The Cost of a Mexican Resident Card Increased for 2019

Akumal Bay (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)

Readers often write me to ask how much it costs to get a temporary or permanent resident card 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.

This year I’ve been a little slow updating the information because Linda and I have been busy traveling and enjoying life south of the border. That’s the price you have to pay as a reader for following a hobby blog written by two beach bums.

I had some free time this morning while visiting the old country, so here are the latest fees for temporary and permanent resident cards, as well as other common immigration services like work visas. And, like most things in life, they increased from the year before.

The fees are all given in pesos — a fact that shouldn’t surprise most people considering it’s Mexico — however, you can find the latest exchange rates on the side bar of the blog.

If you’re using a mobile device, the exchange rates will appear after the article.

When and Where to Pay The Fees

For those readers who are unfamiliar with the process to get a resident card, the process actually begins outside of Mexico at a Mexican Consulate. The consulate officials will review your application and it is ultimately their decision if you will be granted Mexican residency.

If they do approve your application, 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 be required to 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.

The process can be confusing and that’s why we always recommend that people moving to Mexico, especially non-Spanish speakers, hire either an attorney or immigration specialist to handle this part of the process.

If you’re looking for an immigration specialist in our part of Mexico (Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen or Tulum), we highly recommend Adriana Vela. Here’s her contact information:

Adriana Vela, Immigration Specialist
Business site: immigrationtomexico.mx

Let’s Wrap This Up

If you look at the fee schedule above, you’ll notice that the cost of a permanent resident card, that never expires, is much lower than the cost of a temporary resident card that expires in four years. In the past, this has prompted many readers to ask me why people don’t just get that one right off the bat.

In the interest of cutting down on our daily email load from readers, I’ll go ahead and address this one now.

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, there are exceptions. One of the notable exceptions, especially for readers of this blog who tend to be older, is the one for foreign retirees.

A foreign retiree/pensioner can jump right to permanent residency provided that he or she meets the requirements to prove economic solvency. In layman’s terms, that just means that Mexico wants to make sure you can support yourself and not drain their services.

There are economic requirements to obtain temporary residency too, but they are a bit lower.

To learn more about this topic, check out Retiring in Mexico: Financial Requirements for Residency.

Well, that’s it for today. It’s time for us to go back to enjoying retirement.

¡Hasta Luego!

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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 (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

41 Comments on "The Cost of a Mexican Resident Card Increased for 2019"

  1. Pamela Ann Huwa | March 31, 2019 at 8:58 am |

    We own a home in Michoacán , a small town in Nexpa. We would like to rent out our beachfront apartment but I do not know where to start to begin the paperwork to do this legally. Any suggestions? Thanks PamAnn

  2. Thanks for the great article! We got our temporary residency when we moved here last June and would like to go straight to permanent in June when we renew (we meet the requirements). Do we have to go back to a consulate in the US to do this since we want to make the jump or can we do it in Mexico at our local INM office like we would if we renewed our temporary?

    • Good afternoon Susan, you can do the procedure at the INM office in Mexico only if you are retired and get a monthly pension of about $2,600 USD or more. Have a nice afternoon!

  3. Charles Wilson | March 31, 2019 at 9:03 am |

    Good info , THANKS !

  4. Excellent info, as always. Thanks for the contact. I just contated Adriana to get her assistance. It’s nearly always better to have professional help to deal with bureaucrats and their processes from someone who not only speaks the language (in a business/legal context) but knows the ropes.

  5. Paul,

    I look forward to this annual update, as I point others to it when the topic comes up over the course of the year. I’d just like to add a couple of quick points.

    From what I’ve read elsewhere, all the immigration offices will only issue a one-year temporary visa for the first year. And while we had planned to renew for three years (our visas expire next month), INM in Cozumel told me that three year renewals are only issued to those holding visas with the right to work endorsement. So we’re stuck renewing every year until we go permanent. (Aw sucks, more time I get to spend it Mexico!!)

