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    New Immigration Information

    There has been a lot printed on the internet lately and a lot of questions are being asked about the new immigration laws that went into effect in Mexico on November 9, 2012. While the laws are in effect, the way those laws are being implemented is not clear. The personnel at the immigraton offices in Merida and around Mexico are still struggling to understand many of the supporting practices, documentation requirements and other supplementary activities around those laws.

    We have been reluctant to publish anything specific about the laws until we are more secure in our knowledge about how they work, what they really mean and until some of the ambiguities and questions about the printed laws have been cleared up.

    Still, we know that interest is high. We also know that many people who feel no responsibility to their readers are printing all kinds of proclamations and information that they are gleaning from reading the laws or from hearsay. We caution anyone who is depending on the internet right now for their information about the new immigration laws to be careful about how they use that information.

    Here is some information that we do feel comfortable passing along at this time, that we were recently told by our contacts in the INM offices here in Merida:

    • For visa renewal processes, we were told that applicants will now need two appointments at INM offices to finish the visa process. Previously, only one final appointment was necessary. Now, one appointment will required to have your fingerprints taken, to sign papers and to deliver your photos to the INM office. You will need to return for a second appointment to receive your visa card. We have been told that the fingerprints and photos will be sent to Mexico City, where an outside company hired by Immigration offices will process and print the cards. At the beginning, they will only do a print run once they have 5,000 applications collected from all the immigration offices of all Mexican states.
    • For the process of changing from temporary residence to permanent residence, we are filing applications this week and will have more information on how this process actually works when it ends, probably during January 2013.
    • For all processes that we have started, either renewing temporary residences via the regular process (people who filed on time) or via regularization (people who did not file on time), we will have to wait till January when the batch of 5000 cards will be printed. (We are assuming there will be 5000 cards printed sometime in January)
    • It is very important to begin your visa renewal process one month before your visa expires. Current visa holders are given certain privileges not afforded to new visa applicants, and late renewals will be treated as new applications.
    • Starting Thursday December 20th, INM offices will be closed until January 6th, returning to work on January 7, 2013.

    Everything above has been told to our representatives by INM officers. None of the above is outlined in the law, the regulations or the guidelines. Because of this sort of thing (procedures and rules that are still being worked out…), we are not updating our very popular Immigration Guide until we know exactly how things are working (probably near the end of January).

    One thing that has become apparent is that it is VERY important to file your visa renewal applications on time. Late renewal applications will result in having to restart your “time in country”, which can seriously affect the type of visa you can obtain and the cost of obtaining a visa.

    We will update our website and our Immigration Guide as soon as we know more! We welcome any questions or comments in the comment section below.

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    New Immigration Laws 2012

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    New Immigration Fees for 2014


    1. April 23, 2013

      How soon after a temporary or permanent visa is issued must a cedula be obtained in Mexico?


    2. April 24, 2013

      Jo, after the visa at the Mexican consulate has been issued, you have 180 days to start the application for the card. Once you enter Mexico, you have 30 days to start it.

    3. Emily
      August 20, 2013

      How long on average is the process taking this year? We have already done the first appointment. Last year it was so quick, we got it done in 5 days. With the added step to Mexico City I doubt it will be that fast.

    4. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      August 22, 2013

      Emily, in the Immigration office in Merida is taking approximately 2 months.

    5. Mike
      October 21, 2013

      I’m a Canadian citizen currently staying in San Francisco, and wish to apply for Mexican residence visa, either temporary or permanent. I can’t find the requirements for either anywhere. Can you please help me with that.

      I have only worked in the US so my retirement accounts are only in the US as well. I’m 51 so retiree / pensioner category does not apply to me. Currently I’m not working. What other options do I have? And can I apply at their consulate in San Francisco? Thank you.

    6. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      October 25, 2013

      Mike, if you are not a pensioner you can´t apply for the permanent resident visa. In order to apply for the temporary resident visa, you need to show your last 6 bank account statements with a minimum income of 2,000 USD in each. You can apply at any Mexican Consulate.

    7. Jo Ana
      October 26, 2013

      I am receiving social security and would like a permanent residency visa. I have been told and read on their website ( I think the Seattle consulate) that pensioners only need an social security income of $800. a month to obtain a permanent residency visa, which is not what the other consulate websites say. A well-known Merida Residency Visa Specialist quoted me the $800. pension requirement for retirees. Has the law changed regarding the amount of income that retirees need? Thanks for your help!

