What do I need FMT, FM 2, FM 3 ????????????

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun & Riviera Maya' started by Caribbean_Expat, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Caribbean_Expat

    Caribbean_Expat Enthusiast Registered Member

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    hi everyone

    Im wanting to go to Cancun and stay long term, basically im asking what type of documentation will I need.

    my plans are as follows: I will leave DFW as if I am on vacation, I will have a flat lined up and I know I am allowed to stay for 6months this way.

    I want to look for a job once I arrive, this may not be the best way to do it but IDK all of my options at the moment.

    I want to stay longer than six months, but I only have enough cash to come for 6 and then go back if I dont get to work. How should I apply for a work visa? Before I leave or after I arrive? I understand you need an employer to sign for your application, IDK how I would manage that without being there to look for a job first.


    If Im forgetting anything which Im sure I am as Im strapped for time at the moment, please let me know.

    thank you to anyone who helps
     
  2. CancunMole

    CancunMole Addict Registered Member

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  3. bncancun

    bncancun Regular Registered Member

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    I will also say two things:
    If you can, get your FM3 there, INM is being a a pain in the ass right now. They were robbed a couple weeks ago and are not very happy.
    I have a FM3 for over 6 years and they are giving me a hard time. They now don't even want to give me a FM2.
    Point two would be there are NO jobs here right now and we are in low season. If you are a woman under the age of 35 you may have some luck as an English Teacher (but remember you need to speak Spanish too)
     
  4. Caribbean_Expat

    Caribbean_Expat Enthusiast Registered Member

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    could someone please lay this out to me from the ground up? If you go to the mexican embassy site there isnt a thing about moving to mexico on there.

    No links no anything or I didnt see them anyway.

    an FM3 is a resident alien work visa correct???
    an FM2 is just a living permit correct? It allows you to stay longer than 6months???

    What are the laws about staying in Mexico and crossing the border every six months? Are their laws that restrict you from coming directly back? If so how long do you have to wait?

    Is it better to apply for an fm2 or fm3 in the US or after I arrive in Mexico? I assume as it is with every other country its before I leave, my question is this. How do you get an fm3 if you apply for it before you get to Cancun without even looking for a job as I assume you have to have an employer sign something also.

    Is it possible but questionable illegal to, come down, hopefully find work, the have a family member in the states fill out an FM3 application for me and then send it off as if it were me???
     
  5. eddie.willers

    eddie.willers Enthusiast Registered Member

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    In my understanding (folks - correct me if you know differently) It goes like this:

    1. FMT - standard tourist visa. Costs MN$230 at the border (when crossing by and) or is included in the airfare (when flying in). Can be valid from anywhere between 30 and 180 days (th maximum). If you are issued an FMT for less than 180 days then it can be extended (once only) up to the 180 day maximum at the local INM (Immigration) office. At the end of the 180 days you must leave the country. However, if you cross in to the US at, say, Reynosa/Hidalgo and then re-enter a few hours later at Mercedes/Los Indios it is highly unlikely any eyebrows will be raised. As far as I know, Mexico does not have any consistently applied tracking system for FMTs.

    However, an FMT holder CANNOT: work 'officially' (in ANY capacity, even voluntary); open a bank account; hold a state-issued drivers license etc etc


    2. FM3. The FM3 is a Non-Resident Alien Visa - ie: you have your principal residence in another country but you are staying in Mexico for a while. Although an FM3 is good for 12 months, it can only be renewed 4 times (ie: for a maximum of 5 years) and then the holder has to apply for an FM2.

    3. FM2. This is the Resident Alien Visa - issued to those who live permanently in Mexico and intended to take up citizenship. Like the FM3, it has a five year maximum life. FM2's are normally only issued after one has held an FM3 for at least a year.

    NB: FM3 and 2 have several different 'flavours'. The usual one for gringo-expat retirees is the 'Rentista' category (ie: someone living off their rents and investments). To gain a 'working' FM3 (as an 'Cargo de Confianza' - a trusted employee), your potential employer has to write the INM stating why you are to be preferred over any Mexican applicants, how long you are to be employed, how much you are to be paid etc etc.

    Also:
    *FM2 & 3 have restrictions on how long you may stay out of the country in a given period.
    *On an FM3, you are allowed to bring a vehicle in to the country and keep it here for as long as your visa is valid.
    *Remember: there is no such thing as 'free speech' for us aliens. Making political statements in public, marching in demonstrations etc will get you deported if you are caught up in any trouble.

