According to the US State Department, there are approximately one million Americans living in Mexico. Of those, it is estimated that 91% are living there illegally. Most people obtain a 6 month tourist visa, which they then continue to renew. Yet we felt it was important to respect Mexico’s laws and follow the necessary steps to become legal residents. Plus, the fees we paid help to contribute to the various services and programs of which we also take advantage.
Rewind to before we left Denver…we spent a significant amount of time researching the process on the Mexican consulate’s website and prepping and preparing for the meeting there.* We had to complete a lengthy application and compile a host of documents, mainly to demonstrate financial stability since we would not have a work visa, such as bank statements, investment accounts, letters from our bank, etc. Moreover, all 75+ pages had to be notarized (so a huge thank you to Lori for that!). We put in many hours to make sure nothing was missed and that everything was more than sufficiently organized (we even had all documents separated with binder clips and color coordinated page tabs). Yet, when we arrived at the consulate, the person we met with quickly thumbed through the massive stack and literally said, “ok, looks good.” Our guess is that most people don’t usually come quite as prepared as we did…
And, although you would think all of that would be enough, the process continued from there…we had received a temporary sticker in our passport but, once you cross the border, you have to repeat basically the same steps (but all in Spanish) within 30 days! Deciding not to take any risks, we ended up hiring a fabulous expert to help us complete this, as the extent of our Spanish at that point was “una cerveza mas por favor.”
Although the experience was relatively seamless for us, we have been warned that, should we lose these cards, we would need to start the ENTIRE process all over again! Nonetheless, we are proud we went through the right steps to live in Mexico legally as temporary residents.
*We do want to make it clear that this is purely a description of our own experience and that the process may vary (as we have heard from other expats) depending on the Mexican consulate you use and/or with whom you meet.
Over 60 indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico – only India has more