Inmigrante or Inmigrado?

By Yucatan Expatriate Services on March 26, 2010

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These two words are very similar in Spanish, but mean very different things.

Inmigrante could be translated as ‘immigrant’. This is a foreigner who holds an FM2 or FM3 visa and is legally in the country with the purpose of living and working, and perhaps settling and becoming an inmigrado.

Inmigrado could be translated as ‘immigrated’. This is a foreigner who has acquired the rights of a resident of Mexico.

In our last article about immigration we explained the differences between FM2 and FM3 visas. After holding an FM2 visa for five years, an inmigrante may apply for inmigrado status. We would now like to explain the rights and obligations of the inmigrado.

Rights of an Inmigrado

  • They have the individual guarantees that the Constitution grants to Mexicans, with the exception of the political guarantees that are exclusively reserved for Mexican citizens.
  • They do not need to renew their inmigrado status. They can work at any legal activity, without having to request permission of the INM. Some professionals need to file their degree at the Dirección General de Profesiones. In this case you will have to check with INM if you are working under a professional designation like Engineer, Architect, etc.
  • They can travel freely in and out of the country, as any Mexican citizen.
  • They can acquire property, with the exception of the properties located within 50KM of the border and the beach (see our Fideicomiso article)
  • Inmigrado visa holders do not need a visa in their passports.
  • Inmigrados cannot vote in Mexico.

And of course inmigrado status allows them  to purchase a car, allows them to receive social security (from Mexico), to open bank accounts in Mexico and also work for a Mexican company.

Obligations of an Inmigrado

  • They have to uphold the responsibilities of citizens as spelled out in the Constitution.
  • They have to carry their FM2 with them at all times, and have a copy of it at home.
  • When leaving and entering the country they have to fill out and return to the immigration authority the FME (Forma Migratoria Estadistica).
  • They must inform the INM of any change of employment, marital status and nationality.

Yucatan Expatriate Services (YES) is available to assist you in any and all aspects related to this subject. If you are interested in getting more detailed information, please contact us at . We also recommend purchasing the YES Inmigration Guide with comprehensive information about visas, terms, costs and required documentation.

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This article represents the opinions of the writers and does not constitute legal or accounting advice. It is recommended that before taking any action, you should consult with your own accountant or lawyer who is familiar with the laws and customs in Yucatan and in Mexico, and the circumstances surrounding your situation.

20 Responses to “ Inmigrante or Inmigrado? ”

  • mark james donahue said on March 27th, 2010 1:47 pm

    Can i purchase the immigration guide directly from your offices here in Merida or only on-line?

  • Fernando said on April 2nd, 2010 12:42 pm

    Yes Mark you can! Please add $50 pesos to the original price for printing expenses. When will you like to stop by the office?

  • RICHARD said on April 3rd, 2010 11:52 am

    I thought I could become a Mexican Citizen after holding an FM2 for 5 years. How do I accomplish this?

  • Betty said on April 5th, 2010 4:11 pm

    Yes Richard, that´s correct. After 5 years of holding the FM2 you can apply for Mexican citizenship. You need to file an application and fulfill all the requirements and documents needed. We recommend that you buy the immigration guide for more detailed information (in our Knowledge Store here on the website) or set an appointment so we can walk you through the process.

  • robert said on April 20th, 2010 9:30 am

    Hey, I just received my FM2 and I only have to wait 2 years before I can apply to be a Mexican Citizen. I’m married to a Mexican, is this why I only wait 2 years rather than the 5 years? Also can you only apply for an FM2 when you have been on a FM3 for 5 years?

  • Adriana said on April 21st, 2010 11:42 am

    Hello Robert, that´s correct, as you are married to a Mexican, you will have to prove that you have been residing in Mexico with your FM2 and that you are living together as a couple for at least two years prior to the application date to get your naturalization certificate by marriage. As of your second question, yes you can apply for an FM2.

  • charlie said on April 29th, 2010 1:46 pm

    Is dual citizenship permitted by both the US and Mexico if I should decide to go in this direction after 5 years with an FM2. Does this Mexican citizenship mean full citizenship, ie ability to own property within the restricted zone, vote, etc?

  • Ed Solart said on May 13th, 2010 10:14 pm

    I’m planing on retiring in Yucatan and would like to get some more information in general . If you can help thank you

  • Adriana said on May 14th, 2010 6:21 pm

    Hi Ed! Why don´t you write directly to my e-mail That way we could address to specific matters you would be interested to talk about.

