Retiring in Mexico: Financial Requirements for Residency

Source: Linda Kurtzweil

Updated January 2019 due to the increase in Mexico’s minimum wage from $88.36 MXN per day to $102.68 MXN per day.

If you plan on making Mexico your retirement home, I strongly recommend that you apply for either temporary or permanent residency. It will make your life a lot easier and give you access to more services.

In order to qualify for either temporary or permanent residency, you’ll have to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself. The specific financial requirements will vary depending on which residency you’re applying for and if you have any special circumstances (e.g. family ties in Mexico).

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to keep it simple and assume that you’re the average retiree from the U.S. or Canada who wants to retire in Mexico.

Temporary Resident Card

You have a few options with this one. You only have to meet one of the following:

Foreign Source Income (e.g. Pensions and/or Employment): 

An average monthly income (after taxes) of at least 300 days of the Mexican minimum wage: 300 X $102.68 = $30,804 pesos, or about $1,621 USD*.

You must show proof (original documents and copies of each) for the previous 6 months.

Savings / Investments:

Investments or bank accounts with an average monthly balance of at least 5,000 days worth of minimum wage: 5,000 X $102.68 = $513,400 pesos, or about $27,021 USD*. 

You must show proof (original documents and copies of each) for the previous 12 months.

Own Real Estate:

You own real estate in Mexico valued at over 40,000 days of minimum wage: 40,000 X $102.68 = $4,107,200 pesos, or about $216,168 USD*.

* Exchange rate used 19 MXN to 1 USD

Permanent Resident Card

Generally speaking, people who immigrate to Mexico are required to complete four years as a temporary resident, after which they can obtain their permanent residency; however, Mexico made an exception for foreign retirees/pensioners. They can apply for permanent residency right away — provided they meet all the qualifications.

You only have to meet one of the following:

Retirement Benefit (e.g Pension):

An average monthly retirement income (after taxes) greater than 500 days of the Mexican minimum wage: 500 X $102.68 = $51,340 pesos, or about $2,702 USD*

You must show proof (original documents and copies of each) for the previous 6 months.

Savings / Investments:

Investments or bank accounts with an average monthly balance of at least 20,000 days worth of minimum wage: 20,000 X $102.68 = $2,053,600 pesos, or about $108,084 USD*. 

You must show proof (original documents and copies of each) for the previous 12 months.

* Exchange rate used 19 MXN to 1 USD

Spouses and Dependents

You’ll have to add 100 days of the minimum wage to the figures above per dependent. 100 X $102.68 = $10,268 pesos or about $540 USD*.

Let’s Wrap This Up

The process to apply for a temporary or permanent resident card will begin outside of Mexico at a Mexican Consulate. They will review your application, conduct an interview and assess whether or not you meet all the requirements.

I will be posting an article detailing this process in the near future.

Since the financial requirements are originally set in pesos, each consulate has to determine what the equivalent value would be in the local currency. The exchange rate used for that conversion will determine the actual dollar amounts required and those numbers often vary from consulate to consulate.

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UPDATE 8/7/18: Some readers were concerned that they could meet the financial requirements for a temporary resident card but not a permanent one. If that is your situation, don’t worry. After four years of having a temporary resident card, you will be elgible to change to a permanent resident card without meeting the permanent resident visa financial requirements shown above. This change is called cambio de condición.

Note: The information contained in this article was obtained from the following sources: Ley de Migración, Reglamento de la Ley de Migración and Diario Oficial de la Federación.

Mexican Immigration Specialist Adriana Vela was also consulted. She offers various immigration services in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

64 Comments on "Retiring in Mexico: Financial Requirements for Residency"

  1. What kind of proof is sufficient to show income? Tax returns? Bank statements? How about savings? Bank account or brokerage statements?

    • Q-Roo Paul | July 10, 2018 at 9:18 am |

      Originals and copies or bank statements, pension statements and/or brokerage statements.

  2. From my own experience: the process begins with an application for Visa processed at a Mexican consulate office outside of Mexico. The consulate that I went to would not process my request for permanent residence despite savings/investments well above required levels. Their interpretation was that because I did not have a monthly pension (i.e Social Security) at the time I was therefore not eligible for permanent status.

    My partner has similar financials and no pension. He was approved for permanent status at a different office in the same US state.

    This may be limited to one person’s interpretation in one consulate office (I processed through Tucson AZ, John went to Phoenix and was given a Visa to pursue permanent residence).

    • Q-Roo Paul | July 10, 2018 at 9:28 am |

      We hear similar stories quite a bit. The consulate offices are given quite a bit of discretion when it comes to interpreting the guidelines.

      We tell most people this: If you are denied at one Consulate, try another one. This strategy has worked for MANY of our readers and a few of our friends.

