mexico digital nomad visa

Mexico digital nomad visa application process, explained

I applied for a Mexico digital nomad visa 2 years ago and I was quite surprised about the smooth process and easy list of requirements. Currently, I have a 4-year temporary resident visa in Mexico which is different from this visa type. You can check that post if you feel like you are more qualified for the visa category. Meanwhile, if you are a digital nomad, this is the right visa application process for you so read on!

Mexico grants all visiting tourists a 180-day visa upon entry. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve been to a country where I am allowed to stay for more than 90 days.

As a Philippine passport holder, it’s quite difficult for me to find places that will allow me to stay for longer periods of time.

Since I travel quite often, I did not feel the need to apply for the Mexico digital nomad visa.

I made Mexico my base and traveled a lot around Latin America but when the world woke up to a global pandemic in early 2020, I realized that I cannot travel out of the country as much as I could.

At first, I was like, sure, I can just cross to Guatemala.

But as you know, my friends, Filipinos like me need a visa to almost every country in the world (including Guatemala) so that wasn’t an option for me.

I even need a visa to Mexico as a Philippine passport holder! Yep, I did not enter Mexico freely. I had to go to the embassy to process my 180 days tourist visa.

Good thing Mexico is a member of the OECD so I can enter the country using valid Japan, USA, Canada, and Schengen visas.

I only have Japan and through the years that I am coming in and out of Mexico, this visa really helped me a lot.

Note: This visa application process in Mexico is applicable to all nationalities. The requirements are all the same no matter where you are from.

Mexico digital nomad visa explained

Mexico’s digital nomad visa is not really called the digital nomad visa. This is probably the first article you’ll find on the Internet about it.

This visa is called “no lucrativo” (non-lucrative) and is especially for entrepreneurs, individuals, retirees, and digital nomads who can prove that they can financially support themselves by living in Mexico.

Related: The best digital nomad destinations in Mexico

temporary resident visa mexico

It is also referred to as “visa temporal” (temporary resident visa) which allows you to live and work online in Mexico for a year.

The first application is the hardest part and you will only get a 1-year visa. This will happen for the next 3 years – you have to renew it yearly and in the third year, you will be eligible to apply for a permanent residency visa (PR).

A non-lucrative visa does NOT allow you to work in any Mexican company. You must show proof that you are earning from a company outside the country.

If you want to work for a Mexican company, then that’s a different ball game with a much complicated process. This guide is only for digital nomads who which to work and live in Mexico legally.

Mexico temporary resident visa through NUT

NUT means Número Único de Trámite and it’s only for those who are going to Mexico to work for a Mexican-registered company (foreign or local).

For example, if you are to work for a Canadian or American Real Estate company in Mexico, they are technically registered in Mexico as a business even if the owners are foreigners.

In this case, you need to apply for a temporary residency visa in Mexico through NUT. This post is only for non-lucrative activities so I was not required to apply for NUT.

Check the requirements for a temporary resident visa Mexico through NUT before applying. Also, see if you are qualified for that visa category.

Am I qualified to apply for the Mexico digital nomad visa?

Those who are qualified to apply for the non-lucrative visa are as follows:

  • You are traveling to Mexico for retirement, investments, professional activities, technical activities, artistic activities, scientific activities, and sport activities or as a minister of religion.
  • You will be in Mexico for more than 180 days but less than 4 years.
  • You don’t have a work authorization
  • You are working and earning for a company outside Mexico

How much money should I have in the bank?

As per the 2021 rule, below are the amounts you need to present depending on your case.

Investment or bank account $35,530.00 USD
Employment or pension $2,131.00 USD

In my case, I applied as a digital nomad so I needed to show that I was earning $2,132 USD per month (6 months to one year proof of bank statement from my home country).

Do I need a digital nomad visa if I am working online in Mexico?

Good question! Actually, they are not very strict with online workers. You can enter Mexico with a 6-month tourist visa and work remotely from here.

However, in the event that you are caught by the authorities, they have the right to deport you. I know it’s strange especially if you are working for a company outside Mexico. What do they care?! Doesn’t it work that way anywhere?

The chances of you getting caught are super low but the INM, which is the National Institute of Immigration do monthly sweeps in popular destinations in Mexico like Sayulita and Cancun.

Honestly, they are just looking for undocumented people who work in bars as there are a lot of those here.

However, if you are where they are at the wrong time, the INM officer has the right to check your visa status. I’ve only experienced this twice, and luckily, I wasn’t violating any visa rules in Mexico.

