Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mexico Resident Cards - our how to.....

So start off with much thanks to Ramona on MistCutter who laid the ground work for all this.

* n.b. this was all done before the USA policies on deportation were instituted so we'll have to see how Mexico responds and if our process would've been significantly different next year



Normal visits to Mexico by USA citizens include a Tourist Visa good for a stay up to 180 days, if you've been to Mexico via plane you've seen it.  The form you fill out and give to customs at the Mexico check-in has a piece they tear off and give to you.  When you leave they take this back.  This is your tourist visa.  The problem for us was that this would require a trip out of the country every 180 days or less, which means 4 airplane tickets per year.  Ouch.

The 'Residente Temporal' or Temporary Resident card, allows you to stay in country indefinitely as long as you renew.  After 11 months but not more than 12 months you can renew for 1, 2 or 3 years (some choose the 3 year option because after 4 years you can apply for permanent residency)

From here I was going to write all about our experience but I found this website and it does a great job of explaining things (sorry the formatting changes in the blog).  Where applicable I have added my comments:

http://www.yucatanexpatriateservices.com/resident-services/how-to-apply-for-a-mexican-resident-card-for-the-first-time.html

How To Apply For a Mexican Resident Card For The First Time

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in February 2014, and updated again in January of 2016.

The following article outlines the necessary steps that must be taken by foreigners who intend to live in Mexico (for non-lucrative purposes) to obtain a temporary or permanent resident card for the first time.

This process starts at a Mexican Consulate and finishes in Mexico by doing something called canje (exchange in English) at the Immigration Institute. Through the canje, foreigners who hold a Mexican VISA in their passports, granted by a Mexican consulate, apply at the Immigration Institute for a resident CARD of the same characteristics as the VISA given at the Consulate.
Here is the detailed process divided in two main steps:
  1. REQUESTING VISA AT A MEXICAN CONSULATE
Here's us inside the consulate.  Getting in here was a process, metal detectors and a check in line in downtown Los Angeles
Applying for the visa
Submit the following documents:
  • Online form, which is available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website www.sre.gob.mx as well as at any Mexican Consulate. This form must have the signature of the applicant. In case of minors, the person signing must be the parent or guardian.
  • Original and copy of passport or other valid identity and travel document.
  • One frontal picture (passport size, minimum: 3.2 cm x 2.6 and maximum: 3.9 cm x 3.1 cm) in color with white background. Applicant must not be wearing glasses or earrings in the photo and hair must be behind the ears. Pictures should be taken in a specialized photography studio. Polaroid or cellular phone pictures will not be accepted.
  • Payment of the VISA fees: approximately 40 USD.
If the foreigner is applying for a TEMPORARY RESIDENCY:
  • Original and copy of statements as proof of investments or statements of bank accounts with a monthly average balance equivalent to approximately $21,500 USD for each of the past twelve months (considering a rate of exchange of 17 pesos).
OR
  • Original and copy of bank statements with a monthly income or pension (free of liens) of approximately $1,300 USD for each of the past 12 months (considering a rate of exchange of 17 pesos).
  • If the foreigner is applying for PERMANENT RESIDENCY:
  • Original and copy of statements as proof of investments or statements of bank accounts with a monthly average balance of approximately $90,000 USD for each of the past twelve months (considering a rate of exchange of 17 pesos).
OR
  • Original and copy of documents showing that the applicant has a pension (free of liens) of   approximately $2,200 USD for each of the past 12 months (considering a rate of exchange of 17 pesos).
It is worth mentioning that only pensioners can apply for the Permanent Resident VISA without having the Temporary Resident VISA first.
Interview (this is where you need the appointment at the consulate, also in the Consulate)
In an interview with an officer of the Mexican Consulate, the applicant will be asked to provide information such as personal data, purpose of the trip and any other relevant. During the interview, the officer will analyze the information and documents received and will authorize or deny the VISA.
Printing the visa in the applicant’s passport
The VISA will be issued within the following 10 working days and will be valid for 180 days and just for 1 entry to Mexico. Once the applicant is in Mexico, he/she has 30 days to start the canje application as follows:  (so for this we actually had entered Mexico within 10 days of our Interview Appointment mentioned above.  When we arrived in Mexico we filled out the normal tourist visa form but checked a different box in Section 9, we checked Other instead of Tourist) see bad quality picture below:  

