Mexico: Requirements and procedures for obtaining temporary resident status; frequency with which temporary resident status must be renewed and procedures for renewing it; rights and obligations of temporary residents; requirements and procedures for temporary residents who wish to obtain permanent resident status (2015-December 2018) [MEX106210.FE]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Temporary Residence

According to the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores ) website, applications for a temporary resident visa can be submitted to any Mexican consular office abroad (Mexico 23 July 2015). Similarly, according to the law firm MEXLAW [1], in most cases, applications for a temporary resident visa must be made from outside of Mexico, except in some exceptional cases where it is possible to apply from Mexico, for example, when the applicant is married to a Mexican citizen or when a member of the applicant’s family is a Mexican citizen (MEXLAW 19 Sept. [2016]). A copy of the requirements and procedures for obtaining a temporary resident visa in Mexico, as presented on the website of the Mexican embassy in Ottawa, is attached to this Response (Attachment 1).

Without providing further details, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that when a foreign national receives an offer of employment in Mexico that provides for payment of a salary in Mexico, the employer must request authorization to issue a temporary resident visa from Mexico’s National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración ) (Mexico 23 July 2015).

According to sources, the holder of a temporary resident visa has 30 days after entering Mexico to complete the process and take the necessary steps to obtain the resident card (Mexico 23 July 2015; MEXLAW 15 Dec. [2015]) confirming the individual’s legal status and allowing the individual to remain in the country (Mexico 23 July 2015).

2. Period of Validity and Renewal

Sources state that the permanent resident visa is valid for stays of more than 180 days but not longer than four years (Mexico 23 July 2015; MEXLAW 19 Sept. [2016]). Article 40 of Mexico’s Law on Migration (Ley de Migración ) provides the following:

[translation]

Foreign nationals seeking to enter the country must present one of the following types of visas, validly issued and in effect:

IV. Temporary resident visa, which authorizes a foreign national to travel to any place for international transit purposes and allows a foreign national to remain in the national territory for a maximum of four years. (Mexico 2011, Art. 40, IV)

The guidelines on immigration procedures and formalities (Lineamientos para Trámites y Procedimientos Migratorios ) provide the following:

[translation]

Article 17. The renewal of immigration documents for the purpose of extending validity is governed by the following provisions:

III. The temporary resident card is valid for one, two, three or four years at the request of the person concerned. In the case of offers of employment, the validity of the card is dependent upon the duration of the offer of employment.

The immigration document for foreign children under three years of age is valid for one year.

The foreign national may apply, as necessary, for renewals for up to four full years from the date on which the resident card was obtained.

For foreign children under three years of age, renewal is requested each year until the age of three.

… (Mexico 2012, Art. 17, III)

MEXLAW indicates that a temporary resident visa is issued for one year and may be renewed for one to three more years (MEXLAW 19 Sept. [2016]).

According to the guidelines on immigration procedures and formalities, renewal of the resident card is done at the offices of the National Migration Institute and the process takes 15 business days (Mexico 2012, Art. 34). A copy of the list of requirements for renewing the resident card, as set out in article 34 of the guidelines on immigration procedures and formalities, is attached to this Response (Attachment 2).

3. Rights and Obligations

Article 33 of Mexico's constitution provides the following:

[translation]

Foreigners are those who do not possess the qualifications set forth in Article 30 of the Constitution [2] and who enjoy the human rights and guaranties granted by the Constitution.

The Federal Executive may, after a hearing, compel any foreigner to abandon the national territory pursuant to the law, which establishes the administrative process, place and length of detention.

Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country. (Mexico 1917, Art. 33)

Article 52 of the Law on Migration provides the following:

[translation]

Foreign nationals may stay in the national territory as visitors, temporary residents or permanent residents on the condition that they comply with the provisions set out in this law, its regulations and other applicable legal provisions. The provisions are as follows:

VII. TEMPORARY RESIDENT. Temporary resident status allows a foreign national to remain in Mexico for a period not exceeding four years, with the possibility of obtaining a paid work permit in the country provided that there is an offer of employment. It entitles a temporary resident to enter and exit the national territory as many times as necessary, and to benefit from family reunification. The temporary resident may enter the national territory accompanied by the individuals indicated below, or request to have them come at a later date. These individuals may lawfully stay in the national territory for the duration of the temporary resident permit.