Since I have the residency permit, they did not ask me anything else.



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Should I hire a lawyer for my Mexico digital nomad visa?

Since it was my first time applying, I was advised to hire a lawyer. I have some British and American friends who have been denied a Mexico temporary resident visa and I was really quite shocked since these people are from first-world countries.

I realized it will be more challenging for me so hiring a lawyer was necessary.

It ended up very costly as opposed to doing it myself but I had to be sure that I will get a visa. Remember that the non-lucrative visa in Mexico is all about showing financial proof.

If you are confident with the amount of money you have in the bank, then it wouldn’t be a problem.

From being here in Mexico for a long time, I know that things like this are really costly. The Mexican bureaucracy has a lot of loopholes and is always solvable if you have money (and the right contacts, of course).

I feel that you won’t need a lawyer but I’d still like to share the lawyer expenses. Please take note that the visa expenses will be discussed later in this post.

Total legal fees: $7,000 MXN ($357 USD)

The first payment for legal advice is $1,000 MXN. Basically, the lawyer will explain the process of how to apply for the visa like what I am doing now.

This fee includes the lawyer booking your visa interview. He/she will also fill out the form for you.

The second payment is $3,000 MXN ($153 USD) for the lawyer to process your visa in the INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración) whichever Mexican city you wish to apply to in Mexico.

In my case, the lawyer needed to process it in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit. This is where I am currently based.

See also: Is Puerto Vallarta the best digital nomad destination in Jalisco, Mexico?
mexico digital nomad visa

Internet speed in Mexico is quite fast, especially in Mexico City. The cost of living is also a digital nomad’s favorite!

The third payment is for your biometrics/fingerprints at INM which is another $3,000 MXN ($153 USD). Again, these are just the fees for the lawyer. I will discuss the visa fee later.

Now, my friends have asked me a lot if it’s worth it to get a lawyer to apply for your visa. It’s really up to you. I just feel like I need one for my case since I also don’t have a lot of savings but can meet the monthly financial requirement for the non-lucrative visa.

If you wish to hire my lawyer, please get in touch with me via e-mail or Instagram and I will connect you to her. She is really great!

Whether you are hiring a lawyer or doing it by yourself, below are the exact same steps to apply for a digital nomad visa in Mexico.

How to apply for a Mexico digital nomad visa (non-lucrative)

Step 1: Schedule your appointment at a Mexican Embassy outside of Mexico

If it is your first time applying for this Mexican visa type, you need to do it outside of Mexico. My American and European friends always choose the Embassy in Miami since it’s closer and the fares are cheap.

As for me, I need to get a tourist visa to enter the USA so the consulate/embassy is not really an option. I need to find a Mexican embassy in countries where I was free to enter without a visa.

My options were Costa Rica, Colombia, and Nicaragua.

Why am I being particular with the embassies? You can also do it in your home country but in my experience (and my friends), Miami and Costa Rica are the most relaxed when it comes to this visa type.

I chose Costa Rica not because I want to visit it (believe me, it’s my least favorite country) but because I was witness to the smooth visa processing in this country.

I once accompanied my Argentine friends in San Jose, CR who processed their work visa (not non-lucrative) and they told me it was a really fast and easy process.

Related: The digital nomad guide to Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico
mexico digital nomad visa

Digital nomads flock Mexico today as this is one of the countries that accept American tourists.

Of course, since they applied for a different visa type, it might have been easier as their visa is company-sponsored. I saw the dynamics in the Mexican Embassy in CR and they seem to be very chill.

To schedule your appointment, you have to go to the Mexitel website and follow the necessary steps.

Last year, I was able to schedule an appointment 3 months ahead of time but as of January 2021, the Embassy in Costa Rica has fewer appointment slots.

You can’t even schedule it a month in advance! Since the non-lucrative visa requirements are not that hard to gather, I feel like it’s okay if you schedule your appointment on the same week to secure your slots.

Again, I am only talking about the schedule in Costa Rica. All these depend on the Mexican Embassy you are trying to set an appointment in.

Step 2: Gather the requirements

While you are scheduling your interview appointment in the Mexican Embassy of your choice, you need to ask for the requirements as well. It’s so strange that each consulate/embassy has its own list but so far, I’ve seen very little difference.

For those who want to apply in Miami, you may get in touch with Cristian Flores at visas[at]mexicomiami[dot]org. I asked for the Miami requirements just in case and they were kind enough to send it via e-mail.

