​​​​​​​There are several types of visas available for those wishing to reside in Mexico. Here are a few. There are others. I process an average of one visa every day of the year which is multiples more than anyone in San Miguel. In total, my experience includes thousands of immigration processes with every scenario imaginable and at a cost lower than anyone. Plus, I have an excellent relationship with Inmigracion staff some of who are personal friends.

Note: once you have a Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa at no time enter Mexico with a FMM card marked "tourist". You will then be a tourist and need to start the process over at a Mexican consulate. And please never have a color copy of your visa, driver's license or any other Mexican government issued ID as that is considered fraud with serious consequences. If you lose your visa while outside Mexico here is the process to follow. In Mexico, when not far from home, there is no need to carry your visa. I suggest you save a photo in your phone. 



FMM Card (Forma Migratoria Multiple) allows one to enter Mexico, one time, for up to 180 days. Prior to expiration you must return to the border as it can not be extended in Mexico. In nearly all cases you can re-enter with a new FMM without leaving the country. Visitors may obtain their FMM by entering the required information online, paying the fee of 500 pesos with a credit or debit card and printing the document plus proof of payment. The traveler has 30 days to use the document to cross the border, where it must be stamped upon entry. Keep your FMM until leaving Mexico. Click the green button "FMM App". First page is conditions and terms "términos y condiciones" which you need to accept at bottom where it states "He leído y acepto los términos y condiciones". It will then send you to the FMM form in Spanish. You may fill out questions, save (guardar) and print. If you lose an FMM while in Mexico the fee is 500 pesos paid to Inmigracion at the airport.











Mexican Consulate appointments are often required to apply for a pre-approved Temporary or Permanent Resident visa. Appointments may be made by calling from Mexico 01-404-266-2233 (ext 250). Or via the web site by clicking the "appointment" button..  You can change the language in upper right corner. Each person needs a separate interview time including children. If you are coming to San Miguel de Allende to process your visa and you are working with me here I can make your appointment. Pre-approval costs $36 US / $44 Canadian in cash. ​You must tell the consulate staff you intend to retire. If you mention working you will likely be declined. A very few consulates require a police report, background check. I believe they include Seattle, Calgary and Vancouver.


Or call a Mexican consulate and ask if an appointment is required and to schedule. Most require an appointment.


Photograph measuring 39 mm x 31 mm max to 32 x 26 mm, (typically passport size), face uncovered, no eyeglasses, front view, in colour, with white background.


Mexican Consulate Visa application form: prior to going to a Mexican consulate please print, complete and take this form. On question 21, for a Temporary Resident pre-approval check more than 180 days and less than 4 years and for Permanent Resident check "DEFINITIVE"​. Only complete questions 1 to 25.

Pre-approved Consulate Visa Processing in Mexico. When entering Mexico by car you must stop at the border and obtain an FMM as above. That FMM must be marked CANJE on the lower left side by Immigration. Your pre-approved visa in your passport is also to be stamped at same time. When flying you will receive a FMM from the airline and again it must be marked CANJE. If this is not done you will be sent back to the border. This FMM will indicate 30 days. The pre-approval allows you to enter Mexico up to 6 months from time when pre-approved. Once you enter Mexico you have 30 days to start your visa process. Typically, that process takes 6 to 8 weeks but varies with each INM office. One can leave Mexico once approved and finger printed and one has applied for and received a travel letter. The minimum time for that to happen is approx 5 weeks but again varies with each INM office. Some INM offices are faster and some take weeks longer. You can not expedite the process. You can not leave Mexico without your travel letter. Or, you may wait the full period until your visa is issued. Unlike the U.S. where one who is applying for a visa for residency in the U.S. you can not leave the US until process is completed and that takes up to a year. Please, do not come to Mexico and say I have to get back to my job in 2 weeks. It will NOT happen. Please be realistic.


Temporary Resident Visa (TR) is for those who intend to be in Mexico more than 6 months and up to 4 years. TR starts with a pre-approval at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico. Once a pre-approved Temporary Resident visa is issued you have 6 months to enter Mexico. Once you enter Mexico you have 30 days to continue your visa process at a local INM office. When you enter Mexico with a pre-approved visa, at the border you also complete a FMM as above. It must be marked CANJE by Immigration. In Mexico, visa takes typically 6 -8 weeks to process. There are several steps including on-line forms, photos, bank payment, several copies and then finger prints after approximately 3-4  weeks, etc. Visa will be issued for 1 year and up to one month before expiration you may renew for 3 more years. Your expiration date will be on the anniversary of the day you entered Mexico and received your FMM. After 4 years you become a Permanent Resident. A foreign plated car is allowed. One may not earn Mexico sourced income as a TR but you may earn income from outsde of Mexico. Proving home ownership in Mexico will also be given credit when applying. The amounts may vary based on exchange rates and consulate's policy. Prior to going to a Mexican consulate please complete and take the consulate application.


