New visa rules benefit business visitors, temporary residents

27 Oct 14



What is the change? Mexico has issued guidelines that provide more flexible criteria for business visitors and temporary resident applicants and new rules for students.

What does the change mean? The amounts required to demonstrate economic solvency for business and temporary resident applicants have been lowered. Foreign nationals applying for work authorization now have a longer period in which to contact the consulate. Foreign students may now apply for dependent family members to join them in Mexico as temporary residents.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor, Temporary Resident and Permanent Resident visas.
  • Who is affected: Business visitors, foreign nationals applying for work authorization, students.
  • Impact on processing times: No direct impact.
  • Business impact: The guidelines clarify visa rules and provide more predictability to employers and foreign nationals.

Background: The new guidelines clarify earlier legislation that reduced all visas into three categories. The new criteria will be used by Mexican consulates and immigration offices to make decisions on visas. The main changes are:

  1. Lower financial thresholds. Applicants in all visa categories – visitor visas, temporary resident and permanent resident visas – who are not paid by a Mexican entity have greater flexibility in demonstrating economic solvency.
    • First, the financial thresholds – either an average monthly income or an average monthly bank balance – have been lowered. For visitors, including business visits of less than 180 days, the minimum average monthly income has been reduced by one-third and the average monthly bank balance has been reduced by 40 percent. For temporary resident applicants, the average monthly income has been lowered by 25 percent and the average monthly bank balance by 75 percent. For permanent resident applicants the average monthly income remains the same, but the average monthly bank or investment account balances to demonstrate retired living have been lowered by 20 percent.
    • Second, the period of demonstrating financial solvency has been shortened. Visitors now must demonstrate that they meet the average financial thresholds only for the previous three months (instead of six months as required under previous rules).
  1. New basis for temporary resident visas. Foreigners may apply for temporary resident visas on the basis of an international agreement on the mobility of persons if the foreign national’s country has signed such an agreement with Mexico. This is useful for candidates who are not remunerated by a Mexican entity and do not qualify for temporary resident visas based on other grounds. The guidelines indicate that a letter will be required from the applicant citing the applicable international agreement, but the guidelines do not list the agreements that will qualify.
  2. Longer deadline to schedule consular visits. Foreign nationals applying for work authorization as a remunerated worker of a Mexican entity now have 30 business days to contact the consular post for a visa interview (as opposed to 15 business days under previous rules).
  3. Foreign students may apply for family members. Foreign students who are temporary residents may now apply for dependent family members to come to Mexico as temporary residents. Students and dependent family members cannot apply for permanent residency on the grounds of having a regular and continuous residence in Mexico for four years.

BAL Analysis: The guidelines provide welcome clarity to previous changes to Mexican immigration law and generally provide greater flexibility and more options for foreign nationals applying for visas to Mexico.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Mexico. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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