No. 309.
Mr. Morgan to Mr. Bayard.

No. 241.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith inclosed copy and translation of the Mexican law of foreigners and naturalization, published in the Diario Oficial of 7th instant.

From article 39 you will perceive that the laws which established the [matriculation of foreigners have been repealed. Still, these certificates of matriculation may be issued.

The inclosed law does not embrace all the rights and obligations of foreigners, as will be seen by reference to the “Derecho Internacional Mexicano, Tercera Parte,” from page 369 to 421.

I am, sir, &c.,

[Page 653]
[Inclosure in Mr. Morgan’s No. 241.—Translation.]

Porfirio Diaz, President of the United Mexican States, to its inhabitants: Be it known that the Congress of the Union has decreed the following:

The Congress of the United Mexican States decrees the following


Chapter I.—Of Mexicans and foreigners.

  • Article 1. Mexicans are:
    Those born on national territory, of a father Mexican by birth or by naturalization.
    Those born on national territory, of a Mexican mother and a father not recognized as such by the laws of the Republic. Those born of unknown parents or of unknown nationality shall be likewise [so] considered.
    Those born outside the Republic, of a Mexican father who has not lost his nationality. If this should have occurred, those children shall be reported as foreigners; having the option, though, of becoming Mexicans within one year from the day they attain twenty-one years, provided, if they live abroad, they make the due declaration before diplomatic or consular agents of the Republic; or, if they reside in national territory, before the department of foreign affairs.
    Should the children referred to in the preceding paragraph reside in national tarritory, and should they, on arriving at maturity, accept any public position, or serve in the army, navy, or the national guard, they shall be considered Mexicans in virtue thereof, without the need of further formalities.
    Those born outside the Republic, of a Mexican mother and unknown father, provided the former has not lost her nationality, according to the provisions of this law. If the mother should become naturalized in a foreign country her children shall be foreigners; but they shall have the option of becoming Mexicans under the terms and conditions of the preceding paragraph.
    Those Mexicans who having under the provisions of this law lost their national character and who may have recovered it by complying with the due requisites, according to the different cases treated of.
    The foreign woman who marries a Mexican, and who, even during her widowhood, retains her Mexican nationality.
    Those born outside the Republic, but who, being here in the year 1821, and having taken the oath of independence, have continued to reside in national territory and have not changed their nationality.
    Those Mexicans who, established in the territory ceded to the United States by the treaties of February 2, 1848, and of November 30, 1853, complied with the requirements of said treaties to preserve their Mexican nationality. Mexicans who continue to reside in territory belonging to Guatemala are in the same category, also citizens of that Republic remaining in territory belonging to Mexico, as specified by the treaty of September 27, 1882, provided said citizens comply with the stipulations of the fifth article of that treaty.
    Foreigners who may become naturalized under the present law.
    Foreigners who acquire real estate in the Republic, provided they do not specify their intention of preserving their nationality—as soon as the property is acquired the foreigner shall state to the notary, or the respective receiver, whether or not he desires to obtain Mexican nationality, as granted under paragraph 3 of the thirtieth article of the constitution,* and the decision of the foreigner shall appear in the body of the document.
    If he select Mexican nationality, or fail at the time to designate any preference, he may still within a year resort to the department of foreign affairs to comply with the requirements of article 19, and be considered a Mexican.
    Foreigners with children, born in Mexico, and who do not prefer to retain their character as foreigners. On registering the birth of the child, the father shall indicate his intention, in this particular to the judge of the civil register, and the same shall be recorded in the body of the document. If he should select Mexican nationality, or fail to state his intention in that particular, he will still be able to resort to the department of foreign affairs within a year to comply with requirements of the nineteenth article and be considered a Mexican.
    Those foreigners who officially servo the Government or accept therefrom titles or public offices, provided that within one year from the date of acceptance of those titles or public offices which should be conferred upon them or from the commencement of their official service to the Mexican Government, they resort to the department of foreign affairs to comply with the requirements of the nineteenth article, and be considered as Mexicans.
  • Art. 2. Foreigners are:
    Those born outside of national territory, subjects of foreign Governments, and who have not become naturalized in Mexico.
    The children of a foreign father, or foreign mother and unknown father, born on national territory, until they reach the age when, according to the law on nationality of the father or mother respectively, they cease to be minors. If for one year after they arrive at maturity they do not file with the local authorities of the place of their residence their intention of retaining the nationality of their parents, they shall be considered Mexicans.
    Those absent from the Republic without leave or license from the Government, unless on account of studies, or for public interests, or commercial or industrial par-suits, or in the exercise of a profession, who allow ten years to elapse without asking for a prorogation of their term of absence. This prorogation shall not exceed five years on each application, and after the first prorogation is granted, good and sufficient reasons must be given before another can be obtained.
    Mexican women who marry foreigners, and who preserve the character of foreigners even during their widowhood, the marriage being dissolved, the native woman can recover her nationality, provided that, in addition to residing in this Republic, she make due declaration before the civil judge nearest her residence of her intention to recover that nationality.
    The Mexican woman who, under the laws of her husband’s country, does not assume his nationality by her marriage shall retain her own.
    The change of the husband’s nationality after marriage implies a similar change in that of the wife and the minor children subject to the father’s authority, provided they live in the country of naturalization of the husband or father, respectively, with the sole exception stated in the preceding clause of this paragraph.
    Mexicans naturalized in other countries.
    Those who, without leave of Congress, officially serve foreign governments in any political, administrative, judicial, military, or diplomatic capacity.
    Those who, without previous leave of the Federal Congress, accept foreign decorations, titles, or offices, save in the case of literary, scientific, or humanitarian titles, all of which they are free to accept.
  • Art. 3. In order to determine the place of birth in the above cases, it is hereby declared that national vessels, without any distinction, are part of the national territory, and that those born on board of them are considered as being born within the Republic.
  • Art. 4. In virtue of the right of extraterritoriality enjoyed by diplomatic agents the children of ministers and employes of the legations of the Republic will never be regarded as being born outside the Republic.
  • Art. 5. The nationality of legally responsible persons or beings is regulated by tire law which authorizes the same. In consequence, all those so constituted, according to the laws of the Republic, shall be Mexicans, if, in addition, they make it their legal residence.
  • Legally responsible foreigners enjoy in Mexico the rights guaranteed by the laws of their country in so far as these do not conflict with the laws of the nation.

