How to obtain Mexican citizenship: What you need to know

TransferWise content team
19.07.17
5 minute read

Being a Mexican citizen means unfettered access to jobs, education and social services in the North American country. That’s a serious advantage given the country’s rich heritage, beautiful landscapes, excellent cuisine and welcoming people.

Foreigners tend to think of white sandy beaches, crystal blue water, tacos and margaritas when they picture Mexico. While all of the above are huge draws, the country has much more to it than its most superficial attractions. From breathtaking historical sites like the pyramids at Teotihuacan to bustling nightlife and an emerging foodie scene, Mexico poses an incredible breadth of opportunities for visitors and citizens alike.

Obtaining citizenship in Mexico, however, is not an easy feat. Obtaining a dual citizenship for the USA and Mexico can be even harder thanks to pressure from both countries to give up your citizenship in the other.

That being said, it’s possible. This guide will take you through some of the most important points and processes for obtaining your Mexican citizenship.

What’s the difference between citizenship and permanent residence?

While it can seem easier to pursue and remain a permanent resident in Mexico instead of becoming a citizen, there are some important differences to note when you’re making that decision.

For starters, it’s impossible to become a Mexican citizen without becoming a permanent resident first. That means many people don’t feel compelled to pursue the citizenship step thanks to their relatively unrestricted rights in the country. However, if you do decide to become a citizen you’ll be granted the ability to do a few more key things like vote, own property and change your address or job without needing to notify the National Institute of Immigration (INM).

Most importantly, a citizen has the right to hold a passport, while a permanent resident does not.

It’s important to note that despite some scare tactics that exist within the U.S. and UK government’s websites, becoming a Mexican citizen doesn’t jeopardize your citizenship within your home country, as long as you go through the correct process and channels.

Can I have a dual citizenship?

The short answer is, it depends on where you’re from. U.S. and UK citizens are allowed to hold dual citizenships, as are most Europeans. That being said, there are many countries that don’t allow or recognize dual citizenship, including some European nations.

Tip: You can check online whether your country allows dual citizenship .

From the Mexican standpoint, dual citizenship is allowed, and citizens of countries that allow dual citizenship shouldn’t face any problems with having both.

What are the requirements of becoming a citizen?

As we mentioned above, one of the key prerequisites for becoming a Mexican citizen is becoming a permanent resident first, and then remaining a resident for a minimum of five years. While some extenuating circumstances, like claiming nationality through parents or marrying a Mexican citizen allow you to skip this process, if neither applies to you it’s nearly impossible to establish citizenship without first establishing residency.

Assuming you’re a permanent resident of Mexico, the next most important factor is your ability to pass a naturalization exam. This tests your ability to speak Spanish (you must be fluent or near-fluent) as well as your knowledge of Mexican history and current mexican culture and politics.

Beyond sitting the exam, the actual process is relatively easy and mostly a question of supplying the correct documents to your local Mexican consulate. Those documents vary based on the context under which you’re applying for your citizenship. This list pertains to foreign born people who are applying for citizenship through parents who are Mexican citizens:

  1. Your parents’ marriage or divorce certificate
  2. Proof of at least one parent’s Mexican citizenship and both parents’ citizenships in general (regardless of country if one parent is not Mexican). Those documents include:
    a. birth certificate
    b. valid Mexican passport
    c. national voter card
  3. Your own birth certificate (long version). You’ll also need an apostille and a translated version of the document.
  4. IDs for everyone involved in the process, including passports or driver's licenses, state identifications or school identifications.

Otherwise, you’ll need two witnesses who are over the age of 18 to join you at your appointment, and you’ll be required to pay a fee (which varies from consulate to consulate). The next step is to wait for your naturalization to process, which can take multiple months. Occasionally, you’ll be asked to provide additional information during that process, which can slow it down even further. Once your paperwork has been processed and approved, you’ll be issued a Certificate of Naturalization, which can be picked up at the same consulate at which it was applied for. You can apply for your passport as soon as you have your certificate, and many people opt to do so at the consulate at on the same day they get their naturalization.

What are the ways I can obtain Mexican citizenship?

While not just anyone can apply for and obtain a Mexican citizenship, there are a number of ways to do so.

Can I obtain citizenship through investment?

No. Mexico doesn’t currently allow naturalization through investment

Can I obtain citizenship through descent or ancestry?

Yes. Children of Mexican citizens are eligible to apply for Mexican citizenship and aren’t required to become permanent residents first if they’re claiming citizenship through parents.

Can I obtain citizenship through marriage?

Yes. Marrying a Mexican makes you eligible for citizenship as soon as you’re married, as long as you’re residing together and are married in Mexico (not you or your partner’s alternate home country or anywhere else overseas).

Can I obtain citizenship through naturalization?

Yes. Permanent residents who have been residents for at least five years may apply for citizenship based on naturalization.

How can I find more information?

If you’re looking for more specific information on getting a Mexican citizenship based on your current nationality, it’s a good idea to make an appointment at your local consulate to understand whether you’re eligible and what the process will be for you. Anyone who is curious about immigration to Mexico can find a wealth of resources on dual citizenship on the Mexican government’s website. If you’re planning to continue making money outside of the country while you’re living in Mexico, check out TransferWise to get the real exchange rate and cut out expensive international bank transfer fees.

That’s it! Good luck on becoming a Mexican citizen!

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more
Life Abroad

How to start a business in Canada

Canada has the 10th largest economy in the world. It’s dominated by the service industry, but with a healthy slice of gross domestic product (GDP) coming from...

  • 15.05.17
  • 5 minute read
Life Abroad

The cost of living in Australia

With its great weather, cosmopolitan cities, diverse natural landscapes and relaxed lifestyle, it’s no wonder that Australia remains a top pick for expats.But...

  • 11.07.17
  • 5 minute read