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. ???
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry
Read-on MacDuff . . .