Mexico, Tefl

The Three Ps and Visas

Mexican bureaucracy is such that most people do their utmost to avoid it. But in recent years the government has been opening out and listening to the people. That’s not to say they’ll do anything about the various issues that are raised. But at least they’re listening. Two of the recent ‘public consultations’ were to ask the population what the government should do regards the environment, and what were the most frustrating examples of bureaucracy.

Some things have changed. For example, the FM3 visa process for foreigners wanting to live and work in the country. Kinda bizarre. How many Mexicans complained about that?It’s always actually been easy to get an FM3 visa. In that you’ll get it in the end. You just needed to practise the Three Ps. Patience, Persistence and Pesos. Otherwise known as frustration, time-wasting and a little bribery here and there.

It wasn’t uncommon to have to pay half a dozen trips, or more if you’re unlucky, to the Immigration Department. I knew of one chap who renewed his visa each year, and would take along all the documents needed last time, only to find they wanted one more this time. There was a list of required documents, but there was also the small print. Which effectively said ‘…and anything else we think up on the spur of the moment, just to give you a hard time.’

Now much of the process has been moved online, and the visa can be had with just three trips to the offices in a time frame of as little as a month. The final visit being to pick up the new card style visa, which replaced the old passport like booklet. And the price isn’t too step. I don’t know off the top of my head the cost for a new visa, but a renewal is just a little over 2,000 pesos.

Some schools will help teachers get their tourist visas changed into work visas. Others will not. Just make sure you get any educational certificates apostilled before you come to the country. Alternatively, take a TEFL course in Mexico and get a certificate here. That’s usually the easiest route into working in Mexico as an English teacher.


8 thoughts on “The Three Ps and Visas

  1. I’ve found the new process to be easier, but the rollout of the new process has had problems. In my case, I found out just yesterday that the immigration department completely lost my renewal file. In that file was the application, the receipt for fee payment, the new photos they require, my old FM3 booklet…arg!

    They apologized about losing the file (3 months ago!) and said that if I can bring everything back in again today, they can have the new photo ID card to me on Monday. So off to migra I go in about an hour. It didn’t take too much to gather up the copies of the docs I need again, and new photos were done in 15 minutes yesterday, but I’m not interested in hearing more excuses today or Monday.


    • That’s sounds like the Mexico I know and love! But to be fair, it was a pretty major overhaul of the system, so I guess some allowances should be made. Temporary, time limited allowances…


  2. I believe the cost of renewing our FM3’s this year was 1294 pesos, also unsure what the cost of an initial one is or if it is different.
    We got ours in 3 trips this year with the new process. The only reason it took 3 trips was because they ran out of the new cards and had to order more in lol. So basically 1 trip with some documents and find out what else they wanted. The 2 nd trip with all documents and being told to come back in a few days as they were out of the cards and the 3 rd trip in a couple of days and left with new card in hand. With the online process it was actually pretty painless this year.


    • That’s pretty cheap..what kind of FM3 do you have? I think the prices differ. Mine is an independent FM3 giving permission to work as an English teacher and I paid 2102 for the renewal.

      Update: went in today and dropped off everything. I was told the renewed FM3 photo ID version would be ready by Monday morning. took all of 10 minutes today…we’ll see what Monday brings.


      • I’ve never quite understood why there were such a variety of requirements, systems, fees etc in place across different states in Mexico. One would have thought that the recent overhaul would have included standardising the process etc.


  3. Our FM3’s are just the basic “rentista, non immigrante” type, no permission to work or do anything other than live here being lazy and retired lol.
    Apparently the “lucrativo” FM3’s cost more.
    We were asked to bring more documents that the printed paper stated. For example the printed sheet said nothing about bank statements, which we needed every other year and of course we did need them again this year. They just added on a few more documents in handwriting on the back of the printed sheet lol.
    Painless on the whole.


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