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.