Home How To Guide How To Get Your Mexican Residency: Step 2

How To Get Your Mexican Residency: Step 2

What To Do When You Get To Mexico

by Brent May

You have your visa and you’re coming to Mexico! Congratulations on your move and getting your first round of paperwork done.

If you’re just tuning in and wondering how to get a visa to stay longer than 6 months because you want to be a part- or full-time resident in Mexico or you are a frequent traveler, you need to get a visa outside of Mexico. You can get your entry visa at a consulate either in your home country or in another country where you are legally staying or visiting. As flexible as it may be to get your visa in another country besides your home country, it is just as inflexible in that it must be gotten outside of Mexico.

So wherever that ideal consulate is for you, be sure and check the consulate’s website and get in touch with them to double check the requirements and paperwork you will need to supply in order to get your visa. That’s right. Different consulates can ask for different documents.

Read more: How To Know Which Mexican Visa is Right For You

This article takes you through the process of what you will do now that you have obtained your visa because although you have the visa, you do not yet have residency. This entry visa allows you to enter Mexico within 6 months. Once you’ve entered Mexico, you’re ready to begin the second and final step to getting your residency. If you want to know more about the first step of the process, how to get a visa outside of Mexico, see our article: How to Get Your Mexican Visa, Step 1.

Although not as simple as just showing up and handing over paperwork, this second step is a pretty straightforward process in Mexican terms. If this is one of your first administrative experiences, know that it is to your advantage to be incredibly kind, polite, patient and always smile. No matter what you run into, it will always make your experience quicker and better.


Here we go! Step 2 to getting your residency!

First off, make sure the immigration agent sees your visa when you enter Mexico. According to the visa, with the new digitized, paperless system, the agent will make an annotation that says “CANJE” as they stamp your passport. This gives you permission to stay in Mexico for 30 days instead of the 180 days as a visitor. Some airports and land entry points will still use the paper FMM form. Fill it out. Show your visa. The agent will hand you back the bottom half as usual and will have noted “CANJE” on the form. Keep the form. You will use it in this second step at the immigration office.

So, once you arrive in your new town, you must visit the INM, Instituto Nacional de Migración, the immigration authority, nearest you, within the first 30 days of your arrival in Mexico. But you will first need to complete a few steps online.

Note: We recommend that you get yourself into their offices as soon as possible after your arrival. Between life, holidays and hours of operation, sometimes it may take a few visits to complete the process. The process doesn’t have to be completed within those 30 days, but it must be amply started. The authorities do frown upon a visa-holder walking in on day 25.


Online Procedures before going to the INM

Before going to the INM, you will need to go online to the INM site to begin the procedure. This is a government site and is in Spanish. If you don’t yet speak Spanish, you can get help from a friend or put the page in a translator. You can also hire someone to help you through this whole process.

If you are going to do the process yourself, you will follow the next steps.

Getting your FMM if you did not receive a paper form at immigration

If you received a stamp in your passport instead of the paper version of the FMM form:

  1. Go to https://www.inm.gob.mx/spublic/portal/inmex.html
  2. Create an account and then Log in.
  3. Go to: “Registrar documentos.” This is under “Servicios disponibles.”
  4. Then upload a picture of your passport.
  5. Validate the information and finish filling out any required fields.
  6. If you are a couple, you can validate for one then continue in the same account to validate for your spouse. Now your accounts are created.
  7. Then, you can click on “Ingresso a Mexico,” choose whom you want to register, “Iniciar servicios”, “Generar FMMD” and your arrival flight information should appear. If it doesn’t, wait a few days until it does. Then click on “Descargar FMMD” (download).

Once you have the FMM that you received as a paper form when entering Mexico or that you have downloaded, continue your process online.

Online Immigration Procedures

  1. Go to https://www.gob.mx/inm
  2. Click on the box: “Tramites de Regulación Migratoria,” “Tramites Migratorios,”

3. Select “Expedición de documento migratorio por canje.”

4. “Solicitud de tramite,” Under “Que deseas hacer?”, click on “Canjear o reponer documento migratorio”

5. Under “Especifica”, click on “Canje de FMM por Tarjeta de Visitante o de Residente”

6. Then fill in all required fields.

7. At the bottom of the page, click on “Guardar” to SAVE all of your information. Continue scrolling and click on “SI” if all of the information is correct.

Then a confirmation number will appear. You can directly print from the screen or click on “Imprimir ahora” and it will save a PDF for you to print later.

You will print this document and gather the rest of the documents to take with you for your INM appointment. You can find this list of documents on the same site, on the “Expedición de Documento Migratorio pro Canje” page under “Requisitos.” Generally, you will have the original and a copy of your passport, your visa, the FMM and the printout of the above document. Photos will be taken at the office along with fingerprints. You should be able to pay directly at the office with Visa or MC. It is possible to pay online via bank deposit. You will find that information on this same page (“Expedición de Documento Migratorio pro Canje” ) at the bottom of the list of required documents.

Read more: How Long Can I Stay in Mexico?

Going to INM

Many INM offices require you to make an appointment online. If not, getting into the INM may take more than one trip. Some offices do not take appointments and you will wait in line to get in. You may go a few hours before the office opens. In any case, you can ask the security guard (when the office is open) for an idea of what time to get there to stand in line to get an appointment. Offices may set a certain number of appointments per day. If you are in line early, you may get an appointment for the same day or you may need to come back the next day and start the wait process over.

Once you get into the INM, they will process your paperwork and take your picture and fingerprints. You will receive an email to access your online account with them so that you can check for the arrival of your new card. Be sure to check it every few days because you may not receive a notification email.

You will return to the INM to pick up your Tarjeta de Residente Temporal or Permanente and sign for it. And then you’re good to go. Your first Tarjeta de Residente Temporal is good for one year, then can be renewed for 4 years.

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, going through the online procedures outlined above and keeping your patience like with any administrative process.

Read more: How To Get a Work Visa to Work in Mexico

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