This week I finally collected my temporary resident card at the Immigration office in Cancun.
It was a hideous wait full of uncertainties since the process is rather obscure and unclear.
I learned a few things:
Bureaucracy in Mexico is an art form, but the office in Cancun has excelled at every level of bureaucracy.
The pre visa approval in my home country was digitalized as were my fingerprints and photos, because of that I was hopeful for a speedy tramite once in Mexico, I was naive.
The Cancun immigration office is as disorganized as possible. After the procedures in Cancun, I went to the Playa del Carmen office and it was a relief to find the INM office that is organized and customer friendly. With a proper waiting area, a number routine, and a guard that knows the rules and documents.
I needed to be more patient than I have needed to be in my whole life. When your tramite is in process, you are kind of in a hostage situation, you can’t move forward and you can’t even go back since you need a document to leave the country and you need to apply for that document at the same disorganized office where you are processing your visa.
The online website dedicated to your tramite does not get updated a lot and I wondered a lot if they misplaced my file. The final email to collect the card is not even sent. You really have to schedule regular checks for that website not to miss information.
You can make plans but you have to be able to let go and be patient and flexible. My planned motorbike trip has to be postponed until the renewal of my visa is processed. And me moving to Puerto Vallarta where I intentionally wanted to live ditto.
It is a total waste of time to go to the office and stand in line for hours just to ask if your visa is ready yet. The immigration officers do the same as you do: they check the status online. If it hasn’t changed for you it will not change for them ‘
In the end, I waited nearly 9.5 months, I started my process on February 18, 2019, and collected my card on December 3 of that same year. Just 1.5 months before I have to reapply for an extension.
I decided not to reapply in Cancun since I had moved to Playa del Carmen, I took the chance of an extra tramite, the change of address so I could do my extension in Playa del Carmen instead. Word has that this office is able to do the visa processing in 3-4 months.
And finding it very organized when I went for my CURP number I am hopeful that around June 2020 I can finally get on with my life and start a motorbike trip through Mexico.
I came to Cancun because of an affordable direct flight from the Netherlands
If I had gone to Puerto Vallarta directly from Amsterdam, I would have had several transfers and apply for an Esta for the United States. My laziness cost me bitter. For now, I am in a place where I did not want to be and I am on hold ever since I arrived.
Due to the Christmas season and Peak season in Mexico, I was advised against moving to Puerto Vallarta now, and so, because of all the bureaucracy and waiting time to even process a change of address, time was not on my side to extend my visa in the other side of the country.
Que sera sera, right? I have the card, I have my CURP I can at least open a bank account and maybe even get my driver’s license while my visa- extension is processed and look for a motorbike, maybe my maiden voyage in Mexico will be crossing the country to the other side.