• Delays in Resident ID Card Issuance and Shortened Visa Application Period Result from New Regulations
  • February 11, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Foreign nationals seeking to work in Mexico and their accompanying family members are now required to lodge their visa applications at a Mexican consular post within 15 business days of pre-approval by the National Immigration Institute (INM) in Mexico. Those who fail to apply for a visa during this time frame will have their INM pre-approval cancelled. In related news, the issuance of local resident ID cards continues to be delayed by up to two months.

    These developments are the effect of the ongoing implementation of immigration regulations released in November 2012 that continue to tighten application requirements and delay work and dependent visa applicants.

    Processing Delays Continue to Affect Resident ID Card Issuance

    Foreign nationals and their employers will continue to experience up to two-month delays in the issuance of Mexican local resident ID cards and work permits and renewals in the coming weeks, due to changes in the INM’s internal procedures. It is not yet known when resident ID card processing will return to the previous time frame of three weeks.

    Resident ID cards are necessary to conduct many types of local transactions, such as enrolling in local payroll, signing an apartment lease and opening an account at certain banks, and are used to exit and re-enter Mexico. Some entities or individuals may allow foreign nationals to present a receipt showing that the ID card is in process. Foreign nationals who are planning to travel abroad will have to request an exit and re-entry permit for each trip outside of Mexico during the time that their ID card is being processed.

    Government Actively Enforcing 15-Day Visa Application Period

    Foreign nationals must submit their visa application to a Mexican consular post within 15 business days of the INM’s issuance of their pre-approval in Mexico, or the pre-approval will be canceled. Previously, foreign nationals had up to six months to file their visa application. Though this 15-day visa application period was imposed as part of the November regulatory changes, it was not actively enforced until recently.

    Work visas for Mexico involve three steps: submission of personal and corporate documentation from the Mexican sponsoring company to the INM in Mexico, followed by a visa application filed at a Mexican consular post. The INM approval is normally processed in the course of 4 to 6 weeks, and visa applications are typically processed in the course of 1 to 10 days, though processing times vary widely among consulates. The visa - stamped in the foreign national’s passport - is activated upon his or her entry into Mexico. At this point, the foreign national has 30 calendar days to register with the INM in Mexico and apply for the resident ID card.

    The Mexican government continues to clarify new rules and procedures under the regulations and unify requirements across Mexico’s 32 regional immigration offices. Until immigration staff are fully trained on the new regulations, inconsistencies in the enforcement of policies and eligibility criteria remain highly likely.