Renewing Your Immigration Status 2015-03-05T09:41:53+00:00


Expats outside of Mexico who have no “FM2” or “FM3”, must now begin the Residency Application process by applying online before they travel, or apply at the Mexican Consulates, in their home country, and then continue their applications within 30 days of entering Mexico.

Disclaimer: INM rules change constantly. This information is not meant as legal advice. It is for educational and informational purposes only. Government policies vary between States and offices, and Mexican Government officials have broad discretion in how they individually enforce policies, so, your personal experiences may vary.  You are strongly advised to go to your INM office well before your visa expires and ascertain the latest rules applicable to you.  Always see a professional for advice on important issues.

When completing the immigation form on the flight down, ensure you check the correct category – do not check “tourist”, you come in as a 30 days Temporary Resident (even tho the visa gives you 6 months). If you check in as tourist you slide down the snake and lose your accumulated temporary residency status. You must then go to INM within 30 days of arrival to complete the process.



You can renew your Temporale paying for more than one year at a time, if you so choose, up to the maximum of 4 years, with a reduced scale of fees. The cost for renewal of your Temporale visa is:

Residente Temporal Visa Permit Fees:
– 1 year => $3,519 pesos
– 2 years => $5,272 pesos
– 3 years => $6,678 pesos
– 4 years => $7,914 pesos

Permanente Residente from Temporale :  There is an initial cost of 1,124 pesos to start the paperwork process, plus 4,289 pesos upon approval (when your full set of fingerprints will be required).

The fee for family members or spouses to change from Visitante (tourist) to Residente: 1,124 pesos

Permission to leave while document in process: (Travel Letter) $360 pesos

Replacement card due to loss/theft: 1,124 pesos

Directions to INM:

The Immigration Office is in Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta.

Going towards PV by car from Bucerias: get into the right hand lateral before the overpass (Sam’s Club) and turn right at the traffic lights –  you will see the Marlin Restaurant.  This is the  North entrance to Nuevo Vallarta.  Keep following the signs for Paradise Village. You will see the new mirror glass building on the left  as you go over a canal bridge. Parking outside at the front and lots more behind – parking fee payable.   Travelling by bus,  get off at the Marlin Restaurant, walk around the corner to the right, and get on another bus to Paradise Village.

The glass building, called Centro Empresarial, houses the new San Javier Hospital, Banorte, a casino and various offices.    Main entrance is in the middle, through the doors under the building’s address: “Los Cocoteros 55”.  There is NO SIGN indicating that this is where INM office is situated.  INM is upstairs (escalator and elevator) turn right, and right again.

Office hours are 9:00 am to 1 pm, Monday through Friday.

Telephone from Bucerias: 01 322 297 6343, or 01 322 297 6344. These are not cellular numbers, but “long distance” calls from Bucerias to Puerto Vallarta , but they are only charged as local calls.

If you are working or have a slightly different status already, (artist, professor, etc.) then you must go to INM and ask about your own personal situation –   individual circumstances will entail different requirements.


TRAVEL LETTER: If you need to leave Mexico while your application is being processed, you must go to INM and request a letter authorising your travel, at least 3 days before your trip. The cost is 320 pesos and it is valid for 60 days.  This is only valid if your application is in process.  (If you are in an “irregular” situation you cannot get this/leave.) You must present this letter to Immigration at the airport to have it stamped before you leave – and again upon your return. Within 10 days of your return you must take it to the INM office for them to verify the dates.

If your card expired while you were out of the country, you have up to 55 days in which to re-enter Mexico. You must start your renewal application within 5 days of your return. If these time frames are exceeded, your document loses all validity.

Rules change constantly: go to INM yourself to ascertain the latest.


Check the back of your card: if it says Refrendo 3 it means the original year, plus 3 renewals, ie a total of 4 years. You are now eligible to become Permanent.

You have to carry your residency status card with you at all times.  Keep your card safe! 

Different State offices seem to have slightly different requirements. But in particular your individual circumstances may be different to those of your friend. You must go to INM for yourself and find out what applies to you. There is no reason you need to hire an attorney or agent to renew your immigration, certainly not to ascertain what is necessary in your case.

Instead of the old “Inmigrante” (FM2) & “No Inmigrante” (FM3), four new categories were created:

“Visitante”: 6 Types: Non-Working Visitors (tourist), Working Visitors, and Visitors for Adoptions, Humanitarian, etc. 180 day limit. See Chapter 2, Article 52, Items I – VI of the Law for descriptions of all 6 types. At any point while the Visitante permit is valid, the foreigner can go to an INM border office, surrender their “old” Visitante permit, and get a “new” Visitante permit, to give them another 180 days of time permitted in Mexico.

