If you are a foreign national who wants to join a family member in Mexico, you need a Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa for the purpose of Family Unity: ie. a Mexico Family Visa.
Whether you receive permanent or temporary residence in Mexico on the grounds of family unity depends on the nationality of your family member and your relationship to them.
Who Beeds a Mexico Family Visa?
Everyone who intends to join a family member in Mexico for longer than 180 days must apply for a Mexico Family Visa. If you only intend to visit your family member for a period shorter than 180 days, you need a Mexico Tourist/Visitor Visa instead.
Additionally, if you are from the following countries and intend to stay less than 180 days, you do not need a Mexico visa at all:
|European Union citizens||Andorra||Argentina||Australia||Bahamas|
|Colombia||Costa Rica||Ecuador||Hong Kong||Iceland|
|Marshall Islands||Malaysia||Micronesia||Monaco||New Zealand|
|San Marino||Singapore||South Korea||Switzerland||Trinidad and Tobago|
|United Arab Emirates||United States||Uruguay||Vatican City||Venezuela|
Mexico Family Visa Requirements
The documents you must submit when applying for a Mexico Family Visa include:
- Completed and signed Mexico Visa Application Form
- Your passport along with photocopies of the relevant pages (first and last page, any visas and stamps you have received)
- Passport-size picture with a white background and taken in the last six months.
- A booked flight ticket (not necessarily purchased)
- Proof of family relationship, such as:
- Marriage certificate or proof of common-law union for spouses/partners
- Birth certificates, for children, parents, or siblings, proving the family ties
- If your family member is a Resident Card holder: The original and copy of their Resident Card
- If your family member is an international student: A letter from their school, confirming their enrollment
- Proof of financial solvency, through bank statements from the last 12 months, payslips, or savings.
- Mexico Family Visa fee payment
- Any additional documents that the Mexico embassy requests
Keep in mind:
- All the documents you submit have to be in English or Spanish. If they are not, you must have them translated and submit both the original and the translation.
- All the official documents you submit (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc) have to be legalized before submission. (Through an Apostille or the Mexican embassy nearest to you).
- This is not an exhaustive list of requirements. The Mexico embassy may request any additional documents as they see fit.
How to apply for a Mexico Family Visa?
To get a Mexico Family Visa, your family member first has to request permission for family reunification at the National Immigration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM)) in Mexico.
Then, you must submit a visa application at a Mexico embassy nearest to you. However, since the visa is simply an entry requirement, you also have to get a residency card at the National Immigration Institute in Mexico (Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM)) upon arrival if you want to stay longer than 180 days.
Applying for the Mexico Family Visa
You have to apply for a Mexico Family Visa at a Mexican embassy in your country in person. Your family member has to be present with you when you apply. The application process is as follows:
- Contact a Mexico embassy to set up an appointment. You can find a list of Mexican embassies here.
- Complete the Mexico Visa Application Form. You can find the application form on the website of the Mexico embassy where you will apply or at the embassy itself.
- Collect the required documents. See the requirements for a Mexico Family Visa below.
- Submit the application and pay the visa fee. On the date of your appointment, you will give your biometrics and may also have to enter an interview.
- Wait for the visa to be processed
- Pick up your passport. If the application is approved, the visa will be affixed to your passport.
- Travel to Mexico and exchange your Mexico Visa into a Residence Card
Keep in mind: Different embassies may have their own requirements when it comes to the visa application process. This is why it is important to always contact them or visit their website to learn about the specific requirements, opening hours, etc before applying.
Applying for the Residence Card
Within 30 days of arriving in Mexico, you have to approach the offices of the National Immigration Institute and apply for a Residence Card. It is the Residence Card which gives you legal status and allows you to stay in Mexico for over 180 days. You must have the following documents with you when you apply:
- The Resident Card request form, which you can download from the website of the Immigration Offices.
