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My Permanent Residency Application Process, Part 3: October 2014


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#1 mstevens

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 03:16 PM

(Part 1 here, Part 2 here)

 

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)


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#2 mstevens

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 08:31 PM

Summary

 

I don't think there will be a Part 4 to this unless something unexpected happens. The final step is to re-enter the country exactly as above and swing by the INM office to pick up my card. No appointment is needed for this nor do I need to worry about any more permits to leave the country.

 

The paperwork requirements are laid out in Part 1. The income and account balance requirements have changed just since I started last month, and could change again at any time so I won't list them. They're based on a multiple of the minimum wage in Mexico City.

 

For a timeline, here's what I know:

 

[Step 0 - Hire a good immigration expert in Mexico. HIGHLY recommended.]

Step 1 - Get all your ducks in a row, collect all the records they say you need PLUS anything else you can think of, fill out the application (but don't date it), and get passport photos.

Step 2 - Make an appointment at a Mexico consulate.

Step 3 - Go to your appointment with your crate of paperwork, your passport, cash or credit card for the fee, and a modicum of patience.

Step 4 - Go to Mexico. Make sure "Canje" is checked on your FMM entering Mexico.

Step 5 - Go to the INM office and submit your application and FMM departure form there. If you followed Step 0, you still need to be in Mexico, but your facilitator can take care of that for you.

Step 6 - Wait about 2 weeks, or get a Permiso de Viaje to return to your home country for up to 60 days.

Step 7 - When your application has been accepted, return to the INM office to complete the Formato Básico and possibly answer a few simple questions. The officer will decide if you are approved, in which case you will be fingerprinted, and submit the fee (much of which your facilitator can do for you. At this point, you will be officially be a permanent resident of Mexico, but don't get excited since that's of no use without the card to prove it.

Step 8 - Wait about another 2 weeks, or get another Permiso de Viaje to return to your home country for up to a further 60 days.

Step 9 - Return to INM to pick up your card ("credencial"). You do not need a Permiso de Viaje to leave after this.

Step 10 - Never enter Mexico as a tourist again.

 

For obtaining a Permiso de Viaje, it takes 3 work days to get and is delivered the day before you leave. That means a minimum stay of 4 days unless you really think you can make it to INM before 1 PM after landing, which I would hate to count on. For most people, that's nearly a work week, and arriving and leaving on a weekend gives you a useful cushion for if things go kerfloop with your plans.

 

My wife did do this in exactly 4 weeks when she was on the island for a couple of months. I know people who have done it in two 2-week stays. If your time is tight and you can't afford to stay any longer than planned, I would not be comfortable with either of these. 

 

If you have moved to the island and have plenty of time for the process, great. You can do this all without worrying about traveling back and forth. There's some time limit to complete the process (I think it's 6 months, but I'm not certain). If you're trying to wrap things up back home while getting set up on the island, a couple of 15-day visits a month or two apart will probably suffice.

 

If you're getting residency but still primarily living elsewhere (e.g., you own a home on the island and need residency status for banking, registering a vehicle, and so many other things for which it's needed but still need to make a living to pay for that home), then this can be done in 2 1-week visits no less than 2 weeks but no more than 60 days apart and one other visit of any length (that has you on the island for at least a couple of hours Monday through Friday 9 AM to 1 PM during a time that holidays don't have INM closed) no less than 2 weeks but no more than 60 days after the second visit. I would not attempt this without an expert facilitator.

 

I hired a facilitator recommended by someone I trust (who worked with my wife but no longer does this). I paid about 225 US dollars for her services. I also paid an official translator about half that to translate my documents. (Having this done by an official translator is not optional, but if it were I would have done so anyway.)  Although hiring a facilitator is optional, it has been worth every centavo. Since my consulate visit I have spent literally less than 15 minutes in the INM office and haven't done any paperwork other than to sign a number of things.


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#3 Coz2wonder

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 07:05 AM

Mark, your well document process for securing a resident visa has been "pinned"(will always be available)  It is an excellent reference guide for anyone wanting to understand what steps are needed from start to finish in regards to either a temporary or permanent residency visa.

 

Thank you for your attention to details, and explanation on the process and procedures.


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#4 mstevens

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:25 PM

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.

 

Small update - it's no longer a debate. My immigration lawyer checked with the local INM office and learned that their 2-week Christmas vacation *exactly* covers the dates I will be on the island when I'd hoped to pick up my card. I'm not certain whether I'd be able to get yet another Permiso de Viaje during that time. If not, that would be a serious problem with getting back to work. Even if I could, it would mean I'd still need to return to get the card. Thus, I'm heading to Cozumel soon for a quick 3-day trip to get the card prior to my "real" trip later in the month.


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