How to get a temporary resident visa in Mexico: a step-by-step guide

Looking for a more concrete way on how to get a resident visa in Mexico? Check out our personal experience on how we did it and got a 4-year visa in the process.

I have to be honest – getting a Mexico resident visa is getting harder these days. As a foreigner who applied in 2018, I’ve seen extreme changes in Mexico’s immigration system.

I did not plan to live here but COVID pushed me to put my roots in Mexico and I don’t regret it! The Mexico resident visa application was way easier before so I try my best to keep updating this post (backed up with my immigration lawyer).

In November 2021, Mexico stopped giving automatic 180-days visas to tourists because of the influx of Americans, Canadians, and Latin Americans that live here illegally.

Popular destinations like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta were flocked by immigration officers who checked every person’s visa validity. They would even hop in a bus/van from Cancun to Tulum for the sweep.

living in mexico

If you have a valid visa, this is not your problem. However, if you are a digital nomad who plans to live long-term in Mexico, you should not come here on a tourist visa to avoid problems.

In this post, I will share with you how I easily applied for a temporary resident visa in Mexico as a digital nomad. This visa is called non-lucrative, a type of visa suitable for remote workers and retirees.

I did the process with a lawyer (up to US$350 lawyer fees) and I found that path easier. If you want to get in touch with my lawyer, you may fill out this form and she will get back to you. I promise, she’s great!

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🛂 How to get a Mexico resident visa (step-by-step guide)

Step 1: Know where you are going to apply for the visa

I was already in Mexico when I decided to apply for a resident visa but when I hired a lawyer, I learned that I need to process it outside of the country.

The good thing is you can schedule your appointment without coming back to your home country. You can do it anywhere close by as long as it is not inside Mexico.

mexico resident visa

In my case, Costa Rica was the closest and I also wanted to travel there so I chose the Mexican Embassy in Costa Rica to process my visa. Many American friends prefer Miami because they are also very lenient there.

Note that some consulates are more strict than others. Unfortunately, I do not have any direct intel about which embassies are the easiest. You will have to find that out for yourself.

Step 2: Schedule your interview

It used to be very easy to schedule an interview for your temporary Mexico resident visa but after COVID, everything became complicated.

At first, you can easily find a schedule using the Mexitel website but now, the consulates in the United States require you to send an e-mail to book an appointment. Everything is manual.

mexico resident visa

Together with this booking email, they will also send you the requirements. Some consulates have different requirements which are quite confusing! I am glad Costa Rica was super simple.

Make sure to give yourself 30 days before the interview for you to have enough time to complete your requirements. It’s not a long list but it can be tedious.

Step 3: Gather the requirements

Please note that the Mexican consulate will not process your application if your requirements are incomplete.

  • Duly filled out Mexico resident visa application form that you can download here. I suggest you type and print instead of filling it out using a pen.
  • Passport with 6 months validity (original and photocopy)
  • Proof of financial capability for the last 3 months (bank statements with investments of at least US$35,000 or monthly employment salary of US$2,131)
  • Passport photo (3.9 cm x 3.1 cm) with white background, no glasses, face clear
  • Valid tourist visa in the country you are applying in (in my case, Costa Rica)
  • Visa fees (which will be discussed later in detail)

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Step 4: Apostille your documents

The problem with not doing step #1 in your home country is that you have to apostille all these documents. Meaning, your country is certifying them true and correct.

What I did was grant power of attorney to my mother so she can have my documents apostilled in my home country without me being physically present. After which, she mailed all these documents for my application in Costa Rica.

You also need the bank statement to come from your bank (original, signed by the bank manager) although I never really tried to ask the bank to send it to me digitally.

In all my visa applications, I always make sure I have the original copy, especially if it’s a bank document. Just take the original statement to be sure.

mexico residency visa categories

Step 5: Go to your interview

Once your documents are complete, bring them to the consulate you have an appointment with. It won’t be a long wait and in fact, the interview is very easy.

They did not ask me for a lot of things. I feel like what’s really important here is that you can prove you are financially capable of supporting yourself while living in Mexico.

The consul was also asking if I had family or children probably just to check if I plan to make roots in Mexico. Make sure you answer all questions honestly.

Right then and there, after the interview, you will know if your Mexico residency visa has been approved. My interview literally took 5 minutes!

Step 6: Travel to Mexico

After your visa has been approved, the consul will give you a paper which is what you will use as your valid document to enter Mexico.

mexico resident visa

Please note that this is not your visa yet. You will see validity of 30 days which means you have a month to process your Mexico resident visa card inside Mexico.

Step 7: Schedule biometrics and picture taking

Remember that you only have 30 days of validity for the visa. As soon as you enter Mexico, make sure to book an appointment with any INM office in the city you chose to live in.

