Recent Experiences in the Merida INM Office: Tales of the Residente Permanente

March 22, 2013

Notes on 30 minutes at INM Merida yesterday morning for my first INM visit this year (Residente Permanente application) ~ and a return trip this morning for Day 2:
1. INM formally accepted my application for Residente Permanente yesterday morning, as a spouse of a Mexicana, residing in Mexico for the previous 2 years on an FM2/Inmigrante permit. They told me: “Congratulations: You will become a permanent resident of Mexico, with no problems.

2. INM agents confirmed that they are approving Residente Permanente applicants who have completed only 2 years on their current FM2/Inmigrante permit, as long as they can show that the applicant had an additional FM2 or FM3 for the 2 previous years, with no breaks during each permit -> for a total of 4 years between the 2 permits. This confirms other reports that some INM offices are allowing Permanent Resident applicants to aggregate years from multiple past INM permits to meet the Requisito of being an official/approved (FM2/FM3) resident of Mexico for the 4 previous years.

3. 30 minutes = 15 minutes in line, 10 minutes talking, 5 minutes waiting as they checked my documents.

4. The INM agent in charge of answering questions confirmed that there are NO RESTRICTIONS on how much time Residente Permanente’s can be outside of Mexico. They just laughed when I told them that some “expert” Mexican immigration lawyers were telling clients and visitors to their websites the fantasy that there is a mythical 6 month limit on how long a Residente Permanente can be outside of Mexico.

5. 3 of the INM employees commented about how pleasant our 10 minute dialogue and 5 minutes of other interactions had been. I asked why they said this: The 3 of them took turns explaining that most of the Canadians and Americans who are applying for residency … from Merida… are ~ very demanding, ~ expect to have everything done “right now”, ~ do not know the rules, ~ are grumpy and rude when they do not get what they want, ~ and are generally difficult to deal with.

How to do it well?
Research and know your options before you get there. Have your original documents and copies and cover letter ready to hand them. Act professionally and politely.

After checking my papers, letter, and IDs yesterday, and making a nice package of them, the INM clerk gave me an odd instruction: “Come back to this office by 7:00 AM tomorrow.” I asked if I could just schedule a cita, and she replied: “No, come back tomorrow at 7:00 AM. ” OK…???

??? (Why at 7:00, when the office opens at 9:00?) …

I dutifully returned to our Merida INM office by 6:53, and there was already a substantial line. I marked my spot at the end of the line with my little nylon book bag, and went off to park my bike. (just past the head of the line – where people would watch it) I asked the young woman who was #1 what time she arrived: “Cuatro y media…” … stunned, I replied: “En la madrugada?” Si…

#2 chimed-in: “Las cinco, para mi.” grinning broadly… “Seis para mi…

I was a pitiful number 27.

I returned to my rightful place, to find that during the few minutes of chatting with the heads of the line, another 4 people had arrived. Fortunately, my new line-mate had reserved my spot. He was a pleasant middle aged Columbian man, and we passed the next 2 hours swapping stories. He had once built up and sold a work-clothes factory in Columbia, lost all his money in just 3 months in cold, dank, unfriendly London. He then moved to Atlanta as a valet parking attendant. He eventually wound up peddling over $100,000 of fone cards a month (the previous record had been $10,000), and he got a bonus of 4% on everything over $20,000 (because management never imagined it possible). He ultimately built-up with a chain of 17 shops that sell phone cards, do taxes for Hispanics, etc… Anyway, the time passed quickly, while renewing my faith that America really is the land of opportunity, (and that English business is only marginally capitalist or open to outsiders – *grin*)

At 8:45, an Aduana agent came down the line, passing out numbers…. maxing out at 30. (Over 55 people were in line by that point.) Apparently, the new Merida INM policy is that only the first 30 in line are assured of getting their applications processed that day, though they typically handle a total of the first 45 – 50 (as many just ask questions and go home, or get sent back home to get the proper documents).

I stood in line inside the INM property gates until 10:30, and was then quickly processed to go into a nice airconditioned waiting area. After sitting there for about 20 minutes, I was called in and had everything approved in just 10 more minutes.

They sent me away to get my wife’s IFE card (copy was not sufficient), to pay the $1,000 peso fee for changing estancia to Permanent Resident and then return this morning. Again, they said: ” Bienvenidos a Mexico !

They finished by saying to come back in 10 calendar days for fingerprinting and final payment. They expect they will have my card in 4 to 5 weeks. … all in all, a pleasant experience and a new friend gained.


Post Script: If you are returning to pick-up your card, the current practice is that they only pass out cards between 12:00 and 1:00, according to 2 friends who were there to pick up their cards. ???

* * * *
Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .

14 Responses to Recent Experiences in the Merida INM Office: Tales of the Residente Permanente

  1. Pingback: Recent Experiences in the Merida INM Office: Tales of the Residente Permanente | Surviving Yucatan

  2. richard5108 says:

    Last June I went to INM in Cancun and tried to renew my FM2, since I knew it expired in Sept, and I was going to be out of the country then until January 2013. They said no problem not to worry, that I had 30 days after my return to submit paperwork without penalty so long as my passport was stamped.

