On April 17, 2019, the new Mexican immigration laws were signed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and came into force on January 14, 2020. The new laws replace the old Inmigrante FM2 and No Inmigrante FM3 visas that were previously available to foreigners. and introduce four new categories.
1. Visiting which consists of six different types of visas: non-active visitors, which is now the new standard tourist visa, active visitors, visitors for adoption, visitors for humanitarian work, etc. These are short-stay visas for foreigners who fall into one of the above categories and allow a maximum stay in Mexico of 180 days.
2. Residente Temporal is like the equivalent of the old No Inmigrante FM3 and allows a maximum stay of four years in Mexico. It can be requested by foreigners who wish either to stay in Mexico based on income established abroad or by those who wish to start a new business. Minimum investment levels, etc., are required when starting any new business in Mexico.
After four years, permanent residence can be applied for, although this period may be reduced by two years for foreigners married to a Mexican national or for those who are eligible for the new point system. The new point system is based on work experience, education levels, and skills, etc.
3. Temporal Estudiante allows foreign students who wish to study in Mexico at a Mexican school or university, to offer research, to train in an activity approved by the government or to those who have qualified for one of the many programs exchange of sponsored students.
4. Permanent Resident which is the equivalent of the old Inmigrado FM2, and allows a foreigner to stay in Mexico permanently. The visa has no restrictions on entering or leaving the country and has no work restrictions. The Permanent Resident is the best visa to acquire for a foreigner who seeks to live in Mexico permanently, either through retirement or through long-term business activity.
Existing visas will remain valid until their expiration, after which they will be replaced by one of the new category visas. To apply for one of the visas in the new category, you must go in person, either to the Mexican consulate in your country of origin or to one of the many immigration centers located in the major cities of Mexico.