How To Become a Mexican Citizen & Types of Naturalization

Mexican citizenship is acquired through a procedure called “Mexican Naturalization,” through which the Mexican state grants Mexican citizenship by delivering a document called a “Naturalization Letter” (Carta de Naturalizacion) to foreigners who meet the requirements established in the Regulations of the Nationality Law in Mexico.

Naturalization is a way of becoming a Mexican Citizen and ultimately holding a Mexican passport. When you become a naturalized citizen, you hold the same rights as others born in Mexico.

Some of the most important benefits are being able to vote during an election, not needing a fideicomiso when owning property in the restricted zone, and not having to notify INM of a change of address, name, or job. There are other benefits, but these are some of the most popular.

However, there are also some disadvantages that need to be taken into consideration.

For example, if you live outside of Mexico for longer than 5 years, you can lose your citizenship. Something that Permanent Residents don’t have to worry about because, as a Residente Permanente, you do not lose your residency in Mexico based on time lived outside the country.

The Different Ways You Can Become A Naturalized Citizen in Mexico

There are different types of procedures to obtain Mexican naturalization, Mexican citizenship, or a Naturalization Letter. Some of them include

  • Naturalization by first becoming a resident
  • Citizenship by birth right if your parents were born in Mexico.
  • Naturalization for having Mexican children by birth.
  • Naturalization by marriage
  • Naturalization for having carried out outstanding works in cultural, technical, artistic, sports, or business matters.
  • Naturalization for being from a Latin American country or the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Naturalization for Refugees

Basic Requirements for Mexican Naturalization

Regardless of how you qualify, there are basic requirements to cover. These include:

  • Have a temporary or permanent residence card with a minimum validity of 6 months.
  • Depending on the way by which you will obtain naturalization, the length of stay required in the regulations of the nationality law will vary. (Further down are the timeframes you must be in Mexico by eligibility type.)
  • Have proof or certificate of non-criminal record issued by competent authorities, both local and federal.
  • Must be in Mexico for the past 18 months out of the last 24 months. Meaning you cannot be out of Mexico for a period longer than 6 months out of the last 2 years.
  • Submit an immigration history document showing the times you were out of the country and for how long.
  • Foreign birth certificate apostilled or legalized by the country of origin.
  • Application for Mexican naturalization completed.
  • *Pass the exam on knowledge of Mexican culture and history. You can find the study guide here. (*If you are under 18 or over 60, you are exempt from taking the culture and history test).
  • If you speak another language, take a test of knowledge in the Spanish language.
  • Payment of Federal Processing Fees for submitting the application to obtain the Mexican naturalization letter. This is paid even if you do not pass the exam. (except for refugee foreigners)

Naturalization For Residents

This type of naturalization is obtained based on Article 16 of the Mexican Nationality Law.

It applies to foreigners who have completed 5 continuous years in Mexico. This means the foreigner has had a continuous temporary or permanent Mexican residency card without expirations.

Also, at the time of the application, your card must be valid for more than 6 months.

If you qualify for Mexican Citizenship and would like to apply, we recommend working with a reputable immigration facilitator familiar with this process. Check out our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide for our recommendations.

Citizenship Through Mexican Parents

To acquire Mexican citizenship through this procedure, in addition to the basic requirements, it is necessary to meet the requirements of Article 17 Section I of the regulations of the Mexican nationality law, which literally says:

I. The foreigner descendent in direct line of a Mexican by birth must demonstrate the relationship with the certified copy of the birth certificate issued by the Mexican civil registry office or Mexican consular office of the Mexican parent and exhibit the original of the current immigration document, issued by the Ministry of the Interior, which certifies legal stay. You must also show evidence of residence in the country for two years immediately prior to the date of the application.

Naturalization For Having Mexican Children by Birth

If a foreigner has a child in Mexican territory, the child will automatically obtain Mexican nationality, and the foreigner (father or mother) may request, in the first instance, permanent Mexican residence.

Once the parent has completed two years of continuous residence in Mexico, he/she will acquire the right to apply for the Mexican Naturalization process.

Naturalization Through Marriage to a Mexican National

If a foreigner marries a Mexican or Mexican, he or she acquires a special right to obtain permanent residency or naturalize two years after having obtained the temporary residence.

