temporary resident visa mexico

I got a 4-year temporary resident visa in Mexico under the new regularization law 2021

This temporary resident visa Mexico post is not only for American citizens but for all nationalities. The resident visa requirements do not vary by citizenship. As long as you are qualified, then you can definitely apply.

Reader Mail: Hi Trisha! I saw your post about a non-lucrative visa in Mexico but I also saw on Instagram that you were granted a 4-year visa?

I don’t know what this new rule about the temporary resident visa Mexico about. Can you please explain further? I cannot find anything on the Internet about it. I am from Texas but currently in Mexico with a tourist visa. Thank you.
– Stephen Sanchez, USA

*****

Hi Stephen,

Sorry for sharing those Instagram stories without clarifying! And thanks for writing to me! This blog thrives on reader questions so it’s really great to hear from you.

This visa program is new so bear in mind that the date on your entry card is really important.

Anyway, I will give you all the information you need together with my experience in applying for this visa type. If you have additional questions, feel free to send me a message on Instagram or use the contact page of this blog! Best of luck!

Xx,
Trisha

A little story about my months of resident visa application in Mexico: COVID happened

In 2018, like always, I came to Mexico without any plans of staying full-time. I always travel long-term but I never thought of living somewhere… Until COVID happened.

I sort of panicked and found myself stuck in Mexico, which is not a bad country to be stuck in as everything is pretty normal here.

Still, I didn’t think of applying for a temporary resident visa Mexico because I thought COVID will be yesterday’s subject in a few month’s time.

But it didn’t… COVID, as it turns out, will be a part of us for a long time.

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This is my first time applying for a residency visa anywhere. As a digital nomad for over 10 years who can go anywhere I like, I never had to think about these types of visas. I simply go in and out. That’s it.

Mexico has a generous 180-tourist visa so that’s enough time for me to plan a border run. But times have changed and got in other countries has become more difficult.

Believe me, it’s not that easy anymore. I needed to be stable somewhere and I feel so privileged that I am in Mexico at this time.

I have been living in Mexico since 2018 through a tourist visa. As my job requires me to travel a lot, it’s very easy for me to renew my tourist visa. They also don’t give you too much shit about going in and out. This country definitely loves tourists.

In 2019, I decided to process my Mexico digital nomad visa also known as the non-lucrative visa. If you are not in Mexico yet, this is probably the better visa type for you.

Read: Living in Sayulita Mexico: is this lifestyle for you?

Anyway, this visa requires you to apply in a Mexican consulate outside Mexico (either in your home country or anywhere, really).

In my case, I booked an appointment at the Mexican Consulate in San Jose, Costa Rica. I got the confirmation right away since I hired a lawyer to process my visa.

My appointment was moved three times the same as my flight tickets to Costa Rica have been rebooked three times. I kept pushing to get it over with because my tourist visa is already expired for 7 months, meaning I was staying in Mexico illegally.

My lawyer said that’s not really “illegal” since it’s COVID and it’s not only me who cannot go back to my country because of the pandemic. There were many of us and INM was pretty lenient about it.

They know that there are lots of illegal tourists but they are not doing the sweep as they would normally do.

Read: How to open a bank account in Mexico as an expat or as a tourist
temporary resident visa mexico

Mini vacations in my neighboring town, Punta Mita.

I was so uncomfortable to be illegal but my lawyer said that everything is fine and that I need to wait it out until my interview for the consulate has been approved 100%.

That’s the thing – because of COVID, consulate offices all over the world kept opening and closing. As I need to leave Mexico in order to do my temporary resident visa, I need to be 100% that I will be interviewed.

In 2020, that was really impossible to know ahead of time.

Introducing the new regularization program 2021

As my lawyer advised… sit it out. And that’s what I did. Not to mention I already paid a lot of lawyer fees but still no visa.

On March 17, 2021, I received information from a friend in Mexico City about the new regularization program that the Mexican government launched.

My tourist visa expired in June 2020 so this was good news to me. I needed to get rid of this discomfort that I have for being “illegal” even though my lawyer will take care of me when shit goes down.

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This program was first offered in INM Queretaro

At the time, it was only available in INM Queretaro so I have to go there in order to investigate how to apply. I immediately booked a bus ticket to Queretaro which is a 10-hour ride from my home in Puerto Vallarta.

They were only doing it weekly (every Friday) so I needed to act fast. Knowing Mexico, this new regularization program may be temporary – they can cancel this anytime.