  1. children of the temporary resident and children of the common-law partner, on the condition that they are unmarried children or adolescents or are under their parents’ guardianship or custody;
  2. spouse;
  3. common-law partner or equivalent, whose legal status is provided for in accordance with the provisions of Mexican legislation;
  4. father or mother of the temporary resident.

The persons referred to in the preceding paragraphs are authorized to reside lawfully in the national territory as temporary residents, with the possibility of obtaining a paid work permit in the country provided there is an offer of employment, and are entitled to enter and exit the national territory as often as they wish.

If the temporary resident has an offer of employment, he or she will be authorized to work for pay in the country and to carry out the activity related to the offer of employment.

Foreign nationals with temporary resident status may bring their personal property to Mexico in accordance with the provisions of the applicable laws.

… (Mexico 2011, Art. 52, VII)

MEXLAW also notes that holders of a temporary resident visa can apply for a work permit, while holders of a permanent resident visa can work in Mexico without applying for permission (MEXLAW 19 Sept. [2016]). According to the same source, temporary residents in Mexico may exit and enter the country as often as they please [3] and there is no requirement on how many months per year temporary residents must reside in Mexico (MEXLAW 19 Sept. [2016]).

According to the Ministry of Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación ), foreign residents in Mexico can obtain a Unique Population Registry Code (Clave Única de Registro de Población , CURP [4]) free of charge, giving them access to public government services (Mexico n.d.a). MEXLAW also states that temporary resident visa holders may obtain a CURP (MEXLAW 15 Dec. [2015]).

Further information on temporary residents’ access to services such as education and healthcare could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Article 64 of the Law on Migration provides the following:

[translation]

The Institute shall cancel the temporary or permanent resident status of a foreigner in the following cases:

  1. declaration that departure is final;
  2. authorization of another resident card abroad;
  3. false information or presentation of apocryphal or legitimate but fraudulently obtained official documents to the Institute;
  4. loss of resident permit for other reasons set out in this Law;
  5. loss of refugee status or additional protection in accordance with the applicable legal provisions;
  6. criminal prosecution or conviction of a serious crime under national criminal law or under the provisions of international treaties or conventions ratified by Mexico, or a criminal record in Mexico or abroad that may compromise national security or public safety. (Mexico 2011, Art. 64)

4. Permanent Residence

A copy of the requirements and procedures for obtaining a permanent resident visa in Mexico, as presented on the website of the Mexican embassy in Ottawa, is attached to this Response (Attachment 3).

According to the Internet portal of the government of Mexico, temporary resident visa holders who have lived in Mexico for four consecutive years can have their status changed to that of permanent resident (Mexico n.d.b). MEXLAW notes that, after four years, temporary resident visa holders must apply for a permanent residence visa if they wish to stay in Mexico (MEXLAW 19 Sept. [2016]). The guidelines on immigration procedures and formalities provide the following:

[translation]

Article 44. Procedures for changing resident card and for transitioning from temporary to permanent resident status.

Decision criteria:

  1. A temporary resident may become a permanent resident in the following cases:
    1. is eligible under the points system [5];
    2. is retired and receiving sufficient resources from abroad to live in the national territory; or
    3. has had a temporary residence permit for four full years.
  2. In the case of an application made after four full years of temporary residence, the immigration authority shall verify compliance with the condition.
  3. The immigration authority may cancel temporary resident status for the reasons indicated in article 64 of the Law and article 163 of the Regulation.

… (Mexico 2012, Art. 44)

The same source states that the application to change from temporary to permanent resident status is submitted to the offices of the National Migration Institute and that the process takes 20 business days (Mexico 2012, Art. 44). According to the guidelines on immigration procedures and formalities, status so granted is valid indefinitely, or is valid for a year for children under three years of age and for four years for children over three years of age but under 18 (Mexico 2012, Art. 44).

According to the Internet portal of the government of Mexico, the following documents must be presented when an applicant wishes to change his or her status from temporary to permanent resident: his or her passport, a travel and identity document, or an official document presented to obtain temporary residence (original and copy); his or her valid temporary resident card (original and copy); proof of payment of the status change application fees (original); and the application form found on the Internet site, completed electronically with the applicant’s signature (original) [6] (Mexico n.d.b). According to the same source, applicants who wish to obtain permanent residence, once four years have passed since they obtained their temporary resident visa, must expressly indicate in their application that they are requesting a change in status for this reason (Mexico n.d.b). The same source notes that the process costs 1,266 Mexican pesos [approximately C$84] (Mexico n.d.b).