See also: List of countries with digital nomad visas
mexico digital nomad visa

Mexico remains open to tourist despite of increasing COVID cases in big cities like Mexico City.

Meanwhile, here’s what the Embassy of Mexico in Costa Rica required:

  1. Duly-filled out the visa application form which you can download here. My lawyer filled this out for me.
  2. Valid passport with a minimum validity of six months. You need to photocopy the first and last page.
  3. $40 USD visa application fee to be paid on the day of your interview.
  4. Original and copy of the document proving your legal stay (residence card) or copy of the last entry stamp (in force) to Costa Rica if the foreign person is not a national of the country where you are applying for the visa.
  5. A passport-sized photograph (4.5 by 3.5 cm) with the face visible, without lenses, in front, in color, and with a white background.
  6. Original and copy of proof of investments or bank accounts with an average balance equivalent to $27,000 USD or above.
  7. Proof of monthly salary of $1,625 USD for the last 3 months. In my case, I printed 12 bank statements (for one year). My lawyer suggested it’s better to have the whole year’s financial report as opposed to only 3 months.
  8. Proof of employment with the letterhead of the company. Of course, if you own your company (like I do), I just showed proof of registry of my online business (off-shore) plus I also asked my regular clients to provide proof of employment for me. Overall, I had 5 recommendations from my employers/clients!

digital nomad travelwifi

You don’t need to present numbers 5 and 6. You can just need to choose 1. I have a Mexican bank account but since I am not a Mexican national, I need to show proof from my bank in my home country, which is a pain because I already stopped using that bank.

6 months prior to my appointment, I had to make sure that I was depositing $2,000 USD to my Philippine bank account just to make the record.

The tricky thing about this is that I needed to get the bank statement from my bank in the Philippines and ask my family to bring it to the Department of Foreign Affairs to be apostilled (red ribbon).

Then my mom sent it to me in Mexico. The document shipping cost me $200 USD from Manila to Mexico City (3 working days via FedEx).

Step 3: Go to your appointment

Appointments should not take long but please remember to go at least an hour early. In Costa Rica, there were 2 embassies on Google maps, but one is actually the consulate.

I was in the consulate but my interview was in the Embassy! These are two different things so make sure that you have the right address. I was an hour late but they still allowed me to come in, thank God!

The interview is quick as long as you have all the documents needed. You can choose the language of your interview (English or Spanish).

Even though I speak fluent Spanish, I chose English just to better understand the technical terms. They will ask the purpose of your visa application and everything relevant about your remote work.

Once your visa is approved, the immigration officer will ask you to leave your passport. You need to come back after two days for your passport with the visa stamp.

Recommended: Everything you need to know about being a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen
permanent residency mexico

Mexico is a big country and it surely has it all. From cenotes to mountains, this country is a digital nomad’s favorite travel destination.

In my case, I asked if I can get it within 24 hours since I only had 3 days in Costa Rica. They were kind enough to approve my request (I show them flight proof). The key is to ask and you will get!

This visa stamp allows you to enter Mexico. Once back in Mexico, you will have 30 days to process your canje (temporary visa card). See the next step below.

Step 4: Process your residency card in Mexico

You need to process your canje in any INM in Mexico. I did mine in Nuevo Vallarta since I am based here. Below are the steps and requirements on how to apply for your canje:

  1. Fill out an online form here.
  2. A letter of request for your canje where you must state that you are already granted a Mexican visa outside of the country. You also need to include the purpose of your stay in Mexico (aka work online).
  3. Original and copy of the passport.
  4. Completed FMM form, provided at the port of entry, marked as canje for 30 days. You will get this when you enter Mexico with the granted temporary visa on your passport.
  5. Filled out formato básico which you can download here.
  6. Temporary resident fee of $4,271 MXN ($218 USD) for one year. When you renew the following year, the fee is the same but you can request for a 2 or 3-year visa instead of 1. To pay the fee, the Immigration Officer will provide an E5 form. You need to bring it to any Mexican bank to make a payment. In the INM in Nuevo Vallarta, there were lots of banks outside so I did not have to go far.
Read: The digital nomad guide to Mexico City
residency in mexico

The monthly cost of living in Mexico for digital nomads is around $700 – $1,200 USD.

Once you’ve completed the required documents above, you will be given 2 documents which are (1) NUT; (2) pieza which are just two reference numbers to track your application online.

You will normally receive a notification within 10 (working) days to 2 weeks that your canje has been approved.

