Immigration Categories

A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows.  Note that the processes presented here are applicable for “non-restricted” nationals, i.e. nationals who do not require a consular visa for short term business or tourism travel.  The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company.  The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the Residente Temporal Visa. For details on non-typical categories not listed below (investors, special programs), or for cases involving “restricted nationals”, please contact your representative.

  • Residente Temporal:  Non-immigrant visa document issued to temporary foreign workers in Mexico.
  • Entry Permit (Permiso de Internación): Pre-arrival work authorization
  • Residente Definitivo:  Permanent Residence

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to the category “Residente Temporal” completed pre arrival using an Entry Permit (Permiso de Internación).  Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in Mexico is eight (8) to ten (10) weeks.  However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. Emigra Worldwide can provide full support with document procurement and conditioning as necessary.  See “Application Materials” section below for further details.  Processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Pre-Application:  Document Procurement & Legalization
Processing Time:  Dependent on case, allow two (2) to four (4) weeks

All documents must be legalized and translated in preparation for Step One.  This process should be started immediately, in order not to delay the case.

Step One:  Work Authorization (assignee)
Processing Time:  Approximately three (3) to four (4) weeks.

Our Representative can file the application and justifying documents with the immigration authorities (National Institute of Immigration, INM).  Upon approval, an electronic communication is sent to the appropriate Mexican diplomatic post where the applicant will apply in person for his or her entry visa.

Step Two:  Consular Visa Application (personal appearance)
Processing time:  Approximately five (5) to ten (10) business days

We can start monitoring the status of the communication with the consulate. Once the authorization is received, we can reconfirm requirements, and the applicant is able to apply in person for the entry visa.  Mexican Consulates require a personal appearance to submit the visa applications.  Once the entry visa is ready, the visa holders are fully authorized to work and reside in Mexico, as applicable. Please bear in mind that this is a single entry visa; it will allow only one entry with the purpose of obtaining the Residente Temporal ID card, described in Step Three.  Applicant must remain in the country from the time of first entry until the Residente Temporal ID Card is issued.

Step Three:  Residente Temporal ID Card
Processing time:  Approximately two (2) to three (3) weeks

On arrival to Mexico, foreign nationals must complete the FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple).  Personal documentation is collected (corporate documents are not needed) and our Representative can submit the application to the local delegation of the INM.  Approximately two (2) weeks later, the INM grants an appointment for the applicant to sign and fingerprint documents. The appointment can be coordinated by Emigra Worldwide, and we can accompany applicants to the appointment. Approximately one (1) week later, the Temporary Residence cards are issued and sent to the applicant.

Typical Documents Obtained

Following the Residente Temporal process using an Entry Permit (Permiso de Internación) as described above will result in the obtention of the following immigration documents.  Typical validity is noted next to each document name.  For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”

  • Residente Temporal ID Card:  One (1) year


  • Employment visas and their respective dependent visas are issued with an initial validity of one (1) year.  Subsequent one (1), two (2), and three (3) year renewals are typically available as long as the applicant has met the requirements of the visa.
  • Companies should allow up to four (4) weeks to process Residente Temporal ID Card  renewals.  We can inform you of expected processing time on a case by case basis.

Permanent Residence (Change of Status to Residente Definitivo) is available to some applicants after four (4) consecutive years as a temporary resident.  We can assist with all of these processes.


Under the new immigration laws, no deregistration is required in Mexico at this time.

Dependent Applications

After the primary applicant has received his/her Residente Temporal ID card, dependent applications may be presented via either of the two available processes:

  • Pre-Approval via Entry Permit (Permiso de Internación)
  • Change of Status (In-country process)

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant.  Where the principal applicant is in Mexico under the immigration category Residente Temporal, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses):  N/A
  • Maximum age (children):  Eighteen (18) or twenty-four (24) if in higher education
  • Unmarried partners:  May be permitted under certain circumstances
  • Same sex partners:  May be permitted under certain circumstances
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents):  Permitted under certain circumstances
  • Work authorization:  No

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case.  We will advise you in detail for your specific case, however general application materials for the Residente Temporal visa category are noted below.

  • A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application.
  • Such documents may include: copy of passports, diploma(s), company letters, current resume (C.V.), birth and marriage certificates, corporate tax documents, and corporate registration certificates.
  • All documentation must be submitted in Spanish, and most foreign documents must be duly legalized for use in Mexico.
  • We can assist with the translation and legalization requirements.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted:  FMM authorizing business activities is sufficient for “non-restricted” nationals. Consular visa may be necessary for restricted nationals. Contact us for more details.
  • Duration of stay:  Up to 180 days granted on arrival.
  • Note:  For “non-restricted” nationals (i.e. nationals not requiring consular visa to enter Mexico for business or tourism trips), the FMM may also authorize non-remunerated short term or technical work activities.  Contact us for more details.

Change of Status

Change of Authorized Activities is no longer possible in Mexico with the only exception made for dependent family members present in Mexico as visitors seeking to obtain resident status.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case.  In Mexico, there are no specific minimum salary requirements in place.  Payroll location will affect the immigration process.  Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.


There is no minimum number of years of experience or qualifications required.

Red Flags

  • An absence of  relevant experience or sufficient compensation can complicate employment visa applications.
  • Unmarried partners cannot receive dependent status.
  • The INM (Immigration Department) will also look at the Employer’s ratio of foreign to local workers.
  • Mexico has a jurisdictional network of immigration offices. Requirements and processing times may vary by regional office of the INM.
  • Companies require a valid “Expediente Básico” (Basic File) on record with the INM to sponsor any immigration applications for employees who will receive salary in Mexico. Emigra Worldwide can assist with preparation and filing of the Expediente Básico. For additional details, please contact your representative.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The Mexican government takes immigration non-compliance very seriously.  The National Immigration Institute (INAMI) is the regulatory authority that enforces applicable law regulating these matters. Mexican Immigration Law is federal in nature and scope. Penalties for non-compliance range from fines to deportation and even imprisonment.

Employee Penalties:

Monetary fines and possible criminal penalties, as well as denial of entry into Mexico are all possible penalties.

Employer Penalties:      

Companies can be fined for illegal employment of foreigners. The range of potential files is USD$200 up to USD$5000.

For specific details of penalties, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

  • N/A