Apr 22, 2012, 11:59 AM
Post #1 of 5
While waiting briefly in line for my annual FM2 renewal, I talked with a fellow whose attorney described an interesting view of the FM3 - which might explain a number of the confusing ways that has been applied. The attorney worked for INM for years after he finished law school, and based on his insider's view: He says that the FM3 was not intended for use by Canadian and American retirees.
Insider's view on FM3 (No Inmigrante) Visas
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He says that when NAFTA was kicked-off, the Mexican Inmigraction officials believed that there would be many American professionals coming to Mexico to help set up maquiladores / fabricas near the border. These professionals were expected to come to Mexico for several months at a time - working to set-up the businesses, returning to the US, and then later coming back to help the factories continue to run. INM assumed that these American professionals would come and go, hence needing their cars here for temporary stays - and then driving back across the border.
They assumed that some of the gringos would decide to set up households in Mexico, which explains why you get your FM3 first, and then have 6 months to bring down your stuff - as a professional traveling back and forth. They further assumed that these permits needed to be set up for annual extensions, up to 5 years, while the professionals kept going back and forth between Mexico and the USA. This is also why there were no restrictions on the time allowed outside of Mexico for this special intermediate "resident" visa.
The FM2 was designed for "normal" residents intending to live or stay in Mexico - and hence the restrictions on keeping foreign plated cars and on extended stays outside of Mexico, because the FM2 type of "resident" was expected to make a long term commitment to staying here - which is also why FM2's are set up to expire after 5 years, with NO renewals, but instead you become a naturalized Citizen, an Inmigrado, or you drop back to the FM3 - temporary resident status.
INM did not imagine that so few US professionals would take advantage of the FM3, and they did not imagine that there were lots of US and Canadian snow-birds and retirees who would like to come to Mexico for longer than simple tourist stays.
All of this explains the evolving nature of the FM3 and FM2 - as the INM tried to adapt to how Americans and Canadians were using them - and it explains the future changes to the new "Residente Permanente" and "Residente Temporal" - where these new categories really cannot align in a 1:1 way with the old FM3 and FM2 's , because the old FM3s and FM2s were kluges - initially designed for 2 specific groups of Americans - while the reality turned out very differently.
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