    8. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      October 28, 2013

      Jo Ana, pensioners need to show 2,500 USD monthly to become permanent residents.

    9. Lana
      December 4, 2013

      If I plan on moving to the Yucatan and to bring my small business with me, do I apply for the fm3 first then move and start my corporation/ LLC ? Will I be able to start up my business in the yucatan while the process of corporation is under way?
      Thank you

    10. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      December 7, 2013

      Lana, the FM3 is now called Temporary Resident Card. You could come to Yucatan and start your corporation under a tourist visa and then apply for your Temporary Resident Card abroad; or you could apply first for the Temporary Resident Card abroad, then come to Mexico to incorporate and then request a working permit before Immigration authorities. If you need assistance with the process, please contact us at info@yucatanyes.com

    11. James
      December 13, 2013

      I’m am 51. I currently own a home in Merida. I would like to move to Merida and return to the states a few times a year to continue working. What is best for me and how do I get started. Thanks !


    12. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      December 13, 2013

      James, if you want to stay in Mexico for periods longer than 6 months, then we suggest you to get a temporary resident visa at a Mexican consulate in the US so that then you come to Merida and request the temporary resident card, which can be good for 1, 2, 3 or 4 years. If you would like us to assist you with the process or if you need further information, please contact us at info@yucatanyes.com

    13. Johnny
      December 29, 2013


      Are you able to clarify the Tourist Visa situation. If you are a U.S. citizen and have residences in the both the U.S. and Mexico and travel back and forth, as I understand it each new visit to Mexico starts a 180 day visitation period.

      So is it sufficient to just use the 180 Tourist Visa to continue traveling back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico, even if the total time spent in Mexico may end up being more than 180 days during one calander year, though never more than 180 consecutive days during that year.


    14. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      January 3, 2014

      Johnny, what you say is correct: each time you enter Mexico you get a 180 day tourist visa, which you can use even if you spend more than 180 days during one calendar year, but not more than 180 days consecutive during that year.

    15. Bill & Veronica Howes
      February 13, 2014

      Great info ! I like the fact that people are getting free legal advice from an experienced staff at YES.
      Sign me up . Merida here we come !

    16. Claudia
      November 18, 2016

      I am a Mexican native citizen living illegally in the USA.

      I got married to a beautiful Honduran illegally living in the USA.

      we like and plan to live in Mexico in the near future

      how my wife can arrange her situation/papers in advance from the USA?

      thank you

    17. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      November 22, 2016

      Claudia, since you are Mexican, with your marriage certificate (with apostille if issued abroad and translation to Spanish) and your identification as Mexican citizen (Mexican Passport or voter’s card) she could become a temporary resident for 2 years and then convert to permanent resident. She could do this once you arrive in Mexico.

    18. Brooks
      December 1, 2018

      If you go to the main INM office in Mexico City, the turnaround time for issuance of residence cards is typically 1 business day after submitting your completed application. I think the other INM offices in the country take quite a bit longer. Im guessing they manufacture the cards at this office and then send them out to the satellite offices. If you’re in a hurry to receive your card, this might be a good option to travel to the capital for a few days, or stopover there if you are flying elsewhere. The process is a pain and the lines are long, but there are a ton of photo shops and copy machine and internet cafe vendors with 2 blocks of the office in case you forget something.

      If you do everything right, it will take 2 visits on the first day, and one visit on the following day. Fill out the application online ahead of time. Then, on the first day, you hand in all your forms, and they give you a formato basico form to fill out and a sheet with instructions for paying the residency fees. Then you leave the office, fill out the form, and go to the bank to pay the fees (bring cash), receive a stamped invoice from the bank, return to the office, wait in line again…. hand in your stuff, and they tell you to return at a certain time the next business day. Next day, you arrive (arrive 45 minutes before the time range starts), get in line outside the office, and you will be in and out quickly. Always bring all your documents, and 3 copies of everything. Cell phone use is prohibited in the office, but you’ll likely get a couple of verbal warnings before they throw you out.

    19. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      December 3, 2018

      Brooks, thank you for sharing this information with us and with our readers. It is quite surprising that the INM office in Mexico City can process cards so quickly!

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