How to Get a Mexican Passport if a Parent Is a Mexican Citizen

How to Get Your Mexican Passport

Recently, my father inserted me as a Mexican citizen, and I was issued a Mexican passport. This is a process that the parent must do, so I asked my dad to write a bit as to what steps he took to make me a citizen. Then I added the steps that I took to get my INE and passport. We hope this helps those who want dual citizenship in their quest to get their own Mexican passport when a parent is a Mexican citizen.

My father wrote:

To become Mexican, a person may be born on Mexican soil, or they can be direct descendants by blood. “By blood” is for those who are children of Mexicans, but they were not born on Mexican soil. This contrasts the children of foreigners born in Mexico are Mexicans by land. Of course, there are people who become Mexicans through the process of naturalization, acquiring the citizenship after being a resident, etc., quite similar to the American process.

So the process of recognizing someone who is Mexican by blood but was born outside Mexico is called “insertion”, because they insert the person in the system—in particular the “Civil Registry”—which is the organization that holds birth certificates in Mexico. As you can imagine, it involves essentially proving that at least one of the parents was a Mexican citizen. In the simplest case, it is the Mexican parent who drives the process and then the documents are issued to said parent—recognizing that the child has been registered as Mexican.

STEP 1 – Obtaining Your Apostille Birth Certificate:

It all starts by obtaining a birth certificate of the child that may be accepted as such by the Mexican government. First you have the birth certificate sent to you which costs around $15 or $20 USD, depending on your state. When you receive the birth certificate, then you pay another $15 to $25 dollars to get your Apostille certification. For us, this process took a couple months for us to receive our certified birth certificate. So you know, many states require the person requesting the birth certificate to be a family member or related in some way.

Mexico accepts the Apostille process, by which a birth certificate is recognized worldwide. Interestingly enough, neither the states of New York nor Texas issue Apostille birth certificates. As far as I know, Mexico simply accepts them as is, but there may be only specific forms and/or counties that are accepted. My son was born in Pennsylvania, and thankfully the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does issue Apostilles.

In Pennsylvania, the birth certificates are issued by the Department of Health, in Harrisburg. The birth was recorded in the county in which the child was born (Allegheny County for Pittsburgh). The birth certificate itself must be certified to be a true record of what is kept on file. In the case of Pennsylvania, the records are kept in the Division of Vital Records of the Department of Health. So, we obtained a birth certificate and a certification statement; together they are often called a “certified birth certificate”.

Then an Apostille document is issued on the birth certificate and the certification statement, stating that the signature in the certification statement is authentic, that by occupation and legal standing, the person issuing the Apostille is qualified to sign such document, and—if available—that the seal is true and valid in Mexico—i.e. that it is not counterfeit document. In particular, the Apostille does not deal with the content of the document. It does not say that the birth certificate is accurate. That is what the certification statement is meant to accomplish.

So, we have a birth certificate saying that a child was born in certain place, at a certain date, and from certain parents—where at least one of them is Mexican. In addition, we have a certification statement saying that the birth certificate is a true and accurate copy of what is kept in the books at the Division of Vital Records—or equivalent in other states. Finally, we have an Apostille saying that the certification statement was properly signed and sealed, and by a person who was allowed to make such a statement.

STEP 2 – Obtaining Your Spanish Translations:

For the next step in obtaining your translations, we have to find a translator who is certified as a perito traductor. The word “perito” is often translated as “expert”, so “perito traductor” is literally an “expert translator”. However, it is a qualification certified by a branch of the Mexican legal system.

In the case of trying to get the insertion done in the state of Morelos, the certification is extended by the “Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado de Morelos”, and it is made public by such tribunal in the “Boletín Judicial”, or Judicial Journal of the state of Morelos. Therefore, a qualified translator takes the certified birth certificate apostille and translates in into Spanish.

The result is a page in Spanish for each one in English. It ended up being three in this particular case (as mentioned in Step 1), and all bore the stamp and signature of the translator, who is basically vouching that the text in Spanish is equivalent to the original in English. The translator adds a page with his/her credentials.

STEP 3 – Registering Your Child with the Civil Registry

Armed with the translated Apostille, we then go to the Registro Civil (the place where one normally registers infants born in Mexico), to apply for the insertion of a citizen into the Mexican registration. After paying a fee and waiting a couple of days, we obtain two basic documents:

  • A record that the parent presents the documents, in English and Spanish, to request the insertion. It must be noted that although the term used within the Registro Civil is “insertion”, the documents speak of “Inscripción”—akin to “registration”. I never understood why there exist two terms. Nevertheless, this document is signed by the parent, who also places his fingerprint, and is accepted by the Officer of the Civil Registry (his/her signature and stamp are also in the document). It states that the request has been accepted and recorded in a particular page of a particular book.