When you do this, check the Other box, the cashier at immigration will ask why and you tell them you are applying for temporary residency.  Then in your passport they will affix a Visa via sticker to an entire page in you passport. In Ensenada there is a bank cashier right behind the fist immigration window, this is where we paid our $190 each (cash only)

  1. REQUESTING YOUR RESIDENT CARD AT THE IMMIGRATION INSTITUTE
 Canje application
Submit the following documents:  (this is a different building then the initial check in building for immigration.  This office is downtown Ensenada but not too far away.  It is on Calle Lopez Mateo which is the main street all the vendors are on across the street from the port, one street behind McDonalds then 7-10 blocks to the right, the building looks like this:
the immigration building on Calle Lopez Mateo, about 7-10 blocks down from McDonalds


Inside the Calle Lopez Mateo office



  • Online form, which is available at the Immigration Institute’s website https://www.inm.gob.mx/tramites/publico/estancia.html. This form must have the signature of the applicant. In case of minors, the person signing must be the parent or guardian. (very important to have this filled out exactly correctly, it is a unique submission on line that is then taken with you to the office to hand in, if it is incorrect in even the slightest way you will have to go find the internet and reapply, this part took os three days because we filled out sections wrong, particularly our address at the marina.  I'd say the best bet is to fill out the form the best you can and take it in and ask them where you screwed up and go fill it out a second time)
  • Letter requesting the canje of the VISA.  - this 'letter' is actually part of the online form above, here's the excerpt we used which worked:

  • LA SUSCRITA _(name)_ DE NACIONALIDAD ESTADOUNIDENSE, CON DOMICILIO EN (this was our address at Marina Coral) COLONIA PEDREGAL PLAYITAS, CARRETERA ENSENADA - TIJUANA KM 103, CP 22860,NUMERO EXTERIOR 3421 NUMERO INTERIOR _(slip number)_, ENSENADA BAJA CALIFORNIA. A SABIENDAS DE LA RESPONSABILIDAD EN QUE INCURRE QUIEN DECLARA FALSAMENTE ANTE AUTORIDAD DISTINTA A LA JUDICIAL BAJO PROTESTA DE DECIR VERDAD. SOLICITO CANJE DE FMM POR TARJETA DE RESIDENCIA TEMPORAL. CONFIRMO QUE LAS ACTIVIDADES QUE VOY A REALIZAR SON ACTIVIDADES DE CASA. EN MEXICO VOY A VIVIR DE RECURSOS EXTRAIDOS DEL EXTRANJERO.
  • Original and copy of the passport.
  • Applicant must bring 3 pictures as follow:
    Three color photos with white background, infant size (2.5 x 3 cm):
    • Two photos taken from the front.
    • One photo taken from the right profile.
    • Applicant must not be wearing glasses or earrings in the photo and hair must be behind the ears.
    • Pictures should be taken in a specialized photography studio. Polaroid or cellular phone pictures will not be accepted.
  • FMM form, provided at the port of entry, marked as canje for 30 days.
  • Formato b├ísico (“basic form” in English), which will be given at the Immigration Institute, and filled out by the applicant.
  • Payment receipt of Immigration fees:
Follow the procedure
Once the applicant has submitted at the Immigration Institute all the documents mentioned above, he/she will receive a document with two numbers (one is called “NUT” and other is called pieza) and a password; these numbers will help the applicant to follow up on his/her procedure online at:
The applicant can follow the status of his/her application and when a note saying Registre los datos para la expedici├│n de su documento migratorio shows, that will mean that the canje has been approved.  (this took us two weeks of waiting, but then we got the email and the next day went and got our cards, so overall the process took 27 days, and we were in in Ensenada for 22 of them)
The time frame of this to happen is between 10 to 15 working days, starting from the day that the documents were submitted until the day of the approval. When you go to receive your card (back that Calle Lopez Mateo office) you will sign some documents and have his/her fingerprints taken.


2 comments:

  1. Hello Chris Glubka,
    Thanks for this post. You talk about How To Apply For a Mexican Resident Card. You also include it for first time people.I told that this site site is very helpful. Thanks

    ReplyDelete