    We decided to do the temp-to-perm route, even though we would qualify for perm, in order to be able to bring our US plated car down for a while. I’ve been rethinking that decision, but at this point we’d have to start over outside Mexico in order to jump to permanent now.

    Finally, we utilized the services of Adriana to help with our first year visa application, and she was wonderful! We’re going to try doing the renewals ourselves (the advantage of living across the street from he INM office!), but we would add our recommendation for Adriana for first time applicants. INM is *very* picky about process, procedure, forms, and format. I describe our first visit to INM to change our address like getting a grade of 95 on a term paper – but a passing grade is 100%!

    Thanks again for all the information and service you provide. You get a A+ for beach bum in my book!

    • mounddweller | March 31, 2019 at 9:47 am |

      Scott,

      Your other sources may not have 100% accurate data. My wife applied for and received a 2-year temporary residency visa just last year. Our immigration attorney told us they (INM) generally only approve 1-year temporary residency visas but we went ahead and applied for a 2-year and it went through and got approved.

      Regards,
      Troy

      • Troy,

        I’m wondering if things changed at the first of the year, perhaps because of the change in the federal administration? In any case, I specifically asked for a three-year renewal. The clerk at the INM counter asked the manager, who said, no, only one year for retirees (jubilados).

  6. Dave McLeod | March 31, 2019 at 9:35 am |

    Excellent article Paul! Thank you both for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with the rest of your readers.

  7. Grace Tilley | March 31, 2019 at 10:05 am |

    My husband and I just found out yesterday from Adriana that we were approved. Next step is getting our fingerprints and photos done in Playa Del Carmen. Hiring Adriana Vela was one of the best decisions ever. She is extraordinary and I recommend her to everyone.

  8. FredinMotul | March 31, 2019 at 10:31 am |

    We are so proud of our Permanent Resident Cards and we were so happy when we got approved and put an end to the yearly hassles of gathering paperwork, hours drive to the Merida Office in the wee hours of the morning to get a place in line and the small issues that always seemed to crop up. We were sad to no longer see the staff at the office as they were always very helpful. It may be worth pointing out that should you loose your card, you have to start again and complete the entire process to get another. Ours stay locked up with our Passports . Great article . Thanks

  9. Marie Danielle Klyne | March 31, 2019 at 11:10 am |

    Thank you for the info. You referred us to Adrianna a few years ago and she was very helpful and kind.

  10. Chuck Doucet | March 31, 2019 at 1:12 pm |

    As always, excellent information. As we approached the end of our one year temporal, we used a lawyer, Alvaro Becerra, thru the Lakeside Community Society in Ajijic, Jalisco and went for the 3 year card. We had to go north for a couple of weeks prior to receiving our new 3 year cards. Although we started the process 2 months before expiration of our one year card, the one year card expired before we left. Alvaro assured everything was looked after with the proper documentation. It all worked as assured. My advice is use a professional who knows what they are doing, you will not regret it.

  11. Peter Harrison | March 31, 2019 at 2:27 pm |

    Greetings Paul- This is a subject change, but I think worthy of a post.
    We, I, have just proven that good EMERGENCY medical care is available in Mexico. Scheduled medical visits and procedures have always been reported as very good, and are very reasonably priced (if not downright cheap!) But what about an emergency?
    6 weeks ago, I fell and broke my hip. 3 hours in the car to Chetumal and we arrived at Clinica Independencia. I was seen by the trauma orthopedist, Dr Arturo Diaz Torres. X-rays revealed the fracture, so I was admitted to the clinic, Friday morning, and surgery for a partial hip replacement was scheduled for Monday morning.
    Dr. Torres, Dr. Mauricio, the anesthesiologist, and 3 surgical assistants completed the operation, and I was released Wednesday Afternoon.
    The surgery was a complete success: I am walking over a mile a day, no pain, and PT is strengthening the muscles.
    The cost: 6 days in hospital, all care, surgeons, etc, $87,450.00 pesos- (USD about $4560.) Research says that the same event in the USA would be at least $81,000.00 USD!
    Even better news: as a broken hip is a medical emergency, and I could not have returned to the USA for the treatment, Medicare will most likely reimburse me for 80% of the cost.!
    I hope this post will reassure some that medical treatment here is just as good as in the US, scheduled or emergency.
    Peter Harrison
    Xcalak, QR

