Documents issued to Guatemalan refugees which identify them as refugees; whether such documents require renewal, and status of person if document is not renewed; reasons for which a refugee can be deprived of their status, and conditions in which Guatemalan refugees may be granted Mexican nationality [MEX38095.E]

For information on Guatemalan refugees in Mexico, including their legal status and possibility of acquiring Mexican nationality, please refer to MEX38188.E and MEX38189.E of 1 February 2002.

Further to these Responses, a representative at the Embassy of Mexico in Ottawa stated during a 31 January 2002 telephone interview that Guatemalan refugees who were in Mexico during most of the 1990s qualified for permanent residence or Mexican nationality. The representative added that the FM 2 visa is usually issued to permanent residents, whereas other visas are issued for other migrant or resident categories. Since 2000 Mexico has adhered to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol, and enacted a new population law regulating migration and residence categories.

Descriptions of the legal and practical aspects of asylum and refuge procedures in Mexico, before and after the 2000 legislative changes, can be found in the 1999 and 2000 U. S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) annual report excerpts attached to MEX38189.E. A copy of the 22 March 2000 Regulations of the Population Law of Mexico (Reglamento de la Ley General de Población) is currently available only in Spanish. However, what follows is an unofficial summarized translation of sections of articles 166 and 167 which deal with refuge and the status of refugees, for reference. Please note that Article 165 of the same law contains provisions related to political asylum; these provisions, particularly those related to scope, duration and renewal of status, are similar to those related to refuge.

Article 166 describes the procedures to follow to request refugee status, and the reasons or circumstances for which the status can be denied (sections I-VII). If status is denied, the applicant can request a review of the decision; the review must be concluded within five working days of the request for review (section VIII). The article also states that when a person is granted refugee status, authorities will indicate the place where the refugee must reside, the activities the person can carry out, and any other restrictive measures deemed necessary (art. 166, VIIIa). Those given refugee status can leave Mexico only with previous authorization from authorities, and lose any migratory status in Mexico if they leave Mexico without the pertinent authorization or if they overstay abroad the period allowed by authorities (art. 166, VIIIc). Any authorizations related to refugee status will be issued for a period to be determined by the Government Secretariat; residence permits will be valid for one year, and can be renewed yearly if necessary (art. 166, VIIIf). Renewal must be requested within 30 days prior to the current residence permit's expiration, and will be granted if the circumstances leading to the request for refugee status persist and as long as all requisites and conditions set forth by the Government Secretariat have been met (ibid.). When the Government Secretariat deems that the circumstances that prompted a persons to request refugee status no longer exist, the refugee(s) will have to leave Mexico, within 30 days of receiving notice from the authorities (Art. 166, VIIIh).

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 to refugee status or asylum.


Embassy of Mexico, Ottawa. 31 January 2002. Telephone interview with consular representative.

Estados Unidos Mexicanos, Mexico City. 22 March 2000. Reglamento de la Ley General de Población. [Accessed 29 Jan. 2002]