MEXICO – Dependent Applications Must Be Processed Separately
The National Immigration Institute (INM) in Mexico is currently refusing to process applications for dependent visas simultaneously with applications for work permit approval for an employee to be locally hired in Mexico. Instead, applications for dependents can only be made after the entire immigration process for the principal applicant has been finalised.
Previously, it was possible to submit applications for dependent approval simultaneously with the application for work permit approval for the principal applicant, or employee.
However, now, these applications are not being accepted, which leaves two options for family members:
- Wait in the home country until the immigration process for the principal applicant has been finalised (approximately 4 weeks after the principal applicant has arrived in Mexico) and then apply for temporary residence visas at the Mexican consulate in the country of residence, or
- Enter Mexico as tourists (obtaining a tourist visa if required to do so by nationality) and converting stay post arrival to temporary residents, again, only once the principal applicant’s temporary residence card has been issued.
Article 52, section VII of Mexico’s immigration law provides that any foreign national who has a job offer in Mexico has the right to family reunion, i.e. the right to request the entry of their economic dependents along their own entry, or after their own authorisation has been granted.
The immigration department’s online applications system first refused to accept simultaneous applications for dependents back in late 2012, but then allowing this type of application again from January 2013 until very recently.
Since the situation is far from clear and is under some debate, it is likely that processes may change again in the near future.
Impact on Processing Times
The impact on families is clear – either tourist visas must be obtained for family members, or families will need to be separated for at least four weeks. Note until family members have obtained temporary residence cards, it may be difficult to carry out some activities in Mexico (opening bank accounts, enrolling in school, etc).
Assignees to Mexico
Assignees to Mexico (i.e. those who will remain on home contract and payroll) are unaffected, as these applications are not subject to a work permit approval step from the National Institute of Immigration.
- Note that dependent applications for family members of locally hired employees may now only be submitted after the principal applicant has received his or her temporary residence card.