Special Residency in Mexico- NO INCOME NEEDED

  • You must possess an expired FMM (tourist permit).
  • You should have visited Mexico once or twice before 2022.
  • No economic solvency is required. *However, you may be required to bring bank statements*
  • You get a 4-year Temporary Residency.
  • You are required to stay in Mexico until your FMM expires.
  • For children under 18, original birth certificates with apostille or legalization and certified translations are necessary.
  • Upfront payment of immigration fees, approximately $17,000 Pesos (around $1,000 USD), is mandatory. This does NOT include the facilitator’s fees.
  • The process can take 1 day and up to 4 weeks
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Each INM Office Applies Its Own Criteria

Just keep in mind that requirements, as defined by INM, should be consistent across all offices, but specific criteria may exist for each INM city. This means that some INM Offices differ in their criteria. For example, the INM government site states that you may be required to show economic solvency when you apply. HOWEVER, none of the immigration facilitators we work with across 20+ states in Mexico have ever had a customer be asked for economic solvency when they apply for regularization.

But that’s not to say this can’t change in the future. So we suggest coming over prepared. Bring the 6 most recent months of bank statements to prove that you have some amount of income available to you. The Mexican government wants to see you can support yourself while living in Mexico.

I highly recommend you work with a facilitator. The program aims to provide amnesty and expedited residency for individuals already in Mexico, addressing the concept of irregular and regular immigration. So to apply for this, you will need to travel to Mexico, and wait for your FMM to expire. 

For example, Mexico City INM does not accept anyone who left Mexico after 2023. In Cancun, you must wait 6 months to apply- even if your FMM has expired before then. In Mazatlan, they are currently putting the program on hold. In Progreso and Cozumel, you must prove you live in the area when they do random house checks. In Merida, you must have had 2 visits between 2015-2023.

So you see the INM offices all apply their own criteria for this program. This criteria is current as of April 2024 and is subject to change by INM office.  

If you’d like our recommended and vetted directory of immigration facilitators across Mexico, consider purchasing our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide. The guide provides recommendations for facilitators proficient in the regularization program, ensuring a smoother application process.

You MUST Be in Mexico to Apply

Please keep in mind that these are the basic requirements and they can change from one INM office to the next. Each INM office has its own requirements and not every INM office will offer the RNE program. Consult your immigration facilitator in the city you plan to apply to discuss. We DO NOT recommend applying in Mexico City, Cancun, or Mazatlan.

This special regularization program is done within Mexico. Unlike the standard process for Mexican residency, which requires you to apply from a Mexican Consulate abroad- this program is different.

Although this isn’t a guarantee, certain airports may offer fewer days on FMMs. Such as Leon, Guadalajara, Queretaro, and Merida. Alternatively, some individuals go to land borders and request the minimum days (e.g., 7 days) before applying.

You DO NOT need to prove economic solvency.

The biggest difference and game changer in this program is that you do not need to prove a minimum amount of economic solvency to qualify. That’s huge! Especially for someone considering moving to Mexico but not qualifying because of the high income requirements for residency in Mexico through the traditional route.

However, be aware that the INM government site states that you may be required to show 20,000 Days of UMA for the past 12 months if you are retired. Or 400 Days of UMA if you are working. But if you have learned anything about Mexican bureaucracy until now, it is that the Mexican government is consistently inconsistent.

Meaning that they don’t always practice what is written on their pages or in the law. As of March 2024, none of the immigration facilitators we work with across 20+ states in Mexico have ever had a customer be asked for economic solvency when they apply for regularization.

But that’s not to say this can’t change in the future.

So we suggest coming over prepared. Bring the 6 most recent months of bank statements to prove that you have some amount of income available to you. The Mexican government wants to see you can support yourself while living in Mexico.

And yes, with this special regularization, you can also petition your dependents. That includes your spouse or children under 18.

You Need to Prove You Came to Mexico Before 2022

Another important requirement is that you need to prove you visited Mexico at least once before 2022. And it’s important for you to know that each INM office applies its own criteria. For example, in Merida, you need to prove you came to Mexico 2 times before 2022.

This is proven by the stamps on your current or any old passports in your possession. Unfortunately, anyone who came on a cruise will not qualify because cruise terminals process tourists in a very different way than land borders and airports. Therefore, your cruise visit is not in the system.

