New Criteria for Legal Residency in Mexico 2021

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If you plan to live, work, or retire in Mexico, Mexican immigration law stipulates that applicants for residency fulfill certain criteria.  Applications made on the basis of ‘economic solvency’ stipulate certain income, savings, or asset requirements, and the criteria are intended to ensure that people applying for residency on this basis have the means to sustain themselves in Mexico.

Foreign nationals and their families who wish to settle in Mexico may apply for a Temporary Resident visa. This visa comprises several categories such as Scientific Research, Economic Solvency, Real Estate Investment, Education, Marriage, among others.

The permit is usually issued for 1 year, but it is renewable annually for a further 3 years (3+1), provided that requirements are still met. Prior to its expiration, a temporary resident may apply for a permanent residence permit if he or she has continuously resided in the country for 4 years (i.e. has paid Mexican income taxes).

After 5 years of legal residency, a resident may be eligible for naturalization. To obtain citizenship they must have Spanish language skills and pass a test and interview about Mexican history, culture, and values. Nationals of Iberia (Spain and Portugal) or Latin American countries may be eligible for citizenship after 2 years of legal residency.

Summary of financial criteria

The financial criteria required to qualify for a legal residency permit in Mexico vary depending on what type of residency permit type you apply for, and whether you have certain types of family ties in Mexico. Applying for residency on the basis of your ‘economic solvency’ requires you to demonstrate:

  • a regular monthly income; or
  • a certain cash savings or investment fund balance; or
  • an officially assessed value of a home you own in Mexico; or
  • a minimum level of capital investment in Mexico.

Minimum Salary vs UMA

In 2016 the Mexican government began to decouple the official daily Minimum Salary from a whole range of fees, fines, and other official calculations, and directed ministries to use the UMA measure instead.

Immigration offices in Mexico have begun to transition to the new ‘UMA’ multiples that replace the Minimum Salary multiples.  Mexican consulates abroad will use Minimum Salary or UMA during the transition period; you need to ask the consulate you apply at which measure it is using.

Mexico residency qualification based on income

If you intend to apply for legal residency in Mexico on the basis of ‘economic solvency’ using a proven monthly income, you will need to demonstrate income for at least the last 6 months in multiples of Minimum Salary (MS) or UMA depending on what measure the Mexican Consulate you apply at is using.

This table shows the monthly income required, expressed in Mexican pesos (MXN) with an approximate equivalent in US dollars (USD), based on the legal multiples of Minimum Salary (MS) or UMA required for qualification.

Residency TypeMonthly Income (MS)Monthly Income (UMA)
Temporary ResidencyMXN$42,510 | USD$2,237MXN$26,886 | USD$1,415
Permanent ResidencyMXN$70,850 | USD$3,729MXN$44,810 | USD$2,358
Dependent Spouse
(Temp. or Perm. Res)
MXN$14,170 | USD$$746MXN$8,962 | USD$472
Dependent Minors
(Temp. or Perm. Res)
MXN$14,170 | USD$$746MXN$8,962 | USD$472
Family Unit*
(Temp. or Perm. Res)
MXN$14,170 | USD$$746MXN$8,962 | USD$472
Student
(Temporary Residency)
MXN$14,170 | USD$$746MXN$8,962 | USD$472

Mexico residency qualification based on savings

If you intend to apply for legal residency in Mexico on the basis of ‘economic solvency’ using proven savings (cash or investments), you will need to demonstrate a minimum monthly balance over the last 12 months in multiples of Minimum Salary or UMA, depending on what measure the Mexican Consulate you apply at is using. 

This table shows the savings/investment balance required, expressed in Mexican pesos (MXN) with an approximate equivalent in US dollars (USD), based on the legal multiples of Minimum Salary (MS) or UMA required for qualification.

Residency TypeSavings Balance (MS)Savings Balance (UMA)
Temporary ResidencyMXN$708,500 | USD$37,289MXN$448,100 | USD$23,584
Permanent ResidencyMXN$2,834,000 | USD$149,158MXN$1,792,400 | USD$94,337
Dependent Spouse
(Temp. or Perm. Res)
MXN$14,170 | USD$$746MXN$8,962 | USD$472
Dependent Minor
(Temp. or Perm. Res)
MXN$14,170 | USD$$746MXN$8,962 | USD$472
Family Unit*
(Temp. or Perm. Res)
MXN$14,170 | USD$$746MXN$8,962 | USD$472
Student
(Temporary Residency)
MXN$141,700 | USD$7,460MXN$89,620 | USD$4,717

Mexico residency qualification based your house value or capital investment in Mexico

Instead of an income or savings/investment balance, you may apply for Temporary Residency on the basis of certain assets you might have in Mexico, thus:

The value of your Mexican home: You can apply for Temporary Residency if you own a residential property in Mexico (not abroad) with an assessed market value of at least: MXN$5,668,000 (approximately $298,316 US dollars) if the Minimum Salary is applied to the calculation; or MXN$3,584,800 (approximately $188,674 US dollars) if UMA is applied to the calculation.  The assessed market value must be free of any liens (debts, charges, or mortgages).

Capital investment in Mexico: You can also qualify for Temporary Residency if you commit to investing in a private Mexican-owned company or a company or companies listed on the Mexican stock exchange. The minimum investment required about US$150,000 if Minimum Salary multiples are applied and about US$100,000 if UMA is applied.

