Girl watching departures board in airport

Do I Have to Stay in Mexico While My Residency Is Being Processed? All About the Exit Permit

This is a very common question, and one we have commented on in other blogs. The answer to the question is that it is preferable that you stay. However, it is not obligatory, provided you comply with the requirements for an exit permit (exit and re-entry permit), which we will explain below.

There are basically three different scenarios in which you might need or want to leave Mexico while waiting for your residency. 

1. During the canje procedure: this is when you have entered Mexico on a temporary visa after your successful consulate appointment and you are waiting for the canje. Canje means exchange  – in this case, the exchange of that visa for your residency card. Depending on where your application is being processed, this could take weeks to months. Currently on the Riviera Maya this waiting period is around three months

2. The next scenario is if you have applied from Mexico, as family of a temporary or permanent resident or citizen. In this case, you don’t necessarily go through the canje procedure. You can apply from Mexico and the whole procedure takes place there. There is no need to visit consulates abroad. However, between submitting your application and waiting for your card to be delivered, you might want/need to leave. 

The process for both these scenarios is to apply for an exit and re-entry permit. 

3. The third scenario is if you need to leave urgently because of an emergency. In this case you will also need an exit and re-entry permit, but under slightly different conditions given the urgency. You can request it for same or next-day issue, and you must provide proof of the emergency, e.g. doctor’s note.

What is an exit and re-entry permit?

The permit is an official document issued by immigration. Request it at least two/three days (one day in case of emergency) before you leave Mexico. Present the required documents at your local INM office. It allows you to be out of the country for up to 60 days. Please note that this means 60 days after the date mentioned in the permit. Do not simply count 60 days from your departure from Mexico.

Requirements for an exit and re-entry permit

Bring the permit to the INM counter at your departure airport before you check in. When you return, you must get it stamped and signed again.

Do not fill in the FMM form (immigration form) on the plane upon returning. You already did it when you left Mexico, and you also have the exit permit. Therefore, you should only fill in the customs form on the plane.

Return it to your local INM office within 10 days of your re-entry to Mexico.

Read more about the exiting during the canje procedure.

Read our blog about exiting in case of emergency.

List of requirements on INM site (in Spanish)

For a quote or more information about immigration to Mexico, email Adriana Vela at