Home How To Guide How To Get a Permanent Resident Permit in Mexico

How To Get a Permanent Resident Permit in Mexico

by Brent May

Brent & Erin - Residency

If you want to move to Mexico because you love the active beach lifestyle, you’ve met a like-minded community, you have discovered the amazing food and want to travel more in Mexico to explore all it has to offer, you will need a visa if you plan on staying more than 6 months. 

For many years, if you were staying 6 months or less, you could easily enter Mexico and be granted a tourist visa for 180 days. While this is still the official rule, the reality is that immigration agents are granting less time now or are requiring proof of your intentions, reservations and return flight.  The amount of time you are given upon entry into Mexico is at the complete discretion of the immigration officer. If you are regularly coming to Mexico or wish to stay for a long period of time, you should just get your visa. It is a straightforward process and once it’s done, you can relax.

We have covered the different kinds of visas and resident permits. Find out which one is right for you in our article How To Know Which Mexican Visa is Right For You.  The temporary permit, renewable for up to 4 years, is designed for people who have a monthly income or economic solvency and who want to reside in Mexico without working. This can apply to digital nomads or retirees or others who fulfill the permit’s economic criteria. 

Meeting new friends in Huatulco at Village to Dinner events

Meeting new friends in Huatulco at Village to Dinner events

This article will provide more information on the Permanent Resident Permit or Tarjeta de Residente Permanente. This permit can be obtained two different ways and has several advantages. Once you have it, you can stay in Mexico as long as you like and you do not have to renew it. You can also enter and leave Mexico as you wish. It also makes it easy to open a bank account, register a car bought in Mexico in your name and get a Mexican driver’s license.


Transitioning from Temporary to Permanent Resident

First of all, a permanent resident permit or Tarjeta de Residente Permanente can be obtained as a transition after holding a Temporary Resident Permit for 4 years. You may apply for Permanent Residency in Mexico before your Temporary Permit expires to change your status.

Go the the INM website: https://www.inm.gob.mx/mpublic/publico/inm-tramites.html

Click on Tràmites Migratorios. Then scroll down to “Cambio de condición de residente temporal a residente permanente.”

Cambio de condición de residente temporal a residente permanente

You will need to gather the following documents. You will find the list here.

When you have gotten your documents together, get to your nearest INM office. Many INM offices now require appointments made ahead of time. You will make these appointments online. Some smaller towns still allow same-day appointments by arriving early. If your documents are accepted, you will make payment, and your photo and fingerprints will be taken. You will receive login information in your email to access your file. This is how you will know when your Permanent Resident card has arrived. Keep checking your account. You may not be sent an email notification to let you know your card has arrived at your INM office. 


Applying directly for a Permanent Resident Permit or Tarjeta de Residente Permanente

The second way of obtaining a Tarjeta de Residente Permanente is to apply directly for it without going through the 4-year process of having the Temporary Resident Permit first.

You must meet certain criteria in order to qualify. You must specifically check these criteria at the consulate where you will apply for your visa.  Most consulates will only grant the Permanent Residency status to people who are retired. Even if you meet the economic solvency criteria, they still may not grant you permanent residency. This is at the complete discretion of the consulate and of the immigration authorities once you are in Mexico. Check this first at the consulate where you will apply. It is best to email the consulate and keep records of conversations to prove that you have come up with the documents they indicated. If it is not possible to apply for this status, you can still apply for temporary resident status. 

If you qualify and have checked with the consulate or are a retiree, getting permanent residency will be a two-step process.


Step One: Applying for Your Entry Visa to Mexico

You will apply for an entry visa for Mexico in your home country or any country outside of Mexico. Of course, if you are in a country other than your home country, you must be legally residing in that country and be able to prove it.

Generally, you will gather the following documents to apply for the entry visa at a Mexican consulate.

