Mérida has become the only city in the country’s southeast to apply for Mexican citizenship.
After over two years of halting applications for foreigners to naturalize, Mexico’s Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores is once again taking applications.
But the backlog means that government offices are overwhelmed.
The long lines are only made longer by the fact that Mérida’s SRE office is the only one in all of Mexico’s southeast where applicants are able to process their paperwork.
This means that people living as far as Tabasco and Veracruz who wish to naturalize as Mexican citizens must travel to Mérida.
“The SRE has been taking in the documentation of roughly 1,000 people a day, and we expect that number to continue to increase,” said Mariana Cruz Pool, director of Mérida’s SRE office.
To make things worse, this same SRE office is currently also receiving a huge influx of requests for passports from Mexican citizens who have been unable to travel until recently because of the pandemic.
The new SRE offices in Mérida’s Harbor Mall have also come under criticism for not having enough parking, as underground parking facilities were severely damaged by flooding during 2020’s rainy season.
To apply for Mexican citizenship you must be able to prove you have been living in Mexico for at least five consecutive years. Time spent in the country on tourist visas does not count toward the requirement.
This number is brought down to only two if the applicant holds citizenship in another Latin American country, Spain or Portugal.
The road to Mexican citizenship is considerably shorter and easier if you have either Mexican-born parents or children.
As in many other countries, one of the requirements to apply for Mexican citizenship is to pass a written exam that includes questions on Mexico’s political system, culture, and history.
Cubans, Haitians, Central Americans, and South Americans are among the largest cohorts currently seeking Mexican citizenship, though in recent years the number of Canadians, Americans, and Europeans applying has increased dramatically, according to the SRE.
For more on the process of obtaining Mexican citizenship visit the SRE’s official website (in Spanish).