The FM3 Long-Term (or No Inmigrante), Non-Immigrant Visa is the document you need if you plan to stay in Mexico for anything longer than six months. This is a document that is renewable annually. For most foreigners living in Mexico, this is the only visa they need. It gives them the right to live in Mexico under the conditions stipulated by the visa. This visa does not lead to permanent residency status or Mexican citizenship.
Application for the FM3
The application process for an FM3 can be painful and drawn out just like in many other countries' bureaucratic immigration procedures. Yet, many people have a fairly painless experience in Playa Del Carmen in the State of Quintana Roo. You can potentially complete it all in just over a month, and without the use of a lawyer.
You can use the services of a shop set up to assist foreigners through the entire process--filling out forms and writing letters (all in Spanish, of course), helping gather all the necessary information required in the process. Keep an eye open. More often than not, there will be someone enterprising enough to have just such a shop near the Immigration Office to assist you.
The Total Cost
The total cost includes the fees paid for the actual visas, as well as for the assistance the shop gives you (if you use one), including the photos and photocopying (possibly provided by the shop).
You will need the following for the application:
- A cover letter (in Spanish) requesting the FM3. The letter must include your name, address, and a formal request to change your immigration status from Tourist to FM3. Also, indicate that you have rounded up the necessary paperwork and all items requested of you.
- The tourist card that you received upon entering the country. This form is also known as the FMM.
- The original and copies of every page of your passport.
- A total of five recent infantile-size color pictures (three frontal and two profile). Make sure you do not wear any jewelry for these photos.
- A utility bill showing the address at which you reside. A power bill works best (for some reason, they are not too particular if the bill isn't in your name).
- Proof of sufficient monetary funds to sustain a livelihood in Mexico. The amount required per month is regularly revised, and also varies for each situation, and, more importantly, according to the particular office, city, and state where you are applying. The ballpark amount is the equivalent of US $1250 per person per month and an additional 50 percent of that amount for each dependent. You will need to show documentation--usually the last three monthly statements in your bank account.
- Your marriage certificate, if applicable.
You will be required to pay an application fee (approximately US $60): The Immigration Office (INM) will provide you with a form which you will take to a bank to pay the amount.
Checking on the Progress of Your Application
When you return to the INM Office with the proof (from the bank) that you have paid the fee, the Office will then issue you a password (Contraseña). Together with your Application ID (Pieza), this password will allow you to check on the progress of your application.
Obtaining the FM3
The waiting time varies, but typically it is around a month or longer before you are informed online to return to the INM Office to obtain your FM3 visa.