  • Patrick A. Whitaker said on May 20th, 2010 7:04 pm

    I am moving to Merida, I have been told so many silly stories about how dangerous it is. I have only been there once. That was on a cruise ship and the Governor of Yucatan was at the dock shaking everyones hands as we disembarked, that was very nice for a man of that high of a position in government. Does anyone know where most Americans live in Merida? Or is it better to completely assimilate into Mexican Society and learn as much as possible of their beautiful culture. Patrick in Florida

  • Adriana said on May 21st, 2010 6:02 pm

    Hi Patrick, Merida is not dangerous at all. In fact is among the top 3 most safest cities in Mexico according to Government statistics. However I do understand your concerns specially since within Mexico there are very unsafe cities, but this is happening really far away from here. So please do not worry about this, you will see how Merida still keeps, even in its modernity, the warmth and gentle manners of its people :). Please visit to read articles about the experiences of expats living in Merida and other related stories. Hope to see you at YES offices when you come here!

  • Arnaldo Marucco said on June 24th, 2010 7:47 pm

    Whith 5 years of FM2, you can apply for citizenship
    Whith FM3 you have no right to apply for citizenship, so
    Why should I apply for FM3?

  • Adraina said on June 24th, 2010 8:12 pm

    Hi Arnaldo,

    Well, there are people that do not live in Merida full time and must travel back and forth to their country of origin. An FM3 visa allows the holder to do that. The FM2 visa, on the other hand, only lets the visaholder be out of the country for 2 years in a 5 year period; the FM3 allows them to be outside Mexico as much time as they want or need. Hope this answers your question!

  • Katerina said on June 30th, 2010 9:40 pm

    Hello, I have a FM3 although I am merried to a Mexican, because I need to trevel and I am not sure it would not exceed the time permited by FM2. Can I (with my FM3) applyfor citizenship or “inmigrado” after some period of time?

  • Yucatan Expatriate Services said on July 1st, 2010 7:01 pm

    Hi Katerina,
    With your Fm3 you cannot apply for citizenship or inmigrado, you must have an Fm2 with 4 renewals (refrendos in spanish). The Fm2 allows you to leave Mexico for a maximum of 2 years in a period of 5 years.

  • William Clark said on July 30th, 2010 9:57 pm

    There are no more FMTs, FM2s or FM3s. There is only the forma migratoria multiple with three separate designations–turista, no inmigrante, and inmigrante. Tourists coming to Mexico are given a tourist visa or turista, good for up to 180 days. People wanting to live in Mexico will probably want to have a forma migratoria no inmigrante or forma migratoria inmigrante (in the process of immigrating). With no inmigrante status, you may come and go to and from the country as you wish and stay in the country without leaving as long as you wish–up to 5 years as long as you maintain the annual renewals. At that time you simply apply for a new credencial (id cards have replaced the old booklets). With inmigrante status (immigrating), there is a limit on the amount of time you can spend out of the country–currently 2 years, distributed as you wish–in a 5 year period. There are 4 renewals for a no inmigrante, but 5 renewals for an inmigrante. The annual renewal fees are higher for inmigrante (2,800 pesos last year) and the required income is higher, currently about $2,000 US as opposed to about $1,200 for no inmigrante. The fifth renewal of the inmigrante is also your application for inmigrado (immigrated). Or you may apply for citizenship. Can an inmigrado buy property in the restricted zone without the fideicomiso? No. Neither can a naturalized Mexican citizen. The Mexican constiturion states that only native born Mexicans have this right. There are currently plans to change this, however. The fideicomiso has been established by law. It will take an ammendment to the constitution to allow foreigners to own property in the restricted zone. The advantages of inmigrado status are that you have essentially all rights of a Mexican citizen except the right to vote and the ability to own property in the restricted zone, and you are through with renewals at immigration forever. The drawback to becoming a Mexican citizen as opposed to immigrado is that you no longer have protection from US consulates or embassies should you find yourself in legal difficulties–in jail, for example. You are a Mexican citizen living in Mexico and subject to Mexican laws. I have an inmigrante and am going for the inmigrado.

  • Brandi Fleming said on May 26th, 2011 1:47 pm

    When you convert from a FM2 to immagrado status and you own a Mexican Corporation. Does it change the way you do business??

  • Adriana said on May 27th, 2011 10:22 am

    Brandi, no it does not change. For the Mexican Laws, you´re still non-Mexican but with a permit to live here permanently.

  • Nanci Lazar said on November 8th, 2012 10:18 am

    my boyfriend is Colombian, has worked here for 4 + years and wishes to apply for citizenship. Is it true that he needs to go to Mexico City to have his fingerprints done. Can he not have it done in Merida by the local authorities. It seems like such a waste of time and money to have to go Mexico City.

  • Betty said on December 4th, 2012 12:00 am

    Nanci, yes the requirements are to have the “carta de antecedentes no penales” with fingertrips from the place he lives and one “carta de antecedentes no penales” from Mexico City. It´s reccomended to do it close to the date he applies for citizenship because the carta has a valid date to be used.

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