Moving to Mexico: How Much Is a Resident Visa?

Akumal Bay (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)

Readers often write me to ask how much it costs to get a temporary or permanent resident visa in Mexico. My answer changes every January when the Mexican immigration authority, known as the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), puts their latest fee schedule into effect.

Historically, I would just share a link to the fee schedule but it confused more than a few people because it’s 100% in Spanish and contains more information and categories than most folks require.

This year, I decided to translate the sections that people ask me most about and to create an easy to follow chart that you can refer back to whenever the need arises. By the way, don’t panic when you see the prices — they’re in Mexican pesos.

You can find the current exchange rates for U.S. dollars (USD), Canadian Dollars (CAD) and Euros (EUR) on the side bar of this site.

Mobile users: The exchange rates are located immediately after the comments section of this post.

Professional Assistance

Even after your visa is approved at the Mexican Embassy or Consulate located in your home country, the paperwork is still far from over. Once you arrive in Mexico, there are additional forms and procedures to follow. That’s also where you will pay the fees shown in the last section.

If you choose to handle the Mexican side of things yourself, keep in mind that the paperwork is only provided in Spanish and multiple trips to the immigration office are required. That’s why many people opt to hire an attorney or a facilitator (known as a gestor) to take care of the details.

Keep in mind that not everyone who is in the business of handling your immigration visa paperwork is an actual lawyer. He or she might just be someone who is familiar with the paperwork and the process. If your immigration case is complex, you should probably go with an actual attorney.

The cost to hire an attorney/gestor can vary quite a bit but the average is between $3,000-$8,000 MXN per client.

Let’s Wrap This Up

The purpose of this post is only to provide you with the immigration fees for 2018, not to walk you through the process. If you have specific questions related to the process of getting a visa (i.e. paperwork and requirements), please be a patient because we will be addressing those issues specifically in future articles.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He moved to Mexico with his wife six days later to enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle on a tight budget. In 2016, Paul started a blog to share information with other people who may be thinking of making the move to Mexico. The blog, Two Expats Living in Mexico (qroo.us), has been viewed over a million times and Paul's articles appear in periodicals across Mexico.

28 Comments on "Moving to Mexico: How Much Is a Resident Visa?"

  1. If a person had any inclination of staying longer than a year, why would they not just get a permanent visa? Since the 2-3-4 year visas are more expensive, wouldn’t it just make sense to get a permanent one? Am I missing something?

    • The permanent resident had different requirements and many people don’t qualify for that one right away. If a person is only granted a temporary visa, he or she can obtain their permanent after four years.

  2. Thanks for the info. I am currently in process for the temp residency visa with the work permit. I opted for the lawyer route and glad I did. He informs me of each step and will help me prep for the interviews. And having him do all the leg work, since I am still learning Espanol, has been a huge help also. This isn’t something I want to go wrong so for me it was well worth the cost.

    • Thanks for sharing that Lynn. The “lawyer route” can save you a lot of headaches. Good luck on getting your visa and work permit.

      Thanks for following the blog.

  3. George Corbeil | January 5, 2018 at 8:07 am | Reply

    Had no idea you had to pay annually to live in Mexico. Seems odd since we are basically just pumping money into their economy?

  4. You do a great job..Patsy Chilson Realtor PDC & Cozumel!

  5. You don’t mention the 7 day and the 6 month Tourist Visas. Have they changed?

    • The six month tourist visas (FMM) are automatic for people arriving from approved countries. All they have to do is a book a trip on Expedia and head down. No fuss at all.

      • The list is not complete and only contains the categories that I am asked about on a regular basis. For example, I didn’t mention the Authorization for Temporary Residence When the Foreigner is a Minister or a Member of a Religious Organization.

        Immigration laws and regs can get complex, so I try to limit it to what the majority of readers are looking for.

  6. We have been in Sonora for 9 months now, and are on our second FMM ($25 US). Many folks we know have been here for years on that method. However, I understand that that’s not quite legal, and that the INM is cracking down on it. Do you know any specifics regarding this? We are beginning our research to see if we qualify to go straight to a permanent, or need to go for a temporary first. We’ll try to get all the info and forms completed in advance, as a trip home for us is expensive and a pain in the caboose! Thanks for your great blog!

    • We know several expats who live here on the tourist visa without any trouble. I have heard of some isolated incidents where INM has denied someone entry, but I haven’t confirmed any of them. I am working on several articles about immigration matters and part of my research is to contact INM directly to get their official position on this and other matters.

  7. Don’t you have to be a temporary resident before you can apply for permanent?

    • Not necessarily, it depends on your particular circumstances. Retirees can often go right for the permanent if they meet the financial requirements. I will be doing a separate article discussing that.

  8. We have been through all that–Thank goodness! Planned for over a year and a half, and we are finally here! Embassy went well in Florida, and Immigration wasn’t too bad! We had a very good lawyer and she handled most of it! Excellent advice… get a good lawyer! If you don’t know Spanish, this is a must! We could not have done this without her! Well worth every expense we had to pay for our dream of Paradise in Playa!!
    We are officially residents, and love it! Evelyn

  9. Thank-you for this information. As always, clear and easy to understand. I enjoy your posts. Cheers

  10. thanks again. Your post is so helpful, and entertaining! Jan G

  11. Just wanted to mention that for anyone wanting to peruse the Mexican Embassy website (or any other site in Spanish), I have found using Chrome as my browser with its translate function to be invaluable.

  12. There is no such thing as a four year visa at once. One pays for first year and must renew 30days to anniversary date for 2/3 year visa….correct?

    • That is often the case, Nora, but INM still lists a price for a 4 year option on their fee schedule. The Mexican Consulate that we visited in Orlando told us that we could choose the four year option once we arrived in Mexico with our canje, but the INM officials in Playa del Carmen said no way.

      There are a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to the Mexican immigration system.

  13. Our property is scheduled to be released sometime in March. We hope at that time to be able to go through the Closing process. How far in advance should we be visiting a Mexican Consulate for the application process? We would need to travel to a different state to be able to do that since our state does not have one.

    • They can usually process your application on the U.S. side in one day. Once you are granted either a temporary or permanent visa, you have 180 days to get to Mexico and report to immigration to start the second part.

  14. As always thanks for the information. We had the great experience in Merida at INM, but only after we hired the Yucatan Expat Service (YES) group to manage the process. After reading a number of “how to” blogs and a few personal experiences, we thought we’d tackle it ourselves – big mistake. The INM office people were nice but not forgiving or helpful for any mistakes. Once we hired YES and it was all done in two weeks. Now we’re waiting on our household shipment from the states and we were told we had six (6) months to get it all across the border; so we entered the country in August, got our Permanent Vista and though that is when the clock started to tick – that was an incorrect assumption. The six months started the date your Visa application was approved by the Consulate — So the rush is on to get it across the border (ahead of the construction of the Wall) and Mexican Customs. Our hope is that our moving company can convenience Mexican Customs now that since they closed their offices from December 21 to January 3rd in Laredo Texas- that we made the deadline. That is yet to be seen.

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