Step 5: Fingerprints at INM

Once your canje is approved, you must to back to INM to for fingerprint appointment and bring the following:

  • Three colored photos with white background (2.5 x 3 cm)
  • You must not be wearing glasses or earrings in the photo. Your hair should also be behind your ears. There are always photo studios in embassies so just do it there since they are more familiar with the format. This will only cost less than $4 USD.

In this last appointment, you will sign documents and have your fingerprints taken. After this, your resident card will be ready within one week.

Congratulations, you are now a temporary Mexican resident!

Mexico digital nomad visa frequently asked questions

Do I need a NUT permit to apply for my non-lucrative visa?

The non-lucrative visa application in Mexico does not require the NUT permit. You are only required to obtain this if you are going to work for a Mexican company. Meaning, you are going to live in Mexico for lucrative activities.

What are the benefits of having a temporal/digital nomad/non-lucrative visa?

Sure, it does not give you the benefits as a permanent resident or a citizen but if you have a temporary visa, you will be able to apply for a Mexican bank account, apply for wifi under your name, etc.

I am still exploring some benefits but I will update this post soon. It’s just so important for me to have a Mexican bank account.

As a digital nomad, my income stream comes in different currencies so it’s easier to have a centralized bank account where I am.

What are your tips when applying for a temporary resident visa in Mexico for the first time?

Throughout this process, since this is kind of a financial capability visa for remote workers, I feel like exceeding the amount of salary required by the consulates is always a good trick.

As long as you can prove that you can support yourself while living and working remotely in Mexico, there is a low chance for your visa to be denied.

The required amount for digital nomads is $1,700 USD per month but I always made sure I put $2,000 USD monthly.

Am I eligible to apply for a Mexico temporary resident visa (non-lucrative)?

Retirees, digital nomads, and entrepreneurs who can prove they work for a company outside Mexico or has their own business are eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa in Mexico.

Can I apply for a Mexico permanent resident visa right away?

I’m sure you can but the requirements are not the same as the temporary residency application. Most of the people I know were not granted permanent residency (PR) during their first application but I also know a few who were lucky!

On your second temporary visa renewal, you can request a 2-3 year visa.

Do I have to prove I have $27,000 in the bank and that I am earning $1,700 per month?

You don’t have to prove both. You can choose if you want to present that you have $27,000 USD in your bank account or a 6-months bank statement proving that you are earning $1,7000 USD per month.

If you have more questions, leave them in the comment box below and I’ll add them to this post!

Do I need to pay taxes in Mexico if I have a non-lucrative visa?

No, you don’t. And it’s actually super weird! When I asked INM where I pay taxes, they said that non-lucrative visa holders in Mexico don’t need to pay.

You only need to pay taxes in Mexico if you are working for a Mexico-registered company. Even if they are American or Canadian companies, as long as they are registered in Mexico, you need to pay taxes. The employer usually takes care of that.

MEXICO TEMPORARY RESIDENT VISA ON PINTEREST: SAVE IT FOR LATER!

mexico temporary resident visa application

Do you like what you’re reading? Does it help? I take a lot of time creating valuable and meaningful content. If you like to support my content creation and my blog, consider donating to my coffee fund. Thank you in advance!

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • Brea
    February 15, 2021

    Hi!
    I’m a fan of your adventures. I’m checking the feasibility of temporarily changing locations with my work from home setup.
    I’m curious if you apply for health card in the country where you are at for medical emergencies? Or a travel insurance will do?

    Thanks!

    reply
  • john mutch
    May 19, 2021

    Hi, great article!
    I wonder if you can tell me the answer to this question?
    I am thinking of applying for this visa and have my partner and our two children as dependants. Would they come under my application or would i need to show extra available funds because i will not be alone?

    reply
  • ANALYN D PANGADLO
    June 10, 2021

    good day! we are travelling as a group, me my daughter my niece my friend and my friends daughter.all in all we are 5. in applying a visa going to mexico are they going to be under me in just 1 requirement as a group or we have to prepare individually our documents especially when it comes to financial documents.thank you

    reply
  • Jane
    June 16, 2021

    Hi! I am planning to apply for temporary residency visa here in the Philippines and I work online as a freelancer and I made sure that my bank statement is enough to meet the required amount for me and my kid. Just wondering, what kind of questions do they ask with regards to applying for the TRV? Any specific you can share? Thanks a lot! That would help me feel more confident with the interview.

    reply
  • Adam
    June 19, 2021

    Hi Trisha! Awesome article. If I want to prove that I have 27,000 USD in savings, do I need to show bank statements for 1 year? I’m planning to liquidate one of my properties so that I can show that I have enough savings, so I want to make sure whether I need to keep the money in the bank for a while before printing out bank statements. Is 1 month enough in your opinion?

    reply
      • Adam
        June 25, 2021

        Thanks Trisha.
        Can I have your lawyer’s contact details so that I can start the process?

        reply
  • Sienna
    June 28, 2021

    Hi Trisha, thank you so much for the detailed information. Although there’s a ton of information about this visa out there, I couldn’t find any specific, firsthand experiences like yours!

