By no means am I an expert of Mexican visas, but I wanted to share our experience in getting our visas.

There are 3 main types of visas when traveling to Mexico (at least visa types that would apply to normal folks like me)

  1. Tourist Visa
  2. Temporary Resident
  3. Permanent Resident

Tourist Visa

When you travel to Mexico on vacation, such as that spring break trip to Cancun, you’ll get a tourist visa. You can get a tourist visa for up to 6 months.

You can basically just book an airline ticket to show up at the border, and you can get a tourist visa.

Temporary Resident

A temporary resident visa allows you to stay for up to 1 year initially, and then it can be renewed for 1, 2, or 3 years. After 4 years of temporary residency, you would need to switch to a permanent resident visa.

Permanent Resident

A permanent resident visa is just that – you can stay in Mexico permanently, without having to renew.

Both the temporary and permanent resident visas require you to apply at a Mexican consulate in the US. This is part 1 of the process. Part 2 needs to be completed once you get to Mexico. Also, the temporary and permanent resident visas require you to show that you’re financially stable. They don’t want you coming into the country and being a deadbeat gringo. The financial requirements for a permanent visa are a bit higher, and seem to be geared for retirees.

Our plan was to get temporary visas, renew for a total of 4 years, and then hopefully switch to perm.

Here’s a recap of the process that we went through to get our visas.

First visit to the Mexican Consulate

Living is Austin made it very convenient for us, as there’s a Mexican Consulate here in Austin.

Many consulate require you to make an appointment, but we couldn’t find any way to do so.

  • We called, bit were never able to reach a live person.
  • We emailed – no response.
  • We posted to their Facebook page – no response.

So, we decided to just show up.

But, we did show up with all of the documentation that we thought we would need. The website for the Austin Consulate has the specific requirements. (Tip: use Google Chrome, and click the Translate button to read it in English)

We showed up with the following documentation:

  • Visa applications
  • 12 months of paycheck stubs showing my income
  • 12 months of statements from my 401K account.
  • Passports
  • Copies of our passports
  • Copy of our marriage certificate.
  • Passport size photos

Waited about 30 minutes, then we met a super nice gentleman who did a sort of informal interview, and helped us fill out a few remaining pieces of information on the Visa applications.

Temp or Perm?

He asked if we were looking for Temporary Resident or Permanent Resident visas. I said we assumed we had to get Temporary first, and then years later, we would apply for Permanent.

He said – I think we can get you permanent – let me call Mexico.He stepped out for a few minutes, and when he came back, he said: OK – I think we can get you permanent. w00t!

He said he needed 1 additional piece of documentation – an employment verification letter from my company stating:

  • Confirm that I am employed, and have been since {date}
  • Job Title
  • Monthly salary
  • Salary is direct deposited into a US bank account
  • Has the ability to work from home and/or from a remote location

He asked if I could get that letter back to him that day.  No problem.

We were in his office for less than 30 minutes total.

I immediately went back to my office, and had the company draft that letter. Elizabeth then hand delivered it back to him within a couple hours.  He then set an appointment for us for 2 weeks later.

Second visit to the Mexican Consulate

We walked in, spoke to a nice lady within 5 minutes. She took our pictures and our fingerprints, held onto our passports, and then told us to go pay the cashier $36 each.

We paid, then waited about 45 minutes.

She came back out, and handed us our passports with Permanent Resident Visas inside. Huzzah!

We were both very surprised. We were only expecting to get Temporary Resident – but we got Permanent!

Additional Resources

Sonia Diaz’s site has a lot of good information on immigration and visas.

Next Steps

Once we get into Mexico, we have 30 days to start the rest of the process by heading to the immigration office, so that we can get our physical permanent resident cards. This will be part 2 of the process. I’ll do another post once we start these next steps. 

Stay tuned…


  1. Terri

    I understood that once you have a permanent resident visa, you cannot drive a US plated vehicle. Once you finish the immigration process, can you confirm if that is true? Thanks!

