The process to obtain a temporary or permanent resident card begins in a Mexican Consulate in your country of origin. That is where you submit your documents, get interviewed by a consulate official, and hopefully get approved for a Mexican resident card.
I often refer to that part of the process as the “quick part” because most applicants can get it all done in a single day.
Part two of the process occurs once you arrive in Mexico. This part involves paperwork, more photos, a few trips to immigration (INM), fingerprinting and a lot of waiting. When I say a lot of waiting, I really mean a lot of WAITING.
The friendly folks at the Mexican Consulates will often tell you that the second part of the process will take about four weeks, but that’s in a perfect world. In reality, many of the INM offices around the country are backed up and that processing period can extend several months.
During the time that the resident card is being processed, you are required to stay in Mexico. This requirement wasn’t a problem for us since this is where we wanted to be anyway, but some applicants get stressed out at the thought of being “stuck” in Mexico for a few months.
Fortunately for those people, there is a solution — they can apply for permission to temporarily leave the country.
Permission to Leave and Return
In Spanish, this is called el permiso de salida y regreso and the administrative fee to obtain one is $437 pesos (2020 fee schedule).
Each permiso can only be used once and it will allow you to remain out of Mexico for a maximum of 60 days.
If you want to leave and return multiple times, you’ll have to apply for new permiso each time.
Get Professional Help
I highly recommend that you use a professional to handle all of this for you for two reasons: 1) it’s 100% in Spanish, and 2) part of the process includes a letter that contains the compelling reason why you can’t stay in the country. We know several expats who have tried and failed to get one on their own.
If you do choose to use a professional, you can expect to pay somewhere around $120 USD for the whole process. That includes both the administrative and professional fees. In my humble opinion, it’s definitely worth the added expense.
If you’re looking for a professional in the Playa del Carmen area, we recommend Adriana Vela (immigrationtomexico.mx).
For the Do-It-Yourself Folks
If you’re feeling adventurous or you just enjoy spending hours of your life dealing with government bureaucracy, here’s everything you need to know to do it yourself:
Yep, they’re in Spanish. That’s what you’re signing up for if you choose this route.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Whenever I write a post about focusing on a particular law or procedure related to immigration, we get inundated with emails from readers asking about other immigration related matters. After the last immigration article, we received around 200 emails like this.
We would love to be able to answer everyone’s questions, but unfortunately, we just don’t have the time. Even though we’re both retired, we stay pretty busy.
Have a great week. Stay safe and healthy!