US nationals who wish to reunite with their Mexican spouse or family or those who have been offered an attractive employment offer by a Mexican company or organization can start the process required to obtain the long-term residence permit. Some may even choose to immigrate to Mexico from US for retirement purposes and in this case they will need to plan their residence permit application as well as handle a host of other issues related to their permanent relocation.
This guide outlines the main types of visas and the general application requirements for those who wish to know about how to immigrate to Mexico from US. It does not substitute official Embassy or Consulate information and we advise those interested to reach out to our immigration lawyers in Mexico for updated information or personalized answers to their questions, as needed. Most Americans living in Mexico are retired or just travel on a 180-day tourist visa. If they decide to stay, they do not apply for permanent status. Because Americans can travel freely since they are exempt from the requirement to get a tourist visa. But if you want to immigrate to Mexico for good, our lawyers can guide you about those visas that can assist you in such relocation.
|Visa requirements for US nationals||
No visa requirement for US nationals to enter Mexico for business or tourism stays of up to 180 days, and up to 30 days for transit purposes
|Special conditions applicable (Yes/No)||Yes, US nationals must have a valid Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM), for stays less than 180 days. For longer stays, they must acquire a visa|
|Business and tourism are better options to move to Mexico from US|
|Permanent residence requirements||
Close family ties, employment, intend to retire, study, live in Mexico for four years, etc.
|Access to investor/citizenship by investment visa||Yes, it is possible to immigrate to Mexico from US on this visa type|
|Timeframe for obtaining a residence permit (approx.)||
Maximum 30 days
|Family reunification visa availability||
Yes, you can immigrate to Mexico from US on
|Investment visa requirements||Approximately 125,000 USD|
|Permanent residence timeframe||4 years|
|Citizenship requirements||Live in Mexico for 5 consecutive years, pass the Mexican history and cultural exam, present criminal record, and the list of required documents, etc.|
|Possibility to acquire real estate (Yes/No)||Yes, US citizens can acquire real estate in Mexico|
|Mexico-US double tax treaty||Yes, with regard to capital gain, and income tax|
|Tax benefits for US citizens||U.S. citizens employed in Mexico can use one of these three options to avoid overpaying on taxes: tax treaties, foreign tax credit, and foreign earned income exclusion|
|Immigration services availability||Yes, our immigration lawyers can help you to immigrate to Mexico from US|
|Post-immigration support availability||Yes, legal support is available to help you apply for residency or citizenship, etc.|
Temporary residence in Mexico
Immigrant visas or permits are designed for those individuals, including US nationals, who are interested in immigration to Mexico on a long-term residence or in any case plan to spend significant time for business, employment or study purposes, a period that would otherwise not be covered by the non-immigrant or temporary stay permits.
Some of the permits that are available to those who immigrate to Mexico from US are issued for the following purposes:
- Lucrative activities: for employees, scientists and researchers, business or technical activities, correspondents or journalists, athletes and in other situations;
- Nonlucrative activities: US citizens do not need a Mexican visa for touristic or transit purposes for a period of less than 180 days, however, if these nonlucrative activities are lengthier, they will need to apply for a proper visa;
- Study: the temporary student’s visa is for those who are coming to the country for study purposes but do not have a work authorization;
- Temporary residence: for those who travel to Mexico for retirement, investment or professional purposes and will be in the country for more than 180 days; other conditions apply;
- Diplomatic/Official visa: for state officials who are in Mexico for conferences, meetings or events and have a valid US visa for multiple entries; other conditions apply;
- Permanent residence: for those who wish to immigrate to Mexico from US, when they are making their move permanent.
The permanent residence visa can be subject to additional criteria, such as proving that one has certain family ties in Mexico or, when applying for retirement purposes, that he or she has enough monthly income to support themselves. Additional important requirements are related to the number of years one has spent in the country legally, under a temporary residence permit.
According to the Mexican Consulate in the State of New York, the costs when applying for services at the Consulate are the following:
- – 47$: analysis documents, medical certificates;
- – 40$: receiving, analyzing and authorizing the ordinary visas;
- – 140$: household inventory permit.
Please keep in mind that these costs can vary and you should check with the Mexican Consulate in your State. Our team of lawyers in Mexico can provide you with information and guide you throughout the process.
Application documents to immigrate to Mexico from US
The general process for the visa application, once you have chosen the type that suits your needs involved making the appointment with the Consulate in your state and applying in person or as indicated. The following documents are generally required:
- – Application: the application form provided by the Consulate needs to be filled in;
- – Identification: the original valid passport and one copy of the pages that contain relevant information (personal information, photograph, expiry date);
- – Forms: the valis required form, in original and one photocopy; one of our lawyers – who specialize in how to immigrate to Mexico from US can give you more details;
- – Photo: this needs to have the standard passport size, needs to be in color and the applicant will take the photo without glasses, if applicable.