I talked to friends in other states like Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and Mexico. They told me that at the time, only INM Queretaro is doing that program so I had no choice to go all the way to Qro.

So, I went for it. I speak fluent Spanish so there’s no harm in trying. The lawyer also wanted to meet in INM Queretaro so that’s pretty safe.

If he asked me to meet in a sketchy area, then I will be very doubtful about the legitimacy of this visa processing.

Temporary resident visa Mexico: regularization requirements

When I first received the requirements, it was all too good to be true. They were only asking for the following:

      • an expired tourist visa
      • visa payment: $9,000+ MXN for a 4-year visa, $7,000 MXN for 3 years, $5,000 for 2 years, and $3,000 for one year
Related: The best places to live in Mexico as an expat
temporary resident visa mexico

INM office in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.

I was like, “that’s it?! Are you kidding me?! Even my housemate Claire (from the UK) who went through the traditional temporary resident visa processing last year was shocked as the normal/traditional one is super tedious and rather costly.

Okay, this sounds sketchy and I don’t really know anyone who has actually done it. So what I did was investigate further and found out from friends, blogger groups, and Facebook groups that the 2021 regularization program of INM is legit.

The lawyer in Queretaro also asked me to deposit a downpayment and when I went to the bank, my bank certified that it is a real bank account of the INM.

Meaning, everything is clean. Mexico has a lot of under-the-table transactions so I had to make sure this was legit. And it was for real.

You might also like: Living in Playa del Carmen as an American expat

temporary resident visa mexico

Doubtful about the lawyer credentials?

In Mexico, there are many lawyers who have stellar profiles on Facebook but from living here, I learned that I should not trust those people especially if I have not met them in person.

Another thing I did was to call my Mexican lawyer friends and do a little intel. I gave the lawyer’s name to my friend and he certified that this is a real lawyer. Thank God for Spanish-speaking skills!

2 days before I was about to go to Queretaro, my lawyer in Puerto Vallarta called and said they opened the regularization program in INM PV. I was like, are you kidding me?!

I already bought my bus ticket to Queretaro which wasn’t really a lot ($60 USD) but I’d rather do my visa back home as opposed to traveling 10 hours for it.

I immediately called the lawyer in Queretaro and said that the program is now open in Puerto Vallarta so I will not push through my travel.

After which, I talked to my lawyer in Puerto Vallarta and told her that I need to get this done ASAP.


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How do I know if I am qualified in the 2021 regularization program?

Before anything else, please check if you are qualified for this program. Each INM has a different requirement so the first thing you need to do is to find out which INM offices in Mexico are doing the regularization program.

When checking in each INM you are in, use the word “regularizacion” in Spanish and they will understand what you mean.

If you don’t speak Spanish, I can connect you to my lawyer so she can find out if the area you are in in Mexico is doing the program. I know for sure that INMs in Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, and Queretaro are doing it.

See also: How to choose your digital nomad base in Mexico
temporary resident visa mexico

Ajijic in Jalisco is said to be the most famous destination for American expats living in Mexico.

Not all INM offices in Mexico offer this program

So far, all my friends in Playa del Carmen and Tulum (Cancun INM) said that Cancun is not currently doing this program. Here are the requirements in each INMs that I know of:

      • Puerto Vallarta: must have an expired tourist visa with proof that you entered Mexico before December 31, 2019. You also need to bring two witnesses to certify that you were already in Mexico on these dates.
      • Nuevo Vallarta: must have an expired tourist visa with proof that you entered Mexico not later than June 2019. Which I feel is ridiculous because that was even before COVID. I think they are doing this for tourists who were here for 10 years and with an expired visa. Yes, I actually know many Americans who are here on an expired visa for decades!
      • Queretaro INM: they are not very strict with dates there. As long as your visa is expired, you can apply for the regularization program. However, it’s very hard to find a lawyer there but write to me and I can recommend you a few.
If you are not qualified to apply for your visa through this program, you can read my post, how to apply for a temporary resident visa Mexico
temporary resident visa mexico

The US State Department currently recorded 1.5 million Americans currently residing in Mexico.

If you are willing to fly to these three areas in order to obtain your visa, then feel free to do so. But you have to have an address in these areas which the lawyer can also provide for you.

I live in PV so you can also use my address but let me check with my lawyer about the legalities of that.

It’s pretty hard to explain the equivalent in English as you will mostly see Spanish results about this type of visa but in easy saying, the regularization program is like a visa for humanitarian reasons – meaning, you are stuck in Mexico for a reason.

