Friday, August 28, 2009

Renewing my Mexican Residency Permit.doc

Renewing my Mexican Residency Permit (FM3) August 2009


I have been living in Zacatecas, Mexico since September 2, 2008.


Before arrival, I had to go through a lengthy process with the Mexican Consulate in Las Vegas to get my original FM3 issued and the required Visa placed in my US passport.  Upon arrival, I had to go through another process with the local office of the Secretaria de Gobernación to register my arrival, local address and get recorded in the “National Foreigners Archive” (my liberal translation.)


The local process included making copies of every page, even blank ones, of my passport and FM3, rental agreement, utility bills, and bank statements.  I also had to provide 3 front and 3 side view black and white photos of a special size.  By the time I got done, I had a stack of paper ¾” thick.  It took 4 trips to get it done.  One to get a list of requirements, a second to deliver the stack of paper, a third because I had overlooked a detail and a fourth to pick up the FM3 duly endorsed as having met the requirements.  On the final visit, I was also given a list of requirements for renewing my FM3 before September 2, 2009 and a blank application form.


The beginning of August I figured it was time to get ready for the renewal process, so I pulled out the list.  It included:


Original and copy of completed application

Original FM3 and a copy of each page, including blank ones.

Original and copy of my passport, only the page with my photo, issue and expiration dates.

Proof of income

A letter in Spanish requesting renewal along with the reason I wanted the renewal.


I did what research I could on the Internet and found only one completely useful piece of information, the letter in Spanish.  All I had to do was fill in the date and sign it.



Instituto Nacional de Migración
Secretaria de Gobernación

Re: Prorrogación de FM-3

Solicito prorroga de mi documento migratorio FM-3 y manifiesto que soy NO INMIGRANTE VISITANTE RENTISTA, para lo cual acredito mi solvencia económica.

Gracias por su atención.



  your name

from Living in México


The other sources:

Mexico’s National Migration Institute

Living in México

Guide to San Carlos


were somewhat confusing in that they didn’t agree with each other or with the list from the local office.  My mistake was that I didn’t call the local office to find out if there had been any change.


I went for overkill copying every page of my passport and FM3.


I went to the immigration on Aug 10 with my half inch stack of papers.  Yup, all they wanted was the inside cover of my passport and the equivalent 2 pages of my FM3 plus the 2 pages of my FM3 showing the dates that I had entered or left Mexico.  Everything else was in order and they gave me a form to take to the bank to pay the fee.  I paid the fee, returned with the receipt, and was given a receipt for my documents indicating I should return on August 17 at 10 AM to pick up my renewed FM3.


On August 17, I picked up my FM3 in a trip that took only 5 minutes.


I learned two things from this experience and a previous stay in Mexico 25 years ago.  The first thing is that the Mexican government is doing a much better job of customer service in terms of the amount of paperwork and bureaucratic delays, but planning on 3 trips to a government office to complete a transaction is quite common.  The second thing is not to depend on anyone else’s advice.  Call, better yet go to, the local office of the agency and find out what the current requirements are.  Rules do change and local offices have a lot of discretion on how to implement them.  Above all, courtesy and more courtesy; and patience and more patience.

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