    • ugh! That sort of ambiguity makes anyone crazy! … Funny thing is you can try another Consulate and get a different outcome. I wonder if they keep track of when you applied, and if you have to wait a period of time before applying again.

      Best of luck to you.

      • I know a few folks who tried up to three different consulates in a very short period of time before they were approved. I don’t think they track, and if they do, they apparently don’t care…lol.

  3. Super well written!
    Clear and I get this question ALL the time showing real estate.

    Your blog has made it SO much easier for SO many people!!! Not only for people coming down and wanting to come and live in paradise.

    Thank you so much for this one.

  4. Thanks Paul.

    We just completed our RP (permanent resident visa) process 3 weeks ago. We started the process with two visits to the NYC Mexican consulate, first to submit our applications and required documentation, and a week later to pick up our passports with the temporary visa stamp. We entered Mexico within the required 6-month timeframe and started the canje process at the Playa Del Carmen INM office.

    Because we do not speak fluent Spanish we used the services of an attorney, but a facilitator is all you really need in that case. Due to a backlog in cases and our case being locked while our case worker was on vacation it took us 3 months to complete the process. We had to leave Mexico during the process and used the 60-day leave permit to do that, so in all the process took 5 months. Our neighbors paid a premium to another lawyer to expedite the process (share the fee) and they received their cards within the more normal 3-week period.

    We planned to apply for the seniors discount card the day after we received our RP cards, but the INAPAM office was out of the paper they use to print the cards and advised there was a 3-week backlog…so we will apply for that when we return.

    But we look forward to the discounts the RP status will give us at golf courses, adventure parks and stores, not to mention the ability to remain in Mexico as long as we desire. We were surprised to learn that we must still submit an FMM form at the INM kiosk at the airport when departing Mexico, but that is a small inconvenience. We will just request extra FMM forms from the flight attendant when returning to Mexico so we can complete them before getting to the airport when we depart and just get them stamped to save standing in line to complete them there.

    Thanks again for your blog!

  5. Another excellent and timely post, Paul. I will be referring back to these soon. Can’t wait to join you in paradise!

  6. We have temporary residency until 2019. Do we automatically get Permanent residency after this? Just go to La Paz immigration office and apply? Will we need to show any income statements at this time? Thank you. Greta

    • Dear Greta, one month before expiration date you should apply for “CAMBIO DE CONDICION”. This is the name of the procedure to apply for your Permanent residency. The change is not automatic.

  7. Thank you so much Paul,enjoy your blog you keep things very simple to understand,its always in the back of my mind to live in Mexico,but I am a female senior and not sure of I would like June-Oct,but for now only rent 4-6 months in our wintertime (Canada),LOVING IT! Keep up the good work!

  8. Jody Quilllian | July 10, 2018 at 10:22 am |

    This is great information, Paul! THANK-YOU! I am a retired teacher with a comfortable pension. Jorge, my partner, will be a retired teacher in two years with a comfortable pension, too. He is originally from Puebla, so only I will be applying for permanent residency in the “right away” category when we move down in June of 2020. Just curious: can Americans apply for Mexican citizenship and still keep their American citizenship? Jorge became an American citizen in January of 2017 but still holds his Mexican citizenship. I sure appreciate all the information you impart! ¡Saludos! Jody (“Pepe”) 🙂

    • Dear Jody, the answer to your question is YES, Americans can apply for Mexican citizenship and still keep their American citizenship.
      The citizenship is obtained after 5 years of legal residency in Mexico or 2 years of legal residency plus 2 years of marriage to a Mexican citizen.

  9. STEVEN LEGER | July 10, 2018 at 10:34 am |

    Excellent article as usual. I wonder how much money we save if we get a Permanent Resident Card first? I heard it’s a lot. Thanks again.

  10. we applied for permanent at Calexico consulate. their interpretation was 500 time minimum wage for each instead of the extra 100 times for spouse. as always, don’t bet on what’s on the offical site, the conulate site or what happened to others. it’s open to interpretation by the interviewer. a comment about running out of paper – processing was delayed here in Mazatlan for about a month – the machine for printing the cards was broken.

    • It depends how you apply. In our case, I applied as the primary because I was the only one with a pension income and then Linda was listed as a dependent. That information is in the guidelines provided to the consulates. Perhaps there is a training issue at that one.

      We have found that you can consulate shop. We know several people who were turned down at one consulate and approved at the one in another city.