Chapter II.—Of expatriation.

  • Art. 6. The Mexican Republic recognizes the right of expatriation as being natural and inherent in every man, and necessary to the enjoyment of individual liberty. In consequence, while it allows its inhabitants to exercise this right, so they can leave its territory and settle in a foreign land, it also protects the right of foreigners of all nationalities who seek to settle within its jurisdiction. The Republic, therefore, receives subjects or citizens of other states, and naturalizes them under the provisions of this law.
  • Art. 7. Expatriation and consequent naturalization obtained in a foreign land do not exempt the criminal from extradition, trial, or punishment to which he may be subject under the provisions of treaties, international law, and the law of the land.
  • Art. 8. Citizens naturalized in Mexico, even if abroad, have a right to equal protection on the part of the Government of the Republic with native-born Mexicans in their persons or their property. This does not, in case they return to their native land, exempt them from responsibilities incurred before the naturalization, under the laws of that land.
  • Art. 9. The Mexican Government shall, through the channel of international law, protect Mexican citizens when abroad. The President, as he may deem necessary, shall make use of these means, provided they do not constitute acts of hostility. But if diplomatic intervention be not sufficient, and such measures prove futile, or if the offenses against the Mexican nation be serious enough to demand severer measures, the President shall notify Congress thereof, and furnish the respective documents for constitutional effect.
  • Art. 10. The naturalization of a foreigner becomes nullified by his residence in his own country for two years, unless he be absent on an official commission for the Mexican Government, or with the permission of the same.

Chapter III.—Of naturalization.

