We’re here for good!

August 28, 2013


The visa process for expats is different in each area of México.  We had no idea before we moved here that the INM office here would be one of the many reasons that we love Mazatlán!  They are efficient and friendly.

Here’s our recent experience.  We had held FM-3 visas for four years and FM-2 visas for two.  With the recent changes to immigration policy we decided to change to Residente Permanente, which gives us all rights and obligations as a Mexican citizen except for the ability to vote.  We’re thankful we have a Mexican plated car so we didn’t need to think about that with regard to our visa.

August 8 – Our initial visit to INM.  Within ten minutes we’d had our paperwork checked and had been given an invoice to pay at the bank for 1000 pesos each. ($75.58 USD)  This is basically the deposit to start the paperwork.  After we returned from the bank we went to Angel Cruz next door and he prepared the letter and forms that were to go back to INM with the receipt from the bank.  We took everything back to INM (another 10 minutes) and were given our application number so we could check online when to come back and be fingerprinted.  Before we left we went back to Angel and had our passport size pictures taken.

August 13 – We actually could have gone back in on the 12th to have our fingerprints taken, but we had other plans that morning.  On the 13th we went to INM and were given another form to take to the bank and pay.  This one was 3815 pesos for each of us. ($288.34 USD) When we returned with the receipt there was a short wait and then we were fingerprinted – all fingers.  We also gave them our passport photos.  They told us to come back in two weeks.

August 28 – Again, we could have gone in yesterday but we waited an extra day for a buffer.  But when we went in this morning our wait was less than five minutes to pick up our new permanent resident cards!  Twenty days from start to finish and probably less than two hours spent total, even with travel back and forth to the bank.

One reason things went so fast for us is that there are fewer people applying for renewal here in the summer.  The staff at INM makes things easy – and it is a bit of a strange feeling to know that we don’t need to go back in every summer for our renewal ever again!

By the way, if you are planning on moving to México, make sure you start the visa process at the Mexican Embassy in your home state.

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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. Isn’t it grand!? Ours are in the works, with John just completing his last Wed. and I the Wed. previous. Many more gringos here than where you are so it will be interesting to see how long it takes. Our preparer guessed a couple months. Also, slower wait times might be due to the higher cost and requirements, so not as many people are applying. I know that had we not had a card for previous years, we would be hard pressed to qualify financially. Your experience is amazingly wonderful. Here in Baja, there are hardly ever people waiting at INM and yet it is going to take a few months??Weird, eh?

      1. Zoe, I hope all goes fast for you and John, too.

        Jenn, Thank you!

        CancunCanuck, I know – the differences between offices is unreal. Good luck.

        Christine, I think the new online requirement means INM is actually an easier job so they seem happier. But maybe it’s just Maz, people just seem happier here!

        Babs, Our docs do go to DF, that’s the new procedure. Not sure why it’s so fast but there are real differences between areas for sure… see CancunCanuck above!

        Sparks, Glad it was easy for you, too. Any idea as to why the West coast seems to be the Best coast?

    1. Congratulations!!! 🙂

      So very happy for you!

    1. Wow, CRAZY! My application for residente permanente went in at the beginning of May and I am still waiting, I cannot believe how quickly yours was processed. I talked to a friend who works at the INM director’s office in DF, she told me that the Cancun office is the biggest mess in the country. Great… 😀


    1. I don’t qualify for Residente Permanente yet, but the process for getting the new Residente Temporal was very simple,as well. After all the hoo-ha on the Maz forums about how complicated it is, it turned out to be a very simple, well organized process. And if you ask at INM for the phone number to call when it’s ready, you don’t even have to check online. Easy Peasy.

    1. Nancy, your documents must not go to DF as we have been told all documents from all over Mexico are going! That is the hold up in San Miguel. I’m still not going permanent for another three years cause I don’t want to give up my car yet and yet I don’t have to prove income any more, thankfully.

      I’ve not heard of any hassles in SMA other then it is taking longer then 2 weeks which used to be the custom.

      Thanks for the post.

    1. All very smooth and friendly in Manzanillo as well. Even finger printed me the first day when I told them I drive a kid to school every day

    1. As a permanent resident, there are still restrictions that are not imposed against a naturalized Mexican citizen. You will still have to notify INM of a change in civil status, change in employer, and change of address. You are still subject to the restrictions imposed by Art. 33 of the Mexican Constitution. You will still need to obtain permission from SRE to acquire real property. Citizenship confers more than just the right to vote.

      But congratulations are still in order!

      1. Jennifer, Thanks so much for that clarification. We knew we had to inform INM if we moved but didn’t realize that about real property.

        Theresa, That is great, I hope your visa goes as easily as ours did.

        Thomas, Thank you.

        Kim G. – We’ve talked about it, and actually have some exam questions to look at. That might be what helps us decide as we’ve heard the test is really hard. But I would love to be a Mexican Citizen!

        David, I think I agree with you!

        Don Cuevas, I’m glad it sounds like Morelia’s office is pretty efficient. Sounds like San Miguel and Cancun are the worst.

        Steve, Wow, seven days is super fast! Amazing.

        Judith, Your experience set the stage for our quick renewal. Thank you!

        Contessa, We had a nice lunch out to celebrate as soon as we picked up our cards.

    1. We went in last Friday. It was the easiest and fastest yet. I had read about people going at 7am (the office opens at 9)to line up. Then “they” said that INM only giving out a certain amount of numbers, turning away the excess. I decided to ignore all that negativity.
      We had breakfast down the street, showed up at 9:30am walked right up to the desk (we were first in line). Got #16 after verifying with reception that we had everything we needed. Went inside, they called #15 who wasn’t there, went inside.

      Our office doesn’t send us anywhere else except to the bank to pay the fees. We did so, first stopping at the copy place for an extra copy of the receipt.

      Now we wait to make an appointment, next step fingerprints and bring photos, pay more money and wait for Mexico City.

      Funny thing is, our visas used to renew in November, every year the renewal date has changed our current renewal date is September. I believe it’s because we always go a month ahead to renew.


    1. Hola Nancy,

      Congratulations! Do you think you might apply for citizenship one day? Personally, I’ve always thought it would be handy to have a second passport.


      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where, despite living here for 18 years, often feel more like a permanent resident than a citizen.

    1. I got mine in about 20 days also, quite easy. It’s more a financial transaction with some paperwork I’d say.

    1. Our change from Residente Temporal to Residente Permanente took a total of three weeks through the Morelia INM office. We were amazed.

      Don Cuevas

    1. Great news.

      My experience was similar to Sparks’s. Of course, we use the same office. I had my completed card in seven business days from the day I first walked in the door. That was in April. By then, the system had had four months to workout the kinks.

      The citizenship brass ring is a bit closer.

    1. Congratulations!!! I’m so glad the process was so easy for you. I almost kissed the staff when ours came through.

    1. Congratulations Nancy! We’ve had some immigration set backs here unfortunately. It took ten months last year to get it all straightened out and now we have to wait another 3 years for permanent residence. I really look forward to that day!

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