Home Expat Blogs How to Obtain a Permanent Resident Visa for Mexico

How to Obtain a Permanent Resident Visa for Mexico

Visa application form
Credit: Vkoletic | Thinkstock

Hola, expats. My last blog covered everything you need to know about obtaining a Temporary Resident visa. Today, I will explain how to obtain a Permanent Resident visa for Mexico.

Whether you are moving to Mexico or already living here, you should know that the Permanent Resident visa is issued to foreigners who intend to enter the country in order to reside in Mexico indefinitely.

Here is an overview of what you need to know about obtaining a Permanent Resident visa:

First, the applicant must demonstrate one of the following:

1. That they are related to a permanent resident of Mexico or a Mexican by birth up to the 2nd level (i.e., grandparent, parent, sibling, daughter, son or grandchildren). In the case of siblings, it only applies if the applicant is under the age of 18 years old, is not married and is under the sibling’s legal representation.

2. That they are pensioned or retired and are able to prove sufficient monthly income from their pension to cover their living expenses during their stay in Mexico, or have sufficient savings/investments.

3. That they meet the categories and the minimum score required to enter through the Point System under the “General Administrative Provision” issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and published in the Mexican Official Gazette.

4. That the Mexican government grants him/her political asylum.

5. That they have held a Temporary Resident card for four consecutive years.

6. That they have held a Temporary Resident card for two consecutive years, provided the visa was granted through marriage to a Mexican or permanent resident or through living with a Mexican or permanent resident concubine (cohabitant) or equivalent.

The Permanent Resident visa is issued for 180 calendar days with a single entry. The applicant must start the process to obtain the resident card within the first thirty calendar days from his/her entry into Mexico.

Renewals or changes from Temporary to Permanent Resident status will be done in Mexico. Also, regularization or applications for visas that are about to expire will also be done in Mexico.

In the case of permanent residents who want to start working, it is only necessary to submit a notification to the National Institute of Migration (INM). No payment has to be made because one of the rights of a permanent resident is to be able to engage in any legal economic activity.

If you want to work with a Permanent Resident visa, you must provide the following:

1. An online form that must have the signature of the applicant.

2. A letter signed by you notifying the change of the activity (from non-working to working) and specifying the activities to be performed and address.

3. An original and copy of your passport.

4. A “formato básico” (basic form) from the INM.

5. An original and copy of the identification (IFE/INE) of the individual or the legal representative of the corporation, public institution, academy (artistic, sports or cultural) if the representative is Mexican, or the resident card if the representative is a foreigner.

6. The original letter of the job offer on the letterhead of the employer stating the activities that the applicant will perform according to the classification of the Sistema Nacional de Clasificación de Ocupaciones, the time period the job will last, the address of the workplace and the salary or fees to be paid.

7. A copy of the proof of registry of the employer filed with the INM (Constancia de Inscripción de Empleador).

8. The last tax payment of the employer.

If the applicant will be working for himself/herself without any employer, then he/she will have to commit to the INM that after getting the Work Permit he/she will go to SAT (Mexico’s Tax Office) and apply to get a Tax ID.

Once you are granted your Permanent Resident visa and receive your Permanent Resident card the following will apply to you:

1. All the guarantees that the Mexican Constitution grants to all Mexicans, with the exception of the political guarantees that are exclusively for Mexican citizens.

2. You will not need to renew your permanent resident status (although, some INM officers request its renewal every 10 years to keep the photograph current). If the holder is less than three years old, he or she will have to renew every year until achieving 3 years of age, and then every four years until reaching the age of 18.

3. You will have the right to engage lucratively in any legal activity, without having to request permission of the INM. Notification of job changes is required. If you are working under a professional designation (as an engineer, architect, etc.) you may be required to file your degree at the Dirección General de Profesiones. Please check with INM.

4. You will be able to travel freely in and out of the country, as provided for any Mexican citizen.

5. As a permanent resident you will not be able to vote in Mexico.

6. Permanent residents cannot own land directly if it is located within 50 kilometers of the beach or 100 kilometers from the Mexican land border (but you can own property near beaches and land border through a trust, and have legal right to the property in all but name).

7. Permanent residents cannot import or keep foreign-plated vehicles in Mexico.

Once you receive your Permanent Resident card you will have these obligations:

1. Uphold the responsibilities of a citizen as spelled out in the Mexican Constitution.

2. Carry the Permanent Resident card with you at all times, and keep a copy of it at home.

3. Inform the INM of any change of employment (with a letter stating the new job), marital status (marriage, divorce or death certificate), nationality (new passport or letter of naturalization) and address (with a letter and utility bill providing the new address) within 90 days of the change. If this does not take place in such time frame, the temporary resident will be subject to penalties.

Next time I will look at Customs requirements for Mexico, including what you can and cannot bring into the country, shipment of household goods and importation of vehicles.

Remember, knowledge is power.