For financial statements, if account is in both names, have both names appear on statements. Mexican account printouts usually show one name on joint accounts.   


  • Investments ~$22,000 US / $27,000 C with 12 months of individual statements (5000 X daily minimum wage of 88.36 pesos), or

  • Monthly income ~$1,400 US /$1800 C employment or pension source showing 6 months of bank statements (300 X daily minimum wage of 88.36 pesos), or


  • Home ownership in Mexico with a value of approximately 3,200,000 pesos (40,000 x daily minimum wage of 88.36 pesos). You need original and copy of deed.


Once your visa is issued do not leave the consulate without first checking your pre-approved visa in your passport. If you applied as a Temporary Resident and issued a Permanent resident pre-approval, you car is illegal after 30 days. This does happen. 


Your first TR visa will be issued for 1 year. Within 30 days prior to the one year expiration you may renew for up to 3 more years. Financials are not required and renewal is done locally.

Permanent Resident Visa (PR) is for those who plan to live in Mexico permanently. It also starts with a pre-approval as above and process is same as a Temporary Resident visa but it is as name implies, permanent. One may work as a PR but must inform INM. A foreign plated car is not allowed. Proving home ownership in Mexico will also be given credit when applying for pre-approval at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico. The amounts are per person. Consulates vary and may use different numbers taking into account exchange rates but many will not. Prior to going to a Mexican consulate please complete form via the blue button above. For those who are Temporary Residents living in Mexico, you may become a Permanent Resident at any time in less than 4 years. To do so, you must prove ~$2500 per month of only pension-sourced income; no other form of income, investments nor home ownership will be considered. 




For financial statements, if account is in both names, have both names appear on your statements. Mexican printouts often show 1 name on joint accounts.


  • Investments  ~$90,000 US /  $110,000 C with 12 months of individual statements (20,0000 X daily minimum wage of 88.36 pesos), or 


  • Monthly income of ~$2300 US/ $2800 C  pension sourced only and by showing 6 months of individual bank statements (500 X daily minimum wage of 88.36)












Children with a Permanent Resident visa between age of 1 and 3 must renew their visa annually. Children over age 3  must renew every 4 years until 18.

Humanitarian Visas are free for those in Mexico including Tourists or one with no visa who has poor health such as blindness, dementia, Alzheimer's, strokes, etc. Applicant must be unable to travel. The humanitarian visa requires an examination and letter from the applicant's physician. Then, that document is presented to a physician approved by Immigration who issues a very specific letter. In San Miguel, only one doctor is acceptable to INM. They require a lot of work to process. Humanitarian visas are renewed annually. I represent the two largest long term care facilities in SMA and process many. A person with an Humanitarian visa may apply for a Temporary or Permanent Resident visa locally within Mexico based on financials. 


Permiso Para Trabajar Visa (permission to earn income) is issued to those who already have a Temporary Resident Visa and wish to earn Mexican sourced income from being a musician, artist, selling real estate, hair dresser, self-employed, landlord, etc. This is not applicable to one being hired by a large employer.  It requires registration with SAT (taxation) first and producing the cedula (QR scanner code). A Permanent Resident may work but must inform Immigration and be registered with SAT.


Expired Temporary Resident Visa

Visa expiration date is written: day/month/year.


  1. If you are outside of Mexico and your visa has expired you must start over at a Mexican Consulate as there is no way to enter Mexico legally other than as a tourist. You will obtain a pre-approval.
  2. If you are in Mexico and your visa has expired by more than 60 days you must leave the country and start over at a Mexican Consulate and obtain a pre-approval.
  3. If your Temporary Resident visa has expired by less than 60 days and you are in Mexico you may apply for a Temporary Resident visa, at year ONE. The steps include.