  11. Mike Janzen | July 10, 2018 at 11:03 am |

    When I applied last year in Calgary the consular rep insisted that real estate, either in Canada or Mexico, was not in the calculation. Because my paperwork was not explicitly in the form laid out in his documentation, (ie. I did not have monthly statements. I had a yearly statement showing sufficient funds to start the 12 month process as well as sufficient funds at the end of the time frame.) I will try again this summer! It is not easy nor inexpensive to pick another consulate in Canada as I believe there are only three.
    Mike Janzen

  12. Mark Schellhammer | July 10, 2018 at 11:15 am |

    We will be arriving in Mexico September 1. We will report directly to the INM. First I’ve heard that we need to be prepared to answer certain questions at the border/airport. Any idea what those questions might be? Second, what do we need when we report to INM with out TRV’s besides our passport? More documentation of income/assets? Driver license? Social Security card?

  13. I would at least recommend following the requirements found on the consulate website (be sure it is the same consulate you will be using), the NYC consulate was consistent with their posted requirements.

    Yes, you are definitely on “Mexico time” when applying for some things, I can’t wait to see what the backlog is by the time we return in Nov…

  14. And the site lists the specific items like photos and sizes and documentation you need to present to INM. You do need to read carefully to prevent making a second visit. There is a photographer outside the Playa Del Carmen INM office that provides photos for $100 pesos ($5US) per person. They are very critical about pushing your hair back and no earrings, etc.

  15. Great post Paul. I just don’t know if I could handle the ambiguity of the whole process …

  16. Do I need the same proof if I am married to a Mexican citizen who is already living in Mexico

    • No, that would be considered a special circumstance and the requirements change as a result.

    • Dear Kathy, if you are married to a Mexican, you can do all the procedure (Visa por Vinculo Familiar) at an INM office in Mexico.
      You will be financially dependant on your Mexican husband. He will have to show 3 months of bank reports (but the financlal requirements are very low compared to what the consulates are requiring.

  17. Would you know how it changes. It is so hard to get correct information from the embassy in NY

    • Hi Kathy, not Paul here, but we just went through the Mexican consulate in NYC (not embassy) and it was a very easy and straightforward process. Their site lists the specific requirements for any visa application – permanent, temporary, worker, spouse, etc – and the agent there is very nice and helpful. As long as you read the requirements on their website (not another consulate’s site) for the visa you are applying for you will be in and out in a matter of minutes. They will have you return in a week (or when you can after) to pick up your passports which you must leave there.
      For us it was an overnight trip from our upstate NY home, so we decided to spend one night in Weehawken, NJ the first visit and experience the ferry into Manhattan, and we stayed in Sleepy Hollow, NY the second visit to experience the train into Manhattan (and it was Halloween!)…

      So no worries, just follow the requirements, and you can also call the consulate with questions. Note – you must be there in the morning for visas.

  18. For those who live in Florida, we went through the Mexican Consulate in Orlando. Was a very pleasant experience, agents very friendly.
    When we left, we had all the information we needed! Was great!

  19. The RP visa financial requirements for retirees varied across Mexican Consulates in the US as shown on their websites. The Denver Consulate also announced wait times for appointments going to 6 weeks last fall. We waited a bit longer prior to that announcement in order to get back to back appointments for both my wife and I. Once there at the Consulate it went quickly.

  20. Great information Paul !!

  21. I am going to apply for permanent residency at the consulate in Little Rock and I was surprised when the consulate officer I spoke with said I needed to provide 12 months worth of credit cards statements. In researching this I haven’t read anything that mentioned credit cards and wonder if this is standard or is just a requirement specific to Little Rock.

    Also, I don’t have original statements for some of my investments and bank statements because they are paperless and I only access them online. Has anyone had a problem using documents printed off the Internet instead of originals received through the mail?

    • Dear Janis,

      This is the first time I hear about credit card statements in a consulate, and I have worked with almost all.
      In general, you can bring statements printed off the internet, but to be completely sure, you should contact the consulate by email and ask them in person.

    • Janis, are you submitting supporting financial documentation for retirement or savings? CC statements are a curious request…

      And no worries on providing copies of your statements that you print, at least at the NYC consulate. That is very commonaccording to the agent there, especially for retirees who travel or already live in Mexico as we cannot have paper statements piling up when not at home.

  22. You guys have been such a help…i look forward to your blogs…life is good

  23. Hello: Many of us use paperless banking so we have no original statements – only printed copies. Is this acceptable?
    Do consulates take into account that even though we meet the $1400 requirement it shows up as less because Medicare Part B is automatically taken out before deposit.

    Thank you in advance! You always offer invaluable information.

    • Dear Gigi, as Paul mentioned in his post, the amount of money required to get the visa is different in each consulate. It will be better to contact the consulate by email and ask them. Consulates always answer emails.

  24. We applied at the Laredo consulate and it was easy and they were very helpful – we received our sticker in our passports in less than an hour.

  25. Where are the over water palapas?
    I’ve been to Akumal and never seen them.

    • Q-Roo Paul | July 11, 2018 at 3:45 pm |

      They aren’t in Akumal. They are at El Dorado Maroma which is located north of Playa del Carmen.

