This post outlines how we applied for our Mexican temporary residency visa (visa de residente temporal) during Covid-19. A temporary residency visa is for people who want to live in Mexico for longer than 6 months but less than four year. This visa can be renewed after one, two, or three years.
If you have been following along with our journey, you may recall that we had plans to move to Mexico later this year. (Not familiar? You can check out our original plan in the post: What the Heck is the Plan?). Although we were unable to proceed with the first part of our plan which was traveling to PEI and then through the US, we maintained course on our plan to move to Mexico, and we applied for our Mexican temporary residency in the middle of the pandemic.
This post is a part of our series How to Become a Snowbird by Age 30 – you can find the other parts of this series here: How to Make Money as a Snowbird, Snowbird Freedom: It’s Cheaper Than You Think, and Perfect Home Location: How We Found Ours.
Pre-Application Steps for Temporary Residency
In order to apply for temporary residency in Mexico, you have to start the process outside of the country. At the consulate, you are pre-approved for temporary residency and then you enter Mexico and complete the process.
1. Choose a Consulate
We started the process at the consulate in Calgary, Alberta. Depending on where you live, you may have to travel to the closest consulate. There are 148 consulates to choose from.
After choosing a consulate, you need to make an appointment. During the midst of the pandemic, some of the consulates were closed or had limited appointments. We waited until June and then decided to make an appointment. When Jenn called, the consulate had appointments for the very next day! We ended up making an appointment for July 3, which was about 2 weeks after calling. This date worked for us because Kendall was home from work and it was right before we were leaving to go full-time RVing.
2. Pay the Consulate Fee
The next step after booking our appointment was paying the fee. (Note that this step may be specific for each consulate.) For the Calgary consulate, the payment – $56 CAD per person – had to paid to a Scotiabank account. Because Jenn has an RBC account, she had to go to the Scotiabank branch and pay using cash and get a receipt. You need proof of payment to show reception at the consulate.
3. Required Documentation
Last step before the appointment is gathering all your documentation. Double check the document requirements for your consulate as they may be different. Also note, that depending on the solvency you are using to apply, you may need other documentation.
We applied for our Mexican temporary residency using financial solvency. The following were required documents from the government website:
- Visa application – one per person, printed double sided.
- Valid passport PLUS a photocopy.
- Passport photo.
- Documents to prove financial solvency (examples include bank statements, investment statements, and pay stubs).
Meeting with the Consulate
The day of our visa application meeting finally came. Due to the pandemic, there were extra precautions in place. When we arrived at the consulate, there was a security guard outside. He took our temperature using a non-contact thermometer and provided hand sanitizer. Both he and the receptionist were wearing face shields and had face masks. We were also required to wear face masks and bring our own pen!
The meeting with the consulate has a couple of different parts. First you arrive and reception checks you in. The receptionist goes through your documentation. She took all our documents, ensured we had duplicates and put everything into two separate plastic folders. Even though we are married, the consulate reviews your application as two separate people. This is important to keep in mind when you are gathering your financial documents.
4. Fingerprinting & a Photograph
After the receptionist took our documents, we waited in the lobby. After a little while, they came and got Kendall for finger prints. The consulate has a digital finger print scanner and scans your index finger. They also take a photo for your visa. After Kendall was done, they called Jenn back and completed the same process. That part of the application took less than five minutes.
5. The Interview
Then came the waiting game. We waited in the lobby for the interview. The interview is the last part of the application process where the interviewer reviews all your documentation, determines why you want to move to Mexico, and then makes the final decision as to if you get a visa or not.
It seemed like we waited forever until they called us back. They asked if we wanted to interview together because we are married. (This may not be the case at all consulates as they do review the applications separately).
Our interviewer was very nice! He sat us down and went through our documentation. He removed the duplicates and gave them back to us (not sure why we had to provide them at all). For financial solvency, we provided: one year of investment statements, six months of pay stubs (Kendall and Jenn), balance of savings.
The consulate does require that you show one year’s worth of statements with the required investment balance. We did not have that as we had just combined our accounts. However, we were able to show a history. The interviewer did not seem to care as we had more than the required amount. Again, you should note that not all consulates may accept this – don’t move money around before your application!
The interviewer decided that we were applying using Kendall’s pay stubs for him and our savings balance for Jenn. Due to the pandemic and the slow market of oil, Jenn’s pay stubs were not quite adequate.
The rest of the interview was very relaxed. He asked us why we wanted to move and we were honest. We told him that we had flexibility with our time and working conditions so we wanted to live somewhere warmer and take advantage of that flexibility. We also discussed how we have traveled and vacationed in Mexico and love it – especially the Baja area.
The interviewer let us know that they would be proceeding with granting our temporary residency visa application (YAY!). He took our passports and told us to wait in the lobby.
What Happens After You Are Pre-Approved for Temporary Residency
The last step at the consulate was receiving the visa in our passports. The consulate applies a visa to a page in your passport. This is NOT your visa and after you complete the process, you will get a plastic card.
From that date of approval, you have six months to enter Mexico and finalize your temporary residency visa. After entering Mexico, you have 30 days to start the process at the National Institute of Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración) (INM).
For more easy understanding information regarding Mexican visas and immigration, check out Mexexperience.
What’s Next For Us & Our Temporary Residency Visa?
We are at this last step – we have the visa in our passports but need to finalize everything in Mexico. As it sits, our pre-approval period ends on January 3, 2021. If we do not make it to Mexico prior to that, we will have to start the process over at the consulate.
Stay tuned to find out if we will drive or fly! We are currently playing chicken with the US Canada land border which is closed until September 21.