  1. Prove Mexican home value of at least 3,200,000 pesos, or
  2. Prove ONLY pension-sourced income of 30,000 pesos per month supported with 6 individual months of bank statements plus letter / document from pension provider confirming your monthly pension. Both, bank statements and confirmation from pension provider must be translated by a certified translator. Investments / savings will not be considered.
  3. Complete steps similar to a visa renewal.
  4. After submitting to INM there will be an interview with INM staff.
  5. If approved pay visa fee and fine at bank  and wait for email from INM to complete more information, etc.​
  6. Total time is longer than a normal renewal and 6 to 7 weeks is not uncommon. There are more steps but this is a summary. 


Travel Permission Letters are for when a person wants to exit Mexico shortly after applying with a pre-approved visa from a consulate or a visa renewal and before visa is issued.

If applying for your first visa in Mexico following pre-approval at a Mexican consulate you may apply for a travel letter once your visa application / renewal has been submitted and your process is approved by Inmigracion. The timing is typically 3 - 4 weeks after you submit your visa process but varies at each INM office.

If, you are applying for a Temporary Resident visa renewal or a Permanent Reasident visa after having been a Temporary Resident you may immediately apply for travel permission letter without waiting for approval at your local Inmigracion office

You pay for travel permission at a bank and submit the form, photo and payment to INM. In San Miguel processing of a travel letter takes approx. 2 business days. Once you have this letter you may leave Mexico for up to 60 days from date of issuance. The letter must be stamped by immigration when you exit and when you return. Upon your return you must present the stamped letter to INM within 10 days and you will be provided your visa.

In summary, you can not leave Mexico once you start your visa application in Mexico until your visa is fully issued or until such time as you have a travel permission letter. There is no way to expedite your process. I have processed numerous travel letters. 


Obtaining a Visa under Family For a married or common-law couple each must show the qualifying amounts of income, investments etc. If not possible, one way around this is for one person of the married couple to qualify. If husband qualifies and wife does not, she enters as a tourist and when husband has his visa she can start. Spouse does not need financials as she is being sponsored by the other spouse. However, if name on wife's passport (and husband's) does not exactly match the name on the marriage certificate usually INM will decline the application. Example, Mary Elizabeth Smith is not the same as Mary E. Smith to INM. If wife can qualify and husband enters as a tourist it is usually easier as the husband's name on his passport more often matches his name on marriage license / certificate. 

When the sponsor is a Permanent Resident the other family member/s will need to be a Temporary Resident for 1 year and in 12 months renew for 1 more year before becoming a PR. There is the need to apostille or legalize marriage certificate and to have the apostille and license  translated by a certified translator in Mexico. Same process applies for a child who is being sponsored by a parent with a Temporary or Permanent Resident visa. For a child the birth certificate requires to be apostille or legalized and both documents translated by a certified in Mexico. Child's name on passport and birth certificates must match to the letter.  


Obtaining a Visa Through Marriage to a Mexican National means no pre-approval at a Mexican consulate and no financials required. The process can be started in Mexico. Expat spouse must have a valid FMM tourist card. He/she will receive a 1 year Temporary Resident visa and in 12 months renew for one more year. After two years the person becomes a Permanent Resident. It is easier if married in Mexico or otherwise marriage license must be apostille or legalized and both the license and the apostille must be translated by a certified translator in Mexico. Expat's name on marriage license and passports must be identical. I am very familiar with this process. ​​


Church Marriage in Mexico is not recognized by the Mexican government. One needs to have a civil marriage which is then registered.


To authenticate (Legalize) Canadian documents here is the information since Canadian documents can not be apostille. American documents such as birth certificates and marriage license can be apostille in the state where issued.   

Change of Status is to be reported to INM within 90 days including marriage, divorce, death of spouse, address, employer, earning income, SAT taxation accounts changed to inactive, etc. to avoid a fine. It requires an on-line form to be completed. Then one presents a letter, passport, and visa plus other documents related to the issue. Your passport and visa will be returned immediately. In 3 plus weeks you will receive an email from INM indicating the change is completed. INM no longer retains your visa allowing you to travel while your change is processed. In the event of the death of a spouse, you do not actually do the change for the person who passed away. You do the status change for the person who is now a widow / widower. It includes the death certificate plus copy, both passports and both visas plus copies. Required is a letter and on-line form. All is to be submitted within 90 days of the person's passing. There is no fee. If you need help, pls. ask me.


