Nov 04 2019

Travel Restrictions During In-Person Registration Processes in Mexico City


At a Glance

  • Foreign nationals in Mexico are temporarily unable to obtain exit/re-entry permits for travel during the approximately 15 business days between when their resident card applications are shown as approved in the Instituto Nacional de Migración's (INM's) internal system and when their resident card is issued.
  • The INM has temporarily stopped issuing permits to foreign nationals at this stage in an attempt to reduce the workload of the local INM office in Mexico City, which is currently facing understaffing and remodeling. 
  • The change means that foreign nationals may not be able to travel outside of Mexico at this stage of the process when they are registering post-arrival, renewing a work permit, changing status to permanent residence or obtaining a new resident card due to theft or loss.

The situation

The Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) office has temporarily restricted the issuance of foreign nationals’ exit/re-entry permits after a foreign national’s residence card application is shown as approved in the INM’s internal system until they obtain their resident card, which may take up to 15 business days. 

This change in practice affects foreign nationals who are registering post arrival, obtaining a work permit renewal, changing status to permanent residence or obtaining a new resident card due to theft or loss.


While these restrictions are in effect, foreign nationals may not be able to leave and re-enter Mexico at this stage in the process; whereas previously the INM granted exit/re-entry permits once the INM’s system showed the application was approved (and while the resident card was being issued). However, foreign nationals are able to request exit/re-entry permits in the application process prior to this approval stage, although there is no guarantee that these permits will be approved.

Affected foreign nationals should revise their travel plans because of this process change and avoid international travel until their resident cards are released. Foreign nationals leaving Mexico without a valid resident card (or exit/re-entry permit) would have their applications and legal status in Mexico canceled.


The remodeling of the INM local office in Mexico City has resulted in reduced workspace and staff. The remodel is part of the INM’s relocation of part of its operation from its 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

Fragomen expects that the INM will either expedite the issuance of resident cards (eliminating the need of exit/re-entry permits) or resume issuing exit/re-entry permits at this stage in the application process in the near future, and will provide updates once this occurs. 

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 [email protected].