Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Immigration 2.0

Plaza Antigua
I recently had to renew my FM2.  As many of you may know, they have recently streamlined the system, and I was interested to see if the new system was truly any better than the old system (if you could call what they had before a 'system').

I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised!  It is much better!  Previously, I had paid an attorney to do the work on my behalf to save the headache.  So, this was the first time I was ready to do it myself and give it the good ol' college try.

First of all, I chose to renew my FM2 in Playa del Carmen's immigration office this year.  Previously, I had always done mine in Cancun.  Playa del Carmen's location is MUCH better!  The immigration office in Playa del Carmen is in a building called PLAZA ANTIGUA.  It is located on 10th Avenue, near the entrance to Playacar.  See a map here.To find it, drive south on the highway to PDC.  Turn left on Av. Juarez.  Take Juarez to 15th and turn right.  There will be an above ground parking lot and a parking structure --- take your pick for parking.  Both are located just behind Plaza Antigua.  [For those of you who have tried endlessly to park at Cancun immigration, you will know that this is a HUGE deal!!]

Immigration Office
The immigration office is located on the second floor of Plaza Antigua, at the end of the hall.  Their receiving  hours are 9-1, Monday to Friday.  My suggestion is to go early -- be there when the doors open before the rush!

Just outside the doors to the immigration office is a storefront run by a man I like to call "The Immigration Angel".  He runs a one-stop-shop just outside the doors of immigration that can make copies, take photos, do translations, and create the letters needed for any of your immigration-related needs!!!  He's fantastic and his prices are super reasonable.  Notice that the sign on the door:  350 pesos for a FM3 Renewal Package -- Includes all of the completion of the online application, letters, copies, photos, and translations!

So, if you are interested in soliciting or renewing your immigration document, pay this man a visit.  He can set you up with everything you'll need.

The Immigration Angel's Office
A)  Find out the documents required for your particular document by visiting the reception desk at Immigration for a list of the required documents, via The Immigration Angel, or online.  The required paperwork will vary depending on whether your FM2/3 is a Work vs. Non-Work Visa & whether it's a Renewal or New Application.

B)  Complete the online application form.  I completed my application online prior to going into immigration.  If you speak Spanish, it's a fairly easy form.  If you don't, have The Immigration Angel do it for you.  The form can be found online here.

IMPORTANT Quirks about filing out the form:
  1. This form works well in Internet Explorer, but not so well in Firefox.  This caused me to have to do mine a second time.  Lesson learned.
  2. Turn OFF your pop-up blocker BEFORE completing the form.  This caused me to have to do mine a third time.  Lesson learned.
Here is an excellent link with instructions on how to fill out the form:  http://jaltembajalapeno.com/lang/en/foreign-residents/mexico-visas-%E2%80%93-fmm-fm2-and-fm3/alpplication-procedure-for-fm3-and-fm2/

C)  Submit documents to Immigration. Upon submission, they will give you a piece of paper with a confirmation number, a password, and website link.  By visiting this link, you can track the status of your document and it will tell you when it is ready and you need to return to the office.

 D) Return to office to get your appointment.  Once the website says that your documents are ready, you'll return to the office.  They will give you a bank form in order to make your payment, instructions for your photos that will be required, and set up an appointment day/time to return for your document.  Hint:  Try to set up something in the morning so that you can hopefully retrieve your immigration card the same day in the afternoon and save yourself a return trip.

E) Prior to your appointment, pay your fees at any bank and have your photos taken.  When you pay your fees at the bank, be sure to keep the original receipt and make 2 additional copies to take back with you for your appointment.  Photos can be taken at any photo shop.  The Immigration Angel does a great job with those too.

F) Return for your appointment with you bank receipt/copies and your photos.  Immigration will take these from you, make your card, and tell you a time to return for its pickup.  Hopefully, if your appointment is in the morning, they will have it ready for you the same day.

As an FYI:  My FM2 renewal was about 1300 in fees and I spent another 250 pesos on letters/copies/photos.

If you decide that you don't want to do it yourself, I can recommend an excellent attorney who charges a reasonable fee and is very prompt/good.  His name is William Sauri [wsauriuno@hotmail.com].

Good Luck!

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Amber Pierce-Schulz is the Broker/Owner of Mayan Riviera Properties, specializing in Puerto Morelos Real Estate and Puerto Morelos Vacation Rentals. We are members of AMPI and Federally Certified Realtors.