“Residente Temporal”: Covers the old “No Inmigrante” (old FM3) , 4 year limit per Residente Temporal permit, Work Permit possible, Leave and Re-enter as many times as desired up to a certain number of days outside of Mexico.

“Residente Temporal Estudiante”: Covers Student Studies, Research, Training, including working on university degrees. See Chapter 2, Article 52, Item VIII

“Residente Permanente”: Several types: Covers the old “Inmigrado” and a few special “No Inmigrantes” (the old FM3s for asylum seekers & refugees ), and it appears to cover working “Inmigrantes” It allows indefinite stays, no need to renew, and includes the right to work, with no approvals or work permits needed. See Chapter 2, Article 52, Item IX Once you are Permanente you must report any change in circumstances: marital/name/address/employment within 90 days of that change.


As a guideline, here are the forms & paperwork you need to show:

  • Official Bank statements : See Bank Statements details below
  • Your original passport, a copy of its front cover, photo identity page, and the page that lists your emergency contact person.
  • Your soon to expire Temporale visa
  • The computer form “formato migratorio” – you’re about to complete this on line, see below
  • The appropriate fee
  • Colour photos – the size is called “infantil” :

To renew: THREE full face and TWO showing the right profile.

To update to Permanente: You need only TWO full face and only ONE showing the right profile.

All photos must be: plain white background. No glasses (even if you always wear them!); no jewellery at all, and your hair must be brushed back off your face and ear. You can get these done at the Kodak store opposite the downtown Church; a studio upstairs from the juice bar on Av Las Palmas; Vilma’s (01322 297 2274) on the same floor just before the INM office in Paradise Village. Also at Walmart and other outlets, where they sell cameras – they are cheaper but make sure the photographer knows exactly the requirements, including size,or they will be rejected. Instant photos from machines are NOT acceptable.

There are two further forms not available on line, you get them at the counter:

  • “Formato Basico”: this includes your name, nationality, level of education and employment. You sign & date declaring all facts are true. You will be adding your FULL SET of fingerprints to this; and
  • “Escrito Baja Protesta”: Your name, ID and address, ensure you have the correct form for your situation (renewal or applying for Permanente), sign and date



This now means: before you leave your home in whichever country you are in! Online or via your Mexican Consulate.

Complete the Formato Migratorio online. YOU HAVE TO DISABLE YOUR POP-UP BLOCKER. If you are unsure about how to do this, click on this site which gives you instructions for most browsers. For all you need to know about filling out this form online, click here After completing the form, click on “guardar” (save) and a second page will appear, summarizing the information.

At the bottom of the page, there will be a spot to click on to affirm that the information is correct. Click on that, and a PDF file will appear – as long as you have disabled your pop-up blocker. If this is a Temporale renewal from last year, you will be delighted to discover that the form completes itself once you have typed in your unique number.

Then, print the form (2 pages). It will have unique numbers on it assigned to your case, which you will need when you get to immigration (keep a note of them).

At the INM office sign the register, take a numbered ticket, sit and wait until you are called. Out of high season there’s hardly any wait at all. Otherwise it’s “the early bird” gets in and out quicker.

At the counter complete two further forms previously mentioned – Ask for help if you have problems completing these.

They will then give you a form to take to the bank in order to pay the appropriate fee. You can go to any bank, but Banorte Bank is on the ground floor just next door.

Hand over the form and the fee, the teller will print out a multiform receipt – check that your name is correct, sign, and keep one copy. Then you need to make 2 photocopies of that receipt before returning to INM. Nearest photocopier is Vilma’s, just before the INM office.

Immigration personnel will check all of your paperwork again. They will keep your visa and all forms. They will hand you back your passport. Apparently they now also give you a piece of paper that serves as a temporary visa during the renewal process. PLUS they will give you an important piece of paper with a reference number that you will need.

Follow the directions on this paper to track the progress of your application online and take with you when the website advises you to return. This visit is to have your full set of fingerprints taken, and for Permanente, pay the balance of 3,815 pesos. Then they send all paperwork to Mexico City for approval and to issue the new visa. When you do go back to collect your visa (with your piece of paper), you will need to sign to receive it. Unless you have paid an authorised agent to do all this on your behalf, it has to be you and not a friend or family member.

Again: rules change constantly.  Go to INM in plenty of time before your visa expires and find out the latest for yourself.  Then please be so kind to let us know so that this article can be updated.

We acknowledge with thanks information from – further background detail is on their website.