  • A certificate issued by the same Civil Registry—equivalent to a Birth Certificate—stating that the request has been granted, and the child has been inserted in the records of the state (and thus the country). Although the text of this certificate is essentially the same as the request, it only bears the signature and stamp of the Officer of the Civil Registry, because it is essentially a statement of what was recorded in the books—much like a birth certificate states all the data surrounding the birth, which is recorded in the books.

In addition, since the Civil Registry is also the place where one obtains a citizen’s Unique Key of Population Registry—or CURP for its initials in Spanish—then you are also given a copy of the CURP document. The CURP is built from the name, birth date, birth place, and gender of the person, along with two “homologation” characters.

It is noteworthy that the mother’s maiden name is a legal part of a person’s name in Mexico (and many other countries), so the CURP is built using it. However, since the United States does not use that convention, the CURP uses the letter ‘X’ where a letter would be obtained from the mother’s maiden name. This is because the American birth certificate dictates the name which is legally inserted into the Registro Civil. Thus, the name omits the mother’s maiden name.

Also, the CURP uses a two-letter code for the state in which the person was born—for instance ‘MS’ denotes Morelos. For people who were inserted, the letters ‘NE’ (Nacido en Extranjero or “born abroad”) are used. Other than that, the CURP is identical to that of a Mexican by birth on Mexican soil.

STEP 4 – Getting your INE:

Once the “Inscription Certificate” is obtained, the newly-accepted Mexican may proceed to fully integrate him/herself, mainly by getting a voting card (INE). This is the most common document in Mexico. It is similar to a driver’s license in the US. It stands for Instituto Nacional Electoral, and it is the document that enables you to vote in any Mexican election. This document also has your picture and address, and is used universally throughout Mexico as your standard I.D.

Unlike a driver’s license in the United States, having an INE is your right as a Mexican citizen, and obtaining one is free at no cost to you. You simply find the INE office nearest to you—there is one in every major city—and you wait in line or go by appointment to obtain your card.

You will need to bring:

  • Your new Mexican birth certificate (and bring your CURP document just in case).

  • An electricity, water, or a telephone land-line bill to confirm your address (it doesn’t have to be in your name).

  • There’s the catch to obtain your INE. You have no record in Mexico—and no previous Mexican photo ID because you have just become a Mexican citizen. (They will not accept an American photo ID. Trust me, I waited in line and tried it.) Therefore, you will need to bring two witnesses who are both Mexican citizens, and they must have their INE with them to testify that you are the person you say you are.

You will receive your INE in about ten days.

STEP 5 – Getting your Passport:

Next you head to the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) nearest to you in Mexico. Appointments are typically available in a few weeks, so if you’re in a rush then make your appointment early.

You need to bring two passport pictures (they are about 50 pesos at any photography shop in your home town). These are not the pictures that will be included into your passport. The passport photos are taken where you get your passport.

You also need to bring all the previous paperwork that you have completed, copies of your new Mexican birth certificate and your CURP (they will keep these copies), and then you go through a process of taking your photo. In Mexico, the passport is issued the same day. Therefore, many people go to lunch and pick up their passport that afternoon.

Paying for Your Passport:

There may be other ways of paying for your passport, however this is how we did it. Payment of your passport fees are done at any Mexican bank branch. You can do it online with some banks, you will have to check with your own Mexican bank.

You will need your CURP, the name you will be putting into the passport, and you must know how long you wish your passport to be valid. The validity of your passport will determine the amount you will pay in fees. You will be issued a deposit receipt which is valid for 5 years. This receipt is what you take with you to your passport appointment along with all your other material.

As of January 1st, 2019 the cost of a Mexican passport is:

  • 1 Year – $610 MXN
  • 3 Years – $1,265 MXN
  • 6 Years – $1,735
  • 10 Years – $2,670

*There is a 50% discount for senior citizens over the age of 60, those with disabilities, or those working in agriculture in Canada.

For more information on requirements, or how to set up an appointment, click here.

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Comments (31)

  • aletoledo

    Thank-you, this was extremely helpful and detailed. You’d think there would be more information online about this process, but your article is the best I have found.

