baja sunset

If you’re like many people you go online to find information on how to do things. However, we found a lot of outdated information on how to apply for temporary residency in Mexico so I thought I would share our process of getting a Temporary Residency Card.

This is for those Americans who intend to live in Mexico (for non-lucrative purposes) and obtain a temporary residency card for the first time.

This is what we did:

First I emailed the Mexican Consulate in Seattle to see if there was anything we needed that wasn’t listed on their website. I finally got a response back. This is what they said.

It’s not necessary to Schedule an appointment, you can walk in from 8:30am to 11:00am from Monday to Friday in order to start the process of the Visa. These are the documents you need:

·         Valid Passport and 1 photocopy

·         Visa application form (you can download it from their website)

·         1 photo passport size

·         Proof of income from social security income (Last 6 months) if you’re retired (This didn’t apply to us since we are not retired)

·         Bank statements from checking or saving accounts (last 12 months)

·         Documentation of legal stay in the USA (if needed) (This was not needed by us)

·         Original Marriage Certificate and 1 photocopy

So, I collected all the documents as well as a small size and regular size passport photo as I couldn’t find what size we needed. Turns out they wanted the small size (3.2 cm x 2.6 cm). I made 3 copies of each thing just in case they needed more than what was mentioned.

Turns out they didn’t need more copies than what was mentioned but you never know.

So we went to the Mexican Consulate (go early as they close at 1pm and it can take several hours) and told the person at the desk what we wanted and showed her all our paperwork. She asked us a few questions about what we wanted to accomplish. She then took our passport photos, attaching them to our application, and other documents and asked us to wait.

Finally after almost 2 hours of waiting we were called and told that we would have our photo and fingerprints taken which they did. She took our passports and we were told to wait again.

Finally we got our passports back which had our  temporary visa photo they took of us in it. It was stamped and put inside our passport. We were told we would have 30 days to apply at the Immigration office in Mexico for a Temporary Resident Card similar to the characteristics as the Visa given at the Consulate.

The woman at the Mexican Consulate said to bring all the same paperwork with us to the Immigration office when we went as you never know what they might need. The Mexican Consulate kept our bank statements so I printed out more copies to bring with us.

When we crossed over the Mexican border, we went to the immigration office (as we usually do at the border) and they took our passports and filled out immigration forms which we signed. They told us we would have 30 days to apply for our Temporary Resident Visas at the Immigration office in La Paz (closest one to Todos Santos where we were going).

A couple days later, we went to the Immigration office in La Paz. It was not crowded and we were able to talk with the person at the desk. He explained we needed to fill out a form online at https://www.gob.mx/tramites/migracion-visa-y-pasaporte and gave us all the steps to fill it out. He said we needed 3 copies and to also get 3 small passport photos (chico) which we could get down the street at a specialized photography studio. Also he gave us a form to bring to the bank to pay a fee and get a receipt. It came to 3715 pesos each.

We went to Office Depot to get on the computer and fill out the form and print it out.

To fill out the application, follow the steps below. Go to:

https://www.gob.mx/tramites/migracion-visa-y-pasaporte

• Condiciones y estancia en Mexico

• Expedición de documento migratorio por canje

• Formato para solicitar trámite migratorio de estancia, llenado de manera electrónica a través de la página de internet con firma autógrafa del promovente

On this page called Tipo de Tramite

Que desea hacer?*:
• Canjear o reponer documento migratorio

Especifique•:
• Canje de FMM por Tarjeta de Visitante o de Residente

Pais*:
• Estados Unidos de America

Nacionalidad actual*:
• Estadounidense (this means American in Spanish)

I didn’t put in all the answers as you will have to fill that out yourself but it’s things like your name, sex, date from your passport, passport expiration date, what state you live in, etc. It helps to know spanish or use the Google Translate to help fill it out.

Then we went and got the passport photos and to the bank to pay the fee.

The front photo must be the chico size and in color with a white background. No wearing glasses or earrings in the photo and hair must be pulled back, behind the ears. No smiling allowed. Also a side view is taken. Polaroid or cellular phone pictures will not be accepted. We got our photos taken at the place the immigration officer recommended. I forget how much they cost but not that much.

We went back to the Immigration office to give them the receipt, the application forms and photos. We signed some papers and were told to wait for an email. I also will note they didn’t need 3 copies of anything, just the one but you never know.

Within a day or so an email arrived from notificaciones-inm@inami.gob.mx that had a number (el número de pieza) and a password (contraseña) which was used when we got another email a day or so later that had a link. After I logged in there was a notice that said we were to go the immigration office again and bring with us a sketch and/or map location (photographs) of our Mexican address and it must contain street name, number, adjoining streets that are of our location. And current proof of address such as CFE (electric) or Telmex (telephone) bill. So I made a map of where we live using Google maps.

We went to the immigration office bringing our Map and CFE bill. These were taken from us (can’t remember if we signed more papers) and we were told we’d get another email and we’d have to come back to have our finger prints taken.

Sure enough, in a few days another email arrived. We went into the Immigration office and they took our finger prints, we signed some papers and they gave us a paper with our special number (Clave) on it which is used for other things such as getting a drivers license, etc. They said to come back in 7 to 10 days to get our Temporary Resident Cards.

Wow, who knew it would take this long! If you’re going through the same thing, this might be helpful to know what to expect. Although I understand different Consulates and Immigration Offices could have a different process. Best of luck!