      • cHi! I am in touch with the Mexican council inSeattle. It is so easy! First off she answered my email right away.
        I am told it will take 4 days for Permanente. And I will get the stamp here in Seattle.

        A real person is talking to me! I will be going in about March sometime so I will follow up. This is great news because none to the other counsels are NOT nice, do not answer anything, that is what I heard. So I was going to fly to Vegas where everyone goes for it.

        I just tried and emailed last week and Seattle answered , and it is a 2 page form… etc.

  1. My husband and I live in California and want to retire to Bucerias in April 2018. Is it correct that we apply for our Permanent Resident Visa here at the Mexican Consulate in California and then register at our local INM office in Nayarit? If we are granted the Visa, are we allowed to stay in Mexico with no time frame constrictions? I’m confused about “The Permanent Resident visa is issued for 180 calendar days with a single entry.”
    Mary Lou

  2. Hi Mary Lou

    Yes, it is correct, you must apply for the Permanent Resident visa at the Mexican Consulate in California. After you are granted the visa and once you are in Mexico, you must start the process to obtain your PERMANENT RESIDENT CARD within the first thirty calendar days after your entry into Mexico.

    • After you are granted permanent residency visa from the Mexican consulate in California, how much time do I have to go to Mexico to complete the process. We have a few things to wrap up before we go.

  3. Thank you for a very clearly written article! I have lived in Mexico before and want to return next spring. Although I am retirement age and *could* collect Social Security, I don’t want to until age 70 – another four years. I work remotely as a cybersecurity analyst/architect here in the U.S. and my income is well above the basic amount required. I can continue to do this work from Mexico.

    The regulations seem to say that after a “certain” age – one must use pension funds for proof of income. Can I use my income from the U.S. to meet the financial requirements, even though I am retirement age? I have several years of bank records and tax records showing consistent income above the required amounts for a permanent residency visa. Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  4. Where do we get these form to complete? Silly question but seems that there is so much inforamtion on the internet that it is very confusing

  5. Hello!

    Do you have any idea how long it takes to get the permanent resident card once in Mexico (after obtaining the permanent resident visa)? Are there additional steps that are needed or forms to fill out to get the card? Do you have the details about this?


  6. I am planning to move to Ensenada, BC permanently and wish to gain residency. My step-father is a Mexican Citizen, and he an my mother (she’s not a Mexican Citizen) reside in Baja Mexico, and I would like to know if this is a qualifying situation for me applying for permanent residency. If so, what documentation would be required to substantiate their residency in Mexico?

    Thank you –


  7. I am a member of an six member LLC which was formed in California about 10 years ago and the LLC purchased a vila in San Miguel de Allende. Is it true that if we want to sell the villa that one of us would have to be a permanent resident in order to save money on taxes when we sell? We have been told that as long as we are an LLC and not an individual selling the villa that we will not be taxed as heavily. Is this true or should one of us apply for permanent residency?
    Thank you for taking the time to answer me.

    • Nancy, our legal expert/blogger Diana Cuevas says, “That is true, the reason for this is that, if you are a resident you can claim to have had that villa as your residence, hence, you have lived there for at least the past two years.The law gives an individual the right to avoid taxes on capital gains if:
      -you lived there as your primary residence
      -you have not sold another property in the past two years.
      -it does not cost more that $200,000USD. ( this amount fluctuates)
      You can reach Diana at dianac.lawyer@gmail.com

  8. Alfonso
    My wife and I wish to move to mexico I am 49 and she is 42 we have the funds in savings required for permanant residency
    and we would like to move next year December we would return to the states for a few months every 2 years and work to top up our savings and earn some dollars how long before we intend to move should we apply for residency at the consualte?

  9. Hi Robert, do I pay the fees at the Mexican consulate outside the US or do I pay when I am in Mexico and finishing the application during the 30 day period?

    • Maggie, you pay for your visa at the Mexican consulate in your home country and pay for your ID at the nearest immigration office to you in Mexico (you must get an ID within 30 days after arrival in the country). The ID costs $3,961 pesos or about US$48.

  10. Thank you, Robert. I applied today at the Mexican Consulate in Laredo. The service was very good; the staff were pleasant and quite professional. I did my homework before arrival, so I had all necessary documentation with me. The entire process from start of appointment to issuance of the permanent resident visa took only 1.5 hours, including an interview with the Consul General. I was impressed with the operation and thought they were doing a terrific job.

  11. Hi good morning I am a Pakistani National and doing work in china since 10 years but now I want to get Mexican citizenships so what I have to do ? Someone tell me that’s the process take 4 weeks to take Mexican passport as it true ?


  12. Great information and much appreciated –thank you!! One question: if we own a vehicle in Mexico with California plates, if we become a Perm Resident , can we keep our Cal plates and regular Mexican insurance on that vehicle?

    Thank you!

    • Roger, once you are a permanent resident you will have to take your car back to California. You are allowed to keep it in Mexico only for the four years of your temporary residency.


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