In my case, that was COVID. If you have this expired tourist visa card, then you are good to go!

Should I hire a lawyer to process my Mexico residency visa?

Many people told me that hiring a lawyer is not necessary but it’s way easier to hire a lawyer since you don’t have to do anything. They will take care of it.

Mexican immigration lawyers also don’t cost a lot. For the hassle and time, they will save me, I’d rather pay extra than do it all myself.

Sometimes, if you don’t speak Spanish, it will definitely be more challenging even if all immigration officers can speak English. Some things are just not explained well.

Related: Life in Puerto Vallarta right now
temporary resident visa mexico

Tulum is definitely an American/Canadian favorite.

Just to clarify, you can process your own visa in Mexico (any type) without the help of a lawyer — it is not required. INM will definitely accept your application if you do it on your own.

It’s really up to you! I have three different lawyers in Mexico so if you want me to connect you with them, just send me an e-mail and I will give their contact details to you.

Timeline of applying for a temporary resident visa Mexico (under the new regularization program)

Because of COVID, the traditional visa application for temporary residency in Mexico can take up to 3 months. It’s not really a hassle once you are done with your interview outside of Mexico.

You can definitely come here and wait until your residency card is ready. But it will take a while. Under the regularization program, everything was pretty fast. Here’s the timeline with exact dates:

March 21, 2021

My lawyer in Puerto Vallarta informed me that both Nuevo and Puerto Vallarta INMs opened the new regularization program. I searched for my expired tourist visa which took me hours!

I thought I already put it in the bin or my dogs ate it. Thank God I found it in my docs folder. Make sure you have this as this is very essential in applying for your visa.

The lawyer will ask you the following information as he/she needs it to lounge your application:

    • Passport photo (sent via Whatsapp)
    • Expired Residency Card/FMM photo (sent via Whatsapp)
    • Weight
    • Height
    • Number of children
    • Marital status
    • Religion
    • Maximum level of studies
    • If you have any scars, tattoos or moles, only if those are very obvious
    • Residence country before México, state, county and city
    • Main activity on your residence country, as well as an estimated of your monthly income in Mexican pesos
    • Your address in Puerto Vallarta
    • Email address

The lawyer will need all of this to print the documents needed for your visa application. Make sure this is complete before you meet him/her for the signing.

You might also like: Is Merida the best expat base for families with kids?

temporary resident visa mexico

March 23, 2021

I went to my lawyer’s office to give her my passport and my expired tourist card. She also asked for a downpayment of 1,400 MXN in cash which is $70 USD. I left all my documents to her and she asked me to sign a lot of paperwork.

When I arrived, everything was already printed as I already gave her my information 2 days ago. My lawyer is really awesome and she is so diligent! It was a bit tiring to sign a lot of documents though.

Your signature in your passport should match all the signatures in your application documents.

After I signed all the documents, I went home and that same day, my lawyer brought them to the INM in Puerto Vallarta to lounge the application.

After the docs are received by the INM, they instantly gave my lawyer an interview date for me. My lawyer immediately informed me that my interview will be in a week and that I need to bring two witnesses to my interview.

March 30, 2021

I went to INM Puerto Vallarta for my interview, together with my two witnesses. The witnesses should be a Mexican resident or a foreigner who’s a permanent/temporary resident.

I brought a Mexican friend and another friend from the UK who has a working visa. The reason why they are asking you to bring a witness is that these two people can certify that you were in the country on the date on your tourist card.

Apparently, there are a lot of people buying fake tourist cards in order to qualify for the regularization program. It’s really way easier than the traditional application so I’m sure that many foreigners are currently looking to buy expired tourist visas.

Recommended: Your guide to living in Guadalajara as an expat
temporary resident visa mexico

Overstay fee.

My appointment was set at 12:00 pm and I was surprised that everything was on time. We were asked to wait a few minutes (COVID protocols) then one by one, we’re called inside to sign documents. We weren’t interviewed.

I also asked my friends what the immigration officer asked them and they said nothing. They literally signed a (sworn) document and that’s it! We were free to go.

On this day, I was also asked to pay the visa fee of 9,000 MXN ($455 USD). I asked for a 4-year visa since I don’t want to think about it in the next few years.

It’s better this way because, after this 4-year visa, you can automatically apply for a permanent visa that does not expire. Unfortunately, they only accept cash.

