Requests for international protection to Mexico are experiencing unprecedented numbers, which is also a global trend. In 2020, around 78,000 people were registered in the process of obtaining refuge; but, at the beginning of 2021 there was already a new record in just the first quarter, with 80,000 requests for assistance. The countries of origin that stand out in the list are Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, for reasons of violence.
The increase in these numbers is attributed, on the one hand, to the supportive reception that the country offers to the people it receives; for which it has excellent support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). On the other hand, an influential reason for this fact is that this territory shares a border with the United States; in this sense, those who do not manage to cross successfully to the USA end up requesting help in Mexico.
For many years, the migratory movement between Mexico and the United States has been impressive. And the so-called “American dream” continues to be the main project of a good number of Latinos from Central America. Find out in this text, what are the requirements and procedures to apply for international protection in this beautiful territory.
First considerations for requesting political asylum in Mexico
First of all, it is essential to know the law on refugees, complementary protection and political asylum current (available here) in Mexico for these procedures. There are six chapters very easy to understand; and then we will explain the most important aspects of said document.
In order to request any type of protection before the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR), it is mandatory to be within the territory and to initiate the procedure within a maximum of 30 working days from the moment of entry. However, if for any reason this time has already elapsed, you may add a letter explaining the reasons why you did not complete the process within that period.
During this time, the applicant may not be returned to his or her country of origin where his or her life and integrity are at risk. Even when people indicate to the competent authorities at the border that they wish to begin this assistance process, rejection is prohibited.
The immigration process is free of charge, regardless of the economic conditions of the applicants. Therefore, if you require an intermediary person or a legal representative, you will only have to show the corresponding permission to the officials. Although, you must take into account that in some steps it is obligatory that the holder attends to the indicated offices.
Procedure to process an asylum request in Mexico
Keep reading to find out what the steps to follow to apply for asylum in Mexico. They are very simple, as we will explain to you now:
- Step #1. Filing the application. For this you only have to go to the COMAR offices, located in Mexico City, Acayucan, Tapachula or Chiapas and Tenosique or Tabasco. For the rest of the country you can visit the facilities of the National Migration Institute (INM). Remember that the maximum period for this step is 30 working days from the date of entry into Mexican territory.
- Step #2. Written explanation of the case and issuance of a certificate. At this point you will have to fill out a form provided by the officials, where you basically have to answer: why were you forced to flee your country of origin? and where and how is your family nucleus? Then COMAR will give you a document that proves that the process has been initiated.
- Step #3. Personal interview. Subsequently, you will be given a date to verbally present the information provided in the form indicated in the previous step (this may be requested up to two times). The details are essential and although it is not mandatory to present evidence, we recommend that you show proof of the situation for which you decided to emigrate from your country of origin.
- Step #4. Response time. The last step is based on waiting for the result that COMAR will issue. There are 45 working days to study the case and 10 more days to communicate it to the applicant, for a total of 55 days. But depending on the number of petitions in process, this commission may extend the process for 45 more days.
Likewise, the answer may be positive or negative. Let’s see what to do in each case:
- Positive. If the protection procedure is approved, the applicant will have to go to the INM as soon as possible. There he will be able to legally process his permanent residence, but in refugee status.
- Negative. If, unfortunately, COMAR considered that you do not require protection, then you have the option of appealing the case or returning to your country of origin. We advise you to seek legal advice to achieve a positive response.
International Protection Appeal Process
Mexico offers a unrivaled advantagerelated to asylum procedures and international protection, with regard to appeal options when the answer is negative by COMAR. Because, after this notification you will be able to request a second review of the case, within a maximum period of 15 business days. And, the commission will have a period of 90 consecutive days to do such work.
If the answer is negative once again, you will have the option again to appeal the case or of return you to your homeland. Take advantage of all these opportunities, since the most common causes of rejection of the procedure are:
- False information or without international endorsement (apostille).
- Irregular behavior within the country during the evaluation days.
- Flight from country of origin attributable to international crimes, such as terrorism.
- Disappearance of the reasons for the request. Example, if it is a violation of human rights by a government and it has been replaced.
What to do during the waiting time?
As we mentioned before, COMAR will give you a certificate that the asylum is in process. With this document, the applicant can go to the INM to obtain a visiting card associated to Humanitarian reasons; with which you can work legally until the commission issues a final answer.
Now, there are some restrictions that you have to know so that you do not affect your process. Be sure to read the following points:
- You will not be able to leave the state corresponding to the residence that you indicated to COMAR, without previously requesting a transfer authorization from said entity. If you travel without this document, the commission can dismiss the case for abandonment.
- Punctually attend all interviews set by COMAR. The maximum established is two meetings, but this can vary according to the requirements of the case.
Finally, those who have carried out this procedure stress the need to frequently monitor asylum status. In this sense, they recommend visiting the corresponding office of COMAR or INM One day a weekruling out that the case has been stopped due to some misunderstanding or lack of information.
Rights and duties as an asylum seeker in Mexico
The law on refugees, complementary protection and political asylum, on the other hand, establishes a detailed list of the duties and rights that applicants for such procedures have. The idea is that these people can continue their lives normally, while waiting for the response from COMAR, in accordance with the provisions of the Mexican Constitution.
|A Unique Population Registry Code (CURP), to access public institutions.||Respect everything established in the political constitution of the United Mexican States|
|Legal advice during the initial application process and appeals, in case of negative responses.||Do not leave the State defined in the request, without authorization|
|Receive education if it is warranted, or recognition of the studies carried out in their country of origin.||Do not provide false information or information that lacks due international validity.|
|Do not send the person to the country of origin until their refugee status is defined. The sanctions of irregular entry into Mexican territory are exonerated.||Do not fall into negative behaviors, which damage your reputation, during the waiting time.|
|Work lawfully, without discrimination of any kind.|
Obtaining asylum in Mexico is really a simple process. With the immigration services already mentioned, you can apply for it with confidence if in your country you are a victim of violence, discrimination, disrespect of your political ideology or any event that threatens your integrity.
However, keep in mind that if you come from Venezuela, the Ministry of the Interior has approved the requirement to have a visa to enter Mexican territory on a regular basis. This will become effective 15 days after the information is published in the official gazette of the federation.