  12. Paul, missing from your list of prices is the cost of a replacement card if the original is lost or stolen. In 2019, it’s $1,277 MXN and involves four trips to INM — 1. application and payment, 2. personal interview to explain the circumstances surrounding the loss, 3. return for fingerprinting and providing photos, and 4. pick up replacement card. The NUE number does not change. My wife just went through this when her wallet went walk about. In addition, she had to report the loss to the police and bring a signed form from the Ministerio Publico to immigration, although that is not listed online in the set of formal requirements:
    https://www.gob.mx/tramites/ficha/expedicion-de-documento-migratorio-por-reposicion/INM819

    Everyone should keep photocopies of all documents at their home, because it makes the replacement process easier if you can provide the numbers on the original documents.

    Mark
    Michoacán

  13. Kelly Roscoe | March 31, 2019 at 3:52 pm |

    Hi Paul,

    My husband and I are on Temporary status now but he will be eligible for permanent this month. I’ve heard that because he would be permanent once he jumps the hoops, that I too, can apply for permanent even though I have a year before I meet the requirements (drawing regular Social Security). Is this correct information or will I need to wait?

    Thank you,
    Kelly and Ed

  14. Wayne Miller | March 31, 2019 at 4:42 pm |

    Paul had reported some time ago that the time from your application to picking up your Resident Card had grown to many months in Q. Roo. Can anyone with current experience comment?

  15. Nora Valencia Miller | March 31, 2019 at 6:03 pm |

    Hi.
    I know the first year of TR is paid for only one year. Then after a year you may choose to pay for three additional years, so that’s approx $11,500. But your chart shows paying for four years at approx $9000. Why list four years when it’s not possible to obtain? Or is this another kind of TR visa?
    Thank you
    Nora

  16. Wayne Patari | March 31, 2019 at 6:49 pm |

    Thanks for the information Paul. What is permissions to exit and return to the country?

  17. Kathy Grant | April 1, 2019 at 7:57 am |

    I just lost my permanent resident card and need to get it replaced. What hoops do I need to jump through???

    • Hi Kathy, to do the REPOSICION of your resident card you should have to do a regular procedure of REPOSICION de DOCUMENTO MIGRATORIO. After a couple of months, INM will call you and 2 witnesses to assist to the INM office to testify how you lost it. The procedure in Playa is taking around 5-6 months.

  18. PetalsLuna2 | April 1, 2019 at 5:26 pm |

    My Permanente card was not lost or stolen. Unfortunately, my new puppy is excellent at getting into things. She chewed the upper right hand corner, but everything else is fine. Will I have to go through the four step process as described above since I do still have the card?

  19. Warren Bruce | April 2, 2019 at 6:30 pm |

    Great page Paul. On another post you said, ¨You will have to nationalize your foreign plated vehicle or remove it from the country. This will not be an issue if you plan to stay in the free zone (within 25 KM of the border), specified parts of Sonora or in the states of Baja California or Baja California Sur.¨
    Could you direct me to the info in Spanish that confirms that I do not have to nationalize my car in Baja California Sur as a permanent resident?
    Thank you.

    • Q-Roo Paul | April 4, 2019 at 12:40 pm |

      Technically, as a permanent resident you are still supposed to nationalize your vehicle in those areas; however, the requirements regarding the age of the vehicle are different. I mentioned that it isn’t “an issue” in those listed areas because there is no requirement to get a temporary import permit; therefore, those folks just blend in to the masses.

      SAT does conduct special operations in those areas to find vehicles illegally “imported” but their targets — at least according to the news articles — have been Mexican nationals.