  • Passport
  • Visa application
  • One ID photo measuring 0 mm x 26.0 mm or a maximum of 39.0 mm x 31.0 mm
  • Proof of economic solvency such as bank statements (the amount will depend on which consulate you apply to). As a reference but not a rule (still check with your consulate), as of 2023, you must either be able to show earnings of $5459 USD per month or $272,947 USD in savings and investments over the past 12 months.
  • Proof of legally residing in the country you are applying from (if outside your home country)
  • Fees of approximately $51 USD


What is economic solvency for a Permanent Resident Permit in Mexico?

Permanent Resident Permit in MexicoYou will need to check the requirements of the consulate where you are applying. These amounts can change monthly due to exchange rates and differ from consulate to consulate so be sure you have the latest information. For 2023, you will generally need to show that you either earn $5459 USD per month for the past 6 to 12 months depending again on the consulate, OR that you have a savings balance of approximately $272,947 USD for the past 12 months. You will prove this by providing bank statements or other bank documents. Check with the consulate for these details. Some want the bank statements signed, some want a business card attached, etc.

Applying as a married or common-law couple

If you are applying for visas as a married couple, you do not need to prove the double of the above amounts. Instead, the principal applicant will prove the sums mentioned above and will prove an additional sum 100 times the Mexican minimum wage for the dependent partner who may only apply for temporary residency at this time.  You will also provide your marriage certificate and bank statements showing a minimum monthly savings balance or minimum monthly income. This applies to married couples and common law couples including same-sex partners. (If you have a marriage certificate, it will need to be apostilled and translated to be accepted in Mexico. If you are common-law partners, you will need to ask the INM what proof you may show to prove your union.) Read more: How to Get an Apostille.

The dependent spouse must renew their temporary status after the first year, It can be renewed up to 3 years for a total of 4 years as a temporary resident. They can then apply for permanent residency after holding temporary status for 4 years if the initial visa was obtained abroad or after 2 years if the residency status was obtained in Mexico. 

As a a married couple, you may also apply separately for permanent resident status if you each have sufficient funds to prove economic solvency. Or you may decide to proceed with a permanent resident visa for one partner and the other partner enters Mexico as a visitor and then applies in Mexico for permanent resident status through the Family Unit rules.  In this case, the dependent partner will receive a temporary resident permit for 2 years and then can apply for permanent residency. 

You will need to ask at your local INM for details about each of these situations. For example,  if you have joint bank statements, you will then be required to prove double the amounts if only one partner is applying for permanent residency.  


Where can I apply?

A directory of consulates can be found here.

Once you gather your documentation, you will make an appointment to appear in person at the consulate with your documentation. Appointments can be made for U.S. and Canadian consulates online via the Mexican government’s portal. You will create an account and then select your consulate. Or you can call 1 (424)-309-0009 to make an appointment.

You will visit the consulate to drop off all of your papers. Depending on the consulate, they will deliver the visa in your passport anywhere from the same day to within 3 days. This is a sticker covering a page in your passport.  (If your passport will expire while you’re in Mexico, check out our article on renewing your Canadian or U.S. passport here.)

This is an entry visa that allows you to enter Mexico within 6 months. Make sure the immigration agent sees your visa when you enter Mexico.

Now you’re ready to begin Step Two in the process to get your Tarjeta de Residente Permanente.


Step Two: Applying for your Permanent Residency in Mexico

Once you arrive in your new town, you must visit the INM nearest you, with the first 30 days of your arrival in Mexico. Please see our article How To Get Your Mexican Residency: Step 2. This article will take you through what needs to be done once you get to Mexico. 

Permanent Resident Permit in Mexico


All in all, the process for permanent residency status is straightforward. Always double check the latest requirements directly with the consulate where you will apply for your entry visa. After that, it is just a matter of gathering your documents and patience like with any administrative process.



If you are looking into moving to Mexico and buying your dream home, our real estate agents have been through the process you are going through of changing lifestyles, moving down and going through the paperwork. Get in touch when you’re ready to move to paradise!


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