Virginia, US

Oct 21 2019

Administrative Changes in Mexico City Causing Long Wait Times for In-Person Applications and Further Immigration Processing Delays

Mexico

At a Glance

  • The National Immigration Institute is relocating part of its operation from its central office to the regional branch in Mexico City. In preparation, the INM is currently conducting remodeling work at the regional branch, resulting in reduced workspace and staff.
  • As a result, foreign nationals attending appointments for in-person applications for renewal, change of status to permanent residence, resident card replacement and post-arrival registrations can expect up to four-hour wait times at the INM regional branch, instead of the previous 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Additionally, foreign nationals and employers should expect processing delays for immigration applications filed at the regional branch in Mexico City over the next few months while cases are redistributed and personnel are transferred.
  • Previously reported delays have not subsided, including up to eight to twelve-week processing times for post-arrival registrations, which continue to delay foreign nationals' payroll start dates in Mexico.

The situation

Administrative changes within the National Immigration Institute (INM) are causing significant wait times for foreign nationals attending in-person application appointments in Mexico City and will likely cause additional processing delays for most immigration applications.

A closer look

  • Delays caused by office relocation. The INM is relocating part of its operation from its central office to the regional branch in Mexico City.
    • Impact. Foreign nationals and employers should expect processing delays for immigration applications filed in the regional office in Mexico City over the next few months while cases are re-distributed and personnel are transferred.
  • Appointment delays caused by remodeling at branch office. The INM is currently conducting remodeling work at the regional branch, resulting in reduced workspace and staff.
    • Impact. Foreign nationals attending appointments for in-person applications for renewal, change of status to permanent residence, resident card replacement and post-arrival registrations can expect significant wait times of up to four hours. Previously, the in-person application process wait time has been 20 to 30 minutes in Mexico City.
  • Previous delays continue. Increased delays due to closure of express processing window, corporate registrations, and government restructures and staffing changes have not subsided
    • Impact. This has resulted in longer processing time frames to obtain a Resident Identity Card. A foreign national cannot be enrolled in a Mexican company’s payroll until they receive their Residence Identity Card, which can only be obtained upon completion of the post-arrival registration process. It currently takes the INM eight to 12 weeks to adjudicate a post-arrival registration application and issue a Residence Identity Card, up from the previous two to four weeks.

 

Background

It is likely that the INM is relocating part of its immigration case processing functions from the central office to the regional branch in Mexico City in preparation of its headquarters’ relocation from Mexico City to Tijuana. This move was proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during his presidential campaign in order to better control the flow of irregular migration into the United States. The government agency’s move is part of a broader government decentralization plan to promote social development throughout the country.

Looking ahead

Although the government intends to improve immigration application processing times in the near future and generate more jobs, employers and foreign nationals should be prepared for continued delays during the relocation and should be aware that additional changes may be forthcoming without any advance notice. Foreign nationals and employers should continue working with their immigration professional to develop strategies to mitigate the delays.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to mexicocityinfo@fragomen.com.