First, a slight clarification to last week´s chart regarding temporary vs. permanent residency. The last benefit to permanent residency described permanent status as a good stepping stone to becoming a naturalized citizen. In the Notes column, we were not clear that the word ¨it¨ referred to naturalization or citizenship, not permanent residency. In other words, naturalization or citizenship allows holders to terminate a fideicomiso trust, not permanent residency.
The process of “naturalization” or “citizenship” is optional for foreigners who demonstrate legal residence in Mexico for at least the last five consecutive years prior to the application date. Additionally, two years prior to your application you should have not been out of Mexico for more than 180 days.
There are a number of benefits to Mexican naturalization including:
- Buying property in restricted areas in your name without the need of a trust (fideicomiso).
- The possibility of dissolving a trust (fideicomiso) and having a rewritten title deed in your name.
- The right to vote in Mexico.
- No need to inform the National Institute of Immigration (INM) of every move, or job change.
- Avoid having to pay for changes in immigration status and/or renew your visa each year.
- Shorter wait time in immigration lines at Mexican airports.
- Having dual citizenship and being able to get a Mexican passport (some countries do not allow dual citizenship, but the U.S., Canada and most European and Latin American countries do).
It is important to keep in mind that once you obtain Mexican citizenship, your consulate can no longer provide consular protection while you are in Mexico. In the case you find yourself involved in any issues with the authorities, you will be treated as a Mexican citizen, and you cannot rely upon your home country’s consulate to support you. You should also check with a financial adviser about the implications that your naturalization may have on your personal and business tax affairs.
In part two in our next edition, we will discuss the requirements for obtaining citizenship.