I'm Legal!

Again...for one more year! I know I briefly mentioned somewhere in a previous post that I was stressed out about my FM3 renewal. The FM3 is the visa that allows me to live and work in Mexico, for one year at a time. I've had previous problems with immigration, being deported twice and the never ending battle with the Cancun immigration office and the nightmare that it entails. On the recommendation of several people (the wise Rivergirl included), I chose to use a lawyer this year and avoid the whole mess. I am so grateful for the sage advice, my FM3 is renewed and I didn't have to set one foot in the office, not one tear was shed this year! Last year was such a disaster, it took two months and about twenty visits to that horrible office, there were tears aplenty and it was a big bad kafuffle.

So, I am relieved, grateful to the lawyer and happy for the advice of friends. Best 3000 pesos I ever spent. (That's just the lawyer's fee, the visa itself costs about 1800 pesos). So, until next year, I can live, work and play in Mexico totally legally, yahoooooooooooooo. Next year I change to an FM2 as this was my last "proroga" (extension/renewal) on the FM3. Once I have my FM2 for two years, I will be applying for citizenship. I'd better start studying, they've recently changed the regs so you have to take a test and apparently it's killer! I've posed the questions to Hubby and my Mexican friends and some of them are totally stumped. Really, who knows where the first cannon was fired in Mexico or the names of five of the Niñoes Heroes? Can you name five Mexican muralists? Sing the national anthem?

Ok, stressing myself out about something three years away, I need a beer. Or seven. Or a whole bottle of champagne, yeah, that's it, a bottle of champagne would go down quite nicely thank you very much.


Todd said…

Plus, excellent use of the word "kerfuffle"

Immigrants always know more history and civics than native born. It will be great for Max since you will be able to help him with his history and civics homework! LOL.
Has your FM3 woes been due to you working? Or just because Cancun immigrations sux?
Anonymous said…
I'm on the same boat as you except that in my case, I'll be trying for american citizenship. Also, I had to renew my work permit year after year and I had to pay $400.00dollars each time to do it. And about all that history and civics, when I was in school in Mexico we were required to know the ninos heroes, the natinal anthem and the juramento too. Till this day I remember it. Buena suerte!
heatherinparadise said…
K, I like to know where you got the info about the questions they might ask me. I'm on my last prorroga myself and will be facing the FM-2 crap/ then citizenship training later. I'm interested in Mexican history so you'd think it would be easy, but I still get all froze up when I have to call the frickin' bank.

Help me.
Jonna said…
I'm amazed that you were deported and twice! You'll have to tell that story sometime.

I think it was Wayne that blogged about a Mexican that was detained going into Canada because they thought he was really filipino or something. Anyway, they made him sing the Mexican National anthem several times so it must be something that is commonly thought all Mexicans know. I sure couldn't sing all the verses of the US anthem. I think I only know a couple lines past the famous "Jose can you see" part.

I don't even want to go through all my prorrogas but want to switch to an FM2 this year. Can I do that I wonder?
Maybe after that bottle of champagne and a few beers you can belt out that Mexican National Anthem. It will at least sound good.....to you!!LOL
Fned said…
hhaha congrats girl!

And sorry but yup... we had to learn the national anthem AND the names of the Niños Héroes through out school.... Maybe Max can help you out on this one?

Also, have you heard of "planillas"... they sell them at the papelerias (at least they did when I went to school in Puebla). Planillas are sheets of paper containing a summerized topic of your choice on one side and pictures of the topic on the other. There's usually a planilla on about pretty much any subject you learn in school (mainly in Primaria and Secundaria levels) and are a great way to get a first intro on any subject. You just ask for one about the Niños Héroes or el Himno Nacional or any other subject that might come up on your test...

Oh! And go get that champagne and celebrate! You deserve it!

Anna said…
Hey Kelly -I think that's your name:) CONGRATULATIONS!!!
I've been reading your blog for a while now as I've been planning to move to Mexico in September and wanted to get the lay of the land. I'm actually English and have been living in New York for the last 9 years (take a look at my blog (http://easydiving.blogspot.com/). Anyway your post on FM3's interested me. I've done a fair amount of research on the FM3. What I'm planning to do is - a friend of mine is a lawyer in Veracruz and his cousin works for immigration. I need to fund a few 'gifts' so that they can get me an FM3 as an independent scuba instructor in Veracruz and then I can change the address. I'm probably going to move to Cozumel to begin with but I'll have an independent contractors FM3 which will make it much easier for me to be choosy about work and move if I'm not fitting in. What I was curious about is the path to citizenship. How many years do you need to have an FM3 before you can get an FM2 and then how do you become citizen? Is it easier for you because you are married? I just went through the whole citizenship test in the US and it was not that hard (http://easydiving.blogspot.com/2008/02/proud-to-be-american.html\).
lisaloveloca said…
Regarding the champagne, I just gotta say, puff puff pass- share- for reals *passes my empty glass to you* LOL

I can't even sing the Mañanitas let alone the dang national anthem! I got part of it down from living upstairs from the kindergarten for so long- but I sing it the way the kids do- all yell-y and mumbled! haha!