  26. I’m married to a Mexican national and have a child born in Mexico. Would that automatically qualify me for permanent residency?

    • If you live in Mexico, you can qualify as permanent through your son. If you live in US, you will have to go to a Mexican consulate and they will decide…

  27. Thank you all for the information.
    I hope I can try another consulate if there are snags at this one. I am selling my house and closing is on the 30th, so will need another address. I have family in the Nashville area and Orlando. There is no consulate in Tennessee and I think the closest to Nashville is in Atlanta.

  28. Great post Paul. I am wondering about the 6 months of required receipts for pension/retirement benefit for a permanent card. If one wants to move to Mexico ASAP after retiring, he or she will not have 6 months of pension check receipts. Would checks receipts from the employer and then proof of pension income cover what is needed? Thanks

  29. Thanks for another great informational post, Paul. I have a question I can’t seem to find a definitive answer to. Is a Mexican address required for a temporary residency? My wife and I will be traveling to Baja this winter, and the mainland in winter 2019, visiting numerous locations in an attempt to locate a city to settle down. Temporary residency would make this process much easier as we wouldn’t be limited by the 180 visitor permit. But I just can’t seem to find if we have to have a Mexican address to apply. Thanks in advance for any guidance.

  30. This is super helpful! I’m about to make an appointment for August at the Mexican consulate in NYC to apply for permanent residency, with a planned move to Merida in October after closing on sale of my apartment here.

    Great to know that Ron just did this via NYC consulate, and that it went so smoothly. And a relief that you guys have confirmed internet printouts work for the financial statements, since Vanguard doesn’t send paper.

    Ron, if you’re still reading, did you send any kind of household shipment from NY area to Mexico? I’m getting rid of my furniture and drastically decluttering, but I’ll still have more stuff than I can pack into a few suitcases (I’ll also be flying with two cats, so it would be hard to manage more than a couple suitcases). So if you sent a shipment, I’d love to know how you did it, and who you worked with.


  31. Where do you live in QRoo or where do you recommend living that is affordable? Thank You!

  32. Hello 🙂 Excellent post! Still have a question though. We went to the NYC consulate yesterday and were told we had to get temporary residency, live in México for 2 (I think) years, and then apply for permanent. HOWEVER – I know that’s not the whole story. We’d like to go straight to permanent – we meet all the prereqs.

    So – here’s the question – how do I find an attorney that can handle this for us? My understanding is that the requirements are constantly ‘tweaked’ and we’re hoping to accomplish what we’re trying to do. ¡Mil gracias!

    • Q-Roo Paul | July 18, 2018 at 6:54 am |

      Whenever you get information like that, it usually comes down to a lack of training on the part of the consulate employees. The consulates are all given the same laws and guidelines by the Mexican government but I think some of them just “skim” the material.

      My best advice is to go to another consulate. That’s how most people handle this. The consulates have a lot of discretion when it comes to issuing visas and it’s unlikely that they’ll change their mind just because you have an attorney with you next time.

      We have spoken with expats who visited three consulates in the U.S. before finding one that approved their visa application.

  33. … Thanks for your reply, Paul. 🙂

  34. Hi Paul,

    Great article! One question I had for you & others is about the level of Spanish required to apply for residency at the US consulate. Do you need to speak fluent Spanish in order to complete the first part of the process? I am learning the language, but don’t think I am at a point yet where I could talk in that kind of situation and not completely mangle it 🙂

    In any event, just wanted to say thanks for all the useful posts on this blog! I subscribe to a number of blogs, but when I get the email about one of your posts it’s the first one I read. Keep it up!

    • Hi Jim,

      Communication won’t be a problem during the first part of the process. The consulates normally have bilingual personnel to assist you. By the way, thanks for the kind words about the blog. 🙂

  35. Paul
    I understand but as a temporary residence I cannot take a job down there. But can I sell my own artwork?

    • If you’re offering a product or service in exchange for compensation, you will need a work permit.

  36. Hi, I am married to a Mexican Citizen. He is living in Mexico. I plan to join him there. What kind of financials will I have to show. I am still working now and not sure if I will continue once I move. I do receive a modest social security check each month

  37. Do you know where I can find more info on the “family ties in Mexico” route for getting a visa? We also need to find out if elderly parents can be claimed as dependents in the visa process. Perhaps some documentation I can read? Thanks in advance for your help. Loving my new discovery of your very well written blog!

  38. Hi Paul. I just discovered your blog today and love how informative it is. I’m thinking about getting a tourist visa first and explore this winter. I’m single and retired so am a bit nervous about traveling alone. Thank you for explaining the next steps so well. Mariana

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