FM3 and odds and ends

August 22, 2007

We are getting down to the last couple of weeks in the Pacific Northwest. It has been a very strange summer here – and not just because of the strangeness of wrapping up our life here. The weather has been cold and rainy, which is very unusual for August. It has made Paul and me long for Mazatlan even more, as if that was possible!

On the urging of a friend in Puerto Vallarta, we decided to go ahead and check into how difficult it would be to get our FM3’s up here. We had been planning on getting them in Mazatlan.

So, yesterday we headed to Seattle and were told that we needed a notarized “good conduct letter” from the State Patrol. The State Patrol here in Washington are the recordkeepers for all criminal records for all jurisdictions. So, we headed south to Olympia to the State Patrol headquarters, and an hour later had our notarized letters!

Then I made a bunch of calls to our bank trying to find out how to get a notarized letter stating that our income is sufficient ($1,500/month for both of us.) We got refusal after refusal from everyone we spoke to. So, I decided to call the woman at the bank who had helped me out with our wire transfer hassles when we bought the house in Mazatlan. She’s a career banker (as opposed to some of the people we had dealt with who were younger and probably less committed to their careers – and also less willing to try to help…) and she said she would do what she could for me. So I jumped in the car and gave her the sample letter from the Consulate. An hour later she had a notarized letter ready for me that was everything I could have hoped for! YAY!

Today we are spending the day at home, pulling weeds and generally taking care of things that we couldn’t do over the last week of almost incessant rain. Tomorrow we head back to Seattle to submit for the FM3. The fellow at the Consulate said it would be ready the same day! We will probably head back there on Friday to pick it up since we will be out anyway going to the escrow signing on our house!

So, we are making progress. Next week we head to Bellingham for a nice visit with our son and his family. I’m looking forward to taking the kids school shopping and having a nice relaxed visit since it will be a while before we see them again.

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Nancy, when you get your FM3 in the USA, you must register it when you cross the border. It only took a few minutes like when you get a tourist visa. At least that is what we were told and what we did. We know other people who have been fined when they waited until they got to San Miguel to go to immigration. Ask the consulate when you pick up your FM3. In Houston we didn’t have to get the letter from the police saying we were not criminals. So it is different everytime you get one of these things done.

    1. Nancy – yes – it is differrent in Veracruz where they want you to check in lo0cally and don’t care about the border??? Then in our area if you own a house you are only required to have about half the income they require if you don’t. Did you tell them you own a house there? As Billie suggests it seems like each area makes up some of their own rules.

      I have heard about the need for the police approval thing – but we have never encountered that. Anita made one trip to Denver with the bank verification, photos etc. and left three hours later with her FM3.

      My theory is that it will be easier to cross with a car full of stuff as a tourist rather with an FM3.


    1. Thanks, Billie & John..

      I will ask about where we need to register, Billie. People in Mazatlan have told us just to register when we get to Mazatlan but I will ask the consulate anyway.

      We have decided to do a menaje, such as it is. Just so I don’t have to worry or get a customs broker or any of that. We have about 15 boxes, and I have valued it all at about $8,000.

      We didn’t tell them about our owning a house since we have the $1,500 and it just seemed it would complicate things. We will take our ownership papers with us if we think we need to bring it up, though.

      We appreciate the advice. It sure seems that everyone has a different experience, not just getting a visa but also at the border, so we’ll just have to stay loose and wing it a bit, I imagine.

    1. “We didn’t tell them about our owning a house since we have the $1,500 and it just seemed it would complicate things. We will take our ownership papers with us if we think we need to bring it up, though.”

      We are inclined to believe that home ownership is more to their liking and has advantages beyond financial statements in terms of attitude.

      Frankly I think the entire menaje is a rip off and most very much low ball value as you will pay; that old thing isn’t worth much… – it is a one time deal and some people feel the need for compliance more than others – to each his own on that front – I am a rebel by nature and tend to try and work away from conventions.

      I would check in both places to be on the safe side. We were told at the border that we didn’t need to do anything else and then sternly reproved for not checking in Xalapa. A good attitude, a lot of patience and a cooperative spirit will get you a long way down there – that and some loose cash in your pocket 😉

      Whatever the case I am looking forward to reading about your experiences.

      Juan Calypso

    1. The procedure in your case, Nancy, is to register your FM3 within 30 days of arrival in Mazatlan. They essentially make you do it all over again, except for the payment and it will take about 10 days to process. (Same as if you had applied there in the first place). The Immigration fellows have doing home visits on newcomers to check registered addresses, in the past couple of years.

      If you have your FM3 when you cross the border, you will show it for the purpose of the vehicle importation permit. Have a safe trip!

    1. Glad I found your blog. I am in the early stages of checking things out to see if Mexico is for me.
      I am going to Guadalajara this October and will visit Lake Chapala and San Miguel de Allende this trip.

      I will be interested in your experiences as you move into your new life.

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