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Ultimate Guide to Obtaining a Temporary Residency Immigration Visa in Mexico 2024

Navigating the process of obtaining a Temporary Residency Immigration Visa in Mexico can be challenging, especially in cities like San Miguel, Puerto Vallarta, and Nuevo Vallarta. This comprehensive guide aims to make the process clearer and help you understand what to expect at each step.

San Miguel: Visa Process and Expectations

Meeting Clients and Early Arrivals

In San Miguel, it’s crucial to meet clients early as the INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración) opens at 9 am. The number of people ahead of you can vary significantly, impacting your waiting time, which can be up to 5 hours. Early mornings are cooler, but temperatures can rise quickly.

Issuance of Resident Cards

Typically, your resident card will be issued on the same day. However, be prepared for possible delays due to staff shortages or technical issues.

Puerto Vallarta: No Appointment System

Arrival and Waiting

In Puerto Vallarta, there are no appointments, which means you need to arrive early and wait for your turn. Meeting with Teresa and patiently waiting is part of the process.

Nuevo Nayarit: Early Starts and Long Waits

Procedure and Timelines

Teresa or her assistant Sarai usually meet clients very early. The office opens at 6 am for people to sit and wait inside. Expect a wait time of 5 to 7 hours, though it can be longer. Dress comfortably and bring food.

Realistic Expectations

Be realistic about potential issues such as staff shortages, lack of cards, and printer or software problems. Sometimes, your expectations might not be met on the same day.

Understanding the Mexican Visa Process

Comparing Processes

For perspective, applying for a U.S. resident visa for a Mexican citizen can take up to a year and may require the applicant to stay in Mexico during this period. Tourist visa appointments for the U.S. at the Mexico City embassy can be almost two years out.

Temporary Resident Visa Process

Pre-approval at Mexican Consulate

Your journey starts with pre-approval at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico. Although I can guide you through this, appointments must be made by you.

Finalizing Visa in Mexico

Once pre-approved, we will finalize your visa in Mexico. I also handle visa renewals and replacements. Contact me via email for assistance.

Consulate Requirements

  1. Photo Specifications: Uncovered face, no glasses, front view, color, white background, 3.9 cm x 3.1 cm.

  2. Fee: $53 USD per person in the U.S. and $74 CAD in Canada.

  3. Application: Double-sided print, best estimate for port-of-entry and date, check appropriate boxes, do not sign.

  4. Passport: Original plus a copy.

  5. Financial Statements: Some consulates require originals. Ensure both names appear on joint accounts.

  6. Appointment Confirmation

  7. Marriage Licenses and Birth Certificates: When applicable.

Appointment Scheduling

Check the consulate’s website or Facebook page for details. Confirm that your pre-approved visa details are correct before leaving the consulate.

Entering Mexico with a Pre-approved Visa

Entry Timeline

You have 6 months to enter Mexico after pre-approval and 30 days to apply at an INM office. Ensure you start your process before the pre-approval expires.

Single Entry Rule

You can only enter Mexico once with a pre-approved visa. Ensure your pre-approved visa in your passport is correctly stamped with the word "CANJE" and the number "30."

Processing the FMM

For those entering via an airport, ensure you scan the QR code and print out the FMM. If driving, obtain a car permit (TIP) at the border.

Temporary Resident Card Details

First Year and Renewals

Your first card is valid for 1 year. Renewals can start 30 days prior to expiration and can be for 1, 2, or 3 years. Financially, a 3-year renewal is the most beneficial.


  • 1 year: 5,328 pesos

  • 2 years: 7,984 pesos

  • 3 years: 10,112 pesos

  • 4 years: 11,985 pesos

Avoid carrying color copies of any ID as it's considered fraud.

Entering Mexico as a Temporary Resident

Airport Procedures

Do not use automatic scanners meant for tourists. Ensure you get your FMM printed and confirm your temporary resident status.

Lost Resident Card Procedures


  • Visit the nearest Mexican consulate.

  • On arrival at a Mexican airport, immediately go to immigration and request an "ACTA DE INTERNACION AEREA."

Process at INM

If recorded as a tourist, you will need to restart your visa process at a consulate.

Carrying ID Within Mexico


  • Temporary or Permanent Resident: Carry your original resident card.

  • Tourist: Carry your passport and original FMM card or other proof of entry.

Expired Temporary Resident Card

In-Country Procedures

Apply for renewal within 60 days of expiration. A fine applies.

Out-of-Country Procedures

Enter Mexico within 55 days of expiration and renew within 5 days. Ensure immigration staff do not record you as a tourist or keep your resident card.

Financial Proof

Proof of financials using the UMA multiplier is required.

Traveling by Minors

Minors Traveling Alone or With Third Parties

No authorization is required for minors traveling alone or with a third party for up to 180 days. For minors with Mexican nationality or certain resident statuses, an INM-issued Permiso SAM is required.

SAM Approval

Parents apply at immigration. The SAM format must be stamped by an INM agent to be valid.

Traveling with Parents or Guardians

No additional authorization is required.


Navigating the Temporary Residency Immigration Visa process in Mexico requires patience and preparation. By understanding the requirements and potential challenges, you can ensure a smoother experience. Always double-check your documents and be prepared for possible delays.


  1. What are the fees for the Temporary Resident Card?

  • Fees range from 5,328 to 11,985 pesos depending on the duration.

  1. Can I use the automatic scanners at the airport as a Temporary Resident?

  • No, you must avoid the scanners to ensure you're processed correctly.

  1. What should I do if I lose my resident card outside of Mexico?

  • Visit a Mexican consulate or immigration office at a Mexican airport upon arrival.

  1. How long do I have to enter Mexico after my visa is pre-approved?

  • You have 6 months to enter Mexico and 30 days to start the application process.

  1. Do minors need special authorization to travel?

  • Only minors with certain resident statuses need a Permiso SAM to travel alone or with a third party.

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