      The vehicle requirements to nationalize a vehicle destined to stay in those areas is a little more lenient in terms of the age of the vehicle.

      http://qroo.us/2018/11/11/how-to-permanently-import-a-used-vehicle-to-mexico/

  20. Shawn Blake | April 2, 2019 at 10:37 pm |

    Hi Paul. My mom had the 4 year temporary residency. She moved back to the States two years into her temporary residency. She could not afford to get her permanent residency when it came due last August, but wasn’t planning on coming back to Mexico permanently. Due to unforeseen circumstances may now be moving back to Mexico. She is 72 and gets Social Security. Can she go straight for her permanent residency now and what is the income level she must prove for permanent residency? Thanks! Shawn

  21. Carol Watson | April 4, 2019 at 3:06 pm |

    Great info and appreciated as usual Paul.
    My husband and I used Adriana Vela. She is extremely efficient and professional. She was actually amazing. Answers all email questions right away and is very dedicated. I would recommend her services to anyone. Fair prices and makes the whole process a breeze. No stress, just let Adriana take over. If anyone has any questions about her services but wants a personal endorsement please feel free to email me or look me up on Facebook or any of the Expats in Playa forums. More than happy to supply personal reference. Thanks Adriana, if you are reading this, you are the best!

  22. Hi Paul, we are both in our mid 60 and are planning to get a permanent resident visa (retiree/pensioner) and move to Mexico.
    I have read the travel out of Mexico restriction while waiting for the Visa approval.
    But once you do get the permanent visa no more travel restriction apply except as you explained in
    http://qroo.us/2018/02/01/the-common-mistake-that-can-cost-you-your-mexican-resident-visa/.
    Is there a maximun number of days you can be out of Mexico per year without risking losing your permanent resident visa?
    I could not find that info anywhere.
    Reason i ask is Ecuador (this is another option we are looking at) has maximun 90 days out of the country per year for the first 2 years.
    We are planning to move to Mexico and establish it as our domicile (Tulum area) but travel the world while we are still fit and relatively young 😉
    Wondering if Mexico has somekind of restriction on out of country time.

    • Q-Roo Paul | April 6, 2019 at 4:17 am |

      Hi Denis,

      There are currently no limits placed on the amount of time that you can be outside of Mexico. Of course, that could change, but if it does and I’m still doing this blog, I’ll be sure to write about it.

  23. Cathy Drew | April 12, 2019 at 8:09 pm |

    Great article, thank you. I am on my first year of Temporary and had many of the same questions above. It sounds like INM is unique to various parts of Mexico as are the consulates in the US to what they approve or deny. I was also curious after 1 year if I could go Permanent but if they approve it, I would have to get my car out of the country. I thought I read somewhere that SAT will give you a 10 day permit to remove the car. Do you know if that’s still true? I am in Nayarit and also have work permission with my temporal. Yes I do meet the monthly requirements for Permanent but can’t renew until July 2019 for either Temporal or if approved Permanent. Also I was told at INM, I can only renew 30 days before expiration but someone posted that they did it 2 months before.
    I was also curious if I moved to Sonora if I would be able to keep my car? But it sounds like technically no, hopefully they will make it easier to nationalize. My car is a 2001. Thank you again for all the good info from posters as well.

  24. So let me ask this dumb question: I “retire” to Mexico on early Social Security a few months from now and get and live there on a temp resident visa…and renew each year through a 4th year…but then it appears I have to at that point apply for permanent resident visa…or leave the country??

    My Social Security monthly payment amount isn’t going to jump up ever after I take it, so I will not have enough to meet the $2000 pension threshold that a permanent visa requires (the amount listed on the Boston consulate web site). So my Mexican “retirement” ends when it nears the end of my 4th year? Because I can’t get a permanent visa due to lack of high enough monthly pension, so I have to pick up and leave Mexico and continue my retirement in some other country? Am I understanding this correctly?

    I can’t apply for a 5th year temporary, and 6th and so on to stay in Mexico? If that’s the case then maybe I need to reconsider “retiring” to Mexico at all and pick a different country. Thanks.

  25. Excellent article Paul! Thank you both for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with retiring in Mexico!!!

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