These days, the appointments are very hard to get since the line is super long but be tenacious! One of my clients missed the 30-day leeway because she wasn’t able to get an appointment at the INM.

mexico retirement visa

If you missed the 30 days, you will have to go to apply for a new visa again. Which absolutely means you are back to step 1.

Mexican governments are not very equipped in answering phone calls or e-mails in a timely manner so my best advice is for you to go to the INM and set your appointment there. It will be way easier (but requires more time).

Step 8: Get your Mexico resident visa card at INM

Once you have the schedule at the INM, your photo will be taken and they will record your fingerprints. After which, voila, you will get your resident ID card right away!

As a temporary Mexico resident visa holder, you are entitled to apply for bank accounts, put bills in your name, and even get a car loan!

travel requirements to mexico

You won’t have problems coming in and out of the country but remember that each time you travel out of Mexico, you have to swing by the INM at the airport (all airports in Mexico have them) to get an exit card.

Without this exit card, it will be hard for you to enter Mexico again even with a resident card.

⚖️ Mexico immigration lawyer

Like I said above, you can totally do all the processes on your own but I did it with a lawyer since I didn’t have enough time to fall in line and do all the things myself.

Plus, if you don’t speak Spanish, it will be hard to understand the technical terms. They do speak English but in my experience, I find it very unclear when they explained it in English.

We have a resident lawyer at Mexico Insider who can help you with your Mexico resident visa application. She’s helped many of us on this team and we are forever grateful to her!

⁉️ Mexico Resident Visa FAQ

It’s really easy as long as you meet the requirements. Before anything else, make sure you know what type of Mexico residency visa best suits your situation.

Although these categories are different (i.e. student, work, non-lucrative, retiree), they pretty much have the same application process and requirements.

In this post, I will only share with you my experience as a foreign remote worker in Mexico.

A long time ago, Mexico removed the FM1, FM2, or FM3 types of visas. They now only have permanent or temporary Mexico resident visa types.

This absolutely means that you can’t apply for a permanent visa the first time. You have to go through 4 years of temporary resident visa until you are eligible for a permanent one.

I did hear about some friends from Los Angeles, CA who were granted a permanent visa right away. It’s a case to case basis and it all depends on the consulate you are applying in.

✈️ Ready to relocate to Mexico? If you need more information about applying for a Mexico resident visa, we’d be happy to update this post – just leave your questions in the comment box below or join our communities where we answer questions for FREE.

🇲🇽 Living in Mexico Resources

🚗💨 I’m moving to Mexico. What do I need to prepare?
We have many resources about moving to Mexico on this blog. But first, we recommend you talk to our relocation expert for a more personalized plan.

⚖️ How do I get a residency visa in Mexico?
There are many types of Mexico residency visas. It’s best to get in touch with an attorney to know the right type of visa for you. Book a call with our in-house attorney to get started!

🏠 Can you help me find housing in Mexico?
ABSOLUTELY! We have a house rental viewing program where we schedule a full itinerary for you to find one-year rentals. Get in touch for more info!

🏡 Can you assist with Real Estate buying in Mexico?
FOR SURE! We have our own certified Mexico realtors who can help you with buying. We also send available properties via e-mail. Feel free to subscribe to get these listings!

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  1. Hi Trisha. My husband and I applied for our temporary residency in Canada and completed the process in early November 2023 at the immigration office in Mazatlan. The expiry date on our card is October 27th, 2024. We were given the one-year temporary residency and next year we will be given the remaining 3 years. My question is: We found out that we should renew before the expiry date and then read that if a person cannot do this, we would be given 55 days to enter Mexico and 5 days to make it into the immigration office to renew. We may not be able to come back in time but rather 2 weeks later since we are driving down. Is this frowned upon or is there a penalty for doing this? Your help would be appreciated.

  2. I am sure there are many people wondering about the process and timeline to get a temporary resident visa. Especially when things got tougher. Good to remind people they need to start the process when outside Mexico. And to make sure to have original documents. I would probably want an immigration lawyer to help me through the process.

  3. Hi, I stumbled upon your site and its very resourceful. I read somewhere that you can qualify for a initial 4 yr temporary resident visa ( applying in USA) if you have been to Mexico at least once between 2015 to 2021? Any more information on that. What about for people with a visit on their former Passport ?

  4. Hello Trisha. I have enjoyed your very informative article.

    Can you expound on the “Apostille” requirement?

    For example, if I were to apply from say- Orlando or Miami, Fl, and I am a US citizens, will I need my US documents “apostilled”?

    And will I be required a police criminal background check/ certificate of good conduct?

    1. Hi Angel! The thing with US consulates is that they have very different requirements. Miami is more lenient and you can get in touch with the Mexican Consular officer there via e-mail. They are super attentive and will give you the complete list. That being said, the requirements for applying for your Mexico visa depend on the US Consulate you are applying in. Good luck and I hope you get the visa!

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