As a foreigner in Mexico, should I always carry my passport or identification document with me?

It is normal and completely understandable to think that leaving our identification documents at home or in a hotel would be the best way to avoid loss or theft, as replacing them can be tedious and it is risky not to be able to identify ourselves when necessary. However, should I always carry my passport or identification document, such as a residency card, with me?

The answer is yes. Every foreigner in Mexico, whether as a visitor or resident, should carry their passport or residency card with them to be able to identify themselves and prove their legal stay in Mexico when necessary.

Is the obligation to carry my identification document established in the Migration Law or its Regulations?

No article textually imposes this obligation on a foreign person in Mexico. However, the Migration Law Regulation, in its article 200, establishes that“if, as a result of the verification or migration inspection visit, it is detected that a foreign person does not have documents that prove their regular migration status in the national territory, the foreign person will be immediately placed at the disposal of the Institute for their migration status to be resolved…”.“.

This implies that if during a verification visit carried out by the authorities, they detect that the foreign person does not have documentation proving their identity and legal stay in Mexico, they can transfer the foreign person to the offices of the National Institute of Migration (INM) to clarify or resolve their situation. It is important to remember that the migration authority has the power to carry out discretionary verification visits.

Therefore, it is important to note that for the INM personnel to carry out a verification visit and/or a migration inspection, there must be an order for verification issued by the head of the corresponding area within the INM, and this order must clearly and concisely establish the purpose of such verification or migration inspection. During the verification visit or migration inspection, no functions or activities other than those explicitly mentioned in the verification order can be carried out by the migration officer, otherwise, they would be violating the law, as established by article 195 of the same Migration Law Regulation.

Therefore, we highly recommend that those individuals who are in Mexico as visitors carry their passports and have their Digital Multiple Migration Form generated and available, either digitally or in print. Temporary or permanent residents should carry their residency card, as not having it with them when an INM officer is conducting a migration inspection would require them to be transferred to the INM to have their situation resolved, which not only means a waste of time but also possible fines.

Vega, Guerrero & Asociados, through its Migration Area team, is available to provide advice regarding any doubts that may arise concerning this article.


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