Updated on June 8, 2020 / COVID-19 / Migration
Update – Migration in Mexico – Provisional Measures adopted by the Ministry of Government due to the health emergency by SARS-CoV-2 virus (hereinafter, “COVID-19”).
Since March 24, the provisional measures taken by the Ministry of Government (hereinafter, “SEGOB”) have been published in the Federal Official Gazette (FOG) on account of the circumstances arising from the health emergency caused by COVID-19. These measures have a direct impact on the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees (hereinafter, “COMAR”), which assists to applicants with a refugee status in Mexico. Regarding the impact of these measures on the procedures to be carried out in the National Institute of Immigration (hereinafter “INM”) —which regulates the immigration process of foreigners in Mexico— many doubts have arisen.
To clarify several doubts about the functioning of both COMAR and INM and to help migrants and refugees who require this information to keep their regular stay in Mexico updated, we investigated the scope of these provisional measures issued by SEGOB and spoke directly with those people responsible for these areas to clarify the migration processes in Mexico during COVID-19 health emergency.
The National Migration Institute (INM):
On May 27, 2020, SEGOB published in the FOG an agreement extending the suspension of periods, deadlines, and activities in such Ministry where —for INM— the time periods and deadlines are suspended from June 1, 2020, until the health authority determines that there is no epidemiological risk related to the opening of the instances. The formalities that will be affected by the suspension of the periods will be those regarding foreign people with the status of temporary or permanent resident, who are currently in Mexico or abroad, including those derived from those carried out at Mexican embassies or consulates.
In addition to these measures, the INM has taken many actions that modify its work dynamics, including the following measures.
- A healthy distance is maintained when attending INM facilities.
- Special attention will be provided for migrants deemed vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Turn tickets will be received in order to avoid the concentration of people in INM facilities.
- Encourage communication through visiting room, videoconferencing, or telephone among migrants and consuls, lawyers, family members, or representatives in order to avoid physical contact.
- Mandatory hygiene supplies will be available to prevent and avoid the contagion of COVID19.
The following applications will continue to be received as normal:
- Immigration regularization;
- Changes in immigration status;
- Notifications of changes such as marital status, place of work, address, nationality, and name;
- Stay extension;
- Migratory document replacements;
- Issuance and modifications to the Unique Population Registry Code;
- Applications for recognition of refugee status (applicable to agencies where there are no COMAR offices).
For any of the aforementioned procedures in the INM, it is necessary to have the required and valid documentation.
COMAR – Applicants for refugee status in Mexico:
Derived from the provisional measures issued by SEGOB applicable to COMAR, a suspension of time periods and deadlines is established from June 1, 2020, until the health authority determines that there is no epidemiological risk related to the opening, except for those formalities related to the submission of the refugee application. Therefore, no hearings will be held and no notifications and summons will be issued, but applicants for refugee status in Mexico will be accepted for processing. 
The only exception to this provisional measure of time period suspension is those notifications and requirements deemed urgent or relevant by the head of COMAR and that need to issue a resolution in a particular case.
To ensure attention to the applications for refugee status, COMAR has stated 5 key guidelines :
- The principles contained in the Refugees, Complementary Protection, and Political Asylum Act (LSRPCYAP), Article 5, will be safeguarded, highlighting the protection principle of NO DEVOLUTION, which will be key to the determinate urgent cases and will have priority to be addressed by COMAR.
- Priority will be given to applicants with refugee status who are housed in immigration stations, who have health problems, who are in a street situation, or any other who require institutional assistance.
- The entrance of COMAR office will be regulated in small groups of applicants.
- The Central Filing Office is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm for the reception of documents to facilitate the reception of all written applications and be able to schedule the application notifications, such as the application for a renewed certificate of processing.
- Eligibility, care, and linkage interviews will be safeguarded for all those people who fall within the priority cases.
Frequently Asked Questions for refugee status applicants:
What happens to COMAR certificates and Humanitarian Visitor Cards that expire during this suspension period?
In the case of COMAR certificates, the application for renewal must be submitted to the Central Filing Office of COMAR. In the States where there are no COMAR offices, applications must be submitted to the INM state office.
In the case of the Visitor Cards for Humanitarian Reasons, so far INM has not issued any suspension of activities and time periods; therefore, the renewal may be submitted to INM.
If the COMAR certificate have not been yet received, where can the status of the case be consulted?
COMAR has established as a contact for this type of consultation the e-mail address email@example.com where all the information related to your application must be included.
What will happen to the appointments scheduled for eligibility interviews?
You may send an email with the consultation of your interview with your full name, Unique Population Registry Code, telephone number, and interview data to the contact means where you started your process. Then you will be informed of the steps to follow and the process to reschedule your interview.
COMAR contact channels for each city are the following: