Getting a Mexico Visa and Residency
A Mexico visa is not required for visitors. The standard tourist visa, called an FM-T, is valid (or extendable) for six months without further possible extensions and is free. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you need to seek permission to remain in the country.
Mexican visa and immigration procedures vary. The first step is to find a good immigration attorney who speaks English. Interview at least two and do your due diligence. It’s a good idea to talk with expats that have been through the bureaucracy before you. On the whole, though, the country makes it easy for expats to move to Mexico.
The rules for residency visas changed substantially in November 2012. Beginning at that time, all existing expats with FM2 (immigrant) or FM3 (nonimmigrant) visas were converted to the new temporary and permanent-resident visas. The process was simplified and easy, except for the usual bureaucratic glitches, and current holders of temporary-resident visas still have a simplified process to permanent-resident visas with the right to generate an income in Mexico.
Applying for Residency in Mexico
For folks with tourist visas and newcomers to Mexico, the process became more difficult and complicated. Applications for residency must now originate in a Mexican consulate in your country of citizenship. Residency visas are granted if you have sufficient monthly income from outside Mexico (US$2,600 from investments or US$1,500 from employment or pension).
Once you have the provisional visa for Mexico, issued by the Mexican consulate in your country, you can finalize the process in an immigration office within Mexico and receive your residency ID card.
Residency in Mexico can lead to a second passport and dual citizenship in this country once you’ve held a visa for a minimum of five years.