for documentation to satisfy the government. On the six-month date of your
tourist visa you can make a trip to the States, and return with a new six-month
tourist visa. You can also apply for an FM-3 permanent visa.
It is possible to acquire a FM-3 at a Mexican consulate in the U.S. or at the
Department of Immigration in Mazatlán. I believe that it is easier and faster in
Mexico because, unlike the U.S., they welcome new residents. Requirements for
a five-year FM-3 change, but this was the experience of my friend Dick Carroll
in Mazatlán in 2002:
"Immigration told us what we needed. We took all our paperwork in on
Thursday afternoon and picked up the FM-3s on Monday at noon. One lady
there speaks good English and is very helpful. Passport, copy of any utility bill
to establish local address, last three months' bank statements, FM-1form
(typed in Spanish, which I got done for about $9 U.S. each), application form,
copies of documents (a copy store one block from office knows how many
copies of everything that you need), six photos (Kodak shop had them ready in
20 minutes) and six copies of Form #5. The copy store has them. Immigration
types in necessary info on Form #5. Go to the bank and pay about $120 U.S.
each. Go have form #5 stamped as paid, then return to Immigration and pick
up your FM-3 three days later. I understand that during the busiest of the
tourist season it can take five business days."
Another friend, Roger Culbertson said, "You should renew your FM-3 in
the same place in Mexico where you are registered, usually where you first
received your FM-3. If you move, you must report the move to Immigration
within 30 days--even if you just change addresses in town. The other biggie is
that if you get your FM-3 in the States or Canada, you must report to
Immigration within 30 days of your arrival here in Mexico and register in your
new city. Big fine if you don't."
My friend Rick suggested that you consider the time of the year you will be
in town to renew your FM-3. He made the mistake of getting his FM-3 in
September, and since it must be renewed a month before the anniversary date,
he is required to be in Mazatlán during the hottest part of the year.
What do you get for your FM-3? You will be able to bring your household
goods to Mazatlán without paying duty. You will not be required to renew your
vehicle permit every six months--only when you renew your FM-3. Further
there is a one-time exemption of import taxes for household goods, but it
must be used within six months of obtaining your FM-3 and costs about $140
U.S. You may have your Capital Gains taxes excused (on a one-time basis) if
you purchase a home and sell it for a profit.
Char les A. Hall