Visa application based on family allows for foreigners with a child born in Mexico to become a Permanent Resident (not a Temporary Resident) by applying in Mexico with no need to prove financials. Parent/s need a current FMM, child's Mexican birth certificate and government issued ID, parent's passport with exact same name as parent's name on the child's birth certificate. For a child not born in Mexico, the child applying under "family"must be under 18 and once the family member with a pre-approved visa has their visa issued in Mexico the remaining children apply as a Temporary Resident. Again, financials are not required.  An adult can not sponsor a parent.  Also, under family category please read above: " obtaining visa through marriage to a visa holder" and "obtaining visa through marriage to a Mexican national".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The amounts are per person but some consulates will accept lower financials for a spouse. Consulates vary and may use different amounts taking into account exchange rates but many will not. What I post here are the laws issued by Mexican Immigration. Consulates are not a part of Immigration. There will be variables at consulates and they are not totally consistent. Some consulates want originals. I recommend you review your MX consulate web site. I am not responsible for those variables and the mood, knowledge, politics or skills of the person at the consulate.

Travel of minors ​changed with a decree published on December 2, 2013, reforming the provisions of the Migratory Law Regulation corresponding to the travel of minors under 18 years of age; this took effect on January 24, 2014.

Foreign minors (under 18 years of age) traveling to Mexico or alone or with a third party of legal age (grandparent, aunt/uncle, etc) as visitors including tourists with a short study stay of up to 180 days, do not require authorization or a letter of consent from their parents or guardians. Mexican migratory authorities will allow these minors to leave Mexico upon presentation of a valid passport.

The Canadian government requirements for minors departing or entering Canada may be consulted at the following webpage: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children


Minors under 18 years of age (girls, boys, adolescents or those under legal guardianship) who are of Mexican nationality or foreigners holding the migratory status of Permanent Resident, Temporary Resident or Temporary Student Resident, who are in Mexico and wish to travel abroad alone or accompanied by a person of legal age other than one of their parents, must present:

Notarized document in which those holding parental authority or guardianship authorize the minor’s departure from Mexico, granted before a Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths, or the document issued by the National Migration Institute (INM), in the format published for this purpose, available at the following webpage: www.inm.gob.mx

If the parents or holders of parental authority or guardianship choose to authorize the minor’s departure from Mexico with the document granted before a Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths, the document must specify the mode of transportation, destination and date of travel. If this document is issued abroad (Canada) it must be legalized at the Mexican Consulate or the Embassy of Mexico in Canada. In addition, this document must be accompanied by a translation into Spanish. Mexican offices abroad do not provide translation services. 

A minor, who is a tourist, who is in Mexico and who wishes to travel from Mexico alone or with someone one other than a parent requires the notarized document as noted above.

Minors under the age of 18 travelling with at least one of their parents or guardians DO NOT require authorization or a letter of consent.

              2018 Immigration (INM) Fees 

              Tourist FMM: 500 pesos; replacement 500 pesos​

              Temporary Resident: 1 year $3,961 pesos, 2 years $5,936 pesos, 3 years $7,518 pesos, 4 years $8910 pesos

               Regularization: $1,266 pesos (plus fines)

               Permanent Resident: $4,828 pesos plus review fee $1266 pesos after 4 years as a Temporary Resident. 

               Work Permission (permiso para trabajar): $2,974 pesos

               Lost / Stolen / Damaged Document Replacement: $1,220 pesos 

               Permission to Leave (travel letter): $405 pesos

               Adoption Visa: $2886 pesos for visa being issued for the purpose of adopting

​               Humanitarian Visa: $0

Mexican employer job offer for a foreigner requires the Mexican institution or person who intends to hire the foreigner to submit the visa application directly to the National Migration Institute in Mexico. The Embassy or Consulate can only issue a visa if it has been authorized by INM. Once the foreigner has the corresponding authorization, he must make an appointment at the consular office outside of Mexico closest to his residence and appear in person within 30 business days of authorization by INM in Mexico.  The consulate issues a pre-approved  permission to work for that specific employer. Once in Mexico, the employee goes to local INM to complete the process, similar as with anyone with a pre-approved visa. This is not a fast process and may take 3 months plus in all.

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The amounts are per person but some consulates will accept lower financials for a spouse. Consulates vary and may use different amounts taking into account exchange rates but many will not. What I post here are the laws issued by Mexican Immigration. Consulates are not a part of Immigration. There will be variables at consulates and they are not totally consistent. Some consulates want originals. I recommend you review your MX consulate web site. I am not responsible for those variables and the mood, knowledge, politics or skills of the person at the consulate.