For further information regarding the rights and obligations of permanent residents in Mexico, see Response to Information Request MEX106140 of June 2018.

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] MEXLAW is a law firm based in Mexico that is owned and operated by Canadian and American lawyers, in partnership with Mexican lawyers (MEXLAW n.d.).

[2] Article 30 of Mexico's constitution provides that Mexican nationality may be acquired by birth or by naturalization (Mexico 1917, Art. 30).

[3] MEXLAW states that temporary or permanent resident visa holders must not enter Mexico as a tourist or their visa will be considered “void” (MEXLAW 19 Sept. [2016]).

[4] According to MEXLAW, the Unique Population Registry Code (Clave Única de Registro de Población , CURP) is required to apply for a Mexican driver’s license, apply for employment, file taxes, register a vehicle, start a business, open a bank account, as well as for Civil Registry, and any other government services including free healthcare and the senior discount program (MEXLAW 30 June [2017]).

[5] Article 57 of the Law on Migration provides the following:

[translation]

Through general administrative provisions that will be published in the Official Journal of the Federation, the Secretariat may establish a points system allowing foreign nationals to acquire permanent residence without having to meet the requirement of four full years of temporary residence. Foreign nationals who enter the national territory under the points system have a work permit and they have the right to benefit from family reunification in order to be able to enter with the individuals referred to in article 55 herein, or to have them come at a later date.

Through the points system, the Secretariat allows foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence in Mexico. This system must, at a minimum, take into consideration the following:

  1. The criteria for entry under the points system, in accordance with the provisions of article 18, part II, of this Law for setting entry quotas for foreigners in the national territory;
  2. The applicant’s abilities considering, among others, the following criteria: level of education, work experience, skills in areas related to the development of science and technology, international recognition and the ability to carry out activities required by the country;
  3. The procedure for applying for entry in this way. (Mexico 2011, Art. 57)

[6] For applications under the points system, the applicant must also provide documents that attest to the indicators and minimum score required (Mexico n.d.b). For applications filed by a retired person, the applicant must also provide the following documents: proof of investments or banks accounts with an average monthly balance equal to 25,000 days’ minimum wage in effect in Mexico over the past 12 months [C$113,630.96 (Mexico 8 May 2016)] or documents proving that the applicant has an income or monthly pension free and clear of any encumbrances equivalent to 500 days’ minimum wage in effect in Mexico over the past 6 months [C$2,840.77 (Mexico 8 May 2016)] (Mexico n.d.b).

References

Mexico. 8 May 2016. Embassy in Ottawa. “Permanent Resident Visa .” [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018]

Mexico. 23 July 2015. Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores . “Visa de residencia temporal .” [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018]

Mexico. 2012. Lineamientos para Trámites y Procedimientos Migratorios . Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 3 Dec. 2018]

Mexico. 2011 (amended 2018). Ley de Migración . Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 3 Dec. 2018]

Mexico. 1917 (amended 2016). Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos . Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]

Mexico. N.d.a. Secretaría de Gobernación . “Obtención de la CURP .” [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]

Mexico. N.d.b. Instituto Nacional de Migración . “Cambio de residente temporal a residente permanente .” [Accessed 20 Nov. 2018]

MEXLAW. 30 June [2017]. “Getting a CURP Number for Foreigners with Residency in Mexico .” [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018]

MEXLAW. 19 September [2016]. “10 Things You Need to Know About Your Temporary Visa in Mexico .” [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018]

MEXLAW. 15 December [2015]. “Obtaining Temporary Residency in Mexico .” [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018]

MEXLAW. N.d. “Mexican Law International Standards .” [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including:ecoi.net; Mexico – consulates in Leamington, Montréal and Phoenix; UN – Refworld.

Attachments

  1. Mexico. 1 January 2016. Embassy in Ottawa. “Temporary Resident Visa .” [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]
  2. Mexico. 2012. Lineamientos para Trámites y Procedimientos Migratorios . Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 3 Dec. 2018]
  3. 3. Mexico. 8 May 2016. Embassy in Ottawa. “Permanent Resident Visa .” [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]