- Your passport with the Mexico Family Visa affixed
- The Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM) which you received at the airport or on the plane
- Payment of the Resident Card fee
- A cover/request letter for the Resident Card addressed to the Instituto Nacional de Migración
- Proof of your relationship with your family member
- Any additional documents the INM may request from you and your family member which support your application
Depending on your situation, you may receive a Temporary Resident Card (up to one year and renewable) or a Permanent Resident Card (indefinite duration).
What Type of Residency Will I Receive with my Mexico Family Visa?
Whether you will receive permanent or temporary resident status depends on the relationship with your family member in Mexico as well as their nationality. As such, you will receive a:
- Temporary Resident Card if:
- You are the parent, child under 18, or spouse of a Temporary Resident in Mexico; or
- You are the spouse of a Mexican national or Permanent Resident
- Permanent Resident Card if:
- You have a child who is a Mexican citizen or Permanent Resident
- You are a child or adolescent and you have a parent who is a Mexican citizen or Permanent Resident
- You are a child or adolescent and you have a step-parent who is a Mexican citizen or Permanent Resident
- You are the sibling of a Mexican citizen or Permanent Resident
The Temporary Resident Card is initially issued for one year, and it can be renewed for another three years. Once you have four years of temporary residence in Mexico, you become eligible for a Permanent Resident Card. If you are the spouse of a Mexican citizen or permanent resident, then you become eligible for permanent residency after only two years.
The Permanent Resident Card, as the name suggests, does not have an expiry date.
Mexico Family Visa processing time
The processing time for any type of Mexico visa depends on the embassy in which you apply. You can expect to wait anywhere from one week to a month. This is why you are advised to apply for a visa at least one month before you intend to travel.
Mexico Family Visa fee
The Mexico visa fee which you have to pay at the Mexico embassy is around US$36, but can differ from embassy to embassy, as can the payment method.
Additionally, you also have to pay a fee when you apply for a Mexico Resident Card at the INM. The fee for a Resident Card depends on the number of years it is issued for, and ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 Mexican Pesos.
What is the Duration of a Mexico Family Visa?
The Mexico Family Visa itself is only valid for a maximum of 180 days, and for a single entry. This is why you have to obtain a Residence Card upon arrival to Mexico. So, depending on what type of Residence Card you’re eligible for (as outlined above), the duration of your Mexico Family Visa is:
- Up to four years, for Temporary Residence Card holders (with the possibility of converting into a Permanent Residence Card after the four years are up)
- Indefinitely, for Permanent Residence Card holders
Can I Renew a Mexico Family Visa?
You cannot renew the Mexico Family Visa itself, but you can renew the Residence Card for Family Unit purposes which you receive upon arrival.
If you have a Temporary Resident Card, you can renew it for up to four years, after which you can apply for permanent residency.
If you have a Permanent Resident Card, you do not have to renew it, since it does not have an expiry date at all.
Can I Work With a Mexico Family Visa?
A Mexico Family Visa does not automatically grant you permission to work, except if you receive a Permanent Resident Card.
If you have a Temporary Resident Card and upon arrival, you find an employer, they must apply for a Mexico Work Permit on your behalf at the National Immigration Institute. If your Work Permit application is approved, then you are eligible to work.
What if I Lose or Damage my Mexican Resident Card?
If you lose or damage your Mexican Resident Card, you must visit the local immigration office and apply for a replacement. You must have the following documents with you:
- Your passport (original and a photocopy)
- Residence card replacement fee
- Three pictures, two showing you face-front and one from your left side profile
- If your resident card was damaged: Submit the Tourist Card (FMM) and your Family (entrance) Visa along with the residence card
- If your resident card was stolen/lost: Submit the the Tourist Card (FMM) and your entrance Visa
- Form to request immigration procedure stay (here)
- Any additional documents the immigration office may request
If you lose or damage your Mexican Resident Card while you are abroad, you must approach a Mexican embassy to request a replacement.