Mexican Immigration Changes Coming

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun & Riviera Maya' started by RiverGirl, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    For the last couple of days INM has been training agents all over Mexico in the changes that are coming up. A lot of questions remain, the training is not complete.

    Beginning April 30th INM agents will be expected to enforce and work under the new rules. But INM agents (here in Cancun at least) have not yet been issued personal copies of the new manual, and it doesn't look like they will receive the new manual until AFTER the changes go into effect.

    In other words, things will be chaotic at first while everyone figures this out by doing it. Also some of what I will explain here may not be fully accurate, but as of right now this is the best info I can gather.

    FMM - Forma Migratoria Multiple
    This form will replace the current FM-T (tourist permit), it will also replace current FM-TTV (a permit for business visitors and certain others). I understand that the FMM will be used by tourists, diplomats, crew members and business people, among others.

    Everyone entering Mexico will be interviewed, this includes tourists. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as many INM agents here to not possess enough English to interview many of the tourists who come to Cancun. Under the previous rules there was a mandate to get tourists through the INM checkpoint at a rate of about 30 seconds per person. Under the new rules this mandate appears to be out the window. INM agents are now required to ask questions about the nature of the person's trip.

    We will see how long this new process will take. But the reality in Cancun is that they cannot slow down the process too much. If the agents don't process passengers quickly then the room fills up, they are forced to shut down the escalator and old ladies start fainting right and left. So they HAVE to keep people moving through pretty fast.

    Business Visitors
    Previously business visitors (and certain others) were allowed to stay for only 30 day stints, under the new rules they will be allowed to stay for 180 days, the same way that tourists can.

    Certain people coming to Mexico to do business, or for example rescue work, will have an easier time, under the new rules, getting permission to do what they come here to do.

    FM2s and FM3s
    Previously Mexican Consulates could issue FM2s/3s, which became valid when stamped upon entry into Mexico. Under the new rules Consulates will issue a special VISA-like label which will be adhered to the holder's passport. The holder will then enter Mexico using the FMM and will have 30 days to go to the INM office in Mexico to get their FM2/3.

    FM2/3 holders will be given cards to carry instead of the booklets they now have. These cards will be scanned when the holder enters, and presumably when they exit, Mexico.

    The new FM2 card looks like this:
    http://www.sandiegoleisure.com/images/FM2_VISA_BECOMES_EFECTIVE_MAY_1_2010.PNG

    The new FM3 card looks like this:
    http://www.sandiegoleisure.com/images/NEW_FM3_VISA_BECOMES_EFECTIVE_MAY_2010.png

    One thing that is not clear to me is WHEN the new cards will be issued. My FM2 expires in early 2011, will I get my new card before then, or when I renew? This is not clear yet.

    Who May Enter Mexico
    Citizens of countries that do not require a VISA to come to Mexico can still enter Mexico freely.

    For citizens of countries that do require a VISA to enter Mexico there are changes:

    - Under the new rules anyone holding a valid VISA for the U.S. will be allowed to enter Mexico regardless of their nationality.

    - Under the new rules anyone on a flight coming from the U.S. will be allowed to enter Mexico regardless of their nationality.

    These two rules will negate much of the need Mexico currently has for granting VISAS. If the U.S. likes you then Mexico likes you. This one will probably bring some interesting unintended consequences.

    Mexican VISAS
    This is background info because lots and lots of people get this wrong. An FM2/3 is not a VISA, an FMT is not a VISA either. And the new FMM will not be a VISA. FM2s/3s, FMTs and FMMs are permits.

    A VISA is usually only issued to people from countries needing a VISA (so not Canada or US or many other 1st world countries). (There are special circumstances when people from countries not needing a VISA are granted a VISA, but it's rare.) A VISA is ALWAYS stuck in the holder's passport, it's a high security label that is adhered to a page of the passport. Now repeat after me..."an FM2 is not a VISA, and FM3 is not a VISA, an FMT is not a VISA." Good.

    Here is an image showing what a Mexico VISA looks like, usually the photo of the VISA holder is on the left:
    http://mexico.visahq.com/information/images/info/Mexico-visa.jpg

    More Info
    Beware that there is a lot of misinformation on the internet about the new changes. I've seen numerous sites that have information that is clearly incorrect. The full scope of the changes won't be known until they are put in force, then we will get the real story.

    The following links, as far as I know, have information that is essentially correct (although each of them makes the mistake of calling FM2s/3s VISAS, which they ARE NOT):

    Global Immigration Alert: Mexico Immigration Reform Will Impact Business Travelers • Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP

    Tourist, FM-3 and FM-2 visa changes for 2010 - San Felipe Life

    Mexico Simplifies Visa Procedures | Mexico Insight | Mexico Blogs
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2010
  2. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Nice info, thanks for taking the time to post it. Remind me to sticky it once it drops down.

    That rules out the Brits then? Unless being exempt from a Visa for the US also applies.
     
  3. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    Brits are in a group which doesn't require a VISA to enter Mexico, so they can come anyway.

    The new rules allowing entrance to people with U.S. VISAS or ppl on flights from the U.S. only apply in the case of nationalities that require a VISA to enter Mexico.

    Here's a list of countries that DO NOT need a VISA to enter Mexico:
    Instituto Nacional de Migracion - No VISA
    These nationalities can enter Mexico without a VISA regardless of whether the pax has a VISA for the U.S., and regardless of where the flight originates.