    Reply
  • Patrick Nevarez

    So, getting your birth certificate translated (officially) is a mandatory requirement?

    Reply
  • Patrick Nevarez

    Is the translation of birth cert. mandatory?

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Hello Patrick,

      Yes. The government requires you to get your birth certificate translated by a licensed “perito translator”. You can find one in your state either by consulting an immigration lawyer if you wish (they will have a list of perito traductores that they have worked with), or if you want to follow this blog an avoid those hefty costs, you could surely find one at the OMT (Organization of Mexican Translators). Here is their website. I hope this helps!

      https://omt.org.mx/

      Reply
      • Patrick Nevarez

        Thank you, I’m thrilled to get a response! So, I have the long version of my mother’s birth certificate (born in 1936, Mexico City) as well as the certified copy of my own birth certificate which I will have translated today. Is anything else required besides filling out the application and bringing 2 witnesses? Do both witnesses have to be Mexican citizens?

        Reply
        • Raf Bracho

          Patrick, the next step is to go to your local Registro Civil. I think you will have to pay a small fee, and you will get your CURP and your Mexican birth certificate. This process will take a while. For us it took two days, however it may take longer if you are in Mexico City. The state of Morelos where we did it is one of the smallest in the country.

          It is after this process, when you are inserted and you get your Mexican birth certificate and your CURP that you can then begin to file for an INE (your voter registration card). This next step will take about ten days.

          *IMPORTANT: this is the step where you need to bring two witnesses. Both have to be Mexican citizens. Both have to have their INE.*

          Then once you have your INE, you can get your passport.

          I will be updating the content in the coming hours to make this process a bit clearer, however I must be frank that I did not go through much of it. The insertion process is generally done by the parent.

          I have invited my father to join in this discussion because he may be able to shed some light, if he gets around to it. I hope this comment helps.

          Reply
          • Patrick Nevarez

            Thank you, it does help immensely. I’m in Merida, Yucatan. I’m getting ready to head out to get the translation from the perito translator. So, if I understood correctly, the next step is to take my translated birth certificate along with my mother’s birth certificate (long version) AND 2 of my cousins who were born here (make sure they bring their INE’s) to the Civil Registrar. Upon doing this I will then pay a small fee and get my CURP and Mexican birth certificate? I see light at the end of the tunnel! For my purposes, I may not need to do the other steps right away. It’s so that I can have beachfront property that my mother left me transferred into my name. Wouldn’t just the CURP and Mexican birth certificate suffice for that? Thank you a zillion for this difficult to obtain yet simple info…!

  • Patrick Nevarez

    Upon re-reading your comment, it looks like you meant that I don’t need the two witnesses for the initial visit to the Civil Registrar where I fill out the application and provide the documents, but after this process when I then apply for my INE is when I bring the 2 witnesses…

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Yes. That is correct. You need your cousins for your INE.

      Once again, however, this is the step for parents to insert their children, so you may want to bring your mother with you.

      No matter what happens, someone at the Civil Registrar will be able to help you further. All my best wishes in your quest to become a Mexican citizen.

      Reply
  • Patrick Nevarez

    My mother died in 1999 so I can’t bring her. I went to the Registrar Civil the other day and I showed them the long version of my mother’s birth certificate and the certified copy of my birth certificate which is what I was sent by Orange County Ca after requesting a copy and making sure I checked the box that said “certified copy”. The guy that was helping me was satisfied with that and gave me a small form to fill out after which I would then pay the fee and be done, but a lady who appeared to be his superior and who seemed to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed came over and pointed out that my birth certificate didn’t have a stamped seal, which I guess it didn’t but that was what I was given as a “certified copy” by the county of Orange (there was no mention of an apostille). She also demanded a piece of mail with a bill in my name – something that was not on the checklist that the guy helping me was going off of. When I got home, I examined it further and saw that it did have a watermark. Could the watermark be the Ca version of a “seal”? I believe so, and I think this lady was just ad-libbing about the piece of mail requirement as well. There is another Registrar-Civil office that is not in the crowded downtown area like this one was and I believe the employees there will be a bit more “tranquilo”. I plan to go there today.

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Patrick, first off our condolences on your mother’s passing.

      It seems that things are progressing on your citizenship. We are so glad! Please keep us posted. 🙂

      My family ordered my birth certificate, and then we had to send it out again for the apostille certification. Did you do this step? If so, it will say so on your certification and translation. If it says so on your translation, then it sounds like you did catch someone on the wrong side of the bed.

