do i have to hire a lawyer to do my immigration residency paperwork in mexico?
July 6, 2020
So you’ve done all the pre-paperwork outside of Mexico to gain your first temporary residency visa and you’re wondering now what. If you look at your paperwork, it will tell you that you have 30 days, after entering Mexico, to get to your nearest Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM) office to complete the process.
At this point, you’re likely wondering if you need a lawyer or if you can do this on your own. Unless your situation is super complicated — it involves children, a messy divorce or criminal history — you can likely do it yourself.
The main goal of the INM office is to have a guarantee that you are able to financially support yourself while living in the country. If you’re moving here based on a job offer, then it’s probably best to let the hiring company move forward with the paperwork since they too, have to provide proof of hiring, etc.
If they frequently hire foreigners, they’ll have a well seasoned lawyer near by.
If however, you are just looking to gain residency, doing it yourself is not that complicated. It’s mostly about having all the correct paperwork (and copies) to move forward with the process.
If you’ve been approved in your home country for residency in Mexico, then just follow what that INM officer tells you. Some people apply for temporary residency first, while others go straight for permanent residency.
Temporary residency: for those want to live in Mexico more than six months and less than a year. After one year, the visa can be renewed for 1, 2 or 3 more years and can optionally give work permissions. After year four, it cannot be renewed. You either apply for a Permanent Resident permit or leave the country.
Permanent residency: for those who want to live in Mexico on a permanent basis and / or eventually apply for Mexican citizenship.
If you’re financially stable and looking to retire, you can apply for permanent residency and hope for approval, getting the residency process over and done with upfront.
If, however, you’re looking to work in Mexico, then you will need to take a different route, since working without a Mexico work permit can get you deported.
Back to residency.
You can also hire an immigration representative to help with your residency paperwork once you’re back in Mexico. These folks are not lawyers, but are locals familiar with the process. For a fee, they will collect your paperwork and stand in line at the INM office on your behalf, submitting what you have provided.
If you are positive you have everything asked for, this step can save some “waiting in line” time, however, you will still be required to make a personal appearance or two at the INM office. Your photo, fingerprints and signature are required in person.
The downside to hiring a representative is this. If there’s a slight hiccup in your paperwork that the INM officer catches upfront, you are given the opportunity to fix it there and then if you’re the one presenting your paperwork.
If you’re not there, if you’ve hired someone else to present the paperwork for you, then you will have to reschedule that particular immigration paperwork submission process, which could add anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to your approval process.