Lost or Stolen Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal Card

Sept. 5, 2016:
When we travel, sometimes we lose our Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal cards, or they get stolen.  What can we do?

When in Mexico, you go to your INM office, and apply for a replacement.

Editor’s Note:  Note that there are some important updates that can include NOT going to a Consulate… reported at:

Update on What to do if you lose your INM card

Continuing with the post:
When traveling outside Mexico,  the problems mount,  especially because many Mexican Consulates do not know how to handle these things.  Fortunately,  the ever-conscientious lawyer Lic. Spence McMullen has done the heavy-lifting and describes what we should do.

If you lose your Mexican immigration card outside Mexico you need a special visa to enter Mexico, …  if you enter as a tourist then they will cancel your old temporary or permanent.**

You need a police report, photo, passport and payment of a small fee.

I have been fighting with many Mexican consulates as they do not know what to do, I have made a sheet from their own manual telling them how to help foreigners in this situation, if you need it, print this file and bring it with you to avoid suffering consequences in Mexico for their bad advice. “

**If you mistakenly allow yourself to enter as a tourist, then INM will cancel your old temporary or permanent.  This is a HUGE deal … a big mistake …  because it ultimately  forces the foreigner to go back to a Mexican Consulate outside Mexico,  and START ALL OVER, reapplying for a new RT or RP visa…

Instead, when you lose your RT or RP visa card, you must go to a Mexican Consulate,  and apply for a special travel document to present to the INM agent at the port of entry, which allows the foreigner to re-enter Mexico without being re-classified as a tourist.


We offer that link to the 2012 INM Ley de Migración pages on this,  because many Mex. Consulates are not familiar with the requirements.  Show them this page when you go to the Consulate, to help their process along.

Unfortunately, this process can take from 2 days to a week,  so you may miss your flight as a consequence of losing your RT or RP card.

It is tempting to think that if you carry notarized black & white copies of your INM card, that it would be sufficient to re-enter Mexico (after losing the RT or RP card).  Unfortunately,  the INM agents say “No copies will be accepted, only your “tarjeta de Migración” is the valid form of documention we want to see” …

I wish the news was better…  so this post is a word-to-the-wise about taking good care of your RT or RP visa card.

Also read

Update on What to do if you lose your INM card

for more details on ADDITIONAL NEW OPTIONS…

*     *     *     *
Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .


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17 Responses to Lost or Stolen Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal Card

  1. Thank you . You knew more about Getting the Permanent Resident card than 2 lawyers that I went to at the beginning !! One lawyer said, NO that’s not the law, and I said maybe not but this is how it is ….and we did it your way and it worked beautifully and we have had our cards from the beginning of the offer. I guard my card with my passport. Good to know the consequences.
    You are a life saver and do a terrific Good Service. Pat

    • sdibaja says:

      glad it worked out Pat.
      I would advise scanning all of those documents, or at least make xerox copies, of even a cell phone photo. Keep it in a separate place.
      I had a long drawn out transaction, took several years. I had scanned everything, and archived emails too. Having a stack of paper, chronologically sorted, helped my new (more competent) atty get up to speed and get it all resolved.

    • yucalandia says:


      Also give thanks to Rolly Brook, Lic. S. Freimuth & Lic. Spencer McMullen for their fine additions & fine advice.

  2. Pingback: Update on What to do if you lose your INM card | Surviving Yucatan

  3. Dirk Van Erp says:

    I have been living in Mexico fulltime for 5 years. When I come and go, I carry a full color copy laminated of my Res Perm Card, (both sides) NEVER, understand me NEVER the original! Have NEVER had a problem or been questioned, EVER, EVER ! That’s why in Mexico you never carry your original of ANY type of ID or Drivers License, the Mexicans don’t why should you?

    As well same with all your auto doc’s, it works great when the cop sez (S-E-Z-) “I am going to keep your D/L, registration etc, meet me at the station”, yea right as they are all copies, he is going to wait a VERY long time for me to come in.

    Prevents the “Gringo Extortion” game as when you hand them your copies, and they refuse to give them back, looking for a little propina shall we say, put it this way, have 5 more sets of copies hidden in the trunk, smile as you drive away.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dick,

      It is clearly illegal => FRAUD … to make & use a color copy of any Mexican Government ID.

      The Mexican police do know this, and they do arrest & temporarily put in jail people who carry color copies of Mexican Government IDs.

      Dick’s advice is exactly the opposite of what 4 very good Mexican attorneys have written multiple times when asked this question.

      These are Dick’s personal experiences, and we note:

      Will Dick come get you out of jail?

      Will Dick represent you in court?

      Will Dick pay your fines for carrying~using fraudulent ID?


      Seriously, this issue has been an old Gringo-myth that somehow carrying a fake drivers license or a fake Residency Visa card is somehow magically a good thing.

      Happy Trails,

    • yucalandia says:

      Just as Dick will not come help you when jailed for using fake IDs,

      Note that Dick is telling people to intentionally break Mexican law.

      Does Dick tell Mexicans to ignore & intentionally break US laws when in the USA ?

      Does Dick tell Mexicans to ignore & intentionally break Canadian laws, when in Canada ?

      Each person decides for themselves if they like to be criminals…

      Each person decides for themselves if they are like the other DICK… Tricky-DICK Nixon … who openly counseled
      It’s not a crime… if you don’t get caught.