  • Art. 11. Foreigners who comply with the requisites of this law may be naturalized in the Republic.
  • Art. 12. At least six months before applying for naturalization papers the applicant should state in writing, before the municipal council of his place of residence, his intention of becoming a Mexican citizen and of resigning his foreign nationality. The municipal authorities shall give him a certified copy of his application and preserve the original in their archives.
  • Art. 13. When the said six months shall have passed, and the foreigner has resided two years in the Republic, he may apply to the Federal Government for his certificate of naturalization. To obtain it he should first present himself to the district judge in whose jurisdiction he resides, and furnish proof of the following:
    That according to the law of his land, he enjoys all civil rights, being of age.
    That he has resided in the Republic at least two years, and has observed good conduct.
    That, for his living, he has some business, industry, profession, or revenue.
  • Art. 14. The applicant shall add to the petition presented to the district judge a copy of the certificate issued by the municipal authorities, as specified in article 12. Ho shall also make an express renouncement of all submission, obedience, or fidelity to foreign Governments, and especially to that of which he had been a subject, disclaiming also all protection outside of the laws and authority of Mexico, and all rights which, by treaties or international law, are guaranteed to foreigners
  • Art. 15. The district judge, prior to the ratification made by the applicant, in the presence of the district attorney, shall take the deposition of witnesses on the points referred to by article 13, and, if he deem it necessary, shall obtain the report which the municipal council should furnish, as promised in article 12.
  • The judge shall also admit any other proofs presented by the interested party touching the points indicated in article 13, and shall consult the judgment of the district attorney.
  • Art. 16. In case the decision of the judge be favorable to the applicant, he shall transmit the legal documents, in original, to the department of foreign affairs, applying for the certificate of naturalization, provided there be no legal motive to impede the same. Through the said judge the interested party shall transmit a petition to that department asking for the certificate of naturalization, ratify his renouncement of the rights of a foreigner, and protest adherence, obedience, and submission to the laws and authorities of the Republic.
  • Art. 17. Foreigners serving in the national merchant marine may become naturalized, one year of service on board sufficing instead of two years, as otherwise required under article 13. The district judge of any of the ports touched by the ship is amply authorized to negotiate this matter, and, likewise, any of the municipal authorities of those ports may receive the petitions treated in article 12.
  • Art. 18. Foreigners naturalized under this law are not included in the provisions of articles 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16, neither are they who have the option of Mexican nationality. In consequence, children of a Mexican father or mother, who has lost his or her citizenship, and to whom the third and fourth paragraphs of article 1 refer; the foreigner who marries a Mexican, referred to in paragraph 6 of the same article; the children of a foreign mother and unknown father, born on national territory, as specified in paragraph 2 of article 2; and a Mexican widow of a foreigner, as treated in paragraph 4 of the same article, shall be considered as legally naturalized by solely complying with the requisites in such cases and without the necessity of other formalities.
  • Art. 19. Foreigners who find themselves within the scope of paragraphs 10, 11, and 12 of article 1 may apply to the department of foreign affairs for their certificate of naturalization within the term specified therein. Their petition should be accompanied by a document accrediting them, as the case may be, with the acquisition of real estate, or that they had children born in Mexico, or had accepted some public position. They will also present the renouncement and protest required under articles 14 and 16 for ordinary naturalization.
  • Art. 20. Absence in a foreign land by permission of the Government does not conflict with the residence clause in article 13, provided it does not exceed six months during any period of two years.
  • Art. 21. Certificates of naturalization shall not be extended to subjects or citizens of any nation with which the Republic may be engaged in war.
  • Art. 22. Neither shall certificates be given to those who are judicially repudiated, and, in other countries, declared to be pirates, slave dealers, incendiaries, counterfeiters of coin, or forgers of bank bills or other paper passing current as money, nor assassins, kidnappers, or thieves. By common right, naturalization papers fraudulently obtained by a foreigner in violation of the law are null and void.
  • Art. 23. The certificates of naturalization shall be issued gratuitously, nor may any fee for costs, registry, seal, or other expense be collected thereon.
  • Art. 24. The act of naturalization being a very personal matter, the petitioner may only be represented by a proxy who has special and sufficient powers for the act, and who holds the renouncement and protest made in person by the interested party himself, according to articles 14 and 16. But in no case may the powers of the proxy substitute the actual residence of the foreigner in the Republic.
  • Art. 25. The character of citizen or of foreigner is not transferable to a third party. Therefore, for obvious reasons, neither can the citizen enjoy the rights of a foreigner, nor the latter the prerogatives of the former.
  • Art. 26. The change of nationality does not produce retroactive effects. The acquisition and rehabilitation of the rights of a Mexican only take effect on the day following that on which all the conditions and settled formalities of this law have been complied with to obtain naturalization.
  • Art. 27. Colonists who come to this country under contract with the Government, and whose expenses for traveling and installation are paid by the same, shall be considered Mexicans. In their enrollment contract shall be specified their intention to renounce their former nationality and adopt the Mexican, and on settling in the colony they shall file with the competent authorities the renouncement and protest, as required under articles 13 and 16. The authorities shall send the same to the department of foreign affairs, which in turn shall issue the certificate of naturalization in favor of the interested party.
  • Art. 28. Colonists who come here on their own account, or for private companies and organizations not subventioned by the Government, and also immigrants of all classes, may become naturalized in each case under this law. Colonists established up to the present are subject also to the law in this particular in every respect that does not conflict with the rights acquired through their contracts.
  • Art. 29. The naturalized foreigner shall become a citizen of the Republic as soon as he complies with the conditions required by article 34 of the constitution, being clothed with all the rights and obligations as a Mexican citizen; but he shall not be qualified to discharge those trusts or employments which, in conformity with the laws, require the nationality by birth, unless he had been born in national territory, and that said nationality had been effected by paragraph II of article 2.