Important notes to accompany the tables above

Multiples: The number of Mexican pesos (MXN) quoted in the tables above reflects the requirements based on the legally stipulated multiples of either daily Minimum Salary (MS) or UMA.  It will be one or the other, depending on what multiples the consulate (applications from abroad) or immigration office (applications in Mexico) are using.  For example, the law stipulates that applicants applying for Temporary Residency based on economic solvency must demonstrate at least 300x MS/UMA of monthly income; or 5000x MS/UMA in a savings/investment balance.

Exchange rates: An exchange rate of $19 Mexican pesos (MXN) to calculate the US dollar (USD) equivalent amounts.  Mexican consulates abroad may apply different exchange rates.

What Proof is Required?

Depending on the Mexican Consulate you begin your process with outside of Mexico and the immigration office within Mexico, you will be required to show:

✓ Foreign Income: 6 to 12 months of bank statements proving the average monthly income requirement.
✓ Foreign Savings: 12 months of bank/investment statements proving the average monthly balance requirement.

Income criteria: You must demonstrate (usually via bank statements) a regular monthly income of at least the amounts required for at least 6 months prior to your application date.  Some Mexican consulates might ask for the last 12 months of income statements.

Savings criteria: You must demonstrate (usually via bank or investment statements) a minimum savings/investment balance of at least the amounts required for the 12 months prior to your application date.

Dependent spouse (married couples/common law partners): If you’re applying for residency as a couple, you do not need to demonstrate double the amounts expressed above.  Instead, one spouse/partner will need to demonstrate income or a savings balance in the amounts above (as the principal applicant) plus an additional 100 days of Minimum Salary or UMA for the dependent spouse/partner.

Dependent children: If you’re applying for residency with dependent children, note that only minor children (under the age of 18 years) can be included on the application as your dependents.  For minor children dependents, you will need to demonstrate income or a savings balance in the amounts above for the principal applicant plus an additional 100 days of Minimum Salary or UMA for each dependent minor child.  Adult children need to apply under the auspice of their own income or savings.

*Family Unit: Family Unit applications are those where the applicant has certain family roots or connections in Mexico, for example, Mexican parentage or a Mexican spouse or common-law partner. 

Students: Financial qualification criteria for student residency permits are lower, but note that student residency permits carry restrictions that non-student residency permits don’t have.  Work permissions can optionally be sought with student residency permits.

House value criteria: If you are applying for residency in Mexico based the value of a home you own, that property must be situated in Mexico, not abroad.

Applications at Mexican consulates abroad

Most people who apply for residency need to make their application at a Mexican consulate.  In a small few situations, mostly through Family Unit residency applications, it’s possible to exchange a Visitor’s permit for a resident permit in-country, but most people apply through a Mexican consulate abroad.

Mexican immigration law stipulates the minimum income or savings requirements in Mexican pesos; however, Mexican consulates abroad express the required amounts in the local currency of the country where they are based, and the income or savings they ask to see might or might not reflect the current market exchange rates in relation to the amount required in Mexican pesos. This can cause variations in the specific amounts asked for, and it’s not uncommon for consulates’ requirements to vary from one another.

If your income or savings balance is near the cusp of qualification, we recommend you contact your nearest Mexican consulate to determine how it’s currently applying the rules regarding financial criteria for residency applications. Every application is dealt with individually and the consulate retains discretion on acceptance or denial of your residency application on a per-case basis.

Resident tax obligations

Taxes

Mexican tax residents are individuals who have established a permanent home in Mexico, or their center of vital interests is in Mexico. Mexico is considered to be the center of vital interests if more than 50% of an individual’s income is obtained from a Mexican source, or Mexico is their primary professional activities place.

Tax residents are subject to taxation on their worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed on their income derived from Mexico.

The personal income tax rate is progressive up to 35% on income exceeding MXN3,000,000. Nonresidents are exempt on their first MXN125,900 and subject to a tax rate of 15% on income between MXN125,900 and MXN1,000,000, and 30% on the excess.

Capital gains are treated as ordinary income, however, those derived from the sale of securities listed in the Mexican Stock Exchange are taxed at a reduced rate of 10%. The sale of a main residential property is tax-exempt. The exemption is limited to a certain amount and a sale every three years.

Dividends are considered taxable income and also subject to a 10% withholding tax, however, a tax credit may apply for corporate tax paid. Dividends received from foreign entities are fully taxable and also subject to the 10% withholding tax.

Interests are included in the tax base, except those derived from certain exempted small balance accounts. Rental income is also taxable under personal income tax, although certain deductions may be available.

Mexico has enacted controlled foreign company (CFC) rules. Profits retained in foreign entities resident of considered tax havens, owned by Mexican tax residents, may be attributable, provided that the taxpayer has effective control of the administration of the investment, or the total amount is more than MXN160,000.

Municipalities levy real property taxes. Tax paid may be deductible on rental taxable income. There is a transfer tax between 2% and 5% on the transfer of real properties.

There are no inheritance taxes, nor taxes on net wealth.

The standard V.A.T. rate is 16%. Food and medicine are usually exempt.

Regarding corporate taxation, resident entities are subject to income tax on their worldwide income at a 30% rate. Capital gains are included in taxable income. Dividends from resident entities are tax-exempt, whereas those from foreign subsidiaries are subject to taxation. Usually, a tax credit is available for foreign tax paid.

Source: mexlaw.ca, diamsc.com, gob.mx, mexperience.com

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