IMSS Insurance Application Procedure Cleared-Up

There has been some talk lately of new regulations governing the application process and the documents required when applying for IMSS insurance. Actually, Mexico is following the Hague Convention directives in its documentation requirements.

What is IMSS

IMSS (Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social) is a low-cost health care option and is available to all foreigners that reside in Mexico. Other than the documentation requirements, coverage is the same for all foreign applicants.

A thorough physical examination and detailed questionnaire requesting information on pre-existing conditions are mandatory at this time. There are many pre-existing conditions that will not be covered and there are other conditions that will not be covered during the first year or more after acceptance.

Applications are accepted only during the months of January, part of February, July and August.

The annual fee in pesos ranges from $1,320 (under 19) to $3,472 (over 60)  and is payable upon application. If your application is turned down, your fee will be refunded. If during the first 6 months, it is discovered that you have a chronic illness, you may be denied treatment and your application fee could be refunded. Your coverage will activate 6-9 months after approval, but once accepted you will be covered for life, as long as you continue to pay your yearly premiums.

How to Apply

The documents required for IMSS application are as follows:

  • Passport and 2 copies
  • FM3 or FM2 and 2 copies
  • 2 pictures (Infantile Size)
  • Most recent electric or phone bill
  • Birth certificate (legalized or apostille)*
  • Marriage certificate if applicable (legalized or apostille)*
  • Translation of documents by Certified Translator
  • CURP Number (Population Code Number obtained through Immigration Dept.)

*An apostille is a one page document certifying the authenticity of a document. It is typically issued by the Secretary of State for your birth state and is embossed with the apostille stamp, i.e. The Great Seal of a State. Any country which is a signatory of the 1961 Hague Convention recognizes an apostille as a certificate of authenticity for a document. The US and Mexico have been members of the Hague Convention since October 15, 1981. Canada is not a member, therefore, embassy legalization of documents is required when applying for IMSS insurance.

*Embassy legalization is an alternative method of authenticating a document, used for countries that are not members of the Hague Convention. Such countries do not accept or recognize an apostille as a certificate of authenticity. Instead, the Mexican Embassy, consular or diplomatic representative of the country deals with the legalization of Canadian documents.

Maria Teresa Rosas at the Mexican Embassy in Ottawa (613-233-8988) stated that the only two places to obtain a legalization in Canada are at the Embassy in Ottowa and for the west coast at the Mexican Consulate in Montreal (514-288-2502).

For assistance with the application process in the Jaltemba Bay area, you can contact Miguel Lomeli at cell: (322) 148-9788 or email:

What is Not Covered

Some of the conditions that fall into the pre-existing category that will not be covered during the term of the policy are but are not limited to:

  • Dependencies to drugs or alcohol
  • Psychiatric illness
  • HIV positive status or history of AIDS
  • Malignant tumors
  • Chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, hepatitis, kidney disease, any heart disease, any lung disease, neurological disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease and many others
  • History of traumatic or muscular injury that continues to require treatment

Medical benefits for the following conditions are not allowed as indicated:

  • Benign breast tumors during the first 6 months of coverage
  • Births in the first 10 months after acceptance

Conditions that will not be treated during the first year include, but are not limited to:

  • Kidney stones
  • Surgery for gynecologic conditions except for cancer
  • Surgery for vein disorders
  • Surgical procedures for the sinuses, nose, hemorrhoids, rectal fistulas, tonsils and adenoids, hernias, and other operations that are also considered “elective” or voluntary rather than required

During the first 2 years orthopedic surgery is not covered.

IMSS Insurance does not cover plastic surgery, eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, the surgical correction of astigmatism, Lasik surgery, treatment of self-inflicted injury, preventive care, treatments for behavioral or psychiatric disturbances, dental care (except for extractions) or infertility treatments.

