Becoming a Mexican citizen

I am a Mexican citizen, and also a citizen of Canada. The basic rule of thumb states that while I am in Mexico, I am considered Mexican, and only Mexican. In Canada, the reverse is true – I am only Canadian. Anywhere else in the world I can elect to use the nationality I wish to.

I thought long and hard before becoming a naturalized citizen of Mexico. Citizenship is a privilege I did not want to take lightly. I finally came to the conclusion that I had earned the right. At the time I took out the naturalization, I had lived in Merida for nearly 30 years. I had a Mexican-born husband and two Mexican-born children. I felt part of the community and culture. I spoke Spanish so I could communicate fully and openly. In short, I was already a citizen in every way but by name.

As a Mexican citizen I would have many advantages:

  • ·        I could vote
  • ·        I could freely express my political opinions
  • ·        I could own property in my own name (no bank trust needed)
  • I could change address or jobs without having to inform the National Institute of Immigration (INM)
  • I could hold a Mexican passport

Certain political positions and jobs require that one be a natural born citizen, just as is the case in many other countries

When I became a Mexican citizen, I did not lose or jeopardize my Canadian citizenship in any way                                        

Natural born Mexicans cannot be forced to give up their nationality but naturalized Mexicans can lose their status for a variety of reasons including the application for a third nationality. For example, I am eligible for Dutch citizenship (and EU passport) but if I elect to pursue this, I would lose my Mexican citizenship.

A good webpage to visit for more information on becoming a naturalized citizen is:

On the day I received my official naturalization papers, our friends Carlos and Susana had a celebratory dinner. She decorated in green, white and red and served chiles en nogada. Carlos played his Pepe Aguiler CDs and we drank tequila… lots of tequila!


Filed under Family and Friends, Vida Latina

18 responses to “Becoming a Mexican citizen

  1. Rick

    It is something that we are considering (we are Canadian but have lived in Mexico for quite some time). My one concern would be to lose the protection offered as a Canadian citizen. Given the sometimes corrupt legal system, it is something that I would be concerned about. Any thoughts?

  2. Congratulations, Joanna. Love the “gotcha story. Sounds like something my kids would do…lol.

  3. And I have to echo Joanna, Jennifer and Felipe. I applied for citizenship after having had an FM3 for 9 years—luckily just 4 months before they changed the rule to having to have an FM2 for 5 years. Took my test a year and a half after (supposedly the hardest one ever), and became a citizen in early 2009…unfortunately just after the voter registration closed for the elections, so I didn’t get to vote until last July. Have a U.S. passport and a Mexican passport, cancelled my fideicomiso and now am a very happy Mexican. No downside except for having to have a Mexican registered car, but that is minor. I too consider myself a paisano and darn proud to be one!

  4. I love your “gotcha” story! Very nice– kids, parents and an immigration official with a good sense of humor!

  5. jennifer rose

    I’ve been a Mexican citizen for four years now (Has it really been that long?). Applying didn’t require long and hard thought, I knew it was something that I’d do as soon as I’d become eligible — and that was back in the days when only FM-2 years counted as residency years.

    I’m always confounded by those foreigners living in Mexico for more than a decade who say that naturalization is something that never entered their heads. Or who are curiously resistant to the concept.

    Like Felipe, being a Mexican has been purely a positive experience. Although he should’ve been required to take that test. Just on general principles.

    • The reason that it took me so long is that I come from Canada, a country that is so full of new citizens who do not learn about the country, do not speak either of our languages and have the citizenship for purely financial reasons. I did not want to do that. I wanted to be a citizen of the country(ies) where I felt like I contributed. For so many years Mexican citizenship was very difficult to obtain and when it did become less so, I was extremely busy with my work and with my family, I just never thought about having citizenship. Once I’d taken the step, I did wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. Like you, I have only positive things to say about being Mexican

      • jennifer rose

        I’ve thought that annual migratory renewals should also face a test. When I mentioned this, half in jest, to a couple of expats over coffee, suggesting that the first year’s test could be very simple, something like naming the capital of the state in which they resided or the name of the current president, one very educated foreigner seemed confounded. She could not name the state capital even after it was suggested that it was eponymous. She shrugged over the current president’s name, asking if Cardenas was president. I could not make this stuff up.

      • That’s valid too. It’s important to consider citizenship but if you decide its not for you that is your business

      • Yes well, I have heard my share of unbelievable comments as well. When you speak of the dreaded test… a funny thing happened to me when I was getting my citizenship processed. No one ever said anything about a test but my kids (Mexican born) told me I’d have to sing the national anthem… all the verses. I didn’t believe them at first but then I started to work on it. There are about 20 you know… On the day, I received my papers and I asked, “When do I sing?” “Sing?” asked the official. “My kids said I’d have to sing…” She laughed and said, “Sing if you like but you don’t have to.” I got home and relayed the story… “Gotcha!” they both said.

    • Some of us long term folk (I am an Inmigrado now), simply have too many other things to think about than things like “what position to take in the vote.”

      I haven’t returned to the USA in many years, and don’t intend to again. But it’s simply “easier” to pay my fidecomismo than it is to think about much more–like the test, or other obligations I might unwittingly acquire . I’m simply too busy/old/tired or whatever. Maybe some day.

  6. I did NOT think long and hard before applying for Mexican citizenship. I did it as soon as I was legally able to do it, which was after five years of living here. I think you can also do it after being married to a local for 2.5 years. In any event, I hit both milestones almost simultaneously.

    More than anything, I did it for my convenience, nothing more noble than that. Primarily so I would not have to continue renewing my visa every year. Plus I had no intention of ever leaving Mexico. Still do not. I became a Mexican citizen in 2005.

    It’s fun to say I’m Mexican. I enjoy voting. I like having a Mexican passport. If I’m ever on an airliner that’s hijacked by Muslim terrorists, I can wave my Mexican passport and say: I’m innocent! Shoot the Gringos! I can even say it in Spanish.

    After over five years now of being a Mexican, I have not encountered a single downside. Pure upside. I did not know that about getting a third citizenship, but I have no intention of doing so anyway.

    We’re paisanos.

    • Indeed we are paisanos… I have often thought of getting into that “Paisanos” line up at the Immigration arrivals area… I wonder ehat I’d find out! I too am very happy and I will also say proud to hold Mexican citizenship.

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