In the INM, there is also a table that will compute your overstay fee. My visa expired on June 15, 2020, and I applied for the resident visa on March 30, 2021.

They charged me a total of $3,899 MXN ($197 USD). This price will depend on the date and expiry of your tourist card. The lawyer fee will be paid when you pick up your visa after 7 working days.

April 11, 2021

My lawyer does not have an idea on the exact date of when my resident card will be available so I told her to just call me anytime and I will be there.

She called me at 9:00 in the morning and said that my visa is available for pick-up at noon. I went, signed a few documents, and voila! I got my 4-year temporary residency visa just like that!

temporary resident visa mexico

As a temporary visa resident holder, I can also get a permanent driving license in Mexico.

The immigration officer also told me that I need to submit a document every time I am changing my address or moving to another state in Mexico. The lawyer told me that it’s easy and I can do it with her.

I was also informed that I need to sign a form at the INM in the airport if I am going out of the country. I will update this post when I get to experience going out of Mexico with a residency card. I am leaving for Turkey in 5 days!

Temporary resident visa in Mexico on Pinterest: save it for later!

temporary resident visa mexico

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

  • Henna
    May 28, 2021

    Hi Trisha! I’m from Baja California and I’m also considering to get a temporary or permanent resident visa here. Can you connect me with your immigration lawyer?

    reply
  • Jasmine
    May 30, 2021

    Hi Trisha, thank you so much for the detailed information. I would love to have the information for the three lawyers. I would be willing to go to Queretaro with the attorney that you mentioned. Ps…I couldnt find an email for you and so hence the comment. Thank you, Jasmine

    reply
  • Shea Schellenberg
    June 10, 2021

    Hi Trisha. Great post! My tourist visa expired about nine months ago and I’m interested in obtaining temporary residency. Could you put me in touch with your lawyer? Thank you very much.

    reply
  • paula fridman
    June 11, 2021

    Hi Trisha,
    Can I get more information and maybe can connect me with your lawyer. I wouldn’t mind to go the Queretaro if need be. I don’t have an email for you. Would you kindly get back to me.

    reply
  • Merle
    June 14, 2021

    Hi Trisha!

    Great article! I’d be interested in receiving the contact info of your lawyers, specifically the Queretaro-based ones 🙂
    Many thanks!

    reply
  • huba
    June 18, 2021

    hi Trisha, do you mind to put me in touch with your layer. Thank in advance.

    reply
  • Kate
    June 19, 2021

    Wow, an amazing deal! And great article! First, i thought it cost 9,000 american dollars :)) i couldn’t understand why you were so happy about it :))) wow, really awesome, so happy for you! I have a question, I’m in Europe right now, I’m an american and want to move to PV. The visa rules I’ve known – 1 year temp residency application, need to show around 30,000 US dollars on the account. Are there new rules – to apply for 4 years? and how much – financial proof – they ask during the interview? if you know some details about or can give me your lawyer’s contact info – I highly appreciate! have a great summer!

    reply
  • Dan
    June 24, 2021

    Hey Trish! Would love to get a lawyer recommendation for Querétaro for the regularización temp visa, thanks!

    reply
  • June 24, 2021

    Hi love!
    I emailed you through your instagram a while ago!
    I”m in Punta de Mita 🙂
    Please connect!
    Big thanks,
    Jenn

    reply
  • June 24, 2021

    Hey Trisha, very useful information for those of us in a similar situation! If you have the contact of the lawyer in Queretaro it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    reply
  • Caroline
    July 22, 2021

    Hi Trisha!
    Great article and thanks for sharing! I am also seriously considering applying for Temporary Residence in Mexico. My FMM card is still valid because I entered at the end of April this year. Does the new TP program in PV apply to me while I still have a valid FMM card? Does your lawyer speak English? IF so, would you please connect me with her? Thanks so much!

    reply
  • Carlos Perales
    July 30, 2021

    Hi my girlfriend is in Davao City, I want her to come to Mexico in Cancun, I’m a Mexican citizen, and Canadian citizen, now retire, living in Canada for the summers and Cancun for the winters, I’d apply for my girlfriend for a Canadian tourist visa, but it was denied, we’re now thinking to appy for a Mexican tourist visa and eventually get a 4 year visa, in Mexico, she resides in Davao City, I’m now in Canada untill The end of October, then be back in Mexico for the winter, what wold be the best way for her to meet me in Cancun where I’ll reside for 6 months.
    Thank you.
    Carlos Perales.

