Mexican Visas and Immigration
Like many industrialized nations, Mexico has a comprehensive legal and statutory Immigration Policy affecting Mexicans and foreign nationals.
This guide gives an overview of the Mexican immigration system and outlines the principal visas and options open to persons seeking to visit Mexico
for leisure, for retirement, for living, working as well as those seeking permanent residence in Mexico or Mexican Citizenship.
What is Mexico's Immigration Policy?
Mexico's General Law of Population sets out the rights and obligations of foreigners, as well as the different statuses associated with foreign
Types of Immigrant Permits
There are two kinds of permit: Non-Immigrant and Immigrant:
Non Immigrant Permits are for people who intend to visit Mexico for a specific purpose and then depart;
Immigrant Permits are for people who wish to gain permanent residence in Mexico.
Applying for Mexican Visas
You may apply for your visa(s) in person, or you may hire a representative to advise you, make the application on your behalf and do all of the
FM2 - The Immigrant Visa
FM2 visas are intended for people seeking permanent residency status in Mexico or those seeking eventual Mexican Citizenship.
There are various categories under which FM2 visas are granted, and these relate to the activities you intend to undertake while in Mexico. Under the
terms of the FM2, you are authorized to only undertake certain, specific activities which may be lucrative or non-lucrative.
You must hold a FM2 for a qualifying period* before you may apply for "immigrant" status or Mexican Citizenship.
You do not need to have held a FM3 visa before applying for a FM2, and any years you may have accrued while living in Mexico under the auspice of a
FM3 permit do not count towards your FM2 qualification period.
If your goal is to seek long-term residency in Mexico, or to become a Mexican Citizen, you should apply for FM2 status (or request a change of status
from FM3 to FM2) so that your time starts counting towards the qualification period as soon as possible.
You may apply for a FM2 visa while in Mexico and in possession of a FMM (Tourist/Business Visitors Visa) or a FM3.
Following the qualification period, you may apply for full resident status. When your full residence status has been accepted, you are entitled to
full rights (e.g. access to IMSS sickness pay) and responsibilities (e.g. pay income taxes) as any other Mexican Citizen. Naturalized citizens are
also allowed to vote in Mexican elections.
When your full residence status has been accepted, you may also begin your application for Mexican Citizenship, although you do not have to do this;
you can remain a 'resident alien' on a FM2 visa indefinitely.
Upon receiving immigrated status, you will receive a document that looks like a Mexican Passport (called a "FM2") -- newer versions look like a
driver's license -- which enables you pass through Mexico's borders as if you were a Mexican National.
You do not, under Mexican law, need to surrender your national passport -- whether you remain a resident-alien or apply for citizenship -- which
you'll use when you return to your home country: either for visits, or when returning home to dwell. You home country's policies may require you to
surrender your passport and/or citizenship; check with your local authorities for details.
If you hold a FM2 visa and stay outside of Mexico for longer than 2 years, or for 5 years in any 10 year period, you will lose your permanent resident
status in Mexico.
*Qualifying periods vary depending on your circumstances. Seek advice from an immigration lawyer about this matter.
BELOW PARTS FROM THE MEXICAN CONSTITUTION
Article 30. Mexican nationality is acquired by birth or by naturalization:
Mexicans by birth are:
Those born in the territory of the Republic, regardless of the nationality of their parents:
Those born in a foreign country of Mexican parents; of a Mexican father and a foreign mother; or of a Mexican mother and an unknown father;
Those born on Mexican vessels or airships, either war or merchant vessels.
Mexicans by naturalization are:
Foreigners who obtain letters of naturalization from the Secretariat of Foreign Relations;
A foreign woman who marries a Mexican man and has or establishes her domicile within the national territory.
Article 33. Foreigners are those who do not possess the qualifications set forth in Article 30. They are entitled to the guarantees granted by Chapter
I, Title I, of the present Constitution; but the Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem
inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.
Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.
[edit on 28-4-2010 by HappilyEverAfter]