    Best way: come to Mexico. Ask for a 180 day tourist visa when you enter. Find an employer willing to sponsor you for a change in immigration status. Alternatively, work for cash.
     
  6. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    An FM3 gives you permission to live in Mexico.

    It can, in some cases, allow you to work. It will only allow you to work if it's sponsored by an employer.

    In order to apply for an FM3 before you come to Mexico you need to apply based on either a job offer you already have OR as a rentista.

    If you apply for an FM3 as a rentista then you need to show that you already have income and/or savings from outside of Mexico. So if you had say investments of $100K USD or a pension from a job, or other income or monies you could show those to Mexican Immigration and you would be given an rentista FM3.

    An FM3 is for people who wish to live in Mexico short-term (5 years or so). FM3s are what's called "no inmigrante", which means the FM3 holder doesn't intend to emigrate permanently to Mexico.

    And FM2 also allows you to live in Mexico. And it can also be based on different things, just like and FM3. It can be based on marriage to a Mexican (an FM3 can as well), it can be based on a job offer and it can be rentista (based on having money from outside Mexico).

    FM2s are for people who expect to live in Mexico for a long time. For the first 5 years of an FM2 the document is "inmigrante", meaning the holder is emigrating to Mexico. After 5 years the FM2 holder can apply to get an "inmigrado" FM2. Once you have an "inmigrado" FM2 you no longer need to renew your FM2 each year and you can work anywhere in Mexico (except for the gov't) without permission from immigration.

    Basically if you want to apply for to live in Mexico before you get here and get a job to sponsor you, then you must either marry a Mexican or show that you have enough money to live on here.

    Mexico's immigration policies are pretty restrictive. You can't just come here to live unless you have money, a job offer or a Mexican spouse.
     
  7. cunspin

    cunspin Guest

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    I have lived in Mexico on a FM3 for 21 years and have never been told there is a limit on how many prorrogas or new ones I can get. That has been my experience so far-
     
  8. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    It looks like Eddie and I were posting at the same time. I'll add a couple of comments to what he said (hi Eddie!):

    Mexican Immigration scans your passport into their federal computer system when you enter the country. They can see, in one second, the date you last entered Mexico and where you entered. The system is pretty accurate. If your FMT expires you can return legally afaik to Mexico the next day if you like, but you might be questioned by INM if they suspect you are living here on an FMT.

    The law is open to interpretation on this point. As Cunspin points out, she's been here for AGES on an FM3. I think in the law it says that INM may deny renewal of a long-time FM3 and may ask the immigrant to apply for an FM2, but it's up to the subdelegado's discretion.

    It would be nice if INM would be consistent on this. I had an FM3 for 4 years (not 5) and then asked if I could switch to an FM2. One subdelegada in INM said yes, so I did the paperwork. Then another subdelegado reviewed my file and denied me the FM2 saying I had to wait until I'd held the FM3 for 5 years. In my case I was able to get the first person, the subdelegada, to step in an give me my FM2 anyway.

    I think, but am not sure, that how long you need an FM3 before they will let you have an FM2 is different in different places in Mexico. When I moved to Cancun 5 years ago it was my understanding that I could have gotten an FM2 then (and should have). But now, in Cancun, I don't think they are giving FM2s to people who have not had FM3s first. Obviously this is a part of the law that is wide-open to interpretation by the various decision makers in each INM office.

    In short, Eddie is right on the money when he says to come here on an FMT and then get a job and apply to change your status to a work-sponsored FM3.

    And bncancun is right that this is slow season, there are few jobs and INM in Cancun is a big mess right now. Not only were they robbed but they've had lots of changes management and lots of people have been quitting lately.

    Lots of people move here and then don't actually like it. You might be better off coming for a while to see if you like it before you jump through lots of bureaucratic hoops with immigration.

    Come in on an FMT, but don't be STUPID enough to tell the immigration agent that you are moving here!!

    Legally you can't move here with an FMT. So if you hand the agent an FMT form and then tell them you are moving here they can, and often will, put you on the next plane back where you came from. Legally you come as a tourist and then while you are here you "change your mind" and apply to live here legally.
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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  10. eddie.willers

    eddie.willers Enthusiast Registered Member

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    Hi Rivergirl - without being persnickety, the scanning of passports is definitely not a feature at the Reynosa/Pharr International Bridge crossing. In my experience, the INM official usually only gives the passport a cursory glance - certainly there are no computers, scanners, cameras etc in sight. All in all, it's a whole lot less paranoid than attempting to enter the USA, but then the US doesn't enforce its immigration policies to the extent Mexico does.
     
