 2021, long wait times in processing permanent residence with the INM in Tapachula "continue to limit access to rights," with 42.1 percent of the 438 households and 1,088 individuals surveyed who were granted refugee protection having not yet "request[ed] migratory regularization" despite intending to reside in Mexico (DRC and JRS 28 Feb. 2022, 1, 13). The same source reports that there is "limited acceptance" of official refugee documentation by employers and service providers (DRC and JRS 28 Feb. 2022, 13).

The representatives of Sin Fronteras IAP stated that integration of permanent residents in Mexico, including access to health, education, housing, and employment, was also affected by the lack of knowledge of authorities on the rights of migrants, notably the lack of familiarity with immigration documents relative to the documents of Mexican citizens (Sin Fronteras IAP 26 July 2022). Organizations like Sin Fronteras IAP conduct awareness campaigns with public officials [to close the knowledge gap], but the same source further indicated that they are still aware of cases in which authorities ask for Mexican identification documents or a CURP, and if the individual does not have these, access to services is [translation] "complicated" (Sin Fronteras IAP 26 July 2022).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] Article 30 of Mexico's constitution provides the following:

Mexican nationality is acquired by birth or by naturalization.

  1. Mexicans by birth are:
    1. Those that are born in the territory of the Republic, whatever the nationality of their parents may be.
    2. Those that are born abroad, children of Mexican parents, of [a] Mexican mother or of [a] Mexican father;
    3. Those that born abroad, children of Mexican parents by naturalization, of [a] Mexican father by naturalization, or of [a] Mexican mother by naturalization, and
    4. Those that are born on board Mexican vessels or airplanes [aeronaves], either of war or merchant.
  2. Mexicans by naturalization are:
    1. The foreigners who obtain from the Secretariat of Relations the letter [carta] of naturalization.
    2. A foreign woman or man who contracts matrimony with a Mexican man or woman, who holds or establishes their domicile within the national territory and fulfills the other requirements that the law specifies to this effect. (Mexico 1917, brackets and italics in original)

[2] Article 19 of the 2011 Migratory Act (Ley de Migración) provides the following regarding the role of the National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM):

Article 19. The Institute is a decentralized administrative agency of the Department [of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación)] whose objective is the execution, control, and supervision of the acts executed by migratory authorities in Mexico, as well as the implementation of the corresponding policies, based on the guidelines issued by the Department. (Mexico 2011a, bold in original)

[3] Article 18 of the Migratory Act includes the following provision:

Article 18. The Department [of the Interior] has the following powers in migratory matters:

II. To, in the terms of this Law, establish the quotas, requirements, and proceedings for issuing visas and authorizing lawful status, provided these lead to the possibility of the holder carrying out activities in exchange for remuneration, as well as to determine the municipalities or states that make up border regions, or those that receive temporary workers, and the corresponding effectiveness of lawful status authorizations issued in these regions. In all of these events, the Department [of the Interior] must previously obtain the favorable opinion of the Department of Labor and Welfare (Secretaría de Trabajo y Previsión Social) and will take into consideration the opinion of the other authorities established for such purpose in the Regulations [of the Migratory Act].

… (Mexico 2011a, bold in original)

[4] According to an article listing frequently asked questions on family reunification visas on the INM website, common-law partners are considered as follows: [translation] "In accordance with the Federal Civil Code, domestic partners are persons who live together in a constant and permanent manner free of marriage for a minimum period of five years" (Mexico 19 May 2016).

[5] The Unique Population Registration Code (Clave Única de Registro de Población, CURP) is an "identification number which allows Mexicans and foreigners with residency to register individually" (MPI Feb. 2021, 9). According to the website for Mexico's General Directorate of the National Registry of Population and Identity (Dirección General del Registro Nacional de Población e Identidad, RENAPO), the CURP is part the government's effort to allocate a unique identity to individuals [translation] "that automatically becomes the key to access other essential rights such as the right to health, education, protection and inclusion in the economic, cultural and political life of the country" (Mexico 2 Nov. 2020).

[6] The Federal Civil Code of 1928 (Código Civil Federal) provides the following: [translation] "Article 646.- The age of majority begins at eighteen years of age" (Mexico 1928).

