How to move to Mexico: an interview with an immigration lawyer

So, you have decided to move to Mexico, be it the Caribbean Paradise or any of the beautiful colonial cities, or the exotic Baja California. If you decide to move permanently to Mexico you will need 2 things:

  • You will need to get your paperwork together
  • you need a lawyer.

I lived in Mexico for 7 years and I was very fortunate as I was interviewed and hired by a big international corporation, that took care of all my paperwork and all the procedures which are normally tedious and long were almost always relatively smooth and easy.

Also, because we were in the hands of a very professional lawyer who knew her business so well and made sure all the papers would be submitted on time every year, very meticulous and precise, and most of all, she was always aware of all the changes in the immigration procedures.

You have to know that immigration laws not only are very strict in Mexico, but they change very often and one little detail that you miss for whatever reason that is, you are out, or you will need to do it all over again.

This is why it’s very important to be in the hand of a prepared and honest lawyer.

And this is why since I was so happy with her services that I had asked her if she was willing to be interviewed and to share her contact details so that you can be in great hands too.

Disclaimer note: I don’t get any commission or any special favor. I just do it because I love to help and I love to acknowledge and recommend professional honest people. They are so rare nowadays, unfortunately!

So here we go with the questions:

1)In order to obtain a work permit in Mexico, is it the same process for everyone regardless of the country of origin?

Yes, it’s the same procedure for everyone, in terms of paperwork requirements.

However, immigration has different internal practices and might require more time for some nationalities. It’s easier to obtain a work permit for a citizen from the USA, CANADA, SPAIN, UK, whereas more complicated for Cubans, Dominicans, Venezuelans, Indians, Israelians, to give you a few examples.  Besides, there are nationalities with restricted access to Mexico.

This is the official website where you can find a list of countries and their visa requirement

2)What are the main papers required to submit to immigration?

Generally speaking, the main papers needed are:

  • CV
  • Diplomas or certificates, anything that proves the level of education which need to be translated in Spanish by an official translator and legalized.
  • Also, the educational curriculum needs to have a relation with the position the applicant is going to occupy.
  • It’s recommended to prepare the birth certificate, also officially translated and legalized, although it’s not normally a requisite but, just in case. It can be required.
  • An invitation letter from the hiring company in which it is mentioned the salary and the tasks the employee is hired for.
  • Other papers that the lawyer would prepare and need to be signed by the individual.

2)What is the procedure?

  • The lawyer will submit all the completed paperwork to the immigration office situated in the same physical location of the hiring company.
  • The request can be subject to verification by the migration authority, that is to say that immigration can do random checks to the Company offices to make sure the individual is not actually working.
  • Once the immigration has approved the request, the person needs to refer to the closest Mexican consulate of his country to have an interview. It needs to be executed within 30 days from the approval date.
  • During the interview, the individual would be asked about the activities and tasks he will be required to execute in the office in Mexico and he will also need to present all the same documentation originally submitted.
  • The consulate has all the authority to ultimately approve or refuse the work permit request.
  • If this is authorized, the individual will be given a permit document that he will use to enter the country.
  • Once the visa is handed over, the individual has 180 days to enter the country.
  • Once in Mexico, the individual has 30 days to Exchange the visa with the official immigration document of Temporary Residency. This last one year and needs to be renovated every year if needed.
  • It’s very important here to point out a couple of things:
    • The hiring company is responsible for the expenses of the invited employee
    • The immigration office has the authority to deny permission in case the individual presence in the country is not considered necessary or it’s against the interest of the Mexican citizens.
  • It’s really important also to highlight that during the time of the request submission and before it’s approved the foreigner is required to live outside the country, although there are many cases in which it doesn’t happen. This can be an issue or not. Sometimes it’s not a problem but it is at the applicant’s own risk and it’s up to the immigration office the ability to deport the individual or even apply any financial charges.

3)What are the costs to submit a work permit request?

At the time of this interview:

  • 235 USD for the immigration rights and expenses
  • 36 USD for consulate visa
  • 500 USD for legal expenses

Obviously, they are subject to change

4)How long does it normally take?

It takes normally less than 90 days

5)Is it necessary to hire a lawyer or one can do the process by themselves with the immigration office?

The visa request to work for a Company needs necessarily to be submitted by a lawyer or by the hiring Company, which normally hire a law firm. The applicant cannot do it on their own.

6)If somebody wants to open their own Company is it the same process?

It’s exactly the same process. However, they can expedite the visa request directly through the Mexican consulate in their own country, presenting the inversion amount which needs to include the costs related to maintenance, renting, audit services, employee and if the company doesn’t work the costs for shutting it down are 4 time folds the costs for opening it.

7) If somebody works online as a freelance and it’s paid from abroad, not in Mexico, what happens?

They can stay as a visitor for 6 months, after which they need to leave the country. It’s not possible to extend.

There is a resident visa to live in Mexico if you live on your own expenses from somewhere else (including retired people), without working in Mexico. This kind of visa can be requested at the Mexican consulate in the home country of the inquiring individual. Depending on the amount of the available funds, the consulate reserves the right to approve a temporal or permanent resident visa.

8) In case of a family if only one of the family member is here for work and has a working permit, and the partner and kids don’t work. What happens?

It’s necessary to request the residence permit in Mexico for all the family members, by submitting the birth certificate for the kids, officially translated and stamped and for the spouse wedding certificate also translated. These procedures can be done directly in Mexico. The costs vary every year. At present, it is about 1266+3961 MXN to be paid at immigration.

9)After the latest presidential election in the USA has been any changes for people from the US who want to come and live in Mexico?

NO, nothing has changed.

10) In order for a foreigner to buy a property in Mexico do they need residence permit or what is the procedure?

They can buy a house as tourists but this doesn’t entitle them to get the residence permit

It applies the same rule as for anybody else depending on their working status.

11) If they want to ask you a consultancy where do they find you?

Here is my information



 [email protected]

Dr. Durvin M. Rivero Alcocer has a bachelor’s degree in Law and has been practicing as an immigration lawyer since her graduation. With 19 years of experience, she has been working with different corporations and firms. Durvin is also a full-time mother and spouse and when she’s not working she’s taking care of her beautiful family of 5, her husband, and their 4 sons.

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