Have you left paradise and keep questioning "I want to move to Cabo"? First things first, if you are going to make the move you need to begin to apply for residency in Mexico. The laws have changed and now you must begin the process by apply in the United States at your local Mexican Consulate. You can look online at www.mexonline.com/consulate.htm to find the nearest location to you. You can call and schedule an appointment. They will ask you to bring your original birth certificate, marriage license, passport, bank statements for the past 6 months, 401ks, stocks, etc. They will take your documents for review and they will schedule when you are to come back. Usually within two weeks they will have your passport ready. They will have a temporary VISA placed inside your passport that will expire in 6 months. Your temporary VISA will show if you will be "Temporary Resident" or "Permanent Resident". If you are a "Temporary Resident" you will need to reapply every year for the next four years. If you are "Permanent Resident" you will not need to reapply every year. Your card will not have an expiration date. If you have children that are applying, they will need to renew a permanent resident card every four years.
You then need to enter into Mexico. If you enter into Mexico through an airport, show the customs agent your passport and show the page that has the VISA. He will stamp your tourist card. You will need to take this tourist card and report to your nearest immigration office within 30 days. I would suggest going to immigration within 5 days of entering into Mexico. You will need to go online and fill out a form and take it with you to immigration. Go to http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Solicitud_de_Estancia and fill out the form. You will also need to take your passport, tourist card, 3 months of bank statements, birth certificate and most recent CFE (electric) bill or Telmex (telephone) bill to immigration. If you are married, I would suggest you also taking your marriage license. Be prepared to pay all fees at this time to acquire residency. INM Office (Immigration) is open Monday thru Friday from 9am-1pm.
Directions to INM (Immigration) in Cabo San Lucas: Go into downtown Cabo San Lucas. After second light it will be on your right. It is located across from Amerimed Hospital and Bancomer. You can park behind the Amerimed Hospital for free and then walk across the street. Go in the front entrance and walk up the stairs. Immigration is located upstairs. Pull a number and wait for them to call your number.
If you do not speak Spanish, I would highly suggest you hire someone that specializes in immigration documents to assist you with this process. Their fees are around $100 USD per adult and I would not pay them until you have received your final document/card. The person you hire will do all the necessary paperwork and they will notify you when you need to report back to immigration. They can fill out the online form for you since it is in Spanish. It is also required that money be deposited into a bank and they will take care of this. It relieves you from making all these trips around town!
If you are only staying a short period of time while applying, you will need to get an "Exit Letter" to leave the country. You will also need to provide photos for your exit letter and resident card. An "exit letter" usually takes at least 3 business days so allow ample time. An exit letter is valid for 60 days. Plan accordingly to be back at immigration before the expiration date.
If you are reporting to immigration in Cabo San Lucas, you are within walking distance to get your photos taken. Go to Foto Fuji on Juan Morelos. Foto Fuji hours are Monday thru Saturday 9am-8pm. Take a right on Juan Morelos and go about 2 blocks. Foto Fuji is going to be on your right at the intersection of Juan Morelos and Revolucion de 1910. It is directly across from the OXXO. Tell the associate that you need FM2 photos on a white background. Do not wear eyeglasses for photo. Also, women need to pull their hair back for photo. It is also not recommended to wear a white shirt. They will take photos of the front, left side and right side of your head. It will take them less than 15 minutes to have them ready for you and it will cost 120 pesos.
Next is waiting till Immigration is ready to take your fingerprints. This usually can take about two weeks after beginning the process in Mexico. Then you must wait another one to two weeks to receive your card. If you are not going to be in Mexico when your card is ready, the person you hired will pick it up for you. They can
even send it to you in the U.S via FedEx for about 460 pesos.
Yes, it will be a handful of trips (or more!) into immigration offices and lots of paperwork! Patience is key!
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