Can Any Foreigner Move to Mérida Mexico?

White and blue colonial buildings in Merida Mexico

Foreigners seeking residency in Mexico has reached an all-time high. One of the positives resulting from COVID was the ability of people to work remotely. With this new found freedom, people frequently ask the question, “Can Any Foreigner Move to Mérida Mexico?” on social media. Residency requirements change annually as they are based on a mathematical equation from the minimum salary. This is the amount that determines the financial solvency of a foreigner. While any foreigner can move to Mérida Mexico, review the exceptions discussed in this article especially if a criminal record is involved.

Begin the residency process in your home country

First, I want to share my story and how it took me three years to obtain residency. After my research trip in September of 2019, I immediately started the process for residency. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to secure an appointment at the Mexican Consulate before my move. Yes, I hired Mexperience to help me and they did all they could do before I left Dallas. Our agreement was to continue the process after my move as I would be traveling back to Dallas frequently. Unfortunately, COVID happened just three months after my move. Therefore, my residency process was on hold.

Once we were out of lockdown, I started the process again with local attorney #1. But, I ran into road block after road block. From the sale of my townhouse, I had more than enough money to qualify for permanent residency. However, the money hadn’t been in my bank account long enough.

Next, I had enough money in my bank account but I was self-employed NOT retired. Because I was not retired, I couldn’t qualify either. Frustrated at this time, I decided to put it on the back burner. I know, not the smartest decision, but COVID thoroughly stressed me out. Did you experience that feeling too?

Keep in mind, you’ll have to prove financial and economic solvency in order to move to Mérida Mexico as a foreigner.

Anyway, back to the story.

green colonial house in Merida Mexico

Hire a professional to help with the immigration process

Surprisingly or not, attorney #2 claimed they could help for the low cost of only $2,600 U.S. This seemed WAY out of line so I politely declined. The wait continued . . . Angel and I celebrated our second year of relationship and seriously discussed getting married. This was a topic of concern when we first started dating. He was adamant about never getting married while I was adamant about never getting married again. So, that was that or so we both thought. But, here we were discussing it again; both of us thinking that maybe it could be the answer to my immigration issues.

No doubt about it, we were and are extremely committed and in love with each other. Therefore, we didn’t need to make it official. Buuuuttttttt, would this help me???? Taking our time, we discussed it further and decided it was a good idea.

It was both practical and necessary for more than just my immigration. I needed an advocate for medical or emergency situations as well. I consulted several attorneys and we all agreed this is the smart thing to do.

Therefore, I found a local immigration specialist. After vetting them thoroughly, I decided to hire them. Applying for residency through marriage should have been seemless and easy. AND, I could apply for permanent residency after only 2 years vs. 4 years. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive MANY details and specifics from the immigration specialist.

Even though I had all of the correct documentation together, I was not informed immigration would make a home visit. On the day they came to the house we were out of town AND they went to the wrong address. As a result, my application was declined. Alternatively, I had 30 days to resubmit my request but this wasn’t explained to me by the immigration specialist. Bummer huh?

Foreigner Move to Mérida – Applying for residency through the expired FMM

Finally, I can share the good news! Angel and I decided to handle the process ourselves via the expired FMM route. I secured one of the very last appointments available in May. After a grueling 6 hours between waiting, providing more information, getting back in line, and lots of intention setting, I obtained temporary residency.

YIPPEEEE! Because of the regularization program (more below), I could obtain 4 years all at once. As I walked out of the immigration office, I understood how and why people kiss the ground of their home country. This is how I felt! I fell in love with Mexico in 2006 and now I was officially a temporary resident. I cried tears of relief and joy.

making a toast with glasses with champagne and beer - Foreigner Move to Mérida

Special Procedure to Apply for Legal Residency in Mexico

This information is taken directly from – I highly recommend visiting their website as their are proven professionals in their field.

Mexico’s immigration institute, the ministry responsible for managing visitor and residency permits, has announced a special ‘regularization’ procedure, available to people currently in Mexico with expired visitor permits, that enables them to ask to apply for residency at an immigration office in Mexico, without having to leave the country.

What is the ‘regularization’ offer?

Under the Mexican immigration rules, an ‘irregular’ immigration status is one where your current immigration permit has expired, or you violate one or more of the rules associated with immigration law.

This special regularization procedure offers foreigners in Mexico holding an expired visitor permit (FMM) an opportunity to ask to apply for legal residency in Mexico in-country, without having to leave Mexico.

Who can apply under this special procedure?

This special procedure was originally announced by the INM in late spring of 2021, and in the fall of 2021 the criteria were expanded.

Through this special procedure you may ask to apply for Temporary Residency in Mexico without having to leave Mexico to apply IF:

  • You are currently in Mexico and in possession of a Mexico Visitor Permit (FMM) that expired before January 1, 2020;
  • OR
  • You are currently in Mexico in possession of a Visitor Permit (FMM) that expired on or after January 1, 2020
  • AND
  • you have entered Mexico before as a visitor on at least two separate occasions before January 1, 2020.

FMM validity: We have heard that some
INM offices are turning away applicants if their FMM was not issued for 180 days.

— end of Mexperience article —

Can a foreigner move to Mérida Mexico with a felony?

While it may be possible to enter the country with a criminal record or as a felon, obtaining residency can be a completely different issue. It largely depends on the type of offense committed. Notably, I would use the following list to determine if someone with a criminal record is even allowed to enter the country. If not, then residency is not possible.

interior of a colonial hotel with a central fountain in Merida Mexico - Foreigner Move to Mérida

Travelling to Mexico with a criminal record

From the Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Mexico:

“Immigration authorities may decide to refuse the request to enter the country if the applicant is subject to criminal process or has been convicted of a serious crime as defined by national laws on criminal matters or provisions in international treaties or conventions that the Mexican State is party to, or if the applicant’s background in Mexico or abroad could compromise national or public security, in accordance with Article 43 of the Migration Law.”

“According to Article 194 of the Federal Code on Criminal Proceedings, serious crimes include all crimes that have a significant, negative effect on the fundamental values of society. Serious crimes include, among others:

  • manslaughter
  • terrorism
  • international terrorism
  • sabotage
  • piracy
  • genocide
  • prison break
  • attacks on public thoroughfares
  • drug-related crimes
  • corruption of minors
  • child pornography
  • exploitation of minors
  • falsifying and counterfeit of currency
  • rape
  • highway robbery
  • trafficking in minors
  • trafficking in undocumented persons
  • aggravated robbery
  • vehicular theft
  • extortion
  • crimes against the environment, committed with intent
  •  forced disappearance of persons
  • bearing arms reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy or Air Force
  • smuggling into the country firearms not reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy or Air Force
  • smuggling and comparable crimes
  • tax fraud and comparable crimes

Final Thoughts on Can Any Foreigner Move to Mérida Mexico

As you can see from my personal experience, professional advice, and government information, foreigners moving to Mérida Mexico have requirements. After living in Mérida for three years, it is most definitely worth the time, effort, energy, and money spent. Buena Suerte!