I shake my head thinking it’s already been four years, but Microsoft Outlook reminded me the other day that it was time to convert my temporary residency over to permanent status!
The process was the same, and different. First I went to the INM website to see what I’d need to bring with me. I copied my passport and my temporary residency card. Then I filled out the online form and printed it. I also printed a copy of my RFC and my CURP – just in case. I know each office wants slightly different things and I was going to be prepared! Oh, and I went to the bank and took out the maximum daily withdrawal of pesos from the ATM so I could do it again the next day and have enough to pay the INM fees.
Tuesday morning I set out around 8:30 am. Immigration offices open at 9:00 am, so I thought this would be enough time to stop at Hogla’s (yes, it’s Hogla, at least that’s what her sign says) tienda where she gets paperwork ready for you for just $500 pesos. I’ve tried doing things without Hogla’s help, and INM always makes me go to her, even though my paperwork is complete. I have no further comments on that. But this time she was BUSY! There were five or six people ahead of me, and that meant that I didn’t get to the INM office until 11:15 am. I was number 20 – things were not looking good for getting things done in one day!
The INM offices have been updated! Wow! New windows! New paint inside! Screens that drop from the ceiling so they have a nice background – because THEY take your picture now, they don’t have you bring them! And … wait for it … they accept debit/credit cards!!!! No more bank runs in the middle of the process! They have also hired more staff – there were two additional people assisting us (never more than two employees at a time, but there was a gentleman who worked until the woman who’s been there ever since I’ve been going there came in to take over).
At 4:15 pm my number was called! Wooo!! Went to the window. Gave them my packet of paperwork prepared by Hogla, along with my passport and temporary residency card; and then paid my fees (currently $1,632.00 processing fee and $6,226.00 for the residency). They told me to have a seat and they’d call me back up. Waited 30 minutes then signed some papers, and they gave me a piece of paper with some information on it. They said that their cameras weren’t working and to come back on Friday. They’d told a few people before me to come back on Thursday – so I figured they told me Friday to spread things out. It was 4:45 pm when I walked out the door. No coffee or food all day – so I Whatsapp’d an order for Chinese food and picked it up on the way home!
Friday. 8:15 am. One of the couples that was there on Tuesday were waiting at the door. They’d been told Thursday. This was the Thursday that Ovidio Guzmán was captured in Culiacán. INM had ushered everyone out of the office and closed up shop because of the gang violence in the state of Sinaloa. So, Friday I was number two.
Around 10:30 am they started calling numbers. When they called me I handed them the page with info they’d given me on Tuesday. Almost 11:00 am they called me back up. Took three photos – one from the front, and one from each side. Then they took my fingerprints. Right hand 4 fingers, left hand 4 fingers, and both thumbs. At 11:10 am they gave me my permanent residency card and asked me to verify everything was correct! It was, and I was out the door at 11:15 am – hopefully never to return again!!!
I’m going to say that this was so much easier than the last time when I renewed for three years; and immensely easier than the initial visit to get my temporary residency card. Just the ability to pay at the office saves so much time – not to mention that they print the cards right there now and you don’t have to wait the 6 to 8 weeks I did previously.
One final note … when I was there on Tuesday a gentleman came in and went up to the windows. It was evident he’d been there previously and was trying to get residency. The clerk was telling him he needed to bring in his FMM and he kept yelling at them that they hadn’t given him one at the airport. Then the clerk would say ‘online’, and he’d yell at them again that they didn’t give him one at the airport. First, NEVER yell at the person who has this much control over your life. NEVER do it to anyone who is just there to help you – but especially not if they can deport your ass. Second, she was trying to tell him that he could print it online, but he wasn’t listening. Yes, there are no more printed FMM’s at most of the airports in México. That doesn’t mean the information isn’t in their computer system for you to print. It is. Here is a link to a Youtube video that will tell you how to print yours if you need to. And you WILL need to if you are applying for residency: https://youtu.be/w6YOjYj8W0Q .