    • Gary

      Because we’re perm residents, our TIP is good for 30 days. My understanding is that we don’t need a TIP in Quintana Roo, as its a border state (borders Belize). So as long as we don’t leave Q. Roo, we’re fine.
      To be honest, I’m not positive what we’ll do long term. Maybe keep the Jeep as a Q. Roo-only vehicle. Maybe drive it to Belize and sell it. Once I figure that out, I’ll do another post with details.

      • Shane

        Hi Gary – thanks so much for posting about your adventures. I’m trying to figure out the Permanent visa/TIP thing as well. Is it safe to assume that you had to forfeit your TIP deposit after the 30 day expiration?

        • Gary

          Hi Shane,

          To be honest, I’m not sure yet. I’m still struggling with exactly what to do with my Jeep.
          I thought that when I take the Jeep out of the country, I would then get my TIP deposit back. Even if it’s after 30 days.
          But, since I’m hoping to *not* take it out of the country, I just don’t know.
          I’m still trying to figure out if there’s a way to nationalize it. Still gathering info at this point.
          Sorry – wish I had a more definitive answer for you.

  2. Mike Simmons

    Can you elaborate on the employment requirement? Does this mean a person must have employment in mexico, or does it mean you have a US job that still pays you while you live in Mexico. Or, is it ok to show a bank statement with X dollars. Or… ??? I’m fuzzy on these finanical requirements.

    Or, how about if I am able to show that I have an offer for employment once I start living IN mexico, from a mexican company?


    • Gary

      Hi Mike,

      It seems to vary by each consulate (we started our process in Austin, TX).
      There’s been some recent threads in some of the Facebook groups about this. (Moving To Mexico, On the Road in Mexico, etc.)

      I have a US job, and I also have savings (401K). Seems like either one of those by themselves would have been sufficient.

      But I know that you can be retired, and meet the financial requirements with savings.
      And you can also be working, showing steady income, and that works too.

      The financial requirements for Temp residency is less than that for Perm Residency.

      If you know which consulate in the US you’ll be starting your process at, then I would contact them to get their specific requirements.
      Then, post to the facebook group(s) and see what experiences that others have had at that same consulate.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Mike Simmons

    I’m in Kerrville, so could use Austin as well. (San Antonio may be to “complex”?)

    Did you use a lawyer in Austin?

    I’m able to get letter for employment in Cancun from an established company, and will be running a fishing charter business which I have been doing for about a year now already, plus can show any amount of money they would require in a savings acount, or other. Any idea of that minimum amount?

    Thanks for your help

    • Gary

      We did not use a lawyer in Austin. The process in Austin was pretty simple.

      According to the Austin consulate website ( ):

      Temp residency:
      A) Original and copy of bank accounts or investments with an average minimum balance of $ 95,892.00 dollars during the previous 12 months,
      B) Original and copy of proof of work or pension that shows a minimum income of $ 2,000.00 per month free of taxes during the previous 6 months.

      Permanent residency:
      A) Original and copy of bank accounts or investments with an average minimum balance of $ 119,865.00 during the previous 12 months,
      B) Original and copy of proof of income or pension that demonstrates a minimum of $ 2,500.00 monthly free of tax during the previous 6 months.

      • Philip Reitano

        You must have been very lucky. We were in Austin, brought all the docs that were necessary and the gentleman there although very nice didn’t accept my brokerage statements and said that the income figures that were online were wrong and I need to show about $5000 monthly income. We are heading out the end of April to the Chapala area that we spent a lot of time there and love it. I guess I’ll go back in 6 months and try again

        • Gary

          That’s a bummer. $5000/month income seems high – is that for perm or temp residency?

  4. Marco

    WOow! Gary,

    Congratulations!! You were a very lucky guy getting that permanent resident right away without having a temporary. As a Mexican and knowing how picky the SRE can be sometimes I can say you had luck!! Hope you are enjoying Mexico!!



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