The Financial Requirements for Mexican Residency Are Increasing in 2020

Source: Linda Kurtzweil

On January 1st, Mexico’s minimum daily wage increases from $102.68 MXN to $123.22 MXN and that means that the financial requirements for Mexican residency are increasing too. That’s because the requirements are based on mathematical formulas based on the minimum wage. 

The specific financial requirements will vary depending on which residency option 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 $123.22 = $36,966 pesos, or about $1,945 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 $123.22 = $616,100 pesos, or about $32,426 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 $123.22 = $4,928,800 pesos, or about $259,410 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 $123.22 = $61,610 pesos, or about $3,242 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 $123.22 = $2,464,400 pesos, or about $129,705 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 $123.22 = $12,322‬ pesos or about $648 USD*.

Note: When Linda and I applied for Mexican residency, I was the only one with a retirement income so we listed her as a dependent. 

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.

Here’s the frustrating part for some folks, the financial requirements that the Mexican consulate gives you may not exactly reflect the listed U.S. dollar amounts above. Sure, they’ll be close but they may end up being a little higher or lower than those shown. That’s because the financial requirements are originally set in pesos and each Mexican consulate has to determine what the equivalent value would be in the local currency (e.g. U.S. dollars).

Setting those limits can be challenging because exchange rates are in a constant state of flux. To make things easier, the consulates simply choose an exchange rate to use for the year and then round the figures up or down to come up with their official requirements.

For example, a particular consulate might choose an exchange rate of 19:1 and come up with a figure like $1,945.57. That number is likely to be rounded up to something like $1,950 USD or even $2,000 USD.

Since these final values are set by the individual consulate, the numbers do vary from one consulate to the next. That’s why you should always reach out to the specific consulate where you intend to apply to determine the currency values they’re using.

And if you don’t qualify but you’re close, I recommend checking with some other consulates. There are 50 in the U.S. alone.

Well, that’s it for today. My coffee cup is empty and that means it’s time to put the computer away and go enjoy another beautiful day in the Riviera Maya. Hasta Luego.


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.

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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.

44 Comments on "The Financial Requirements for Mexican Residency Are Increasing in 2020"

  1. “….meaning they don’t coordinate with other consulate locations in the same country.” IMAGINE THAT in today’s information age…. I wonder why????.. Sarcasm…

    • Hahaha. Every year I expect that to change but it never does. Maybe this year they’ll all agree on some standards. I’m so optimistic.

  2. Matthew Gorski | December 22, 2019 at 9:23 am |

    I had to give a copy of my bank deposits for 6 months for each of the 4 years temporary and my 5th year for permanent. Cancun office.

    • That’s unusual. It’s not listed on the INM requirements for renewals or cambio de condicion. We just got approved for permanent after four years at Playa del Carmen without any of that. We also never submitted any financials when renewing.

      • Since there appears to be some inconsistencies at the INM offices regarding that particular section of the article, I’m going to remove that section for now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention Matthew.

  3. Thanks Paul for this clear and important info. How does this change if my spouse is a dual Mexican/US citizen?

    • That’s one of the special circumstances that I talked about. You could apply residency under that, or if you qualify under these financial requirements, you could just apply just like every other retiree/aspiring expat does. You have some options.

  4. You need to remember that the visas are approved on an individual basis. My wife was able to qualify for her Permanent Residency visa by listing her pension and Social Security income. In my case I needed to use my retirement account to qualify for my Permanent Residency visa.

    • That’s one way to do it. Another one is to just call the spouse a dependent then it only increases the amounts needed by $648 USD. That’s what we did for Linda because she has zero retirement money coming in.

  5. Hi, great article. Would you be able to confirm that the 130 grand is per person? ie…would it be 260 grand US for my wife and I or would it be 130 grand for me and less for my spouse? Thanks

    • You’re referring to the Savings/Investments category under permanent resident card. You can both go in under the same savings/investment since you’re married, so $130 K.

  6. Hi Paul, I still work but because I have quite a bit of vacation time, we plan on going to MX several times next year. Would I be able to get temporal visa even though we won’t be staying extended periods of time? If I could include my salary, it would be very helpful.

    • HI Lynne,

      You can use foreign source income to qualify for a temporary resident card, but it may not even be to your benefit to get one. You can stay in Mexico for 180 days at a time as a tourist without dealing with the time, expense and hassle of getting, and ultimately renewing a resident card.

      By the way, while the card is being processed, you can’t leave the country without obtaining a letter from Mexican immigration (another expense) and even then, you can only be out of Mexico for 60 days. We are transitioning from temporary to permanent and have been waiting for over 150 days for our cards to be processed.

  7. michael kulyk | December 22, 2019 at 1:21 pm |

    hi – thx for your informative article – i am canadian and live in canada but i want to spend winter in mexico for less than 6 months as i am on govt pension – am i then subject to the financial restrictions u mention in your article ? can i still spend winter in baja norte dec-april without showing that make almost usa $2k / month ?

