the FM3 visa for Mexico
I went through the application for my FM3 visa in 2010 and renewed it a few months ago. The requirements for the renewal were exactly the same as the first application, just with a few less copies. I went to the office in Toluca, the capital of Estado de Mexico. As a nationwide system, it shouldn’t be much different where you are, but you never know.
Here is their website: www.inami.gob.mx
With the FM3 you will receive an official-looking letter stating which field you can work in. As a teacher, my field is education. There are many fields, like engineering. This means you can have as many jobs as you want, as long as they are in your field.
The FM3 visa is a card, not a little book like before. With it you are a non-immigrant temporary resident of Mexico. You can work anywhere in the country, not just the state you were originally hired in. It must be renewed every year for a maximum of five years.
First you need a letter from the company that wants to hire you. With the letter they must provide either a tax statement or some kind of permission from the government to hire foreign workers. Unless you will be their first foreign worker, they will know exactly what to give you.
What you provide for the FM3 are:
1. Copies of every page of your passport and the original tourist paper from customs that was stamped when you arrived in Mexico. You don’t want to lose this anyway because you need it to leave the country, although once you get the FM3 you won’t need it anymore.
2. All the documents you brought from your home that you needed to get your job – your resume, original birth certificate, a rent receipt from your apartment in Mexico, and all your credentials (university degree, certificates, licenses)- in originals to show and copies for them to keep.
3. The letter and documents from your future company.
4. 5 photos (three front and two sides) – check the website for sizes, or get the form from the office. You will make multiple trips there anyway.
5. Two payments – 500 pesos with the application and 2,000 when it’s ready.
6. The application dated from only a day or two before. The website is www.inami.gob.mx
Bring originals and copies of everything. Make sure you have backups at home, or better yet take digital photos or scans, in case something gets lost. They may ask for certified copies of your degrees – apostillados – which means some company will evaluate them for a fee. I was asked to do this and then got out of it by showing off the originals.
The most important thing of all is to just be patient. You will have to go way more times than you want. They will tell you different information each time. Just smile, write it down, and do what you can. If you can't provide something, just come back without it and don't mention it. In the friendliest way possible keep mentioning the letter from your future company. If you get angry and show it, you will get nowhere.
With the FM3 you can work. You will receive social insurance, including health care, and you need to go to another office to get the number. Also, you don’t have to pay to enter Mexico anymore, so when you buy plane tickets make sure they know, because they put it on the price of the ticket automatically for foreigners.
For more free legal advice and stories of Latin American craziness visit my blog http://nohaybronca.wordpress.com
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