Mexican Immigration Options For Foreigners

Mexico has designated three principle statuses that generally relate to foreign visitors who wish to reside for any length of time (from tourist card to resident visas). Changes to immigration law took place in 2012 and remain in effect today, slightly changing the names and requirements for such visas. To purchase a property you do not require a “resident” category visa but your future length of stay will dictate if you eventually require a resident status rather than a tourist card.

TOURIST CARD or TOURIST VISA – This is the standard tourist form required by all persons entering the country that allows visitors to remain in the country for up to 180 days (and does not permit you to work or do lucrative business). This Tourist Card is easily renewed by simply leaving México within the 180 day period and then returning.

TEMPORARY RESIDENT VISA + PERMANENT RESIDENT VISAS – Both the TEMPORARY or PERMANENT RESIDENT visa are designed for those who want to live in México more than 180 days and those who may want to work or do lucrative business regardless of their length of stay. Privileges are similar for both of these RESIDENT visas. Either is recommended for those who choose to own property in México. Their suitability depends on your circumstances and has specific requirements to prove financial sustainability. Neither visa status requires you to give up your native citizenship and both visas allow you to apply for work/business activity status. After four consecutive years, the TEMPORARY RESIDENT VISA can be converted into a PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA. One may also apply for permanent status right from the initial application and bypass temporary status but, in either case, it requires higher income prerequisites than temporary status. One benefit of the PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA is that it does not require renewal.

It is recommended you visit your local Mexican consulate to verify the processes for any of the above mentioned. A visit with a local accountant or real estate lawyer may also help you determine the best status for your situation. We recommend a visit to the following websites: |

Taniel Chemsian is the Senior Sales Associate, representing some of the finest properties and condominium developments in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. – With a reach that spans the globe from his base in this seaside Pacific Coast tropical resort destination. Taniel specializes in matching luxury clientele with the perfect second homes vacation getaways, income properties, and retirement residences; Taniel helps make his client’s goal a reality.Taniel is a regular on HGTV‘s popular real estate series House Hunters International.’ He has been featured more than any other agent in North America on the series. Puerto Vallarta is second only to Paris for the most HHI episodes filmed in any one city. For more information, visit his website, his Facebook page, or contact him at


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