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The "New" FM2 / FM3 Process

March 27, 2011

Back in 1999 when we re-located to Akumal, we did the FM3 process in the chaotic Cancun Imigracion, and while we did have some help, we vowed we would never go through the process again; we would hire somebody to do it for us.  We have been doing that, using an accountant for hundreds of dollars each, for the past 10 years, so when news came out from the Pelican Press of Puerto Aventuras that the ‘new’ process was easier and quicker, and no financial statements were required, it sounded like it was too good to be true.

The Akumalian’s FM2 came due for renewal in early March, so let’s try it out.

Quite a bit has been written about the ‘new’ FM2 /FM3 process, and this is an attempt to show you the steps and documents you will run across in the process.  This was first realized in an article in the Pelican Press of Puerto Aventuras, and that information was then reproduced in the January 2011 issue of The Akumalian.  Many people followed those instructions with very mixed results, and the real problem seemed to be with attempting to complete the Application Form on-line at www.inm.gob.mx; the image on the left is the first page of the on-line Application Form.  That appears to be just another exercise in frustration, and it is not recommended.

The most recent and complete account of an attempt at “doing it yourself” comes from Mari Pintkowski in the March issue of Sac-Be   

For those of you who do not know, the Immigration office in Playa del Carmen is in Plaza Antigua on Av. 10.

 STEP 1
           I started on Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From The Akumalian’s Staff perspective, the recommendation is to let Fredrico Ortiz Quintanilla do the application and paperwork for you.  Fredrico has the little office/shop right across from the top of the stairs outside Imigracion.  For 351 pesos, Fredrico will provide you with:

The Electronic Application
The Application Letter
The Payment Form to take to the bank
The required photos
A Copy of your Passport.

 One of the unseen benefits of this is that all the pertinent information, especially your full and complete name as it is in your Passport, get put into those documents correctly.

             STEP 2
        Another strong recommendation is to have somebody who speaks Spanish with you.

Take the Electronic Application (image above) and Application Letter (image below), along with your Passport into Imigacion.  Sign In at reception, get a number, and take a seat to wait.  Now-a-days, the waiting room is not very crowded, and I barely sat down and my number was called.  The information was checked on the computer, and I was given a My Data Form Form (see image after Application Letter directly below) with my information and a place where I could check the status on line.  I was also given a Form to take to the bank (any bank) to make the required payment.  I asked about how long it would take before coming back for the next step, and I was told “about 10 days”.  I was IN and OUT of Imigracion within 15 minutes!

           

 

Then go back to see Fredrico, and he will give you a completed Payment Form (image below) - same as blank one from Imigracion - to take to the bank.  You need to double-check this to ensure the data is correct, especially your complete name as it is in your Passport.


            You can walk up 10th Avenue to Juarez, turn left, and there is a HSBC bank where you make the payment.  My payment was $2,801 pesos, and this seems to be the ‘norm’, but we have heard of numerous cases where the amount is quite different.  I have no idea if the difference is for FM2 vs FM3, or whether the country of origin makes a difference.  $2,801 seems to be the highest.

            I completed all of STEPS 1 and 2 within 1 hour!!!

            STEP 3
     This is the simplest, but also quite confusing.  You take the information given to you in STEP 2 and after a couple of days go online and check the status.  As you can see from my on-line Form (see image below), the last date is the same as the 1st three; 02/03/2011.  Anyway, I waited two weeks before I went back for STEP 4, but I probably could have gone back within 3 or 4 days.

           

 

            STEP 4
            Return to Imigracion with the receipt from the bank proving that you have paid your $2,801 pesos.  This STEP did not require going past the reception desk.  The receptionist assigns a date and time for your next appointment, and she gives you another Form (see image below) that needs to be completed.  This one is more like a personal background check, and needs to come back with you for STEP 5.

            This STEP took all of 5 minutes at the reception desk.

             STEP 5
            Return to Imigracion 15 minutes before the appointed time.  Bring the original of the Bank receipt and two copies, the completed Form (image above) you got in STEP 4, your Passport, and the six photos (3 full face and 3 right profile).

            For me, this was Wednesday, March 30.  I was there about 20 minutes early for my 3:45pm appointment, and I waited there with one other person.  I was finally called at about 3:50pm, and after answering a few questions - Education?  Scars? - I was thumb-printed and told to return tomorrow to pick up my new FM2. I was out of there at 4:05pm.  Total time in Imigracion was about 40 minutes.

            STEP 6
            Return to Imigracion to pick up the new plastic card FM2.  I sign in at the reception desk, telling her I am here to pick up the FM2.  She escorts me to the woman who interviewed me yesterday, and she has me sign that I have received my FM2.  Presto, I have my FM2!!!

FINAL NOTES:
The total elapsed time was 4 weeks and 1 day.

The total time in Imigracion was less than 2 hours.

The total cost was about $3,612 pesos including parking.

Strongly suggest using Fredrico outside Imigracion for Application.

Suggest having a Spanish speaking person with you on initial steps

IngridC's FM3 is going through our older process with an accountant we have used for 10 years.  This process started on December 5, 2010, and she finally received her FM2 (being upgraded) on April 1st.  The Accountant  used Imigracion in Cancun, because Playa del Carmen was too bureaucratic.  We had to go to Cancun Imigracion for STEP 5, and we were there for about 2 1/2 hours, with part of the time due to a computer problem.  4 months and hundreds of dollars more, and she gets hers after I received mine!!!!!!!

OBSERVATION:
It looks like this entire process needs to be repeated every year, because of the plastic FM2/FM3 (like a driver's license).  This needs new photos and thumb prints each time.  It is not like the old book form, which just needed a new stamp each year.

 

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