Please note that our main article with the most current information is at: New Immigration Law Published for Mexico
We are maintaining this Jan 2, 2012 slightly dated article because it also contains a good Q & A section with an INM official.
As a long-time observer, author, and writer on expat issues, Carol Schmidt has a good history of digging to the bottom of key issues affecting expats in Mexico. Carol has contacted the official in charge of the San Miguel Allende INM office with a series of questions on Mexico’s New Immigration Law, and she offered us a chance to publish her questions and the INM official’s answers. We are grateful for the opportunity to publish the results of Carol’s efforts.
“Apparently we have three or four more months under the current immigration law. What is new is the amount of the fees for the various services for 2012. He also verified that it is legal for those on what are now called tourist permits to leave Mexico and return on a new 180-day permit indefinitely. Tourist permits are going to be called: Visitor with no lucrative activity. But all may change under the new regulations in three or four months.
I didn’t get all my questions answered but the director was most gracious in answering my lengthy email. Apparently we have three or four more months under the current immigration law. What is new is the amount of the fees for the various services for 2012. He also verified that it is legal for those on what are now called tourist permits to leave Mexico and return on a new 180-day permit indefinitely. Tourist permits are going to be called: Visitor with no lucrative activity. But all may change under the new regulations in three or four months. “
Here’s Ms. Schmidt’s full report:
(This is published with the understanding that you give Carol Schmidt credit for anything readers report or use.)
Official word from SMA INM Director on coming visa changes!
I emailed the head of the SMA immigration office, Lic. Clemente Villalpando, Delegado Regional en Guanajuato, Instituto Nacional de Migración, with a list of questions regarding the coming changes in the immigration laws.
Here are his complete responses, IN CAPITAL LETTERS, to my original email questions. He expects it will be three or four more months before INM offices have the new regulations in hand before he can know all the answers for sure.
He verifies that the old FM3/no inmigrante and FM2/inmigrante visas will be combined into a new Temporary Resident visa, and the previous inmigrado card will be replaced by a Permanent Resident card. It will take only four years on a Temporary Resident visa to qualify for a Permanent Resident visa.
So we will continue to wait until the new regulations are released for the rest of our answers. I hope his gracious response helps to ease some expats’ concerns. Until the new regulations are released in three or four months, the current laws apply.
….I have several questions now about the new INM laws that were announced last May, that were to be implemented when regulations interpreting the laws were written and released. That was supposed to have happened within 180 days, or some time in November. [Now there is much uncertainty about when the regulations will be released and the new laws implemented.
I would appreciate your responses to my questions, not only for my website but for other expats who would like to know from an authoritative source what is happening with the proposed changes.
1) I have heard that the new regulations have been released and the SMA INM office will begin operating under the new INM laws Jan. 2, 2012?
TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY IN OPERATIONS. BUT THE NEW LAW IS DOES NOT APPLY AT ALL. WE ARE WAITING FOR DE PUBLICATION ON THE DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION OF THE “REGLAMENTO” (RULES AND PROCEDURES) MEANWHILE WE CONTINUE WITH THE ACTUAL LAW.
2) Is this an accurate summary of what the new laws say:
The no inmigrante (old FM3) and inmigrante (old FM2) visas will be combined into one, called temporary resident.
NON INMIGRANTE AND INMIGRANTE WILL BE THE TEMPORARY RESIDENT.
INMIGRADO WILL BE PERMANENT RESIDENT.
WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR REGLAMENTO IN ORDER TO KNOW EQUIVALENCES.
Expats can apply for permanent resident (like the old inmigrado) after only four years on a temporary resident visa.
Those who are married to Mexicans can apply for permanent resident after only two years on a temporary resident visa.
YES, THOSE WHO ARE MARRIED WITH A MEXICAN CAN APPLY FOR A PERMANET RESIDENT ONLY IF THEY HAVE TWO YEARS AS A TEMPORARY RESIDENT.
Others may apply for permanent resident status earlier based on a point system, with points given for money to be invested, special skills or training they bring to Mexico, and volunteer service they perform.
THE POINTS SYSTEM IS NOT CLEAR SO FAR. IT IS NOT APPLYING UNTIL WE HAVE REGLAMENTO.
There will still be the FMM form for all foreigners coming into and exiting Mexico, compiled for statistical purposes.
There will still be a place on the FMM for those who are coming into Mexico just for 180 days, as a tourist.
YES BUT WE WILL NOT CALL THEM TOURIST ANY MORE. THE PROPER TERM IS GOING TO BE, VISITOR WITH NO LUCRATIVE ACTIVITY.
It will still be possible for expats who do not have enough income under the temporary resident visa requirements to come in on an FMM, stay in Mexico for 180 days, then exit Mexico and come back in immediately on a new 180-day FMM, this process to be repeated indefinitely.
The new minimum monthly income requirement for a foreigner to qualify for the temporary resident visa will be 250 times the Mexico City minimum daily wage, which in 2012 is $62.3 pesos, or $15,573 pesos a month minimum monthly income.
That is equivalent to $1,137 USD at a rate of 13.7 pesos to the dollar. But the SMA INM office will continue to use $1,200 USD as the minimum monthly income requirement for a temporary resident visa.
YES, MORE OR LESS. IT DEPENDS ON EXCHANGE RATES.
An expat will be able to get a work permit under the temporary resident visa. This will require an additional fee of
$1451 + 550 pesos at application.
PRORROGAS RENEWALS FOR A NON INMIGRANT, NON LUCRATIVE ACTIVITIES 1451, AND 2356 FOR LUCRATIVE ACTIVITIES
REFRENDOA RENEWALS FOR A INMIGRANT: 3,140.
The fee for obtaining a temporary resident visa will be $1451 pesos in 2012.
The fee to apply for a permanent resident visa will be
FROM $3,139 in 2012.
There will be no renewals required of a permanent visa card. It will allow working. Aduana will not allow holders of a permanent visa card to import a foreign plated vehicle.
The paperwork required for a new temporary resident visa will include:
a) Proof of sufficient income, i.e., $1,200 USD minimum monthly income, documented by the three most recent months’ bank statements
b) Proof of residency, such as a utility bill.
c) Four photos in color, infantil size, no hair on forehead, ears showing, no jewelry or glasses.
d) A letter of application.
e) Original and copies of US passport and any recent INM visa or FMM paperwork.
THE SAME SO FAR, WITH REGLAMENTO WILL CHANGE.
It will only be possible to apply for a new temporary resident visa within Mexico. Mexican consulates within the US and Canada will be able to help foreigners do the first step in applying for the temporary resident visa, but the process must be completed within Mexico at the INM office closest to the foreigner’s new home within Mexico.
The first step in the application process will continue to be online at the website now used for FM3 and FM2 applications and renewals. The SMA IMN officde will continue to have computers available at the office to assist those who need to use the website for their application or renewal.
After the first year application, proof of income and residency will no longer be required for the next three years. What is required is a letter signed by the visa holder that all information on the original application is still valid.
YES, SO FAR
After four years on a temporary resident visa, a foreigner can choose to go back to starting over on year one of a new temporary resident visa. It is not necessary to move up to permanent resident.
YES, SO FAR
Those who own property in Mexico or who are dependents on the primary visa applicant need only have half the minimum monthly income requirement. To qualify for this deducation, a marriage certificate or birth certificate or adoption papers is required to prove dependency. A deed is proof of property ownership.
YES, SO FAR
SOME OF THIS WILL CHANGE WITH THE NEW REGLAMENTO. WE ARE EXPECTING THREE OR FOUR MONTHS TO HAVE IT. “
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: Carol Schmidt & YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry
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