What is the change? The Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) has begun a reorganization of its Mexico City operations.

What does the change mean? INM is moving all visa and permit processing in Mexico City from the INM’s national headquarters to its regional office in Mexico City. Once the reorganization is complete, the regional office will have one area dedicated to employer-based immigration filings and another for family-based filings. In the medium- and long-term, this could lead to a streamlined application process. In the short-term, however, employers should expect delays.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals applying for visas or permits in Mexico City.
  • Impact on processing times: Officials hope that the streamlined approach will eventually lead to faster processing times in Mexico City. For now, processing remains longer than normal. Specific processing times vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of visa or permit and the date on which it is filed.
  • Business impact: Employers may need to be flexible with employee start dates and schedules.

Background: Mexico City has two INM offices, the INM’s national headquarters and a regional office serving the federal district. (All 31 Mexican states also have regional offices.) This past summer, authorities announced plans to move operational work in Mexico City (e.g., visa and permit processing) to the regional office; the main office will remain open for administrative functions only. This plan is now being implemented, and officials hope to have the reorganization complete in early 2020. Processing delays may be compounded by office closures for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Analysis & Comments: Mexico has been grappling with delays for months now, largely because of changes in personnel and increased migration from Central America. And while the efforts to streamline applications may eventually lead to faster processing in Mexico City, delays should be expected in December and January. Employers should continue to plan ahead and submit applications as early as possible.

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