  11. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    Good point Eddie, It's been ages since I crossed via a land border. And you are right, when I did they certainly did not scan my passport.
     
  12. Caribbean_Expat

    Caribbean_Expat Enthusiast Registered Member

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    well for me, when I said move i meant temporarily, I want to live in Cancun for a year or so and thats about it, then move somewhere else. I understand all the fm2, fm3 things now.

    But im still not clear on how crossing a land border and coming back works. Can you cross a border and come back the next day? Or do you have to wait a predetermined amount of time?
     
  13. Isla Zina

    Isla Zina Regular Registered Member

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    When you get here, you will see. There are almost daily 24 hours excursions to Belize for $20US that over 24 to 36 hours or so will satisfy your visa needs
     
  14. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    The immigration agents on both sides of the Mexico-Belize border are on to foreigners who go down there and just spend 24 hours and come back in to get a new FM-T.

    I've heard many reports of them telling foreigners that they can't just go to Belize and come back in 24 or 36 hours, unless they pay a bribe. I don't know that there's actually a rule, I think it might be legal to walk across the border and then come back in one hour, but the agents there will have you believe that it is not legal to do that. From all reports they just want an excuse to get you to give them a bribe.

    On the other hand it's not legal to live in Mexico on an FM-T. So if an agent believes that is what you are doing you can end up in hot water.

    The reality is that if you put yourself in a position where you need to jump around to get a new FM-T like that then you should get yourself together and get an FM-3. No one should play games with their legal status in Mexico because it's not a game. If you screw up with INM they can ban you from the country for 10 years. And you don't want me to repeat the horror stories I've heard from people who've ended up in the Immigration lock-up, it's not a place you want to go, trust me.

    Instead of playing border-hopping games just get an FM-3 and you can relax.
     
  15. Isla Zina

    Isla Zina Regular Registered Member

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    Rivergirl is right, of course. There are people on the island living like this though. Not that I approve
     
  16. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    Personally I don't care if anyone is illegal, in fact I don't really believe in borders. Migration is a normal, natural thing that humans have done since before we could walk on two legs. All this crap about needing permission to live somewhere goes against what is natural and right for people.

    But I hear first hand accounts everyday of people who are just like us but who end of making one mistake with INM and the next thing they know they are in lock-up for 3 months and can't even call their family to tell them they are safe. It's an ugly business and the only way to make sure you are really safe is to do what it takes to get an FM3 or an FM2.
     
  17. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    I agree, but let's face it, it aint gonna happen.

    What pisses me off to some extent is all the hoops those who go the legal route have to jump through, time that could have been spent doing better things, plus the not insignificant extra expense. While those here illegally miss out on all that good stuff.

    I guess though, there are always those in life who will do things right and those who don't give a shit. Too bad if they get deported.
     
  18. heatandsun

    heatandsun Guest

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    Another "Thumbs Up" for Mauricio

    I met with Mauricio this afternoon, to start the FM3 process. He was thorough and took the time to explain everything to me.

    Thanks to those on this board for making the recommendation, it makes an intimidating process seem doable.

    Sue

    http://dentrodeljardin.blogspot.com/
     
  19. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    I agree Steve, it doesn't seem fair that it's this much work and expense to live here legally.
     
  20. Dan-0

    Dan-0 Newbie Registered Member

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    Rivergirl, thanks for the info, it's very helpful. I wonder if I might get your input on my situation. I'm a U.S. citizen married to a Mexican citizen. Both of our children have dual citizenship. Our primary residence is here in the U.S. but we spend 2-3 months a year at a house we have in Chetumal. The house is in my wife's name. For the last few years, I've stayed in Mexico with an FMT, because I haven't considered it worth the trouble to apply for an FM2 or FM3. But, since I plan to retire to Mexico in about 10 years, I would like to apply for an FM2 so that I can eventually apply for citizenship by the time I'm ready to retire. What do you think, would this be the way to go? I plan on applying at the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta. They're much more helpful than Mexican Immigration in Chetumal, who, in the past, have basically told me unless I could prove permanent residence and held a job in Mexico they could do nothing for me.

    BTW, your Blog is great, thanks!