How to Get a Residente Temporal (FM3 Retirement) Visa to Live in Mexico
The FM3 (or FM-3) Mexican Visa Is Now Called a Residente Temporal No Inmigrante Visa
Mexico changed many aspects of the immigration laws recently. The changes are so major that not all have been integrated into actual practices yet. Therefore, as of May, 2013, there is still some confusion about getting a visa to live in Mexico. What used to be called an FM3 is now a Residente Temporal - No Inmigrante visa. At the moment, you CAN apply for your immigration permit at a consulate in the USA or Canada. You will get a sticker in your passport, but the actual visa is issued in Mexico. It is finalized in Mexico. Therefore, I recommend you get your information directly from the Mexican consulate closest to you for the most accurate instructions at that moment.
I know people who applied in Canada, drove their household goods to the border and imported them under their exemption. When they arrived at their new home, they presented themselves to the authorities and their immigration permit was made official. Now this does not seem right, but that is what they told me. Verify that this will be the case for you if you apply before leaving the USA or Canada.
Rather than repeat the various Internet rumors, I'd rather not post anything until the new procedures are fully in place. Still, the general advice below is valuable in the sense that you should take your time before applying for a visa to live in Mexico.
For fun, you can go to the official Mexican immigration site and see if there is new info there.
Don't rush into getting a Mexican visa. You don't need a Residente Temporal visa to live in Mexico. You should live as a tourist in Mexico on tourist permits (FMM - Forma Migratoria Multiple - good for 180 days) before making a decision. I recommend you live in Mexico for a year before you decide if living in Mexico is right for you.
Then you can decide whether you want to go through the bureaucratic maze necessary to obtain a more permanent visa. Therequirements below are subject to change and they probably will. Do not take them as gospel. I only left them here to give you a very broad idea of what might be required. An FM3 to conduct business is a different animal. The rules for renewing FM3 visas changed in early 2011 (there is a strict time-limit). These are the early 2011 requirements to obtain a living in Mexico visa. The amount of monthly income you had to show as passive income rose to about $1,250 for a single person and $1,500 for a couple.
You will find several different products relating to living, working or driving in Mexico on my shopping cart, as well as a description of my consultation services to help you decide if, and where to live in Mexico.
In the 4th edition of Live Better South of the Border, I have step-by-step instructions on obtaining your FM3 Mexican visas They are definately useless until the book is updated, but the book is valid for its overview, not its minutia.
Your pet will also need papers (although my dog snorted and said, I don't need no stinking papers; 90% of the time, you will not be asked for your pet's (dog or cat) Mexican immigration papers. It's only a pet certificate of health issued by a vet, but my god, er dog, thinks they are immigration papers. Other pets are difficult to bring to Mexico.
FM-3 (there were thirteen types, but don't worry about that).
If you decide that living in Mexico is for you, you will want to look into the requirements for a Residente Temporal, No Inmigrante (the old FM-3) visa or a rentistsa visa. The specifics will change but are probably similar to these. You will need a passport, 2 passport-sized pictures. All documents must be notarized. These documents include: a letter from the local police stating that you have good character (I know this would be hard for me to produce), statements from your bank proving that you have passive monthly income. The figures frequently change, but the differences aren't much. Right now, $1,250 for a single person and $1,500 for a couple to get an FM3.
In 2011 this figure has become much more fluid, varying depending on where you get your visa. Ask locally where you intend to live and ask what their requirements are.
A few years ago the requirements were $1230 per person. Next year, or next week the amounts could change again. Check with the local Mexican consul (not the tourist office) for the current requirements. If you own property in Mexico the dollar amounts are lowered. This Mexican FM3 visa will entitle you to bring a whole lot of household goods with you, and you and you will be freed from the necessity of renewing your car permit every six months like a tourist. You can come and go from Mexico as much or as little as you want.
You do not need a lawyer to get your FM-3 In many areas of the country, particularly Guadalajara, the Gobernacion officials speak English. If you are in the Guadalajara area, go to the Lake Chapala Society and you will find someone to help you if you need it. In San Miguel de Allende, you will always find a helpful soul.
If you want to consult with Mike, he will be happy to help you, But he gets so many calls from people that he has to charge for his time and knowledge. See Consultations page for details.Contact Mike