Saturday, November 10, 2012

Immigration Laws in Mexico - They are A'Changing

Just like these balloons in Plaza Civica, the bubble is about to burst for the simplicity of moving to Mexico - IF you don't own property!  Which I don't - nor do I want to........ever again.

The new law stipulating income requirements and methods of attaining documentation other then a tourist visa all went into effect yesterday.

It has many scratching their heads as they read the voluminous regulations and income requirements.

I had the dubious distinction of getting caught in this, even before the new law went into effect. The local INM (Immigration) required my income to match what the new law was going to say!

I wrote about the beginning of the process in a post on October 9th.  It is called Bare Bones Efficiency - Immigration for FM2.  (Sorry I don't know how to do this so you can just click on it)

The requirement in the new law, if you don't own property is  $2400 US individually. If you do own property, some say over $195,000 then it is half that much.  I was getting an FM-2 which has a higher requirement, since at the time, this was a permanent resident.  Now the new law, FM-2 and FM-3 have merged as an "immigrant" status.

The only way now to get to permanent resident or "non-immigrant" status is with points and time here plus income.

It is very confusing - even to the facilitators helping people through the maze. Everyone is depending on a man named Rolly Brook to interpret the regs.  He has a website, that has everything you could ever want to know about moving to Mexico and this latest issue among others. A GREAT source of information.

Here's what happened to me over the two month period!  Usually takes a few days.........
They did require my ORIGINAL letter from Social Security showing my income from that source.
They do require a letter from  your MEXICAN bank showing your monthly deposits over a six month period - a new requirement.  They would NOT accept any documents or statements from investment accounts or anything like that. 

I provided the Social Security letter and the Mexican Bank letter.  I barely squeaked by on the income requirement of $2400.  I showed $2600 a month.  They then requested copies of my US bank statements and then requested copies of my Mexican bank statements for six months.  Then they wanted copies of all my deposit slips to my Mexican bank.  I didn't have all of them - never occurred to me to keep them after a certain time.  Then after all of that, they denied my request for an FM-2.

Of course I had already paided 4790 pesos, about $400US as the application fee for the FM-2.  When I said if I'm not going to get the FM-2, I want my money back,  I was told that was not possible as the money was in a bank in Celaya.  Then I was told I could apply to replace my expired FM-3 but would have to pay a fine and the cost would be somewhere close to 5000 pesos. 

THAT was when I balked and respectfully requested to talk to the head of the INM office.

My facilitator, Patty Garcia, knew I was not a "happy camper".  This occurred on October 26th at about 11AM.  I went home devastated.  In truth, I was now in Mexico illegally.  Oy vey!

My mind was racing as to what I could do - basically nothing but plead my case to the head of INM the next week.

Patty saved the day.  THIS is why you pay a facilitator to help you get these documents.  I don't know who she talked to, I don't know what she said, but she called me at 4:45PM that day and said "You have an FM-2"!  The relief was immense.

Patty went to bat for me.  The mere pittance of paying her 400 pesos each year to help me paid off in so many ways.  I've seen her since, when I went to be fingerprinted and got the FM-2 card.  We smiled, congratulated each other and hugged.  As I've said before, Mexico is all about relationships.

It goes without saying that the new laws are more stringent.  I don't know what will happen to the ex-pats here that are living on less then $1000 a month.  At this point their only option would be to live here on a tourist visa and go back to the border every 180 days to get a new one.  An expensive proposition also.

Hopefully this will all sort out in the next year before I have to renew this precious FM-2 that I now possess.
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Carlos Ponce-Meléndez said...

I'm glad you solved the problem Babs. You deserved to live in San Miguel, you are more Mexican than the tequila!

Babs said...

Gracias Carlos. That is an incredible compliment. I am honored to live in Mexico and was shocked when the Immigration person questioned my honesty on my banking accounts. I wanted to tell them how much I love this country and have for 40 years and have always supported it! But, of course I didn't say anything.

Calypso said...

These radical changes to permission to be in Mexico are maddening.

It is as if foreigners have become persona non grata.

The U.S. is turning socialist and Mexico is becoming fascist. Really disturbing.

Babs said...

Well, I don't know what Socialist and Fascist mean - keep hearing those words - guess I'll have to look them up.

I agree these changes are maddening.

Babs said...

Calypso - I looked up Fascist and

I presume, but don't know if you refer to Mexico as a fascist because the petroleum industry is under govt control. All you have to do is read history to understand why. Most people don't realize, and I'm not referring to you, that Mexico has only been a democracy for 102 years. I've seen more strides in the last 15 years then I could have imagined. I certainly don't think it is a fascist state, in any way.

And, as far as the US turning socialist, you must be joking. Entrepreneurship provides a huge amount of small business jobs in the USA. I know I was one of them. No controls, just the idea and the accomplishment.

Just my 2 cents worth.

sparks_mex said...

What a mess! With all the stories I've heard yours is the strangest. They only applied part of the rules and didn't offer you a multi-year visa. At least you got one

Babs said...

Yes, at least I got one! And, hopefully, who knows I can go permanent, when they get it all figured is indeed a MESS.

I'm getting ready to write a blog about another couple. Wait til you hear their story!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I'm glad you got through it. I would gladly pay $400mxn for help. However, it's my understanding that the people who "facilitate" here charged $3000 mxn for a simple renewal last year, so who knows what type of gouging they will do now that they might have to actually work.

I think that each office has it's interpretation of the rules and fortunately,in my experience, Merida's office has always been more inclined to approve than deny.

On another note, I agree wholeheartedly with your opinions concerning socialism and fascism in regards to Mexico and the USA. People bandy these words around too easily, without really knowing what they mean. However, I do try to keep my political views private,so that is all I have to say on the subject.

We don't renew until September of next year, so who knows what the interpretations will be then?


Babs said...

Hi Theresa - Haven't heard from you in a while. The new regs went into effect last Friday. Hopefully when the dust settles and all the "interpretations" are completed, it will be better.
I always read He is the expert on all things relating to Mexico and expats.......

Unknown said...
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Babs said...

If you are going to get the temporary immigrante card, formerly the FM-2 and or FM-3, yes you have to have a Mexican bank account.
I also have accts in the US that monthly payments are made to and then I use the ATM machine to get money throughout the month.
You are most welcome as long as you can prove solvency (monthly income that is required).

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Babs said...

There are several factors that play into the income requirement. If you are renting, it is the higher figure, if you own property it is the lower. This is a per month figure. They check 6 months of deposits. I suggest, for further specific info you go to as he has covered all the bases. I don't know if there are savings accts per se in Mexico. Others can give you that info as well. Please feel free to email me, if you need additional help that I can possibly give.