Friday, September 9, 2011

We're going to have 'green cards'

This past May, Mexican President Felipe Calderon signed a new Migration Law ( Ley de Migracíon) affecting all foreigners in Mexico. The new law is "designed to favor the human rights of migrants regardless of their nationality." "The law favors migration to the country in a more orderly and safe manner, and procedures are simplified for the stay of foreigners in Mexico," President Calderon said, adding, "The Mexican government is doing what we have long urged of the United States."

Supposedly, the new law will completely decriminalize migration into the country and measures have been established to oversee the conduct of all immigration authorities. Primarily, the law calls for new rules for the issuing of visas or permits to foreigners or expats who are in Mexico either temporarily or permanently.

Here are a few of the new rules/regulations that I have been able to glean from various internet sites:

The visitor visa, which is the one all tourists entering Mexico complete during the flight, restricts visitation to 180 days. After this period of time the visitor must leave the country but will be able to return. This does not seem any different from the previous rule.

Those expats who already have FM2 or FM3 visas will retain their status and will be able to obtain the yearly extensions. Those holding FM3's (temporary resident) will have the initial application plus three annual renewals. Renewals must be processed 30 days prior to expiration. If abroad, 60 days will be allowed without penalty.

One significant change involves the designation of the visas. They will now be called "green cards," or Tarjeta de Residencia. Those people holding the current FM3 will switch to the new card on the next renewal. One site states that "the new system will not contain information about the person's reason for being in the country," so you might have to provide additional paperwork to immigration officials.

There are now four categories for staying in the country: Visitor, Temporary Resident (the old FM3), Temporary Resident Student, and Permanent Resident (the old FM2).

More detailed information can be found on the Instituto Nacional de Migración web site.

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