23 Jan Mexican Visas for Foreigners
Mexican Visas for Foreigners
It used to be simple; the visa process could be done from within Mexico, so when foreign tourists decided that they wanted to stay the process was an easy one. However, over the last couple of years, the rules have changed, making it more difficult for expats to do their paperwork. Some of the complications include: the paperwork must be completed at the Mexican Consulate in your country of origin, (depending on the visa) foreign-plated cars must be nationalized (and in many cases can’t be), and (perhaps most frustrating of all) the immigration offices in Mexico do not give accurate information about the process.
Here are some helpful tips we’ve garnered while negotiating this problematic process:
1. As Americans, the Mexican consulate in Laredo is the easiest place to get this paperwork done. They deal with such a volume of Americans applying that they are friendlier and more knowledgeable than other offices.
2. The Mexican Consulate in Laredo only processes visa applications from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. Give yourself a couple of days to have multiple visits and ensure completion.
3. Temporary residents and tourists can temporarily import foreign-plated vehicles; however, permanent residents must have their cars nationalized. Cars outside the NAFTA agreement can’t be nationalized, so if your VIN starts with a letter instead of a number – too bad so sad – sell it and buy a new one.
4. If applying for a simple tourist visa, be sure to get a stamp! As unbelievable as it seems, they often forget to stamp your passport or simply don’t stamp it. Upon inquiring, they may send you to a separate window for the stamp. This can prove challenging down the road, raising eyebrows at borders when your passport seems to be missing entries or exits.
5. Don’t be afraid to say you want 6 months stay. Legally, Americans are entitled to 6 months; however, if you seem unsure they may give you less and shorten your potential experience.
Don’t bother asking immigration offices in Mexico what you need – they don’t know. We received incorrect instructions on more than one occasion. Here is some additional information we found helpful, including the requirements for temporary resident status:
1. Freelancers beware! To apply for a temporary resident status you must show 6 months of bank statements with steady income of over 1,500 USD from a single company or business.
2. There is a loophole for investments of over 30,000 USD. In the case of property, original tax documents as well as the deed are required. If you want it to apply to your spouse, the original marriage certificate must also be provided.
3. Be sure to bring your passport (and a copy) and a two passport sized photos (size: 32mm x 26mm to 39mm x 31mm, white background, without glasses and hair pulled away from the face).
4. The visa application costs 36 USD (called canje).
5. If you are being hired by a company to work in Mexico, you must leave the country for the duration of the process and return once the paperwork is completed – generally 3 weeks to a month.
The contact person in Laredo is named Erika Orbe and can be contacted at this number: (956) 723 0990
Questions? Experiences? Share in the comments below.