We have no picture – but we do have a thousand words below:
We have interrupted the Beach Bodega project to renew our right to stay in Mexico. This has been an annual event for the last 8 years – truth be known – not our favorite yearly event.
Over the years we have attempted to be a beacon of information in this regard. That with no knowledge as to what it is worth, if anything, to anyone.
So here is this year’s first installment: How we obtained permission to be in Mexico – Part 1
Before I start venting, let me administer the most sage advice to any of this. Go to the INM office on an exploratory mission FIRST. In the last few years they have provided a sheet with a list of documents and procedures to secure your particular flavor of visa. It has taken these many years to get it in my thick skull that this is the ONLY sound method of starting out.
What I had been doing (OK the venting is starting) was scouring the Internet, and reviewing others and our own past experience for a head up on getting started. This is pretty much a waste of time (and paper if you have any green concern).
We had been reading a Merida Forum that leads to a myriad of comments, experiential stories and advice. Not to dis those that contribute because just the idea that people would share information without demanding money for it is a wonderful thing – but in this case counterproductive – truly. By the time you go away from there you will be so confused and disoriented that you will run out (not walk) to find the first help available at any price.
Rest assured there is help. A cottage industry of help to get your passport has sprung up. Dare I say that perhaps some of the confusion is spawned by those that can make a living at setting you straight – rather like the unemployed fire fighter that starts a fire to get some work? Principled as I am – I refuse to take this most sensible approach. Did I just write principled? OK let’s go with stubborn and cheap – it fits.
Starting Sunday we put together a plan for our first visit. A plan spawned from aforementioned Internet advice from well intending people.
Monday we went to the copy store; one capable of transferring computerized documents from a memory stick (we have a half dozen printers in various states of non-working – let’s not even go into that. We had request letters and financial statements and numbers to supply to the INM officer – lots of stuff – lots of copies.
We headed to the Puerto Airport complex which houses, well trailers, the local INM office. We had to sit outside after filling out the ‘guest book’ registration. There were a couple of people before us including a small herd organized by one of those aforementioned paperwork handlers.
In short order – perhaps 15 minutes – we were motioned to enter the small trailer. Here I should credit two points of advancement – a few years ago we had to sit in stiff chairs under the sun – now there is an awning and the sweat box they called an office with little elbow room beyond space for two people, is now refrigerated. Layered dressing will probably work best to adapt from the hot to chilly environments.
We were greeted by the hombre (Mexican Federal Agent) that made Anita cry a couple of years back. He was super friendly. I suppose still carrying some guilt for his harsh treatment. Good greeting passed, our paperwork just did not cut it.
We are applying for permanent residency in Mexico. The laws and requirements have changed radically (as of early November of last year). The immigration (INM) offices seem to be getting organized and more aware of requirements and process.
Here is an overview of some of the major changes – When wishing to stay in Mexico for longer than 180 days (tourists,) first time applicants MUST apply at a Mexican Consulate in their home country for a temporary or permanent stay in Mexico. There are no exceptions to this.
The financial requirements (income from sources out-side of Mexico) have increased substantially. A lot of people are worried, upset and/or angry over these financial increases – MANY will no longer have the monthly income or other qualifying factors any longer. Our understanding is that there are some ‘grandfathering conditions’ to all that. But those seem to be transitional and thus remain distressing to many.
The annual fees have also increased, however the fee is on a declining scale based on the number of years one applies for. The good news in that regard is you can now apply for as many as four years of continuing permission to stay as a temporary resident. Very good news for those that have been doing this Mexican Hat Dance for years – each and every year.
Even better still is a much more friendly method to attain permanent residence – NO MORE VISITS to the INM office – HOORAY! This comes with some VERY STIFF financial requirements; and a still undefined possibility of no longer being able to drive your foreign plated vehicle here in Mexico.
There is also a point system that equates to one being worthy of attaining residency by way of academic and working skills deemed beneficial to the country.
Does this all sound complicated? Boy howdy it is!
Getting back to our actual experience yesterday – we were given a printed form with 13 issues to be satisfied when applying for permanent residency. In the last few years we had been able to submit financial information in English – no longer – they wanted our bank statements in Spanish – ugh!
A letter requesting our desire for permanent residency which was created in Spanish via a sample from the Merida Forum was deemed unsatisfactory. Different language was provided to re-do the document.
They did manage to give us a paper to take to any bank for each to pay a 1000 peso application fee. We waited in line at the bank for more than an hour to pay the fees. End of day one – we were off to home to redo and gather information as required on the newly acquired form – We go back today – more on all this tomorrow. Stay Tuned!