Immigrant Visa

FM2 visas and permanent residency

Immigrant Visas (FM2 visas) are issued to foreigners who want to live in Mexico for more than a year and are seeking permanent residency or Mexican citizenship.

FM2 visas are issued for one year and can be renewed each year as long as you stay in Mexico. Unlike the FM3 visa, FM2 visas give you the status of an immigrant (inmigrante). After five years of living in Mexico with an FM2 visa you can apply for a permanent resident status (inmigrado).

Just like non-immigrant FM3 visas, FM2 visas are granted for various purposes that define the activities you can carry out in Mexico:

  • Retirees or Living off of Resources (Rentistas) - allows you to live in Mexico on a pension income but does not allow you to work in Mexico.
  • Investor (Inversionista) – granted upon a minimum investment in Mexico
  • Professional (Profesional) – allows you to practice a profession in Mexico if your professional degree is registered and acknowledged by the Federal Professionals Degrees Registry at the Federal Ministry of Public Education
  • Trusted Personnel (Cargos de Confianza) – granted to high level management or other high-level positions in a Mexican company
  • Scientist (Cientifico) – granted for scientific research or scientific teaching
  • Technician (Tecnico) – granted to technical personnel in Mexican companies
  • Family Members (Familiares) – applies to spouses and/or direct blood descendants (sons, daughters, nephews, grandchildren and brothers/sisters)
  • Artists and Athletes (Artistas y Deportistas)
  • Assimilated Individuals (Asimilados) – granted to those who do not fit into any of the preceding categories but are assimilated (fit in) to Mexico and will perform some licit, honest and productive activity in Mexico, or for those that are the spouse of or descendent of a Mexican national.

To apply for an FM2 visa you do not need to have held an FM3 visa before, and the years you have lived in Mexico with an FM3 visa do not automatically count for the qualification period for permanent residency. If you intend to stay in Mexico for a long time it is therefore advisable to apply for an FM2 visa as soon as possible, although the application process is more complicated than for an FM3 visa.

You can apply for an FM2 visa while in Mexico with an FMT or FM3 visa. Upon receiving your FM2 immigrant status you will receive a document that serves like a “foreigner’s passport” that allows you to pass through Mexican borders like a Mexican citizen.

Can you work in Mexico with an FM2 visa?

If your immigration status is “no inmigrante” or “inmigrante” (non-resident immigrant), you need to get permission from the Mexican Immigrations Office (Instituto Nacional de Migración – INM) before you can work in an area that is different from the one that you were authorised for. For more information check our articles on work permits or go to www.inm.gob.mx .

Permanent residence (inmigrado)

After having lived in Mexico for 5 years with an FM2 visa you can apply for a permanent resident status (inmigrado) which entitles you to full rights and responsibilities of Mexican citizens (i.e. IMSS sickness pay and income tax payment), except for the right to vote. As an inmigrado, you also have the right to work in Mexico.

Further reading

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Other comments

  • Additional info, 30 September 2012 Reply

    Full rights?

    " . . . (inmigrado) which entitles you to full rights and responsibilities of Mexican citizens (i.e. IMSS sickness pay and income tax payment), except for the right to vote."

    Not only can inmigrados not vote, they also can't own property outright in restricted zones as Mexican citizens can. This could be an important issue for inmigrados living near land borders or the coast.