Immigrating to Mexico
Information on available immigrant visas and paths to citizenship in Mexico
Mexico's Immigrant Visas
Immigrant Visas are issued to foreign nationals who have the intention of living in Mexico for long periods of time (over one year) AND who intend to seek permanent residency in Mexico, or Mexican Citizenship.
FM2 - The Immigrant Visa
FM2 visas are intended for people seeking permanent residency status in Mexico or those who may seek eventual Mexican Citizenship.
There are various categories under which FM2 visas are granted, and these relate to the activities you intend to undertake while in Mexico. Under the terms of the FM2, you are authorized to only undertake certain, specific activities which may be lucrative or non-lucrative.
You must hold a FM2 for a qualifying period* before you may apply for "immigrant" status or Mexican Citizenship.
You do not need to have held a FM3 visa before applying for a FM2, and any years you may have accrued while living in Mexico under the auspice of a FM3 do not count towards your FM2 qualification period.
If your goal is to seek long-term residency in Mexico, or to become a Mexican Citizen, you should apply for FM2 status (or request a change of status from FM3 to FM2) so that your time starts counting towards the qualification period as soon as possible.
Once you are in possession of a FM2, following the qualification period, you may apply for full residency status in Mexico
When your full residency status has been accepted, you may also begin your application for Mexican Citizenship, although this is optional; you can remain a 'resident alien' on a FM2 visa indefinitely.
Upon receiving immigrated status, you will receive a plastic card that looks like a driver's license. This card enables you to pass through Mexico's borders as if you were a Mexican national.
If you hold a FM2 visa and stay outside of Mexico for longer than 2 years, or for 5 years in any 10 year period, you will lose your permanent resident status in Mexico.
*Qualifying periods vary depending on your circumstances. Seek professional about this matter.
Examples of the kinds of people who might apply for FM2 visas:
If you are over 50 years of age and want to engage in "non-remunerative activities" and you are receiving funds from abroad (from a pension or other investments or fixed income) you can apply for a Retiree Immigration Permit. Read more about Retirement in Mexico on Mexperience.
You can receive an immigration permit if you are willing to invest your capital in Mexico. You investment can be directed at industry or services, and must equal a minimum set amount—check separately for the latest investment levels required for this visa.
If you are a qualified professional, you can have your certificates validated by the Mexican Consulate in your home country and apply for an immigration visa to live in Mexico and seek permanent residence.
Technical or Scientific Professions
If you are a qualified technician or scientist, Mexico offers a category of visa which enables you to live and work in Mexico under sponsorship from a foreign company. For example, if the company wants to open an office or factory in Mexico, a person or persons representing that company may enter Mexico to manage the commercial operations on a long term basis.
Artists and Sports People
Artists or sports people who seek long term permanent residency in Mexico may apply for a FM2 visa. Each case is considered individually and entry is at the Interior Ministry's discretion.
Detailed Information about FM2 Visas
For detailed information about FM2 visas, contact an immigration lawyer or download the Mexico Immigration Guide eBook
May I be granted Mexican Citizenship?
Acquiring Mexican Citizenship (naturalization) is an involved process. As a minimum, you must have been living in Mexico for a qualifying period* under the auspice of a FM2 visa and have applied for, and been granted, permanent resident status (although exceptions to this rule may apply, depending upon a variety of circumstances).
Marriage to a Mexican national, for example, might enable naturalization with a shorter qualification period.
You will be asked to undertake an exam, which you must pass, in order to acquire naturalization/citizenship. The examination is of a "multiple choice" type, comprises of some fifteen questions, and is not hard—although you will need a basic grasp of the Spanish language to pass it.
See Also: Becoming A Naturalized Mexican
*Qualifying periods vary depending on your circumstances.
Detailed Information Mexican Citizenship
For detailed information about acquiring Mexican Citizenship, including information about the exam you need to pass, contact an immigration lawyer or download the Mexico Immigration Guide eBook
Which Mexican Visa is Right for Me?
Below are some examples of situations and the type of visa you may consider applying for.
Non Immigrant (FMM and FM3)
When you do NOT want to seek permanent residence in Mexico
For Vacations and Casual Trips to Mexico: Simply fill out and use the Visitor's Permit (FMM), available from the airline you travel with or the port of entry*
For Work Placements: If you plan to live and work in Mexico, a Visitor's Permit (FM3 Visa), renewable annually, is probably your best option.
For Other Activities: You should apply for a FM3 permit commensurate with your activity (e.g. Student, Journalist, Scientist, Professional, etc.)
Detailed Information about FM3 Visas
For detailed information about FM3 visas, contact an immigration lawyer or download the Mexico Immigration Guide eBook.
Immigrant, Economically Active (FM2)
When you want to acquire permanent residency AND you want to work in Mexico:
You should apply for a FM2 permit commensurate with the economic activity you want to undertake. Some common examples of economic activities which qualify for FM2 are: a company-sponsored job, or an invitation to carry out academic or scientific research. If you have several hundred thousand US dollars to invest in a Mexican company you can apply for an investor's FM2.
Detailed Information about Investor's Visas:
For detailed information about Investor's visas, contact an immigration lawyer or download the Mexico Immigration Guide eBook
Immigrant, Not Economically Active (FM2)
When you want to acquire permanent residency but DO NOT want to work in Mexico:
If you are of retirement age (50+) and have a regular source of income from abroad (e.g. investments, savings, pension) then a Retiree FM2 visa will be the most straightforward route. NB: There is no 'official' minimum income, by law, that you need to prove; criteria and income levels vary and each application is dealt with on a case-by-case basis; you will need to contact your local immigration office in Mexico for the latest advice or hire an immigration lawyer to give you counsel based upon your individual circumstances.
If you are not of a retirement age (below 50) and want to live but not work in Mexico, you will need to contact the Mexican Consulate if you are not already in Mexico. If you are in Mexico, perhaps on a FMM visa, contact an immigration lawyer for advice. Provided that you can prove a steady income, you may be granted FM2 visa to live in Mexico and seek permanent residency. You will need to state what you intend to do there, e.g. early retirement due to health, etc. There are various routes to obtaining a FM2 visa, and if you are unsure, the best course of action is to contact an immigration lawyer for counsel (see next section).
Detailed Information about Mexico Retirement Visas
For detailed information about retirees' visas, contact an immigration lawyer or download the Mexico Immigration Guide eBook