Toying with the idea of leaving the U.S. and wondering about getting long term visas for Mexico? You are not alone! With more people working from home than ever, plus the general chaos of the world, more and more U.S. citizens are seeking a better life down in Mexico!
I’ve personally been living in Mexico for a total of 5 months now, and while I don’t have plans to stay permanently once travel picks back up, I went ahead and researched the options for residency, just in case.
In this post, I will explain the three main ways for getting long term visas for Mexico, that don’t include the easy ways…like finding a random Mexican citizen to marry!
Before making a decision to move or travel to Mexico, please see my post on Mexico Safety! And be sure to read my guides for Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Sayulita, to help decide where you want to live in Mexico!
Is it Easy Getting Long Term Visas for Mexico?
Compared to other countries, like the ones in Europe, I’d say yes! And not to mention, compared to foreigners trying to get U.S. residency, it’s a hell-a-lot easier!
It mostly requires a bunch of paperwork (now would be a good time to practice your Spanish or ask a friend for a favor because the forms are all in Spanish). Proving you make money on your own and won’t be taking away from the Mexican citizens’ job opportunities, and getting some headshots. Oh and you need to start it all in the US, and finish it in Mexico. This is just for the two residency visas though, you can also just straight up go to Mexico for 6 months just by showing up.
I’ll get to that one first!
Free 6 Month Tourist Visa for Mexico
If you’re like me, and by “moving to Mexico” you really mean, going for a few months, then this visa is for you! Every person who travels to Mexico automatically gets a free 6 month visa upon arrival!
It’s one of the longest free passports in the World, which is likely why there’s so many digital nomads, snow birds, and travelers here!
It also technically restarts whenever you leave and re-enter the country, which a lot of expats have taken advantage of. For example, instead of paying or going through the paperwork to legally live in Mexico longer than 6 months, they just leave the country right before 6 months, and come back a few days later, then voila, another 6 months. But that’s technically called “visa running” and the Mexican gov is starting to crack down on it, so I wouldn’t suggest trying it!
But if you’re not planning on staying longer than 6 months, simply just show up with your passport, and enjoy 180 days in paradise!
Temporary Resident Visas for Mexico
The “temporary resident visas for Mexico” are for people who plan on staying longer than 6 months, but less than 4 years. However if they decide to stay after 4 years, they can then easily apply for permanent residency. AKA this is probably the best option if you want to move-move to Mexico!
To get Temporary Resident Visas for Mexico you must:
- Prove your income is $2,072 USD/month OR $103,616 per year
- OR Prove you own property or have invested in a company both valued over $103,616
- Fill out this online this online form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website www.sre.gob.mx and sign it
- Pay an initial fee of $36 for this first visa (you pay another fee for the residency)
- Submit the form online or the nearest Mexican Consulate and wait to receive an appointment date and time
- On your appointment day, be sure to bring all of the required documents they tell you to bring, including a passport photo
- At the appointment (in the U.S.), your docs will be reviewed, you’ll be asked a few questions about why you want to live in Mexico, and if everything passes, you’ll be given a temporary visa
- Next you must go to Mexico within 180 days, go as soon as possible
- Once you arrive in Mexico, you will have 30 days to go to a local immigration office and apply for your official residency card though the “canje” process (translates to “exchange”)
- You must pay about $197 for the first year for the actual residency visa
- If you fail to get there in time, your visa will become invalid and you’ll have to start all over again!
Temporary Residents can:
- Temporarily bring your U.S. plated vehicle into Mexico
- Purchase and register a Mexican-plated car
- Open a bank account
- Import household goods without duty
- Have unrestricted/unlimited entry and exit at borders
- Obtain permanent residency after 4 Years
- Get special discounts at restaurants!
Temporary Residents cannot:
- Cannot directly own land close to border or beach (Must be placed in trust)
- No renewals after 4 years. Become a Permanent Resident or leave.
Permanent Resident Visas for Mexico
If you’ve fallen in love with the charm, beauty, and energetic vibe of Mexico, and want to make it your permanent home, you’ll want to apply for the permanent resident visas for Mexico.
The process is exactly the same as above, with these two exceptions:
- You must prove an average income of $2,700/month or show a savings of $108,000
- Pay $218.50 (currency rates may vary) for the residency visa
Permanent Residents Have:
- All rights of Mexican Citizens except voting
- No need to renew residency
- Unlimited border crossings (but you’re expected to spend the majority of your time there)
- Maintain legal employment or self-employment without consent.
Permanent Residents cannot:
- Personally own land close to borders or beach (Must form trust)
- Cannot import foreign plated vehicles.
For a super intense complete guide to long term visas in Mexico, check out their government guide!
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