2 weeks to the day after my paperwork was submitted at the Cozumel INM office, my application was accepted. The next step was an appointment at the office for an interview, fingerprints, and payment of the fee.
I was out of Mexico on a Permiso de Viaje, so there wasn't a massive rush to do this, but I'm not a patient person. I canceled a week of work (because of the amount of time it takes to get a Permiso de Viaje) and flew back to Mexico after my facilitator made an appointment for me at INM on Monday morning.
Returning to Mexico with a Permiso de Viaje does not require you to complete the FMM immigration form. I did so anyway because I knew they'd pull anyone from the line who didn't have a properly-completed FMM. This happened to every person ahead of me in the immigration line, so I was waved to the front. The immigration officer tore up my FMM without a glance once he saw my Permiso de Viaje. I'll still do the same thing next time.
I met with the facilitator 90 minutes prior to my appointment and gave her the fee in cash in addition to signing some paperwork for the next Permiso de Viaje so I could leave at the end of the week.
By the time I got to the INM office, the fee had been paid and the facilitator had submitted the receipt. We arrived 10 minutes early and I was seen 5 minutes early. The interview consisted of 3 questions: 1) do I speak Spanish 2) what is my religion 3) do I have any tattoos or scars. I was then informed that my application was approved. I was fingerprinted (though not in a way that any of the many other places I've had this done would have accepted) and told that I would soon be given a letter that confirms that I am a permanent resident of Mexico and that my credential would take 10-days to 2 weeks to arrive. Until I have the credential in hand, despite the letter, any travel outside of Mexico will still require a Permiso de Viaje.
I was assigned a CURP while I was still in the office.
For this entire process, I spent 10 minutes total in the INM office and 90 minutes at the consulate in Boston. By far the largest expense has been airfare, but I made no particular attempt to minimize this. This could all probably be done from start to finish in a 1-month stay on the island* or in 2 2-week stays with a single Permiso de Viaje in between. The maximum time you can stay out of Mexico on a Permiso de Viaje is 60 days. Exceed that, and it's back to square one.
I'm debating whether to make a quick long weekend trip in a few weeks to pick up my card and get my ferry Plan Local card or just wait until I'm here in mid-December. I'm not good at waiting.
*that doesn't involve any time near Christmas, when the office shuts down for a significant stretch of time.
(Summary post here)