      We certainly hope that this process works for you. It does seem like you’re just a step or two away! Crossing our fingers.

      Reply
  • Patrick Nevarez

    For the apostille, can I take it to the same guy who translated it?

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      No Patrick, however by the letter of the law, you might need to translate your apostille once you do get it.

      We’re rooting for you!

      Reply
  • Patrick Nevarez

    Thanks Raf, I’m using the apostille service from the link you provided.

    Reply
  • Sarita L

    Hello & thank you so much for all these details! I wanted to ask if it if necessary to travel to Mexico for this process? I see that in step 3, when attending the Registrar Civil, you had traveled to Mexico. I was wondering if that process can take place as a Mexican Consulate? I’m located in Los Angeles, California and would love more tips– thank you!

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Hello Sarita,

      The plain fact is I am not sure if you can. I would reach out to your nearest embassy and consulate and just ask them by phone. However, a quick search says that it may be possible! The insertion process is essentially registering a child as a Mexican citizen. Here it says that that is possible at a consulate, so it’s definitely worth a shot. 🙂 I hope this helps.

      https://www.consulmexny.org/eng/registrar_bith_registration.htm

      Raf

      Reply
  • Michael M

    If my father (born in Texas to Mexican citizens who were born in Mexico) claims his Mexican citizenship (by birth) and becomes a Mexican Citizen and still maintains his US citizenship, what can that do for me a US citizen born to two US born parents? Can I claim Mexican citizenship once he become a Mexican citizen? Would it be by birth? Or does it not pass to me? Is my only path to Mexican citizenship Naturalization (residency)?

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Michael, you should look into this article: https://weexpats.com/get-mexican-citizenship/

      However, if your father becomes a dual citizen, then you can become a Mexican citizen because your father is one. It might even be enough to try the insertion process directly from your grandfather or mother, however I would just try and get your father inserted as well. It is inexpensive, relatively quick (a few months or less), and it can never hurt! We hope this helps.

      Reply
  • Kristin Romitti

    I am an adult, my father has duel citizenship my husband and I went to the Mexican consulate in Boston to start the process to become Perm Residents in Mexico. It was explained to us there that I did not need to do Perm Residency as my father had dual citizenship that he could claim me and I can apply for my own dual citizenship thru him. He went to an Immigration lawyer in QRE and they said not I would have to be a minor to be allowed to do this. Is that correct?

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Yes, this is correct Kristin. I am 35 years old, and I was recently added by my father. The process above will explain to you how to do it. The comment section can help greatly. We are also here to answer questions.

      In addition, this blogs could help you with extra information:

      https://weexpats.com/get-mexican-citizenship/

      Our advice would be to get your citizenship, and then try and get your husbands citizenship through marriage. You have to be married in Mexico to do this step, but maybe you could have an inexpensive civil ceremony in a courthouse. I am not sure. However, it would likely be the fastest step. There are numerous external links in the article.

      Reply
  • Michael

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • Patrick Nevarez

    Raf, my apostillized birth certificate arrived today and everything on the apostille is in triplicate – English, French, and Spanish. Do I still need to get the apostille translated? I would think not because it is already translated on the document itself. I’m now armed with my mother’s long version birth certificate, my own birth certificate which includes the translation from the perito traductor, and finally the apostille. I plan to use the fedex envelope that the apostille arrived in as my piece of mail. Is that everything I need in order to head back to the Civil Registrar?

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Hello Patrick,

      By the letter of the law, you would have to have your apostille translated by a perito translator. However, because you have the birth certificate translated already, and you came so close last time, then I would go in there and just talk to them. If not, it will only be a short step away. The important thing is you have your apostille birth certificate! Yay!

      Please keep us posted!

      Reply
  • Patrick Nevarez

    I’ve seen other blogs that mention having to have your parents’ marriage certificate but I don’t think that is accurate…

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      To my knowledge, we did not bring that document. My father was very thorough in what he wrote in the article, and he would have mentioned bringing that document.

      I think you will be fine without it. 🙂

      Reply
  • Margarita C. Alcantar

    Are these the requirements to become a Mexican citizen?

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Hello Margarita, yes these are the requirements to become a Mexican citizen, but only if at least one of your parents is a Mexican citizen.

      If you do not have a Mexican parent, you might be interested in this article. 🙂

      https://weexpats.com/get-mexican-citizenship/

      Reply

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