      Is this the reputation that obviously-Canadian looking and obviously-USanian looking people want for the rest of us ?

      … Do we really want to be known the people who intentionally break laws … who intentionally try to cheat ?

      Really, DICK, you make the rest of law-abiding good citizens … look bad.

      Happy Trails,

      • ph1tx says:

        I made color laminated copies of my Perm Resident card. They are so good that once I used it at the airport when leaving, By Mistake. The Immigration officer helped fill out my exit info and when I left the window said….Next time bring the real one…then laughed. But Usually I do carry the REAL ONE ONLY ONLY ONLY when leaving and entering Mexico. I do use the laminated one, at the grocery store for ID sometimes .

    • ph1tx says:

      When I go to Home Depot or store and they need ID I have the lamenated Copy. One time I accidently took it to Leave Mexico . At Immigration after getting everything stamped etc, the officer said, ” Next time bring the orgional.” and laughed. But since I know the law, for a minute I was scared !! He was OK. and I walked away. There have been a few too many muggings of my friends in PV lately , so I am leaving my original at home….BUT someone suggested copying the license plate so the parking cop doesn’t get you. Well, I was stopped for turning left before the flecha signal and the stopped me and looked at my PLATES !!! YIKES !!! a free trip in a government vehicle. Thank goodness for mortida because when we got to the old jail ….he didn’t take me to the new jail. ( old one was really closed ) Anyway it was where he negotiated a ” propina” shall we say and my car was released and so was I. So….copying gov. docs. is not a good thing.

      • sdibaja says:

        Make copies to keep at Home, carry Originals.
        Black and White copies are encouraged and accepted.
        A couple years ago at the notario I had brought originals and color copies (ID and other documents)… they were maybe amused, but made Black and White copies to be included in the official recording package destined for Mexicali (Baja). My color copies were handed to me and they suggested I destroy them as they could be mistaken for an attempt at fraud. Lesson Learned!

  4. Jacarandapanda says:

    I never carry my original Permanente except when going to USA or other country, where I will need the card to both EXIT and RETURN to Mexico.

    • yucalandia says:

      Yep, some people choose to break the rules to avoid the hassles of losing the card.

      If you read your Permanente card, it describes how you are supposed to carry it with you.

      Different strokes for different folks,

  5. ph1tx says:

    Steve, Yucalandia, your advice is CORRECT !!!
    Before we got our Perm. Res. cards my partner had his friend the new Mexican lawyer come to tell us how to do it. I have read your site front to back on how to do it. I told the lawyer that , that wasn’t how it was done. He looked at us and asked , who are you going to believe HER or ME?
    I said , We are going to believe ME, because I read how to do it and yes , you are reading the law book but it varies city to city…..anyway. We thanked him and bid farwell. We followed your advice and all went smoothly.

    • yucalandia says:

      Yay !

      For background, we were the first source on the internet to read & summarize the May 2010 (new) Ley de Migración (identifying all the key changes)

      Then, when INM published the Reglamentos in Nov. 2012 to implement the Ley de Migración, we again were the first to analyze the new Regulations and first to post summaries of how to get the (new) Residente Temporal & Residente Permanente visas.

      Then, when the Temporary Import Car Permit policies conflicted with the new Ley de Migración & new Reglamentos, we personally negotiated the solutions with both INM & SAT~Aduana. These efforts meant slogging-through every single line of over 450 pages of Mexican law, published in Spanish-legalese.

      The points being:
      For the last 8 years, we have been ahead of ALL Mexican lawyers on the central issues around INM’s changes, working to offer the best advice on the internet – pages & pages of which Rolly Brook gleefully cut & pasted into his benchmark Rollybrook.com site. Next: The excellent lawyer Spencer McMullin then took up the banners, and started driving solutions & issues with INM & Aduana ~ which we much appreciate as Spencer has been a highly-valued guest author for Yucalandia.

      So … Generic Mexican lawyers offer a ton of advice, without doing their now 700 pages of homework … giving off-the-cuff advice that is sometimes not based in current Mexican law.

      Glad that it all worked out for you!

  6. Kim Gullins says:

    Lost my permanente residence for Mexico when I entered Canada

    • yucalandia says:

      You have to go to a Mex.Consulate or Embassy, to get their instructions on what to do during COVID times.

      Under NO circumstances should you try to re-enter Mexico using the FMM – 180 d Visitor Visa route – because INM considers that Visa fraud (holding 2 visas), and they cancel BOTH your PR visa and the 180 day Visitante visa – forcing you to leave & start it all over.

      REMEMBER that as a Residente Permanente, you filled out the FMM form when you left Mexico, where INM took the “Salir Mexico” half of the FMM, while they then HANDED YOU the remaining “Entrar Mexico” half of the FMM form. If you like to roll the dice, You can fly back into Mexico – submitting the remaining “Entering Mexico” half of your FMM from leaving Mexico to INM as you fly back in.

      They can require you to fly back to Canada, and go to a Consulate … BUT … Generally, If you show them a photo-copy of the lost Residente Permanente Visa card, give them the “Entering Mexico” half of the FMM form from when you flew from Mexico to Canada … then the INM people scold you severely … and if you act humbly – respectfully – guilty – remorseful and submissive … They let you enter with just that ½ of the old FMM – and They ORDER you to go to INM and get a new card.

      Many times, INM can require you to go out the Yucatan Fiscalia Publica bldg outside of Periferico to get a form signed, before giving you a new card.

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