Mexican citizenship is available to many. As well as those born in Mexico, those with family connections or who live in Mexico have opportunities to get a powerful Mexican passport. The application process can be complex, but we cover everything you need to know in the article below.
- How to get Mexican citizenship
- How to get a Mexican Passport
- Advantages of Mexican citizenship
- Can I have dual citizenship with Mexico?
- Is the Mexican passport powerful?
- Potential disadvantages of citizenship
- Mexican nationality law
- What’s next to get the process underway?
How to get Mexican citizenship
Mexican Citizenship by Birth
You are automatically a Mexican national if you:
- Were born on Mexican soil. The nationality of your parents doesn’t matter. This path is called birthright citizenship.
- Have at least one parent who was born in Mexico and was a citizen when you were born.
Mexico Citizenship by Naturalization
If you live in Mexico, you may qualify for Mexican citizenship by naturalization. Generally, you need to legally live in the country for a qualification period. After this, as a foreigner, you can apply for naturalization.
The criteria allow some breaks in residency, but overall your qualifying years should be consecutive. You can qualify with either temporary or permanent residence status.
The standard qualification period is five years. However, there are ways to qualify sooner.
You can apply after just two years if you:
- Are married to a Mexican citizen.
- Have an ancestor who was born in Mexico.
- Have a child who was born in Mexico.
- Are a national of a Latin American country, Portugal or Spain.
Please see our Moving to Mexico guide for all your visa and residence permit options.
Recognition of exceptional foreign service
If you’ve provided outstanding service that benefits the nation, then you can qualify more quickly. The government needs to recognize your contribution in “cultural, social, scientific, technical, artistic, sports or business matters.” This recognition allows you to apply for citizenship after only two years of residency.
Naturalized Citizenship by Marriage
If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after being married and living together in Mexico for two years.
Please note that the status of your spouse needs to be legally recognized in this country. Mexico does recognize same-sex marriages.
You also must prove that you have been in the country with a valid FM-3 (temporary) or FM-2 (permanent) residence permit.
Required Documents for your application
Depending on the process you’re taking to become a citizen, the exact requirement will vary. Many people comment that the most challenging part of the naturalization process in Mexico is the complex paperwork.
Consider a quality Mexican Immigration lawyer. They know the latest legal requirements for each consulate and know the best approach for each case. They’ll also help you acquire the right translations and certifications for your application.
Take the time beforehand to make sure you list everything you need with all the proper validation. In general, you should have the following available:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate (if you’re obtaining citizenship through marriage).
- An official Spanish translation of your birth and marriage certificate.
- An official letter documenting your coming and going from Mexico. You can get this at your local immigration office.
- Two copies of your current passport
- Federal criminal report (Antecedentes no Penales)
- State criminal record report
A completed DNN-3 form
You may need to get an Apostille seal on your documents. This seal is a globally recognized international certification of the document as current and correct. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on your requirement and how to get it done. Skipping this step will mean the immigration service rejects your application.
Language and Culture Tests
When you apply, you need to prove that you speak Spanish and understand some of your new country’s history. There are two parts to the test.
- Pass a test to prove your Spanish language capability.
- Pass a test on Mexican history and culture.
The exact nature of the test will vary, depending on your circumstances and background. Please chat with your immigration law partner to understand what you will require.
Mexican Citizenship by Investment (CBI)
Mexico does not have a direct citizenship by investment program. However, the Mexico Investment Visa can be a pathway. This immigration program offers permanent residence visas for investors with the option for naturalization.
The typical amount that needs to be invested is around USD$125,000.
Note this is not a direct grant of citizenship but a way to become a permanent resident and qualify for naturalization.
How to get a Mexican Passport
Once you have obtained Mexican citizenship, you can apply for a Mexican passport.
You must first make an appointment at your closest SRE and then meet with the Immigration service.
As well as your application form OP5, you must include proof of nationality and residency.
The cost of your passport depends on how long it’s valid for. A Mexican passport that expires after three years costs MX$1,345, and one that expires after ten years costs MX$2,840.
Fees to acquire a passport are reduced by 50% for people over the age of 60.
Advantages of Mexican citizenship
- In many cases, you can pass on your Mexican nationality to your children.
- Mexico offers dual citizenship (and most countries allow dual citizenship with Mexico).
- Fewer restrictions on buying property. This is especially useful for coastal properties, and owning property in your name instead of a trust.
- You can vote in Mexican elections.
- Entering and leaving the country becomes easier if you can prove citizenship.
- You may be able to get a Mexican passport and keep your old one.
- If you own property, you’ll likely see a reduced capital gains tax on a real estate sale.
- You’ll have greater and cheaper access to Mexico’s institutes of higher education.
- You have unfettered access to jobs, education, and social services.
- You can run for many positions in local and state government.
- Accelerated citizenship in other countries, including Spain are open to you.
Can I have dual citizenship with Mexico?
Yes, if it is up to Mexico. Mexico recognizes dual citizens, but you should check with your home country to make sure they do as well. The U.S.A., many European countries, and the UK respect dual citizenship with Mexico.
Many countries don’t recognize multiple citizenships, or they will ask you to denounce your allegiance to your home country. If this is a requirement for your home country’s nationality law, you’ll need to make a choice.
Is the Mexican passport powerful?
The Mexican passport ranks highly with the world’s most powerful passports. In terms of visa-free access to countries, it has a similar reach to the USA (130 visa-free countries to the USA’s 139). Importantly, this access includes high-demand areas like the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America (USA). Additionally, since Mexico allows dual citizenship, you won’t have to give up your original passport.
Mexico has an excellent global reputation, and Mexican nationals are welcomed at most borders around the world.
Note that most countries that allow dual citizenship have rules about what passport you must use while entering or exiting the country. In the USA, you must use your home country passport when going through customs, and you should always travel with both.
In Mexico, you’ll be asked to use your Mexican passport for entering and leaving the country.
Potential disadvantages of citizenship
Although there are many advantages of obtaining a Mexican passport and citizenship, there are some things you should be aware of.
- As a dual citizen living in Mexico, you’ll have a harder time getting help and protection from U.S. Consular Services.
- If you’re a naturalized citizen and live outside the country for more than five consecutive years, you may lose your citizenship in Mexico.
- You may be subject to double taxation. It’s essential you consult with accountants in both countries.
- Naturalized citizens can’t hold major political office. To hold one of these elected posts, you must be born in Mexico.
Mexican nationality law
Mexican nationality law is based on two legal principles:
- Right of soil: jus soli
- Right of blood: jus sanguinis
The law is described in the Constitution of 1917 and subsequent amendments (mainly articles 30 – 32).
What’s next to get the process underway?
Your first step should be to speak to a quality Mexican Immigration Law expert. They’ll ensure that the path you’ve picked is the best for you and your family and help you to avoid costly pitfalls. They should also save you time and money with getting your application accepted the first time around.