New Immigration Law in Mexico

July 5, 2011
New Immigration Law in Mexico

On May 25, 2011, Mexico’s new Immigration Law was published in the Official Journal of the Federation andbecame partially effective as of May 26, 2011. This new law introduces the concept of “Status of Stay”(Condición de Estancia), which refers to the status assigned to a foreigner with intent to reside in Mexico, whenthe activities he or she carries seeks to carry out so allow, or to the status assigned to a foreigner allowed to residein Mexico based on humanitarian criteria. Additionally, a residency card was introduced, which in certain aspectssubstitutes for the immigration documents that have applied to Temporary Visiting Non-Immigrants, Immigrantsand Permanent Residents. The new law replaced the more than thirty statuses and characteristics provided by theGeneral Population Law (Ley General de Población) that formerly categorized immigration status as non-immigrant, immigrant and permanent resident, with the following three large “Status of Stay” groups: (i) Visitor,(ii) Temporary Resident, and (iii) Permanent Resident. The new Immigration Law establishes that, in certaincases, foreigners who intend to enter the country must present one of the visas referenced by the new law. It isworth noting that none of these visas grant the right to work for payment, unless such visa states so. On the otherhand, the new immigration law restricts the discretion of immigration authorities to refuse the issuance of visas,legal entry into Mexico or the presence of foreigners in Mexican territory. One of the fundamental values adoptedin such immigration law is its respect for the human rights of immigrants - nationals and foreigners alike -irrespective of their origin, nationality, gender, ethnicity, age or immigration status. The new law is consistentwith the equality between nationals and foreigners set forth in the Mexican Constitution, especially when itcomes to the observance of their individual rights. Prior to entering Mexico, it is advisable to seek legal advice todetermine applicable visa requirements, and if a visa is required, which type would apply,, including adetermination of the correct status of stay that applies to each individual case.

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