    Here's a list of countries that DO need a VISA to enter Mexico:
    Instituto Nacional de Migracion - Need VISA
    These nationalities need a VISA to enter Mexico UNLESS they already have a current VISA to enter the U.S. or they are flying to Mexico on a direct flight from the U.S.

    It's confusing at first but logical once you get it.
     
  4. CancunCanuck

    CancunCanuck Guest

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    Thanks Rivergirl. Gee, great, changes right at renewal time for me. Joy! :)

    Good to know going in though.
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Ok that's cool, thought that might be the case.

    Might want to edit your post to reflect that, doesnt read that way at the moment - not being picky just I want to sticky it :)
     
  6. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    Steve - I edited my initial post, see if it's clear enough. I'm foggy-brained at the moment.
     
  7. kathy_caribe

    kathy_caribe Addict Registered Member

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    Yeah, me too. :) Maybe I should wait a little longer. Aren't you on your 2nd year of your FM2? So citizenship next year?
     
  8. CancunCanuck

    CancunCanuck Guest

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    Kathy, you are correct ma'am. This will be my first renewal, second year on FM2. Better start studying for that citizenship exam!
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Perfectly clear now, thanks!
     
  10. JohnB

    JohnB Enthusiast Registered Member

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    Thanks, Rivergirl!

    The FM3/FM2 process has always been somewhat confusing, glad to see that this isn't changing. :aktion034:

    It will be nice to have a plastic permit that can be updated more quickly than the current booklets. Some years we were in possession of our booklets for only 6 months.
     
  11. Gringation

    Gringation Guru Registered Member

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    If anyone finds out if the FM2/3 booklets need to be changed immediately, please post!

    Mine gets renewed later this year.

    Thanks for the info. I'm excited about the cards! After 5 years, my green booklet is now taped together.
     
  12. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Haven't seen a single thing not to like, in these new rules and procedures. Congratulations, Mexico, for getting it right! :mexicoflag:
    V.
     
  13. ToriB

    ToriB Cancuncare Sun Care Advisor Registered Member

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    What I don't like is that if I don't have my FM3 when I leave for FL in June, I will have to come up with a nice story as to why I am Mexico...if the "interview" procedure takes effect.
     
  14. T.J.

    T.J. I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    ToriB - You should be able to come back in as a Tourist in that case. Remember, never answer what you are not asked.

    RG - Nice info. Although I always have my FME filled out before getting to the airport it can be a pain to get it processed before heading to the check in counters.

    Any idea who will scan the cards of FM2 and FM3 holders? Do we have to go to where we go now and have to sometimes stand in line behind tourists who lost their FMT's? That is really the only current point of contact with Migracion when leaving. It would be surprising if they let the airlines do this or if the airlines would even agree to it. Plus Spirit would find a way to charge $29 - $45 US for it. Jeje.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  15. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    C'mon, that test is easy peasy. It's multiple choice.

    The paperwork is the killer, SRE is super picky. I may not be able to file because when we got married in the U.S. hubby didn't put both his last names on the marriage cert (he only used his paternal last name when he lived there, it was simpler). Now SRE may not let me file based on marriage because of that. You need all your ducks in uptight little rows to get through the paperwork with SRE.

    Their goal was to reduce the number of tramites (amt of paperwork) for lots of their procedures. So this is very good.

    They've done a less than stellar job of readying their agents for the changes however. During the nation-wide teleconference yesterday there were agents all over the country asking questions that show they are ignorant of immigration law. If agents are ignorant of the law they will be clueless about how to apply the new regulations for enforcing the law. And their ignorant questions were taking valuable learning time away from the agents who know the law backwards. In short the training did more to show how poorly trained many agents currently are than to ready them for change.

    We will see how much chaos there is while INM figures this out by doing it.

    Regarding people who need to renew soon, my understanding is that if you file by April 30 then your paperwork will be processed under the old rules. If you file April 30 or later you fall under the new rules. But for renewals there won't be much different except that they will give you the card.

    FYI I keep my FM2 in a ziplock bag to protect it, it's the only way to keep the booklet from wearing out.
     
  16. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    I'm under the impression (it's nothing more than that), that people will be limited to 180 days out of any 365, in country, if they have nothing more than an FMM.

    If that's the case, Tori, perhaps you could (would need to) apply for a Mexican Tourist Visa, next time around; thereby, getting your stay in the country pre-approved.
     
  17. T.J.

    T.J. I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    V, we almost crossed in the mail on the info to ToriB.

    Take care amigo. I am off to the INAPAM place.
     
  18. ToriB

    ToriB Cancuncare Sun Care Advisor Registered Member

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    Of course I would come in on a FMM, but when I came in in January after a week in Philly, I was asked a million and one questions. Like, how long and I here? where am I staying? do I have a boyfriend here? Yes, they asked me that. I was getting really nervous. I ended up telling them that I am staying at a friends Condo, that I am going to school to learn Spanish (LOL), and I will be in Mexico for 4 months...then heading to Beliz to meet my family and leave from there.
    May use that story again.
     
  19. T.J.

    T.J. I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    JAJA. They really saw you coming mi amiga.
     
  20. ToriB

    ToriB Cancuncare Sun Care Advisor Registered Member

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    Seriously, he had to have sen the fear written all over me...but I dished that story like a pro.