How do we apply for needed visas to stay FMT,FM2, FM3
When you first arrive at the border, or at a port, be it by air or boat, an FMM will be given to you as long as you provide your name, destination, purpose of your visit and planned length of stay. With an FMM in hand, you have 180 days in which to apply and to receive an annual visa. The application document is not shown here. It’s unwieldy.
Clearly an FMM is a temporary document intended for vacationing guests and business personnel. It grants legal access to the country. Should you wish to stay, you must apply for the longer term document, either an FM2 or FM3.
How does and FM2 work?
With changes underway, please check the status of the law, but in 2012 the FM2 is for immigrant status and implies a desire to live permanently within Mexico. The number of exits and entrances into Mexico is restricted. An FM2 requires a higher annual income ($24,000 + 50% for each dependent) and costs more than an FM3 for each of the five years of its service, but at the end of five years, no further renewal is required. At that point, there is the option to apply for Mexican citizenship or simply to remain a legal resident without the right to vote.
There is no requirement to surrender citizenship in another country in order to become a citizen of Mexico, but there is a test for ability to speak and understand spoken Spanish. Also you must know something about the politics and the history of the country. This is like expectations for citizenship elsewhere.
How does and FM3 work?
An FM3, by contrast, has to be renewed annually for five years (requires an annual income of $15,000 + 50% for each dependent) and is then replaced with a new FM3, also good for five years. At least the photo gets updated, often an advantage. The cost ($2500 pesos) is lower than that for an FM2 because the bearer of an FM3 is classified with non-immigrant status. He or she has the right to reside in Mexico for a period of one year.
Renewing an FM3 annually is a nuisance that many expatriates of the US, Canada, Latin America and other nations complain about, but the system is quickly handled by specialists who know the law and the people staffing the local immigration office. Their fee is reasonable and it is advisable to use such services. There are several specialists located in Ajijic and Chapala that handle everything for you from start to finish, all you need to provide is your pictures, documentation, and signature. Using FM3/FM2 specialists is not necessary if you know the requirements and the procedure, but it is a relief to have them look after the details and to know that your documentation is handled correctly. So choose a representative with a good reputation.
Because expats have complained to the Mexican authorities about the bother of annual renewals and because of the cost to staff offices around Mexico in order to handle the massive amounts of documentation, the government is considering a single document to replace the FM2 and FM3. How they will work it out and whether they can do so is still unknown but the aim is to have the new documentation and staff training in place by the end of 2012 or early 2013. In theory, once obtained, like the FM2 after the fifth year, no further filing will be required unless you choose to change your status, e.g. apply for citizenship or move out of the country permanently.
Here is a blank of the FM3:
Here is a blank of the FM2:
By Kay Davis, Access Team writer
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