You must also have proof of:

I. A copy of the marriage certificate issued abroad, translated, and apostilled. Or a copy issued by the Mexican Civil Registry office. In both cases, the date of the marriage must be at least two years prior to the submission of the application;
II.- To prove the nationality of the Mexican spouse, one of the following documents must be presented: a) a Birth certificate issued in accordance with the provisions of the applicable provisions; b) a Certificate of Mexican nationality; c) a Letter of naturalization, or d) In the absence of the evidentiary documents mentioned above, nationality may be accredited through any element that, in accordance with the Law and this Regulation, leads the Secretariat to the conviction that the assumptions were met.
IV.- Declaration under oath of truth, signed and presented personally by the Mexican spouse, that they live together and have established their marital domicile in national territory for at least two years immediately prior to the date of application.
V.- Present an original of a valid official identification with a photograph and signature of the Mexican spouse, including the Mexican passport, voter’s card, professional card (INE), National Military Service card, consular registration certificate, and citizen’s identity card.

If you qualify for Mexican Citizenship and would like to apply, we recommend working with a reputable immigration facilitator familiar with this process. Check out our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide for our recommendations.

Naturalization Through Outstanding Work in Science, Sports, or Arts

This type of naturalization is very rare since it depends on some Mexican authority for it to be granted. The foreigner who obtains this type of Naturalization is practically exempted from all the requirements for obtaining Mexican Citizenship. We are talking about people who have contributed significantly to the country.

Naturalization For Citizens of Other Latin American Countries or the Iberian Peninsula.

Mexico, as a symbol of brotherhood among the Latin American peoples, grants a quick modality of obtaining citizenship to those born in a Latin American country, the Caribbean, or the Iberian Peninsula (Spain or Portugal). 

The special requirement in this modality is to have completed only 2 years of legal immigration stay in Mexico.

In addition to the basic requirements, you would also need to prove:

III.- In the case of a foreigner who is originally from a Latin American country or the Iberian Peninsula, the original of the current immigration document, issued by the Ministry of the Interior, must be shown.

Naturalization for Refugees.

A refugee must meet the requirements of the modality for which he is applying, whether due to length of residence, being born in a Latin American country or the Iberian Peninsula, etc.

However, you obtain two advantages granted by the nationality law regulations. The first is that you do not need to take an exam on Mexican culture and history, and you can also request an exemption from paying fees for obtaining a Mexican Naturalization Letter.

If you meet the requirements and would like to apply for citizenship in Mexico, we recommend working with a reputable immigration facilitator. The process can take 6 months and up to 2 years.

If you qualify for Mexican Citizenship and would like to apply, we recommend working with a reputable immigration facilitator familiar with this process. Check out our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide for our recommendations

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions


  1. John Michael Brendel says

    My wife gave birth to our youngest daughter in Mexico, so we obtained Mexican citizenship and passport for the baby, and permanent residence for us and our other children.

    In this situation, we can become eligible to apply for citizenship if we live 18 months in Mexico out of the 24-month period before the application. We are allowed to be out of Mexico up to six months, total, in those two years.

    So the article seems wrong to say that you must live in Mexico “continuously and uninterrupted” for two years yo upgrade the permanent residence to citizenship. That’s not what we were told by employees at the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, nor by our visa consultant Adriana Cruz at Mexperience, just last month. Thank you for your great website!

    • Mariana Lange says

      I see how my wording could have been confusing. What I meant by uninterrupted is that you must not have let your residency expire.
      You can leave the country for up to 180 days in the past 2 years to be eligible to apply for citizenship. I’ve reworded my article to sound a bit more clear.

  2. Jesus Jose Monarrez says

    Dose a person lose Mexican citizenship if they were a permanent resident and then became a naturalized citizen? Thank you. This has not been duplicated

    • Mariana Lange says

      I don’t think I understand the question? If you were a Mexican citizen you wouldn’t need to have residency in Mexico?

  3. Jan says

    I hope this finds you well.
    I have an apartment in Centro PV.
    I am a Canadian citizen and will spend July and August in Toronto and want to apply for either temp residency or full residency.
    I want to start the process asap.
    Can we work together to achieve this?
    Can you tell me what I need to do in Canada and in Mexico?
    With Kind Regard

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Jan!
      We would be happy to help you with the residency visa process.
      If you want help with your residency visa process, we include the steps in our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide. But because we know Mexican bureaucracy is hard to navigate on your own, we also include our directory of immigration facilitators in Mexico.
      When you buy the guide, you get instant access to the easy to follow steps, and also our complete directory.
      Find out what’s included here

  4. Brian ORourke says

    Is there a sample language test on line?

    • Mariana Lange says

      Not that I know of

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