You could become a citizen of Mexico in a number of ways. The easiest way we’ve done it for our clients is if your parents were Mexican or your grandparents were Mexican. For example, a girl came to me who is studying medicine at the medical school here in Guadalajara. Her last name was Martinez or Ramirez and she said, “I’m having trouble here with my tourist visa. My university wants me to have a student visa but the consulate in San Diego gave me problems because the university didn’t do the letter right.”
I said, “You’re a Martinez. Aren’t you Mexican?”
She said, “No, I was born in California.”
“What about your mom?”
“She was born in California, too”
“What about your grandma?”
“Oh, grandma was born in Mexico.”
I said, “Okay, I’m going to make your mom Mexican through your grandma and then I’m going to make you Mexican through your mom.”
“I have a daughter. Can I make her Mexican too?”
I said, “Sure.” So I made everybody Mexican and now she’s a citizen and doesn’t have to worry about the tourist issue every 6 months or being a temporary resident. That’s one option people have if they have that lineage, although it is subject to some restrictions. They want the person getting citizenship from the Mexican national to turn up a copy of their ID. So if someone’s deceased or they have lived in the US for 60 years and they have no Mexican ID they’ll have to get one in the Mexican consulate so that we can register them in Mexico.
For the average people who come to Mexico, there are three ways to get citizenship. One is through living here the required amount of time either as a temporary or a permanent resident. So if you live in Mexico as a foreigner for 5 years as a temporary or a permanent resident then you can apply for Mexican citizenship. Student visas do not count towards those 5 years. If you’re from a Latin American country or Spain then instead of having to live in Mexico five years, it’s only two years. They’ll make you take a test if you’re under 60 years old. It’s multiple choice and you will have to speak enough basic Spanish where you can talk to the person at exterior relations and be able to hold a conversation with them. The only odd part is they have a new guy working there who talks with a lisp and many of my elderly clients had quite a time understanding his Spanish.
Another way to get citizenship is if you have a Mexican child. In that case the time period is two years, be it temporary or permanent resident.
The final option is two years for marriage with a Mexican citizen, along with being a temporary or permanent resident.
(The mother of actress Catherine Bach of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard was of Mexican descent, pictured.)