  8. michael kulyk | December 22, 2019 at 2:28 pm |

    u can get fmm by applying online – applying for FFM online – https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/en/solicitud.html

    i used to drive to baja and get my fmm at border crossing in san ysidrio – i will now fly from toronto to tijuana as i plan to come back to canada in about 5 months –

    again, thx for your article

  9. QPaul…I already have a multi-year temporal residente card. My understanding is once I complete four years as a “temporal,” I can roll right into “Permanente.” Will I have to meet whatever income requirements are in place at that time? (2022) Or no, because I’m already a temporal?

    • Yes, that’s correct. After four years of having a temporary resident card, you will be eligible to change to a permanent resident card without meeting the permanent resident visa financial requirements shown above. This change is called cambio de condición. We’re in the process of doing that now and have already been approved. We’re just waiting on the cards themselves.

  10. michael kulyk` | December 22, 2019 at 2:43 pm |

    since i am flying i would like to buy a car in baja[since i am staying for 5 months] and leave it there until next yr – but with FMM tourist visa i am not allowed to buy a car in baja – is that correct ?

    • You will have difficulty registering it without a resident card. There are offices here and there that don’t ask for proof of residency, but you would have to ask some expats in the area if it’ possible to obtain Mexican tags without a resident card. Another option is to buy a foreign plated car from a fellow expat. Baja doesn’t require temporary import permits for vehicles, so it would probably be the easiest route.

  11. How many days, per year, can you as a resident of Mexico be out of Mexico?

    • There are no longer any restrictions on the amount of time that a temporary or permanent resident can be outside of Mexico.

  12. I assume that those of us who are already permanentes will see no change to our position.

  13. i just see more people coming here and trying to live here on tourist visas illegally with the new income requirements.

  14. Do you know of or have heard of cizenship granted for artistic merit?

  15. David Mcdonald | December 25, 2019 at 6:18 pm |

    sure glad i have had my perm. card now for over ten years it was only like 1200.00 us to get your perm card

  16. David Mcdonald | December 25, 2019 at 6:20 pm |

    sure glad i got my perm years and years ago , couldnt to it now not enough money

  17. Barbara Silverstone | December 28, 2019 at 12:23 pm |

    Will they accept online banking print outs to confirm income or does it have to be originals from the bank? I only do online banking and therefore don’t receive any hard copies from the bank.

  18. Carla J Duffy | January 3, 2020 at 12:23 pm |

    I follow you constantly, great information. I applied in Sacramento, Ca for Permanent Residency. Took 30 minutes and $36. Came back in two hours and it was ready. My passport now has the 1st step taped to it.
    My question is when I fill out the papers on the plane do I need to do anything different than when we visited?
    Then when we land in Cancun do I go through regularly as I will still need to finish the process in Cozumel?

    • That’s awesome! Congrats! You will fill out the FMM form as you usually do. On top of it, you can write “canje” but if you don’t, the INM official will when you arrive. All you have to do is hand them a form and tell them you’re getting your residency. Piece of cake. 🙂

  19. Thank you for all the awesome information.
    My wife, daughter and I are moving to Playa del Carmen this summer. We would prefer to get Permanent Resident Visas straight away, and have the assets to qualify in retirement accounts (401k, IRA). However, we are not retirement age. Is there any age consideration in using these assets to qualify? Appreciate any insights.

    • Officially, there is no age restriction listed in the requirements but since it is a shortcut created strictly for retirees, many consulate locations will deny applicants who are “too young” in their opinion. The Los Angeles Consulate sets an age of 60 but we know people who have been able to get a permanent in their 50’s and even late 40’s at other locations. All you can do is try. If the consulate officials don’t think you qualify for permanent, they’ll most likely just give you a temporary.

  20. So there’s no longer an additional 25% beyond the $130k required for spouse/dependent on the financial means PR?

    • That’s not a requirement listed in the current law. Of course, some of the consulates have been known to add some things here and there.

      This is all there is under the applicable section:

      ii. Visa de residente permanente, válida y vigente en original y copia, y
      iii. Acreditar solvencia económica para la manutención de cada uno de sus familiares durante su estancia en el país, con:
      – Original y copia de comprobante de inversiones o cuentas bancarias con saldo promedio mensual equivalente a cien días de salario mínimo general vigente en el Distrito Federal, durante los últimos doce meses, o
      – Original y copia de los documentos que demuestren que cuenta con empleo o pensión con ingresos mensuales libres de gravámenes mayores al equivalente de cien días de salario mínimo general vigente en el Distrito Federal, durante los últimos seis meses.

  21. Timothy W. Chatellier | January 10, 2020 at 7:20 pm |

    Looks like Mexico has become another country where people with only a small amount of income will no longer be able to retire.

  22. We would like to essentially snow bird in Mexico from October until April and then work in Canada for the summer.

    Do you think for our first time we should get a tourist Visa and then apply for temporary residency?

    On a tourist visa, are you allowed to work (ie blogging, online store, online freelance)?

Comments are closed.