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One of the most common questions we get at Immigration to Mexico is ‘Can I start my residency procedure from Mexico?


While there are certain cases where you can start the residency application procedure from Mexico, generally you must start it outside the country.


Starting the Residency Procedure From Outside Mexico

Let’s look first at the most common scenario. Usually you will make your first Mexican residency application from your home country or country of residence outside Mexico. Therefore, the first step is to make an appointment at a convenient Mexican consulate. In the meantime, you prepare all necessary documentation to present at the consulate meeting. If successful, you will receive a temporary visa in your passport. With this you will enter Mexico and proceed with the next step of the procedure: canje. Canje is when you exchange your temporary visa for a resident’s card. This procedure applies to first time applicants for both temporary and permanent residency. Read more about these procedures in our articles: About the Mexican Consulate Appointment for Permanent and Temporary Residency


There are, however, some particular cases that allow you to start the residency procedure from Mexico. This applies to both temporary and permanent residency. 


Starting the Residency Procedure From Mexico

Family unity 1

Your spouse or long term partner is a Mexican citizen or temporary or permanent resident. In this case, the resident/citizen must already be living in Mexico. Their partner can first enter the country as a tourist and then apply for temporary residency from within Mexico. They will not have to leave to visit a consulate. The whole application will be processed at a local INM office. However, they will have to meet certain criteria and present relevant documentation. Read more about this procedure: How to Get Temporary or Permanent Residency for Spouses and Partners.


Family unity 2

Your parent or child is a Mexican citizen or temporary or permanent resident, and you meet the requirements to apply. As above, the citizen/resident must be living in Mexico at the time of application. Then the applicant family member may enter the country as a tourist and apply from here. Again, they will also have to meet certain criteria and present relevant supporting documentation. Read more about this procedure: How to Get Mexican Residency Through a Child or Parent


Expired tourist visa

This procedure was introduced during the pandemic. However, it is a temporary procedure and will end soon. In Spanish this procedure is Regularizacion de documento vencido. It applies to tourists whose permitted stay (max. 180 days) has expired. Applicants must be unable to apply for residency at a Mexican consulate (appointments are scarce currently), or return to their countries. The procedure grants four years of temporary residency immediately. Learn more from our article: How to Get Mexican Residency with an Expired Tourist Visa (FMM)


Other residency applications should begin outside Mexico at a local consulate. Note that even if you are already in Mexico but do not fit any of the cases above, you will have to leave the country for a consulate appointment. 


You should contact an immigration consultant or your local INM office for details of the exact requirements. Each case is different. Conditions may vary depending on your location. At Immigration to Mexico we can assist with all of the above procedures. Contact Adriana by What’s App text messages only: +52 984 169 5375.