- – Proof of payment: it is mandatory to provide proof of having paid the consular fee applicable in that case.
Our team of immigration lawyers in Mexico can help you gather these documents and present them according to the conditions set forth by the Embassy or Consulate. The list of Mexican Consulates and Embassies in the United States includes those in Washington, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, Detroit, Las Vegas or New Orleans, among others. Please keep in mind that the working hours and availability of these Consulates may differ in 2021.
The holder of a permanent residence permit has a number of obligations, among which to notify the authorities of any change in his professional activity, marital status or otherwise. Certain rights for prolonged leave from the country are applicable in case of permanent residence permit holders. They may have a continuous absence from Mexico of three tears or a continuous absence period of five continuous years within ten years, they can engage in additional professional activities without authorization and they can acquire shares and stocks, undertake corporate activities, purchase urban and countryside properties without a permit from the National Migration Institute, however, in complete compliance with the Foreign Investment Law and other relevant investment laws.
No matter the type of immigration to Mexico you are interested in, feel free to discuss with us.
Obtaining Mexican citizenship for US nationals
The goal of someone who wishes to immigrate to Mexico from US can be to ultimately apply for and obtain Mexican citizenship. This is a process that relies on how that individual spent a number of years in the country and whether or not he or she observed the requirements for renewing the temporary residence permit as needed.
The United States do not impose a policy that prohibits dual nationality. This means that a citizen can naturalize in another state and keep his or her US citizenship. American citizens who have moved to Mexico can start their naturalization process, provided that they comply not only with the conditions for a minimum stay in the country but also with those regarding social integration or language knowledge. Below, our team lists some of the most important conditions for individuals who start the naturalization process:
- – live in Mexico at least five consecutive years before making the application (the residence permit could have been a temporary the a permanent one during this time, for example, or as applicable in your case);
- – pass the Mexican history and culture exam, with 10 questions and a minimum passing grade of 8 correct answers;
- – pass the Spanish comprehension examination, which includes a reading and writing section (a minimum of 5 correct answers out of a total of 6 questions);
- – present the required documents to the General Directorate of Legal Affairs in Mexico City or another Foreign Delegation;
- – proof of payment for the application fee;
- – criminal record;
- – the immigration document, passport and birth certificate in original and copy.
One should note that not all applications are accepted. For example, an individual who stays in the country as a temporary resident student does not gain the right to obtain Mexican nationality by naturalization.
Applicants need to pass the history and culture and the language examinations in order to be considered for the citizenship by naturalization application. If the individual does not pass the exams, he must wait at least 10 business days to resubmit the application and take the exams. He is entitled to present for the examination for two more times after the first attempt and if he or she does not pass, the waiting period is up to a year before a new application can be submitted.
US nationals also have other options, apart from naturalization based on minimum residence, if they wish to become Mexican citizens. One of these is naturalization based on being a direct descendant of a Mexican citizen. Special conditions can apply in this case, for example, two second degree direct descendants to a Mexican citizen by birth are exempt from providing evidence of residence in the country, when the rights derived from their birth are not recognized. Our team can provide you with more details about this special situation.
Other situations in which a foreign national can gain Mexican citizenship by naturalization include the following: having Mexican children by birth, being originally from a Latin American country or the Iberian Peninsula, marriage with a Mexican man or woman, being adopted by Mexicans, having provided outstanding services in business, cultural, sports, technical or scientifical matters. We can give you details about these special situations, including those that may apply in your case if you are an investor or an entrepreneur who has opened a company in Mexico or is involved in another type of business.
An applicant who has started the application procedure for obtaining citizenship by naturalization is not exempted during this time from renewing his residence permit.
Our Mexican lawyers can assist those who are interested in applying for citizenship. Being a permanent resident for at least five years before applying to become a citizen of Mexico is one of the essential requirements. It is practically challenging to obtain citizenship in Mexico without first establishing residency, despite some mitigating circumstances, such as claiming nationality via your parents or marrying a Mexican citizen, allowing you to skip this step if either applies to you. Contact us if you would like to know more about how to immigrate to Mexico from US.
After relocation, you will be required to apply for a residence permit in Mexico. It is advised to apply for residence if you plan to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days. Permanent and temporary residence are the two different forms. Only one may apply to you, depending on your circumstances and reasons for moving to Mexico. An appointment must be made at a Mexican consulate to begin either process. Your home nation or another convenient place will serve as the consulate’s site (outside Mexico). Please get in touch with our lawyers to learn more about the application procedure for a residence permit in Mexico.