Sunday, September 14, 2008

Visa red tape unraveled

Since starting our research on living in Mexico more than a year ago, George and I have come across some conflicting information on the requirements for an FM-3 visa (to retire in Mexico). Mostly minor differences but we decided our best bet was to visit the Mexican Consulate here in Albuquerque to get some definitive answers. And, we did.

Our consular contact, Francisco, provided us with a list of requirements that are simple and easily fulfilled.

1. Passport valid for at least one year.
2. Two photos (passport size, front view without glasses).
3. Proof of income of at least $1,000 monthly for the applicant and $500 for each additional person or dependent. This should be a formal letter (not three, six or 12 months worth of bank statements as we've previously read) from Social Security or the authority issuing the retirement funds. The letter should specify the amount of money and how often payment is received (only the amount required above... As Francisco put it - we don't need to know how much money you have in your bank account, only that you have the required amount).
4. Proof of ownership or lease of property in Mexico.
5. Formal letter requesting the Visa and explaining in detail reasons for moving to Mexico.

Francisco also told us that the whole process would only take between four and six days. There is also no longer a requirement that one has to cross the border within a certain number of days to "activate" the FM-3. According to Francisco, all we need to do is report to the Immigration office in Loreto after we arrive in Mexico.

Our next big hurdle is the Menage de Casa, which we'll also do through the consulate here. From what we've read online, the Menage de Casa process can get very confusing. Time to stock up on the Ginkgo Biloba!!


barry said...

Don't count on what you were told as being correct. Do your research. We were told at our local consulate when we picked up our completed FM3s that we didn't need to do anything else. We knew that was not right. We were prepared when we went to Loreto (the next day) and to the immigration office. They want to "open a file" for each of you - you must provide the folders. They wanted a copy of each page of our passports and our FM3s. We also gave them a copy (one for each of us) of our Fideicomiso and got a letter from LBC (which we had to go into town to make a copy) stating our address, since our casa is not yet complete.

On the menaje de casa, since we'll be in the rental program and are buying most furnishings from preferred vendors, we have decided not to get one (you have six months from getting your FM3). If you plan to move a household worth of goods and use a customs broker, then look into it.

AV 61
San Jose, CA

Paula Pennell and George Russell said...

Hi Barry,

We've enjoyed your comments on various sites and we appreciate your input now. Your sugggestions reinforce what we've been told and what we've learned online, so thanks. Our point was that with the help of our local consulate we can ease the process somewhat, even though we know that more will be expected when we arrive in Loreto and report to the Immigration office.

We'd welcome any additional info!