Still Waiting to Receive Your Mexican Resident Card? Here’s the Process to Leave Mexico in the Meantime

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 (

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:

Instructions for el permiso de salida y regreso

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!

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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.

13 Comments on "Still Waiting to Receive Your Mexican Resident Card? Here’s the Process to Leave Mexico in the Meantime"

  1. Jeff Davidson | May 5, 2020 at 7:56 am |

    Adriana Vela is FANTASTIC! We have relied on Adriana to assist us with our Temporary Resident applications, and she has consistently proven to be reliable, helpful and trustworthy. Do not attempt this process on your own unless you are fluent in Spanish and are VERY familiar with Mexican law.

  2. If you leave during the process, do you have to start all over again once you return? I am going to start the process in October for Temporary Residency (own an apartment on Isla Mujeres).

    • Qroo Paul | May 5, 2020 at 7:59 am |

      No, you don’t have to start all over again. The process will continue in your absence. You just need to be back before the 60-day permit expires.

  3. What happens if you are out of Mexico on your 60-day permiso and with the Phase 3 in effect are not going to be able to return to Mexico when your permiso expires?

    • Qroo Paul | May 5, 2020 at 8:17 am |

      INM has suspended the due dates for immigration processes until June 1st. That particular process is not specifically listed but you should be fine. That date might be extended, we’ll have to see.

      In our case, we were out of Mexico on a 60-day permit that was about to expire and we didn’t want to take the chance of screwing up our residency so we came back this week.

  4. We were in Merida and were renewing our temporary residency after the one year period. We had everything completed and were just waiting on our card when Covid started there. We decided at that point to leave to go back to Canada but were not able to get the letter to leave because the INM was only open for brief periods and the line ups were crazy. We made the decision to leave on the last direct flight out of Merida and ended up forgoing our residency . We are super bummed out but thought it was the best decision at the time. Glad you guys are safe and sound at home in Mexico!

  5. Laurie Ryan | May 5, 2020 at 9:24 am |

    I would most definitely agree that the “waiting” part happens here in Mexico. I also agree that Adriana Vela is a God send. She has enabled both myself and my husband to leave the country for business and personal reasons while our second round of temporary residency is being processed (the first was a one-year card after we arrived in the country).

    This is my personal experience: I had pictures and fingerprints done on January 31th and was told my residency card would not be ready until August. And that was BEFORE the virus hit. So, it is possible that the three-year temporary residency card that I am getting will only have two years left on it by the time it is in my possession.

  6. Carol Watson | May 5, 2020 at 11:06 am |

    Just met Adriana this morning to apply for my permanent Residency. She also did my husbands permanent and my temporary 2 years ago. So nice to see you recommend her as she is so professional and so efficient. Takes the stress out of any immigration matters so you can keep on exploring your new home and having fun. Her website Immigration to Mexico has tons of great posts. I have relies on your blog for accurate information before even moving here and then with Adriana’s help things have gone so smoothly. Thanks for a fabulous blog, full of great information. And thanks for the great recommendations. I know you don’t recommend anyone unless you hold them in high esteem. Thanks again for everything you do to help us expats! Greatly appreciated.

  7. Walli Kay Osborn | May 5, 2020 at 11:10 am |

    My 6 month tourist visa expires beginning of September. What happens if COVID19 is still causing airlines to cancel flights and I have no way of leaving (and coming back)?

    • The current plan is to get things back to normal by then. If for some reason this pandemic goes on longer than anticipated, INM (the Mexican immigration folks) will most likely make exceptions. They recently suspended due dates on immigration processes (such as renewing a resident card) until June 1st.

  8. Linda Snider | May 5, 2020 at 11:27 am |

    We took your advice and hired Alarcon Professional Services in Los Barriles. She helped us get our temp residency card-it took 4 months. She has also helped us pay our fidelcomiso, property taxes & drivers license. Also helped with Mexican wills to help later with dispensing of Mexican property timely. Thank you for all your help navigating expat in Mexico STUFF. Much appreciated. We also take advantage of your Spanish lessons. Gracias!

    • Glad to hear that everything has been going well! Keep up the Spanish lessons. Those will come in handy when the world goes back to normal. 🙂

  9. I applied on my own last October to receive an exit entry permit. Was easy. Now I need to do it again because I lost my resident card. Long story short I went back to the consulate in the US and got a permanent residency visa and I’m waiting for it to be approved via canje here in Mexico. But, I need to go back to the US again this October and it probably won’t be approved by then so another exit entry permit.

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