    I submitted paperwork on January 7th and was given the sheet with the numbers to check their website for my next appointment. After checking everyday for a month, I went to INM again on February 7th was logged in the BIG book and written down on a piece of scrap paper. Then told they were way backed up because of the new system and that I should hear something next week. Again I went back to checking everyday and after nothing went back again on March 4th. Same process, same comment! So being concerned as the clock is ticking I went back on March 20th and requested to see the delogado. The assistant then told me my application had been rejected because it had been more than 60 days since expiration as the law had changed in November, and that I would have to resubmit. Well I was seeing bullets! Nothing more could be accomplished other than I have an appointment on March 28th.

    No telling what will happen next? I understand that all the cards are now centrally made in Mexico City and that it takes at least 6 weeks to get a card instead of a few days.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Richard,
      So, yes, you can allow an INM permit to elapse, but that means that your record permanently shows a break in the permit, cancels out credit on any prior years completed (towards qualifying for Residente Permanente), etc. You got caught being out of the country while INM changed laws & systems, where the new law DOES NOT tolerate breaks in our permits…

      What they told you in September was correct, under the old law. In September 2012, no one knew when the Lineamientos would be issued. No one knew what the new future rules would say about your situation, when they advised you in September… So, there was no way that Aduana de Cancun could know the future… They are now stuck enforcing the new law that kicked-in on Nov. 9, 2011, and you are stuck with the consequences of being out of Mexico. bummer… When the new rules kicked-off in November, you needed to read them (or summaries of the new rules on Rollybrook or here) and learn to return in Dec. before your visa expired. …bummer….

      If you want Residente Temporal, they could force you to return home and apply at a Mexican Consulate, there …?

      Do you qualify financially for Residente Permanente? If so, then go for that and be one-and-done with INM forever…?

      Hopefully you do not have a Temporarily Imported car with foreign plates. That would gum things up even further with trying to get a residency application approved (as the Mexican Consulates are now officially rejecting residency applicants who still have Temporary Import Permits (TIP) on the books with Aduana/Banjercito). We do not know if the Consulates are rejecting every residency applicant with an existing TIP, but they are rejecting some applicants, citing the TIP issue.

  3. Reading Terminal says:

    Steve, your cheerful acceptance of early hour, long waits and requirement of multiple visits demonstrates you have already been Mexicanized, so you truly merit your eventual receipt of the residente permanente status, and, I imagine, subsequent application for and receipt of Mexican citizenship.

  4. francoisl says:

    jajaja asi es mexico
    Hi we move from luxembourg to yucatan in 2007 and living here is a real pleasure:quality of life, kindness of mayan people,… regarding the laws and aslmost all the taxes for investment it’s totally different.

    Furthermore narco cartel are not a risk here in yucatan, real estate cartel are more dangerous for your investment, take care of the prices 🙂

  5. richard5108 says:

    They should GRANDFATHER IN all those cases like mine when in another country or have let me renew it in June when I attempted.

  6. francoisl says:

    dios bo’otik 🙂

  7. Cindy Morrissey says:

    You mention needing a “letter” or a cover letter. What is this letter and what must it say?

  8. Hello..I need some help in the worst way. I entered Mexico in Nov 25,2012 through Neuvo Laredo, I never received a F2-3 card, no idea why. Was not told about reapplying every 6 months. First 13 months, I just moved around seeing this fantastic country. Now have settled in Merida, Yucatan and am illegal as my visa is very expired. What can I do? Anyone know of a professional here in Merida who can help me? As my income is only from my Social Security, I do not have the funds to fly back to America, stay there 2-3 weeks, living in hotels. Any thoughts, hints, info would be so appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Steve,
      You did not get an FM2 or FM3 card when you entered in Nov. 2012, because they DID NOT EXIST at that time.

      After Nov 1, 2012, INM shifted to the whole ‘new’ scheme of
      Residente Temporal visas
      Residente Permanente visas
      and…. Visitante visas (up to 180 days).

      Read our main article on Immigrating to Mexico at this link for details.

      Basically, you need to go to the Belize border outside Chetumal (at the Subteniente Lopez – Santa Elena crossing) at the Free Zone of Corazol…

      At the border… do your best to just LEAVE Mexico without logging out.

      Cross the bridge into Belize … enjoy some nice TRULY DUTY FREE shopping in the Free Zone of Corazol.

      Then … GO TO THE MEXICAN CONSULATE in Belize, and apply for a Residente Permanente or Residente Temporal visa. They may process it in a day or in 2-3 days. (or fly to Belize)

      When the Mex. Consulate in Belize approves your application for a Residente visa, then they put a special stamp into your US passport that allows you to reenter Mexico for up to 30 days.

      Return to Mexico… and Go directly to your local INM office, and register with INM to continue/complete the Residente visa process.

      That will get you either a Temporal or Permanente visa … at the lowest possible costs … short of being a family member/spouse of a Mexican citizen.

      If you have an American or Canadian plated car, that’s a whole other BIG ball o wax, that you can read about at:

      Happy Trails,

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