You’re Required to Pay ALL Immigration Fees Upfront.

Because you are getting a 4-year residency in Mexico through this special program, you must pay all immigration fees upfront.

  • The 4-year Temporary Residency Fee is $11,985 pesos.
  • An RNE Fee for Immigration to do a Study on Your Case: $1,702 Pesos
  • And a Fine For Overstaying your FMM Allowed Time: $2078-$5,000 Pesos.

This comes out to approx. $17,000 Pesos or about $1,000 USD.

Well worth it, in my opinion, if you have all the requirements to qualify. This also means you don’t need to worry about renewing this visa yearly. This doesn’t include the cost of hiring an immigration facilitator– which I highly recommend you do. The cost of a facilitator will range from $4,000-$,8000 Pesos per person.

The requirements to know if you qualify are pretty straightforward. However, the process is not that easy. You’ll have to write a letter in Spanish explaining why you want to live in Mexico. And you’ll have to know where to pay your fees and ensure the paperwork is done 100% correctly.

You MUST Stay in Mexico

One of the caveats of this program is that you have to wait for your current FMM to expire. Most people coming through international airports will have to wait 180 days for their eFMMs to expire.

That means you cannot leave Mexico and will have to wait for your tourist permit to expire before you can apply.

Pro Tip- If you want to apply for this program but cannot risk getting a 180-day FMM and wait for it to expire, we recommend avoiding airports like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Mexico City. These airports tend to give tourists 180 days automatically.

The Process Can Take Up to 4 Weeks

When you apply for this residency, many INM offices across Mexico will send your application to Mexico City for review. This process can take anywhere from 1 week up to 4 weeks for Mexico City to make a decision and send your application back to the INM office where you applied.

However, not all applications are being sent to Mexico City, and not all INM offices send their applications to the capital.

This means if you plan to travel to Mexico for the sole purpose of obtaining the RNE residency, you should expect to stay in Mexico until the process is completed. So what happens if you need to leave and cannot wait in Mexico for the resolution of your regularization temporary residency? Well, we suggest planning to stay, if possible, until you have your residency card in hand. 

But if you can’t, there is a special “permiso de salida y regreso,” which is essentially an exit and re-entry permit. 

It’s important for you to keep in mind that exit and re-entry permits are not always granted for the RNE program. We suggest you stay in place until you have your residency card in hand which can take approx 2-4 weeks. For example, cities like Merida do NOT allow exit and re-entry permits for the RNE Program. If you need guidance on the city you intend to apply in, we suggest working with one of our recommended facilitators.

You’ll need to apply for this permit with INM and it is up to the immigration agents to approve it. They usually only approve this permit if you have a legitimate reason for leaving such as family medical issues, work related problems, and related issues as to why you need to come back later to finish your “tramite” or legal process. If you leave Mexico without this permit, you will have to start the process all over again.

The permit costs $545.00 MXN, and it gives you up to 60 days to come back.

You also have to write a letter in Spanish explaining the reason why you need permission to leave. 

To get an idea of the wait times for the INM office you plan to apply to, we recommend talking with a reputable immigration facilitator in that office. If you need our directory of vetted immigration facilitators, check out our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide.

You Can Apply For Permanent Residency

Another benefit of this program is, in most cases, you are given your temporary residency for 4 years. You won’t have to renew your residency visa. After 4 years, you can apply to become a Permanent Resident in Mexico.

You can also petition your family once you are approved and obtain your Mexican temporary residency card.

The important thing to know here is that there is a chance that more people will take advantage of this program. But we don’t know how much longer it will last. So you should hurry and plan now!

The Game Changer!

If you were worried about not qualifying based on your income, this could be the light at the end of the tunnel! It’s a great program that seems promising. If you qualify for the regularization program, I suggest applying sooner rather than later!

To fully understand if you qualify, our recommended immigration experts can help you determine if you qualify since you will have to verify that INM has a record of any previous entries before 2022.

If you are certain you qualify, then I recommend working with an immigration facilitator to help you out right away. However, not all immigration facilitators know about this program. So hiring the right one can make all the difference. Get our list of recommended immigration facilitators in our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide.

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.