What is the change? Mexico’s immigration offices will close for an extended holiday break from Dec. 20 to Jan. 5. Offices will reopen Jan. 8.
What does the change mean? The closure will affect visa processing as well as travel. Foreign nationals who enter Mexico with a “Visa for Exchange” issued by the Mexican Consulate between Dec. 20 and Jan. 5 will not be able to leave the country until immigration offices reopen after the New Year. Travel for those entering Mexico on tourist or business visas will not be affected.
- Implementation time frame: Dec. 20 through Jan. 5.
- Visas/permits affected: All visas and permits. Travel for those entering Mexico with stamped Mexican visas for exchange will be particularly affected.
- Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals in or planning travel to Mexico.
- Impact on processing times: Processing times will be longer and a backlog of cases may develop immediately following Jan. 8, when offices reopen.
- No applications may be submitted and authorities will not issue documents or respond to requests during the dates above.
- Travelers entering Mexico with a stamped Mexican visa for exchange during this time period will not be able to leave the country until the immigration office reopens. This is because of the fact that it is necessary to either apply for the final step of the process and wait for the final immigration document (residence card) to be issued or to obtain a special permit in order to leave Mexico.
- Those entering with tourist or visitor visas and business visas can leave and re-enter Mexico without issue because tourist visas cannot be exchanged.
BAL Analysis: Applicants should plan to file any time-sensitive applications as early as possible before Dec. 20 to avoid additional delays. Foreign nationals planning travel to Mexico should take note of the travel restrictions and plan their schedules accordingly. Processing delays should be expected in the days after offices reopen.