[7] According to Mexico's National Institute for Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI), Unidad de Medida y Actualización (UMA) is a [translation] "unit of account, index, base, measure or economic reference in pesos to determine the amount of the payment of the obligations and cases set forth in federal and state laws, as well as in the legal provisions arising from all of the above" (Mexico 7 Jan. 2022).

The 2022 UMA value, effective on 1 February, is 96.22 Mexican pesos (MXN) [C$6.14] on a daily basis (Mexico 7 Jan. 2022).

References

Consultoría Migratoria Abogados. N.d.a. "Residence and Citizenship." [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Consultoría Migratoria Abogados. N.d.b. "Simplificando el derecho migratorio." [Accessed 22 Aug. 2022]

Danish Refugee Council (DRC). N.d. "Who We Are." [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). 28 February 2022. Protection Monitoring: Mexico. Quarterly Report (October, November & December 2021). [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). 26 November 2021. Protection Monitoring: Mexico. Quarterly Report (July, August & September 2021). [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Mexico. 1 March 2022 (originally published 8 May 2016). Embassy in Ottawa. "Permanent Resident Visa." [Accessed 4 July 2022]

Mexico. 7 January 2022. Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI). Unidad de medida y actualización (UMA): Enero de 2022. [Accessed 10 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. 2 November 2020. Dirección General del Registro Nacional de Población e Identidad (RENAPO). "Derecho a la identidad, la puerta de acceso a tus derechos." [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Mexico. 5 March 2020 (originally published 4 December 2012). Embassy in Ottawa. "Visa Due to Theft, Loss or Destruction of Temporary or Permanent Resident Card." [Accessed 4 July 2022]

Mexico. 19 May 2016. Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). "Preguntas frecuentes para solicitar visa por unidad familiar." [Accessed 10 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. 23 July 2015. Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE). "Visa de residencia permanente." [Accessed 5 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. 2012 (amended 2014). Reglamento de la Ley de Migración. Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Mexico. 2011a. Migratory Act. Translated by the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal District. [Accessed 7 July 2022]

Mexico. 2011b (amended 2022). Ley de Migración. [Accessed 31 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. 1928 (amended 2020). Código Civil Federal. Excerpt translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 27 July 2022]

Mexico. 1917 (amended 2021). Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, 1917. Translated by Adela Staines, J.J. Ruchti and Maria del Carmen Gress. In World Constitutions Illustrated. 2021. Edited by Jefri Jay Ruchti. Getzville, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc. [Accessed 11 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. N.d.a. Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE). "Trámites: Visa de residencia permanente." [Accessed 5 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. N.d.b. Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). "Expedición de documento migratorio por canje." [Accessed 5 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. N.d.c. Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). "Cambio de residente temporal a residente permanente." [Accessed 5 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. N.d.d. Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). "Cambio a residente permanente por vínculo familiar." [Accessed 5 Aug. 2022]

Mexico. N.d.e. Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). "Expedición de documento migratorio por reposición." [Accessed 10 Aug. 2022]

MexLaw. 1 May [2022]. "Common Questions About Mexican Immigration." [Accessed 12 July 2022]

MexLaw. 15 December [2015]. "The Loss of a Mexican Temporary or Permanent Residence Card." [Accessed 12 July 2022]

MexLaw. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 12 July 2022]

Migration Policy Institute (MPI). February 2021. Ana Paulina Ornelas Cruz and María Jesús Mora. Institutional and Legal Migratory Framework of the United Mexican States: A Working Paper. [Accessed 4 July 2022]

Migration Policy Institute (MPI). N.d. "About the Migration Policy Institute." [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Sin Fronteras IAP. 26 July 2022. Interview with representatives in Mexico City.

Sin Fronteras IAP. January 2019. La detención migratoria: Un análisis desde el modelo penitenciario y el gasto público. [Accessed 13 July 2022]

Sin Fronteras IAP. N.d. "Our History." [Accessed 24 Aug. 2022]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos; Consultoría Migratoria Abogados; Mexico – Embassy in Ottawa, Instituto Nacional de Migración; MexLaw.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; Austrian Red Cross – ecoi.net; Factiva; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; La Jornada; Mexico – Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Regufiados; Milenio; Organization of American States – Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Reuters; SDP Noticias; UK – Home Office; US – Department of State, Embassy in Mexico City; Washington Office on Latin America.