Know The Law In Mexico - Immigration Documents
In the past several years the basic requirements for immigration to Mexico have not changed, but the explanations of these requirements are somewhat unclear. We see this confusion everyday, so we are going to explain each requirement in detail to avoid this confusion.
Passport - When producing your passport, whether it is to Immigration officials or to a service that will assist you, it must be the original. Photocopies must be made of every page including the cover. Immigration does not keep your passport, only the copies, which they will verify as original by comparing it to the original. If using a service, they will generally make the copies for you.
Tourist Visa/FM3 - Again, these must be originals, and must be submitted before the expiration date. Immigration recommends it be submitted 30 days before the expiration date. Remember, even if Immigration holds it past the expiration date, you are still legally in Mexico with the receipt Immigrationofficials will provide.
Bank Statements - In this new era of computers and the Internet, it would seem less and less paperwork needs to be generated, such as bank statements being mailed to us. Many of our foreign clients now simply check their banking on-line, and have asked their banks not to mail the statements. The problem is that Immigration needs to see those original statements. Immigration will generally not accept Internet printouts, as they can easily be altered by someone who is computer savvy. For security reasons, often Internet printouts will not include your name, which will also be an issue.
Another area of confusion surrounding the statements is the income for an FM3. There are two ways of showing this, either by deposits or by the overall balance. Immigration simply wants to make sure you can support yourself economically. The income requirement is about $1,000 USD per month, which must be shown for three consecutive months. This can be from one deposit, or from your deposits combined. The other way to show this is to have a balance of $12,000 USD in the bank for three consecutive months, which is simply the $1,000 monthly income multiplied by 12 months.
If these statements are being used by a couple, make sure both of your names show on the statement. Some bank computers will only print the first person's name on the statement. If your bank is one of these, make sure you get them to produce a letter listing the other names on the account.
Proof of Residency - This is generally shown by having the original of anyone of the following: phone bill, electric bill, property tax receipt, deed, or your lease. The phone and electric do not have to bear your name, as some of you are renting, so it will be in the owner's name. If using a lease, deed, or property tax receipt, these will need to be in your name. The only other thing to be careful of is the phone bill - sometimes they will not have your actual street address as some people have it mailed to a post office box. This would not be acceptable to Immigration.
Photographs - These are four straight on pictures, and four right profile photos for the FM3, and six of each for the FM2. They need to measure 4 x 4 cm, and cannot be Polaroid shots. They must be on photographic paper, which needs to go through the old fashioned developing procedures with a negative. Note that photographs only need to be produced to Immigration for new FM3s and FM2s, or for the five-year FM3 new book renewal. The photos are not required for the yearly renewal.
All the above basic requirements are needed by Immigration offices in Mexico. The consulates outside of Mexico (only for new FM3s) will have some other requirements. If applying for an FM3 at a consulate, please ask that individual consulate for their specific requirements.