INM, Mexico, resident card, procedure, temporary resident, visa, forms, payment, how to, where to start

How to change your Visa to a Temporary Resident Card in Mexico

When applying for a temporary resident visa for Mexico in the Netherlands I had really no idea that step 2 would be so hard.
Nobody tells you anything and nothing is explained properly, I just kind of found out by accident. At the Embassy they only told me that after arriving in Mexico I had 30 days to change my visa for a temporary resident ID card at the local INM office.


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Well, that sounded like a piece of cake!

The confusion started in the plane, did I need to fill out an FMM form? No, the stewardess told me, yes the immigration officer told me when I showed her my visa. So, I had to step out of the long, long line of tourists, to fill out a form that I could have filled out hours ago.

Please when you have it filled out when approaching the immigration officer upon entry, do make sure you show them your visa! They have to stamp it for 30 days and write ‘canje’ on your FMM form, you need this in order to start your application for your resident card.

The second confusing part started when I looked at the INM website, no information to be found and all is in Spanish. I really could not find anything about collecting my resident card or any services of INM whatsoever.

So I googled, and Google burped up a ton of website all explaining different procedures on how to get your resident card. But they were all unanimous on one thing: it is the hardest part of the application process.

Here are the steps to take when you go to the INM office in Cancún. And I do add Cancún for I get the impression from all the blogs, that every INM office has its own procedures.

For INM Cancún this is the process:

go to this website and fill out the form for exchanging your visa for a resident card.

  1. choose Canjear Documento
  2. choose Canje de FMM por Tarjeta
  3. fill out the rest of the form (names should be exactly as in your passport!!)

Print this form, sign it and head to the INM office, this will be your first round!

Make sure the guard knows you are there and show him your forms

At the INM office you cue for ‘Informaciones’, tell the guard at the door that you need to pick up forms, show him the printout and he will point out which cue.

You collect three forms:

  1. a transaction form for a bank payment
  2. an example of a letter of declaration that you state the full truth in all documents provided
  3. and a form with all documents needed for processing your card

Do not make it more complicated than it already is, do not ask if you get the right forms, just trust the person at the information desk, they know what they are doing, once you show them the form you have printed out and your visa and FMM form, they know!

Next steps:

  • Go home, write a letter conform to the example given, sign it.
  • collect and photocopy all documents and stated in the form (Copies of your visa page, bio page, FMM form, proof of residencies like a utility bill or your lease contract, Airbnb booking confirmation etc.etc.)
  • Go to a Mexican bank to pay the fees for the application, 4.148 pesos.

At the bank, make sure!! that again, your name on the payment slip is exactly as in your passport. All your given names should be on the payment slip.

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I got a bank employee that forgot my middle name, she asked me if my name was correct, really I had no idea, my name was correct, so I signed and I got send away at the INM office for they could not confirm my payment. I had to pay the whole amount again. I nver got a refund, although I asked for one. It was an expensive mistake. So make sure your name on the payment slip matches your passport name.!!

When you have all, go back to INM, your second round!

  1. tell the guard you come and buy a resident card, he will direct you to the right cue
  2. wait, wait, wait…….once inside, wait, wait, wait, just follow the chair dance until it is your turn.
  3. hand over your forms and passport, if all is correct the immigration officer will start stamping stuff, you can cheer. If not they will send you home and sort out what is wrong or missing and you have another round. (to the bank f.e…..yeah!!)
  4. sign the forms they hand you, the signature over your written name
  5. accept the form they give you, it contains an explanation and such, and you can go and celebrate, waiting for your next round.

You will receive within seconds an email with a code and login for a website where you can monitor the progress of your application and it will take about a month for your card to be ready. Well, that is what I was told.

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A few things to keep in mind:

  • Nobody, and I mean nobody speaks English, you really have to do it on your own in Spanish
  • Some people pay over 400 US$ to a lawyer to have this done for them, that is totally insane
  • it is manageable, just follow the flow and do as you are told without being smart
  • make your own memory doing this and don’t believe all the bullshit on the internet about how difficult it is, for it is not! I speak only a little Spanish and even I managed.
  • be patient and polite, the officers are very friendly, the cues are very long, but the waiting time is not very long. Every visit was done within 1 hour, again do not believe all the bullshit about long waiting hours and such, the cue is for different services and the guard keeps an eye on everyone and makes sure you get int he right cue inside. Once inside it actually goes pretty fast.

Good luck!


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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites Currently, she lives in Mexico. She is an emigration coach and works online.

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