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Newly issued Mexican immigration regulations are bad news for Americans

On May 25th, 2011, Mexico published its new immigration law. While technically the law went into effect when it was published, due to the fact that the technical regulations on how to apply the law had not yet been written, the law had exemptions delaying its effect until the regulations were finalized and published for the record. The regulations went through a draft and public comment period, and have now been published and went into effect on November 1, 2012

Some parts of the new immigration law will affect Americans who plan to obtain Mexican visas to retire and live in Mexico. More specifically, Mexico has changed the income requirements for pensioners wanting to live there.

The law changes the types of visas. The new visas names are:

  • Visitante (visitor), formerly called FMM.
  • Residente Temporal (temporary resident), formerly called FM-3 and FM-2.
  • Residente Permanente (permanent resident), formally called Immigrado.

Residente Temporal applications for retirees and pensioners. Applicants must submit documents proving they meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Original and copy of proof of investments or bank accounts with average monthly balance equivalent to 20,000 days of the minimum wage in the Federal District during the last twelve months, or

  2. Original and copies of documents showing the applicant has monthly employment or unencumbered pension income greater than 400 days of the minimum wage in the Federal District, for the past six months.

The legal minimum daily wage in the Federal District in 2012 is 62.33 pesos, so 400 times that is 24,932 pesos, or $1,890 dollars at today's exchange rate of 13.19 pesos to the dollar. This amount is increased by 50% for each dependent. So, a married couple applying for the new Residente Temporal visa are required to have a minimum monthly income of $2,835.

20,000 days minimum wage is 1,246,600 pesos, or $94,500 dollars.

An applicant for Residente Permanente must show either the same 20,000 days minimum wage in investments or a monthly employment or pension income of 500 times the minimum wage. That would be $2,365 dollars per month of income. A married couple would require $3,548 per month of income.

Prior to this change, an applicant for an FM-3 was required to demonstrate a monthly income of 250 times the minimum daily wage and an applicant for an FM-2 was required to have 400 times the minimum wage. In other words, the new regulations have increased the income requirement for a temporary resident visa by 60%, and a permanent resident visa has increased by 25%.

The application fees for the visas have also increased. A Residente Temporal visa now costs 3,130 pesos ($237) for a single year, whereas prior to the change, the costs were 1,455 pesos ($110) for the FM-3 and 2,282 pesos ($173) for the FM-2.

The average US social security benefit paid in 2012 was $1,230 per month. As such, the average pensioner in the US would not qualify for a temporary resident visa in Mexico without another source of income.

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On May 25th, 2011, Mexico published its new immigration law. While technically the law went into effect when it was published, due to the fact that the technical regulations on how to apply the law had not yet been written, the law had exemptions delaying its effect until the regulations were finalized and published for the record. The regulations went through a draft and public comment period, and have now been published and went into effect on November 1, 2012

Some parts of the new immigration law will affect Americans who plan to obtain Mexican visas to retire and live in Mexico. More specifically, Mexico has changed the income requirements for pensioners wanting to live there.

The law changes the types of visas. The new visas names are:

  • Visitante (visitor), formerly called FMM.
  • Residente Temporal (temporary resident), formerly called FM-3 and FM-2.
  • Residente Permanente (permanent resident), formally called Immigrado.

Residente Temporal applications for retirees and pensioners. Applicants must submit documents proving they meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Original and copy of proof of investments or bank accounts with average monthly balance equivalent to 20,000 days of the minimum wage in the Federal District during the last twelve months, or

  2. Original and copies of documents showing the applicant has monthly employment or unencumbered pension income greater than 400 days of the minimum wage in the Federal District, for the past six months.

The legal minimum daily wage in the Federal District in 2012 is 62.33 pesos, so 400 times that is 24,932 pesos, or $1,890 dollars at today's exchange rate of 13.19 pesos to the dollar. This amount is increased by 50% for each dependent. So, a married couple applying for the new Residente Temporal visa are required to have a minimum monthly income of $2,835.

20,000 days minimum wage is 1,246,600 pesos, or $94,500 dollars.

An applicant for Residente Permanente must show either the same 20,000 days minimum wage in investments or a monthly employment or pension income of 500 times the minimum wage. That would be $2,365 dollars per month of income. A married couple would require $3,548 per month of income.

Prior to this change, an applicant for an FM-3 was required to demonstrate a monthly income of 250 times the minimum daily wage and an applicant for an FM-2 was required to have 400 times the minimum wage. In other words, the new regulations have increased the income requirement for a temporary resident visa by 60%, and a permanent resident visa has increased by 25%.

The application fees for the visas have also increased. A Residente Temporal visa now costs 3,130 pesos ($237) for a single year, whereas prior to the change, the costs were 1,455 pesos ($110) for the FM-3 and 2,282 pesos ($173) for the FM-2.

The average US social security benefit paid in 2012 was $1,230 per month. As such, the average pensioner in the US would not qualify for a temporary resident visa in Mexico without another source of income.

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