If you would like to stay in Mexico from 1 to 4 years, you can obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (Resident Temporal), which is renewable annually. After the first year, you can renew from 1 to 3 years at the time, reducing the number of visits to immigration. After the forth year, you automatically qualify for the Permanent Resident Visa (Residente Permanente).
This Temporary Resident Visa (Residente Temporal) is mainly for retirees or those who do not plan to work while in Mexico. It is the most common type of resident visa applied for by expats moving to Mexico for long periods of time. For more information regarding who qualifies for this visa, click HERE.
The Temporary Resident (Residente Temporal) Visa is issued in three parts:
- Visit the Mexican Consulate near you in your home country to apply
- Receive your FMM at the border
- Visit your local INM (immigration) office in your destination in Mexico
- And if you have a vehicle, you will need to visit Customs in your Mexican destination to obtain the appropriate permission to keep your vehicle in country for the length of your visa.
It can be a very intimidating experience if this is your first time, and if you do not know Spanish well. But it can be done, with a little patience on your part. You will undoubtedly hear some nightmarish stories while researching the process. I never saw a review of the process that was positive. But let me say that much will depend on your own attitude when working with the immigration agents. Remember INM employees are under a great deal of stress to process hundreds of applicants each and every day. You can go a long way by establishing an eye to eye contact,during your private interviews. Both of our experiences thus far have been very easy, very efficient, and with the help of officials and agents, problem free. I cannot say enough about the positive way we were treated by everyone in the Queretaro INM office.
The best advice I can give you to make the process easier is to be prepared…over prepared. Have more copies than you need of everything. Keep all of your necessary documentation in one organized place. I used a 3 ring binder filled with plastic sleeves and 3 dividers: Immigration; Pets; Auto. We carried a small printer and electric converter in our car so we could make additional copies if needed. In Mexico, you must provide your own copies of everything. If you do not have them, you will have to leave to get them, and they can be costly.
Keep your original documents in the back of each sleeve, turned face down so that you will see the back page first. On top of those, place your copies face up. Mark your copies with a copy stamp. Most of the time you will be required to present the original and a copy of your documentation. The original will usually be returned. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself. I then labeled the plastic sleeve with a black marker – “Original” on the back, and “Copies” on the front. All items were sorted and placed under their appropriate divider.
We kept several empty sleeves in the binder in order to assemble the various packets of information necessary for our different visits. We usually prepare the night before our appointment.
Here is a link to a checklist that will help you track your progress. It came in real handy for us.
I would recommend having your photos made at a location near the INM office you are visiting, so that in the event they are rejected, new ones can be obtained free of charge. You can do that first thing in the morning. Most of the photo studios open at 8 a.m.
You will also need to pay the appropriate fees at a local bank. INM offices do not accept payments of fees. There is a form, which can be obtained online, that you present to the bank for payment. The bank will give you a receipt to present to the INM office. Be sure to make several copies of this receipt before giving it to an agent. This can be done the day before visiting the INM office.
Arrive early for all appointments by at least 15 minutes. Most offices open by 9:00am.