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Benjamin Gamble

Debunking Myths about Mexican Citizenship by Investment

Have you encountered offers promising Mexican citizenship within an astonishingly short time frame, perhaps mere months or even weeks? It's vital to approach these claims with caution. Numerous individuals have unfortunately been ensnared by such deceptive schemes. Engaging in these unofficial programs not only jeopardizes your investment but may also expose you to legal consequences, including potential imprisonment. It's essential to understand that, as of now, there is no official Mexican Citizenship by Investment program. Any advertisements suggesting otherwise are not only misleading but outright illegal.

Promoters of supposed Mexican Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs often claim to have government connections or official status. However, Mexico currently has no legal CBI program. Instead, these offerings frequently involve bribing corrupt officials who alter the Mexican birth records because being born in Mexico entitles you to citizenship and a passport. Less common is passport office employees creating counterfeit passports. Although these passports may appear legitimate, as they are produced using official Mexican government resources, it's important to distinguish between holding a passport and being a citizen. Legally, citizenship is a prerequisite for holding a passport. Engaging in these illegitimate schemes poses significant legal risks.

Mexico does not offer a fast-track CBI route to citizenship or a golden visa. However, there are several legitimate and legal pathways to obtain Mexican citizenship, which subsequently allows for a Mexican passport – ranked 22nd globally in terms of travel freedom with visa-free travel to Canada, Europe’s Schengen area, the UK, Russia, and Singapore. The Mexican passport stands impressively close to the U.S. passport in offering extensive travel freedom, with just a marginally smaller range of destinations. This near equivalence in travel liberty positions the Mexican passport as a highly desirable asset for those pursuing comprehensive global mobility.

So how can you legally become a Mexican citizen?

The journey typically begins with securing temporary residency, a process efficiently managed at any Mexican consulate or embassy. To qualify, applicants need to demonstrate financial solvency, either through a consistent monthly income of approximately USD $3000 or by maintaining a bank balance of over $50,000 for the past six months. The exact financial requirements might slightly vary between embassies. Upon initiating your application at an embassy or consulate, you'll transition to Mexico to complete the process at the local immigration office. There, you'll be granted a temporary residence permit, which interestingly requires no physical presence. This means you can freely travel in and out of Mexico, enjoying the flexibility of an indefinitely renewable permit. In certain cases, especially for retirees or those meeting higher financial thresholds, the option to directly obtain permanent residency is available, bypassing the temporary resident visa stage. At the residency stage, Mexico stands out as one of the only countries to not require a criminal record check, when applying for a residence permit the only legal document required is a birth certificate.

Acquiring Mexican citizenship through residency is a strategic five-year journey. In the initial three years, you have the flexibility to spend any duration in Mexico at your convenience. However, be aware that extensive stays in Mexico might subject you to local tax residency implications. During the final two years leading up to your citizenship application, there's a mandatory physical presence requirement of 18 months psychical present in Mexico. This structured pathway ensures a balance between your global mobility freedom and the commitment to your prospective new citizenship. An important note is that Mexico does not restrict dual citizenship, you are free to hold multiple citizenships.

Important note for Latin American or Iberian peninsula citizens (Spain and Portugal)

Luckily the naturalization process for you has shrunk down from five years to just two. This is because of the rich historical and cultural ties between the countries. There are still some additional requirements that you must meet as an applicant, Such as knowledge of the Spanish language, knowledge of Mexican history, and integration into Mexican society.

There are also alternative routes to obtaining residency in Mexico as a foreign investor. The investor visa requirements are:

A minimum investment of around USD $220,000 in Mexican real estate

Or

Purchasing shares in a Mexican company amounting to roughly USD $110,000 and creating 3 jobs in the country.

These investment options don’t grant any specific benefits above the proof of sufficient means route. Meaning it is generally advised to go for the sufficient means residency route unless you specifically want to make a business or real estate investment in Mexico.

The costs associated with applying for temporary and permanent residency are affordable, with the costs as follows in US dollars:


  • Permanent Residency: $260
  • Temporary Residency: Ranging from $240 for 1 year to $480 for 4 years.


If you are specifically looking for a citizenship by investment program there are many legal alternatives in the region, with the Caribbean being home to 5 world-class CBI programs, and the newly announced “Freedom Visa” on Mexico’s doorstep coming from El Salvador. Take a look at our guides to learn more about these programs.

Looking for swifter routes to citizenship in Latin American countries?

Argentina is a standout choice, offering one of the world’s quickest citizenship processes, which can be completed in just two years. The Argentinian passport, granting visa-free access to over 170 countries, is a powerful travel document. Notably, obtaining citizenship in Argentina is faster than acquiring permanent residency, which takes three years.

Peru is another excellent Latin America option, mirroring Argentina’s two-year timeline for citizenship. However, it’s important to note that the Peruvian route to citizenship is less streamlined and guaranteed. Also, the Peruvian passport, while still valuable, does not grant as extensive visa-free access as its Mexican or Argentinian counterparts.

In conclusion, securing Mexican residency is a straightforward and accessible application process, often manageable without professional assistance. Mexico presents an appealing Plan B residency option, characterized by its freedom-centric environment, low cost of living, and world-class healthcare. It serves as an excellent gateway to acquiring a second citizenship boasting excellent visa-free travel, especially for those looking for a long-term commitment.

For individuals seeking more immediate citizenship opportunities through investment, there are numerous faster alternatives. These include several world-class Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs in the Caribbean and the newly introduced program in El Salvador. For a more detailed exploration of these options, our comprehensive guides offer insight into how you can become a citizen in one of these forward-looking countries.


Benjamin Gamble
Investment migration expert

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