I am a US citizen and will be studying abroad in Mexico for the academic year 2017-2018. School starts in August but the school has yet to send an acceptance letter which is needed to acquire a student visa.

I will be going to my girlfriend's graduation in Mexico City in May, and would like to remain in the country from that point on (until school is out in a year).

I have been to Mexico several times before and each time was granted entry for 180 days. Assuming that I receive this same 180 day allowance, and I get the acceptance letter after my arrival in Mexico, can I apply for a student visa while I am already in the country as a tourist?

  • This page is not a government website, but they say no, you cannot change from visitor to temporary resident permit while in Mexico. More info on the visa here (British consulate).
    – mkennedy
    Apr 20, 2017 at 19:13
  • Spoke with Study Abroad office at my school, the advisor has a Masters in law from Mexico. She advised me the only way is to leave and come back because it counts based on what you entered with. I don't have a reference for this though. She said that any border will be fine, like leaving to another country and coming back, not necessarily my own country.
    – giraffesyo
    Apr 23, 2017 at 18:53
  • @MichaelMcQuade That is correct, you have to enter with your visa, and as part of the visa requirements you need to get a stamp for that visa at the border or immigration (otherwise they'll still just admit you as a tourist!)
    – Midavalo
    Jun 26, 2017 at 21:25
  • Studying What and at what level if you can enter this info
    – pal4life
    Aug 14, 2017 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


As you're aware, citizens and residents of the US (and many other countries) may enter Mexico without a visa for periods of less than 180 days. That's what you plan to do to attend the event in Mexico City.

Study in Mexico for more than six months requires a visa. The “Temporary Resident Student Visa” (Residente Temporal Estudiante) is issued to those who will study in Mexico for more than six months. It is a single-entry visa placed in your passport and, with it, you enter and exchange it for a Temporary Resident Student Card, done within 30 days of your arrival (at the nearest Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). The temporary resident student card will be valid for one year and be for multiple entries.

Should you decide to remain in Mexico, visa free, you would need to exit and re-enter, as now, with a visa, you're required to do so. Depending on circumstances, you may able to arrange to collect it at a Consulate other than the one to which you would apply (that closest to your residence). Among the dozens in the US, quite a few are close to the border (in California, Arizona, Texas).

  • This covers it accurately and completely thank you.
    – giraffesyo
    Aug 13, 2017 at 0:36
  • @MichaelMcQuade and the timing may be less useful for you; we're making an effort to clean up Expats by providing answers, as appropriate, so thank you, as it will be helfpul to others in future.
    – Giorgio
    Aug 13, 2017 at 1:00

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