Temporary Residence Visas
Find out about the different type of temporary residence visas if coming to Mexico to work, for family reasons, humanitarian reasons or to study…
There are two types of residence visas – temporary (one to four years) and permanent. In addition there are a number of different temporary residence visas, as follows:
Applications for visas to work in Mexico should be made at the Mexican embassy or consulate in the country of residence of the applicant. Immigration status cannot be changed from tourist to working in Mexico except in special circumstances (see below). Anyone in Mexico on a tourist visa who is offered a job must first return to their country of citizenship and apply from there. This process can take up to three months.
- Find further information about applying for a work visa from the INM (in Spanish)
There are two types of working visas for temporary residents:
- Visitor’s visa with permission to do specific remunerated activities – for visitors such as singers, artists and public speakers. These visas cover the specific activity mentioned on the application form, and are typically for just the amount of time specified for carrying out the activity
- Temporary Resident Visa by Job Offer – A letter from the future employer specifying the position being offered and the duration of the contract must be provided as part of the application
All employers employing foreign citizens must be registered with the National Institute of Immigration (INM) and must have an employment certificate (constancia de empleador). Employers are required to renew these certificates every year, and applicants for working visas must also provide evidence that their prospective employer is appropriately registered and is able to provide a copy of the certificate to accompany the visa application.
There are certain specific cases where an immigrant who entered on tourist visa is able to change their immigration status while in the country. These are:
- Close family relationship, significant other, spouse or children: these working visas are available for those who have a relationship with a Mexican, with a person with a valid work visa, or with a person with a Permanent Residence Card. This procedure can take up to three months – during which time it is not advisable to leave the country. It is sometimes possible to request an exit permit to leave the country while the procedure is ongoing; however the risk is that the authorities might ask for the process to be started again from the beginning.
- Humanitarian reasons (as recognized by the Mexican government), for example working for a humanitarian organization, or seeking refugee status
Anyone entering Mexico to study requires this type of visa, which should be applied for at the Mexican consulate or embassy in the place of residence before entering Mexico. Specific requirements for these applications are:
- A letter from the (duly registered) school/college/educational establishment to be attended stating the subject and duration of the course of study
- Proof that the individual can support themselves for the duration of the course and that they are able to pay any relevant fees
This visa must be taken to the National Institute of Immigration (INM) within 30 calendar days of arrival into the country.
This visa is then exchanged for a residence visa valid for the duration of the course. If the course is longer than one year, the visa will need to be renewed every year.
This visa does allow the holder to work; however authorization from the immigration authorities (INM) must be received before beginning work.
Temporary residence visas normally have an initial duration of one year, although the option exists to apply for two, three or four years. However, this is rarely given to first time applicants.
As a general rule, holders of temporary residence visas are able to apply for working visas without leaving the country. This process is called cambio de condición de estancia (change of immigration status). This is one of the options on the online application form. Subsequently the procedure is as above.
All holders of temporary resident visas (except those issued to students and for humanitarian reasons) must apply for permanent residency after four years. These applications are generally successful.