IMSS coverage is quite broad and includes consultations, tests, hospitalization, surgery and medicines. It also includes basic dental and optical; but only within the IMSS structure – their doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Procedure for Legalization of Documents by the Embassy of Mexico

This information was added on June 28, 2012 and comes directly from the Canadian Embassy of Mexico website.

If you are in Ottawa:

  1. Present the document you wish to legalize bearing the stamp of the Authentication and Service of Documents Section at the Department of Foreign Affairs of Canada (DFAIT). To obtain this stamp, the Authentication and Service of Documents Section of Canada is located at 111 Sussex Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, Telephone: (613) 995-0119. Mailing address: 125 Sussex Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0G2. This procedure must be carried out by the interested party prior to presenting the document at the Consular Section of the Embassy of Mexico.
  2. Payment of the corresponding fee as determined by the Federal Law on Fees. This payment must be made in cash. (Click here to check the current fee)

Turnaround time: 1 working day.

If you are in any other Province:
You must send the following by courier or registered mail:

  1. The document(s) to be legalized, previously stamped by the Authentication and Service of Documents Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). The interested party is responsible for obtaining this stamp. Documents received by the Consular Section without the authentication stamp from DFAIT will be returned to the interested party WITHOUT the corresponding legalization.
  2. A letter requesting the legalization of your document(s), including your contact information: full address, telephone number and email.
  3. Payment of legalization fees in the form of a Money Order made out to “Embassy of Mexico” in Canadian dollars. NOTE: Legalization is paid per document; for reference, count the number of stamps from the Authentication of Documents Section at DFAIT. (Click here to check the current fee)
  4. A prepaid envelope for the return of your documents.

Turnaround time: 3 working days plus mailing time.

It is not possible to legalize Canadian documents received by courier from abroad (outside Canada).

For more information, contact the Canadian Embassy near you.

Mexican Embassy / Vancouver
710-1177 West Hastings St., Vancouver, B.C. V6E 2K3
Tel: (604) 684-1859
Fax: (604) 684-2485

Mexican Embassy / Consulate in Ottawa
45 O’Connor Suite 1500, Ottawa, Ont. K1P 1A4
Tel: (613) 233 8988
Fax: (613) 235 9123

Mexican Embassy / Consulate in Toronto
199 Bay St., Suite 4440, Commerce Court West
Toronto, Ont. M5L 1E9
Tel: (416) 368-1847
Fax: (416) 368-8141

Mexican Embassy / Consulate in Quebec
2000 Mansfield St. Suite 1015, Montreal, Que. H3A 2Z7
Tel: (514) 288-2502
Fax: (514) 288-8287

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8 Reviews on “IMSS Insurance Application Procedure Cleared-Up”

  1. :

    Do you know what is needed for renewal of IMSS. I have, but cannot remember what I brought for my renewal last year.

  2. :

    Great question Dave, I am pretty sure there are no age limitations. but will have to do some research to be sure. Anyone??

    1. :

      David, I might suggest that you post the question on the forum...

  3. :

    do you have to be of a certain age for this? we are in our late forties and will be in baja for the next 2 years and will need health insurance for us and our 7 year girl. any suggestions for us??? thanks dave

  4. :

    After researching this subject extensively, all Canadians are to send their documents, cover letters, fee, and self addressed postage paid envelope to OTTAWA.

    1. :

      Jane has just emailed us two sample letters for our Canadian readers to use in order to get their birth and marriage certificates authenticated to qualify for IMSS. The letters are for the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Mexico in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Jane notes that she cannot guarantee that they will work as she just mailed her package off, however they may help those that hate writing business letters. You can access the letters here (scroll down to get to today's entry):

  5. :

    David, can you confirm that "for the west coast at the Mexican Consulate in Montreal". Montreal is a long ways from the west coast, might it be the Mexican Consulate in Vancouver. Thanks.

    1. :

      I will try to call them in the morning. BUT if you happen to get in touch with them before I do, will you please post their reply? I agree, the number I was given does seem strange. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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