Chapter IV.—Of the rights and obligations of foreigners.

  • Art. 30. Foreigners in the Republic share the civil rights pertaining to Mexicans, and the guarantees offered in section 1, title 1, of the constitution, with the sole exception of the faculty held by the Government for the expulsion of pernicious foreigners.
  • Art. 31. In the acquirement of waste and Government lands, of real estate, and of ships, foreigners are not obliged to reside in the Republic, but are subject to the restrictions imposed by the laws now in force, with the understanding that all leases of real estate made to a foreigner shall be considered as sales if the term of the contract exceed ten years.
  • Art. 32. The federal law alone can modify the civil rights of foreigners by the principle of international reciprocity, so that, therefore, foreigners may be subject in this Republic to the same legal disqualifications which the laws of their country impose on Mexicans there resident. Consequently the provisions of the civil code and of district procedure possess, in this respect, a federal character, and are obligatory throughout the Union.
  • Art. 33. Foreigners, without forfeiting their own nationality, may make their homes in the Republic for all legal effects. The acquirement, change, or relinquishment of their residences are subject to the laws of Mexico.
  • Art. 34. In case of the suspension of individual guarantees, in the terms prescribed by the twenty-ninth article of the constitution, foreigners and Mexicans are alike subject to the law decreasing the suspension, save in the case of treaty stipulations.
  • Art. 35. Foreigners are obliged to contribute towards public expenses in the manner prescribed by the laws, and are also required to respect and obey the institutions, laws, and authorities of the country, [subjecting themselves to the decisions and sentences of the courts and without appeal to other recources than are granted to [Page 657] Mexicans by the laws. They can appeal to the via diplomatica only in case of the denial of justice or of voluntary, delay in its administration, after having exhausted, without effect, the common legal recources, and that as determined by international law.
  • Art. 38. Foreigners do not enjoy the political rights of Mexican citizens. They, therefore, cannot vote, nor be voted for in any popular elections, nor be named for any position or commission in a State career. Nor can they join the army, navy, or national guards, nor become associated with, or engaged in, the political questions of the country; nor exercise the right of petition in these matters. This is understood not to conflict with the provisions of article 1, paragraph XII, and of article 19 of this law.
  • Art. 37. Foreigners are exempt from military service. Foreign residents, though, are obliged to serve as police in the event of preserving property and of maintaining order in the place in which they live.
  • Art. 38. Foreigners participating in the civil dissensions of the country may be expelled from its territory as pernicious foreigners, being subject to the laws of the Republic for any crimes they may commit against it, and without the privilege of having their rights and obligations regulated by international law or by treaties in case of a state of war.
  • Art. 39. The laws establishing the matriculation of foreigners are repealed. The department of foreign affairs alone can issue certificates of determined nationality to foreigners soliciting the same. These certificates constitute a legal presumption of foreign citizenship, but proofs to the contrary are not barred. The definite proof of determined nationality is presented before the competent courts and by the means established by laws or treaties.
  • Art. 40. This law does not concede to foreigners any rights denied them by international law, by treaties, or by the laws in force in the Republic.

Chapter V.—Transitory measures.

  • Article 1. Foreigners who have acquired real estate, or have had children in Mexico, or have held some public position, and who are embraced in the provisions of paragraphs X, XI, and XII of article 1 of this law, are obliged to manifest, within six months after its publication, provided they have not previously done so, to the political authorities of their place of residence, whether they desire to obtain Mexican nationality-or to retain that of foreigners. In the first event, they should immediately apply for the certificate of naturalization, according to the form prescribed in article 19 of this law. If they fail to manifest, as indicated, they shall be considered Mexicans, save in cases where official declaration has been made on that point.
  • Art. 2. Colonists resident in the country, to whom the last part of article 28 of this law refers, shall manifest, in the manner specified in the preceding article, the nationality they wish to retain, and also apply for their certificate of naturalization under the provisions of that article, if the nationality they desire be Mexican.
  • Art. 3. The Executive, in issuing the necessary regulations for the execution of this law, shall see that requisite measures are taken, so that the local authorities may, as far as they are concerned, give it due fulfillment.
  1. “(3) Foreigners who acquire real estate in the Republic or have children born in Mexico, provided they have not declared their intention to preserve their nationality.” [Note by the Department.]