    reply
  • Pedro
    August 3, 2021

    Hola Trisha,

    Me puede enviar los datos de su abogado en Queretaro por fav? Si lo que trata en su articulo todavia es valido. Gracias

    reply
  • Rishi
    August 6, 2021

    Hey Trisha,
    Thank you for sharing such information

    I was able to book an appointment with Mexican Embassy finally at next week in order to obtain Temporary Resident Visa without NUT based on my Economic Solvency
    I am afraid about this NUT because while scheduling an appointment, it asked whether I would like to go with NUT or without
    Could you pls throw some light about this NUT as I really don’t understand , also is it mandatory requirement to obtain TRV
    Thank you in advance

    reply
  • MICHAEL WILSON
    August 8, 2021

    Hey Trisha!
    What a useful blog post! 🙂 I entered Mexico in Oct 2019 and my 2nd 180 days visa expired and I didn’t leave the country due to border closures. Eventually I was able to renew my visa after a few months of delay with no problems, eventually leaving to Guatemala before the end of the next 180 . I’d love to apply for a 4 year card. Do you think I’m still eligible as i’ve left and did eventually renew my visa? Thanks a lot!

    reply
  • Jean
    August 8, 2021

    Hi Trisha ,
    Can I ask you something on how I can apply a 4 year residency visa for Mexico ,what would be the requirements needed to be ,thank you in advance.

    reply
  • Jun
    August 9, 2021

    Hi Trisha,
    Can you refer me to the lawyer in PV that facilitated your 4-yr resident visa. I am in the process of doing this as well. Thanks.

    reply
  • Marcia Sophia
    August 14, 2021

    Hi Trisha! I’d love the contact of the lawyers you would recommend in Queretaro. Thanks so much!

    reply
  • Pedro
    August 14, 2021

    Hey Trish,

    Like everyone else, I too am interested in getting regularized. Please put me in touch with your lawyer that might be able to help me.

    Gracias,
    Pedro

    reply
  • August 16, 2021

    Hi Trisha,
    Thank you so much for this blog post! I wish I knew about this earlier! My visa expired on March 20, 2021. I had already been given an extension in Sept 2020 when my previous one had expired because they cancelled my flight to Canada indefinitely. I have pets so I can only fly direct. I though I would be going back before this visa ended but then more craziness in Canada and still no direct flights till now. I was here in 2019 and went on vacation on March 11 to the U.K. Yes the same day the pandemic started! I came back here March 27, 2021 because I have pets, and planned to return to Canada, but that has not been possible. I am in P.V. also and I just yesterday saw mention of this opportunity in the PV Canadian Facebook group, to apply for a temporary residency card. I hope I can qualify! I am not sure if you posted how much are the lawyer fees. Can you give a rough idea as I am sure it will vary by lawyer? I did apply at INM here myself, with limited Spanish to have the tourist visa extended. At that time I did ask what if this continues and they said, no you will have to leaeve no more extensions. So, that is why I never went again. Looks like there were so many, especially Canadians here in the same position because of Canada’s restrictions etc. I would prefer to do it on my own though if the lawyer fees are reasonable I can go that route. Thanks again for sharing this as many I am sure do not have a clue about this!

    reply
  • haykins
    August 21, 2021

    Hi Trisha, Do you know if the INM regularization program is on in Cancun? Also are they concerned about the date entry?

    reply
  • August 26, 2021

    Hi Trisha, thank you so much for this post. I am currently in the UK wondering if I need to prepare and go to the local Mexican embassy to apply for the visa, or if I can just show up on a tourist visa and apply for the nomad or 4 year visa like you did from Mexico? Do you have a good lawyer you can recoommend?

    reply
  • Emrick
    August 27, 2021

    Hi Trisha, thank you so much for this post! I already got my temporary resident visa and am planning to go to Mexico City for the resident card. Would you connect me to your laywer? Thank you!

    reply
  • Geoff
    September 1, 2021

    Hi Trisha

    So I am in Guadalajara and my 6 month FMM just expired. I came in January 2021. What option do I have to extend or apply for temporary residency? From your previous replies I do not think I qualify for the regularization?

    reply
  • Rosch
    September 6, 2021

    Hi Trish,
    I am planning to relocate to Mexico with my family either to PV or Merida. Which area is good and safe for families also accessibility to schools? Also, can your lawyer assist on temporary residence visa processing while outside Mexico? if so, I’d like to connect. We are in Manila. I appreciate your advise.

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards,
    Rosch

    reply

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
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