    You mentioned in another article, that once you become a Temporary Resident, you have to report to INM that you are going abroad. And I wonder if you happen to know whether you have to live in Mexico full-time for 4 years in order to apply for the Permanent Residency? As my partner and I still would like to travel around the world during the 4-year period and live part-time(about 6 months every year) in Mexico, I am not sure if this will effect our eligibility for PR. Have you seen anybody who’s gotten PR after they didn’t stay in Mexico full-time?

    Thanks a lot! 🙂

    reply
      • Sienna
        July 7, 2021

        Wow! Thank you so much for your reply, Trisha! This is the answer I was looking for, and it will really help our journey ahead 🙂

        Your articles and videos have been inspiring me so much. Hope we can meet you up somewhere in Mexico sometime in the future! Xx

        reply
  • malik
    July 23, 2021

    Hello Trisha thank you for all the details about everything, you made a very good writing job, I really appreciate a lot.
    Just one question when you had to prove that amount money in you account it has to be in a bank in the country where you come from ? or can i have an european bank with 27K $ ?
    and i will be more than greatful if you can provide me a lawyer contact.
    Thank you very much

    reply
      • malik
        July 23, 2021

        oh thank you so much for your response.
        can i get you’re lawyer contact pleaase.
        best regards .

        reply
  • AMNG
    August 4, 2021

    Hi Trisha,
    I found your blog last May …. Ever since I love your blog and your Youtube channel…
    Thank you so much for all the details about Digital-Nomad life in Mexico and especially Non-Lucrative Visa details in Mexico..

    I can show 27K in a bank in my home country !OR $1,500 for 1 year !

    Past year I operate my Etsy shop using “Other Method” payment option on Etsy… But Etsy disable that option… and also my country doesn’t support Etsy Payments and PayPal….
    But Mexico support Etsy Payments and PayPal…. So I also want to run my little Etsy shop as a side hustle….
    Countries Eligible for Etsy Payments – ( https://help.etsy.com/hc/en-us/articles/115015710408-Countries-Eligible-for-Etsy-Payments )

    1) I want to know if I get Non-Lucrative Visa in Mexico…. could I get Mexican PayPal account ? Did you try that ? If Yes ! Please write a blog article about that and record a video about that …. everyone will love..

    2) I want to know …did you try to open Etsy account using simple email address ….. and try to get Etsy Payments with your temporary resident visa ? Please also write about how to open Etsy account and use Etsy Payments as temporary resident visa holder in Mexico…..

    3) Also could you please send me your lawyer ‘s contact details….

    4) I’m a web developer, graphic designer and video editor…. If you want my help to develop this WordPress website further I can help you….. as a friend….

    Best Regards,

    reply
  • Andy
    August 4, 2021

    Excellent article, I’m finding so much info on your site! Do you know how taxes factor in with this temporary visa? Meaning does getting this visa compared to a tourist visa automatically mean you’ll need to file Mexican taxes since it means Mexico is now your “center of interest”? (Hopefully that made sense) Thanks!

    reply
      • Andy
        August 5, 2021

        Hey Trisha, thank you for the reply. Sorry sorry I’m not following, maybe I missed something. But what were you told regarding taxes?

        reply
          • Andy
            August 5, 2021

            Ah ok, gotcha. Well that’s quite interesting, I’ll have to look into that more. Thank you!

  • Themeo A.
    August 5, 2021

    Hi Trisha, Thank you so much for this article about the Non-Lucrative Visa details in Mexico !
    Finally I found my destination ! Love your vlogs too…
    I want to connect with your lawyer so could you please send me her contact details to my email address….

    reply
  • Themeo A.
    August 5, 2021

    Hi Trisha,
    Thank you for your attention & prompt reply about this matter !
    Best Regards,

    reply
  • Daniel
    August 16, 2021

    Hi Trisha, thank you so much for sharing all this information, extremely helpful for people looking to relocate!
    Could you please send me the contact details of your lawyer to get advice for the temporary residence permit. Thank you so much once again!

    reply

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