Once you are within no longer than six months of your proposed date to move to Mexico, the next step is to apply for either a temporary or permanent resident visa at the Mexican consulate nearest to you in your home country. While the process may seem daunting at first, it is rather straightforward at most (but not all) Mexican consulates. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that some consulates are easier to deal with than others, and much like any other process involving government bureaucracy, patience and calm will help you navigate the visa process. The consulates vary widely in their hours of operation, and some grant same day resident visas while others take longer.
TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA?
The first decision to make is whether to apply for a temporary or permanent resident visa. If you are bringing a car, you must apply for a temporary visa as the visa will be tied to your car’s entry permission and vehicles with U.S. plates brought into Mexico can only be kept for a maximum for four years.
If you don’t meet the income requirements for a permanent visa, you can apply for a temporary visa that can be exchanged for a permanent visa after four years with no further income requirements.
If you’re not bringing a car and you meet the income requirements for a permanent visa, you will save time and money by applying for the permanent visa that never needs to be renewed.
PROOF OF INCOME
The amount of investments OR monthly pension income for resident visas for those involved in non-lucrative activities (retirees) varies every year as it is tied to a multiple of the average daily wage of a Mexican worker. The interpretation of the amount also varies from one consulate to another. For 2020 we looked at three consulates’ investment/income requirements; San Jose, CA; Portland, OR and Las Vegas, NV. In all cases, the requirements are per person.
SAN JOSE, CA MEXICAN CONSULATE
Temporary resident income proof requirements – Investments above $103,616 over past 12 months OR monthly pension income of at least $2,072 over past 6 months OR real estate in Mexico with value exceeding $2,590,400 pesos.
Permanent resident income proof requirements – Investments above $129,500 over past 12 months OR monthly pension income of at least $2,600 over past 6 months.
LAS VEGAS, NV MEXICAN CONSULATE
Temporary resident income proof requirements – Investments above $26,000 over past 12 months OR monthly pension income of at least $1,600 over past 6 months.
Permanent resident income proof requirements – Investments above $104,000 over past 12 months OR monthly pension income of at least $2,600 over past six months.
PORTLAND, OR MEXICAN CONSULATE
Temporary resident income proof requirements – Investments above $28,000 over past 12 months OR monthly pension income of at least $1,700 after taxes over six months OR real estate in Mexico worth at least $200,000USD.
Permanent resident income proof requirements – Investments above $120,000 over past 12 months OR monthly pension income of at least $2,700 after taxes over past six months.
The various interpretations of Mexican regulations shown in the above amounts are obvious and some planning a move to Mexico have been known to pick the consulate they appear at based on a combination of proximity, favorable income interpretation, and speed of visa processing. Many consulates require an advance appointment while others, such as Portland, are open to walk-ins. Portland, for example, does not take appointments and receives applications on Mon., Wed. and Friday from 12 to 1:30 p.m.
Check the English language visa section of your nearest Mexican consulate website for their particular requirements. Note that the actual numbers for income or assets will change along with fluctuations in currency exchange and the minimum wage in Mexico. Always check on the consulate website for current numbers.
Once the Mexican consulate of your choice has approved your application you will be given a pre-approved sticker in your passport that will give you 30 days after you arrive in Mexico to apply for the visa that you are pre-approved for.
Let’s Wrap This Up
If you attend one of our FOCUS learning seminars, our experts can help you determine the best visa path for you based on your individual situation, and they are experienced in dealing with the various U.S. and Canadian Mexican consulates and their particular requirements. For example, some accept simple photocopies of bank and investment statements while others require an apostille (international certification) of those documents.
The process is not as complicated as it may sound, providing you are 100% sure that you understand your consulate’s requirements and provide the documents exactly as requested. We are looking forward to seeing you soon at a FOCUS seminar or when you arrive Lakeside.
By Bette Brazel, Focus on Mexico Content Manager
Focus On Mexico offers 6-Day Educational Programs to Ajijic and Lake Chapala, Mexico. Join us and learn why thousands of Americans and Canadians chose to retire in Mexico.Our programs offer the perfect balance; a wonderful vacation and an insightful, educational experience. Our expert speakers cover all topics: Health Care, Real Estate, Legal System, Safety, Immigration, Assisted Living/Care Options, Bringing Pets, Cost of Living, US Taxes for Americans, Non-Residency for Canadians, Living on the Lakeside, Investing in Mexico, Mexican Economy and much more…