The process of obtaining your temporary resident card in Mexico after arrival with your pre-approved visa from the consulate is a procedure done totally in Spanish. And although many people hire a lawyer to do this so-called “tramite” for them, it is actually quite easy to do it yourself, if you have the patients and use Google translate a lot. Even in the office.
Previous articles on the Visa process for Mexico
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Once you have processed all the paperwork in the way the Immigration law requires, and you leave the INM office, you receive an email. From this moment onward you can follow the (very slow) process online in your own private part of the government website.
The statuses can be very confusing indeed because you have no idea how the process is done, you kind of grope around the official language in dispair hoping it will all be over soon.
The Embassy in the Netherlands told me that the whole procedure should be done in a couple of weeks, the immigration officer in the Cancun office told me to expect the process to be finalized in 2-3 months, and in the end, it took nearly 10 months to get me that card.
It was a dreadfully long wait with a lot of uncertainty
Questions that popped my mind while waiting were:
what if they lost my file?
what if I am not allowed to stay, it takes so long…!?
Should I go in and check?
No need to go in, the officers can see just as much as you can, so it is a waste of time, especially since INM has the longest waiting lines ever.
When your email arrives and you log in to the site, you see your first notification.
1. El tramite ha sido registrado – the procedure has been registered.
That means you are somewhere in the pile. And that is good, after all, all your documents were stamped and approved, let the process begin!
What do the other statuses mean, when it changes in between?
Here is a translation and explanation of the status updates you receive online from INM
2. Ha sido asignado el tipo de tramite – The type of procedure has been assigned.
This means more or less as much as: you have moved from the pile, and are now on someone’s desk. In my case, after this update, it still took them nearly 4 months to come to the next update
3. Un pago ha sido registrado – A payment has been registered
Well, that is nice to know but the immigration officer at the desk already registered that, right?! Not always, some offices have different steps and work differently from the rest. So your story might be slightly different from mine.
4. Registre los datos para la expedición de su documento – Register the information requested for the processing of your immigration documents
Your screen has changed, there is a blue banner with red text, click that button and fill out the online form and save it. Steps 3, 4, and 5, in my case, happened within 3 days. So I guess they are connected. And your file is in the hands of an employee.
5. Se emitio oficio – The official document is issued
By now you have gotten an email stating that you have to log in to the website and that there is an official notification. And your screen has changed again, on the top above all the notifications there is a PDF document.
Download it, print it!
Read it, get the things you need like the photos
and go to the INM office to make an appointment, take the letter with you!
Your appointment will most likely be within a few days or weeks, mine was in 2 weeks.
When you return for your appointment, you do not have to stand in line, you can tell the guard you have an appointment. Make sure you are there 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
Bring the following
The passport that goes with this procedure
The mini photos they require (front and side, with ears and forehead clearly visible)
The payment slip from the payment for the visa from the Mexican bank
The official letter that invites you to be fingerprinted
Fingerprinting in my INM office was done with blue ink, and there was nothing provided to clean my hands.
Bring the photocopy of the payment slip from the bank, the mini size photos as requested in the letter. And the letter itself. (the PDF)
They will tell you to return in 2 weeks. Or at least, I was told to return.
6. su documento migratorio ha sido expedido. Preséntese en la delegación donde realizó su trámite – Your immigration document has been issued. Present yourself at the delegation where you completed your procedure
You can go and pick up the resident card!!
Hurray, you have made it!
One more time in that dreadful line and you’re done….until you need to extend
I collected mine, only to discover I still had to apply for my CURP number. Without that, you can’t even open a bank account here.
So back in line, it is. In the Cancún office, there are only 2 days a week they give out CURP numbers, in Playa del Carmen it is Monday to Friday between 9-10 AM.