The questions on the test are hard and not only limited to history- apparently there are sports questions too! It's like playing Maraton- hmmm- that might be a good way to study for the test...
CancunCanuck said…
Todd- Thanks! I love that word, which does have multiple spellings according to Merriam-Webster (I am a bit of a spelling freak, made me crazy to think I may have made a mistake, lol). The MW dictionary offers "curfuffle, kerfuffle and gefuffle" as alternate spellings. (Ok, go ahead and call me anal, teehee).

Theresa- I look forward to learning more history, I know basics but not enough details like names and dates. My INM woes have been a combination of things, but mostly the ineptitude of the Cancun office. I know not all INM offices are as bad as Cancun, I try to be really specific that they are the problem, not the organization nationally.

Anon- Thanks for stopping by and mucha suerte a ti! I asked my students (mostly teenagers and young adults) these questions and they couldn't do it! I was surprised. They got maximum three of the niñoes heroes, no one knew the muralists or the location of the first cannon. I will start to study soon!

Heather darling- In talking to other people taking the tests, I started to put together a list of what they experienced. There is a thread on cancuncare where people have contributed, hopefully they'll bump it up as we get more info. The SRE recommends a book to study from, but from all accounts, it was quite useless. Maybe we can start a support group/study group! :)

Jonna- Welllll, from what I understand you cannot skip the prorrogas, otherwise I would have done it this year. The lawyer said I couldn't do it. BUT, that said, I know one person who did somehow skip their last one, not sure how it happened though. It's always worth a shot, you never know, right?

fned- I must look for the planillas, thanks for the tip! As I said to anon, it's amazing to me how many kids don't know the answers to these questions, I was hoping they could help me out but I got a lot of embarrassed faces more than answers. What's up with public education here anyway? ;-)

Anna- Hi and welcome and thanks for commenting! Good luck with the FM3, lawyers and friends in the right places can help. I am not legally married to Hubby, so that doesn't help me at all. And, from my understanding, if you get an FM3 based on marriage, it is considered to be a "dependant" visa and you would not be allowed to work. Even having a Mexican born child doesn't really help, I have heard terrible stories about people with Mexican born children being deported from Mexico (not for anything illegal either). Once you have your FM3, you keep it for five years, then move on to the FM2. After two years on the FM2, some people are considered eligible for citizenship (this is where marriage and kids does help). You have to have had the FM2 for two years and prove that you haven't left the country for two years, or if you did, that it was for a good reason. Most people without relations here have to have the FM2 for five years and then can start the citizenship process, though it isn't necessary to do so.

Lisa- Puff puff pass girl, bring it on! I am quite adept at singing the piñata song now, lol, do you think that will on the test? Sports questions? Get outta here, I couldn't answer sports questions about Canada, that just doesn't seem right! peace out girl....

To all....I've been meaning to do a big post on immigration stuff but just keep getting pulled in other directions, I promise you'll see it in the near future. And yes, maybe I'll even throw in the deportation stories, just for fun. :)

Thanks for reading and playing along with me in the comments!
CancunCanuck said…
Anna- Just another thing...I lived in Cozumel for six months when I first got to Mexico, it's a very different pace of life. I know you have visited and spent time there, just wanted to give you a heads up that it can be a bit of a pain living on an island. "Things" and "stuff" are more expensive or not available, many folks will do the ferry thing for trips to Walmart or Sam's because they can't get it on the island or it's ridiculously expensive. Anywho, just thought I would mention it. I love Cozumel, but I really can't see myself living there again, not enough resources, too many people up in your business (everyone knows everyone and what they are doing with whom) and very little to do (except dive of course, lol). Good luck! You might find Playa del Carmen is a slightly better place to live, but of course we all have different tastes so who knows? I left Coz for love and work, I thought Cancun would be too "big city" and in some ways it is, it lacks the charm of the isles, but at least I can go to the islands whenever I want and escape the grind, but I still have Costco just up the street.
My3Ro's said…
Congrats Kelly, That is the best feeling I am sure. Mexico would lose alot if they kicked you out!
I remember last year!!! Im glad everything was smoother this time!!! :)
Jennifer said…
As I too, am a Canadian, and this is my last year on the FM3, I have also been speaking with a lawyer. He has informed me that should I want to get Mexican citizenship, then I would have to give up my Canadian citizenship because Mexico and Canada do not have an agreement about the dual citizenship aspect. If you want to give up your Canadian citizenship then it's not a big deal. If not, you may want to check into this further. Just something else to think about.
CancunCanuck said…
Jennifer- I would have your lawyer do more homework, Canada absolutely allows dual citizenship, you do not need to give up the Canadian citizenship at all, unless you want to. This is the link from Citizenship and Immigration Canada that states you can have both....


Just out of curiousity, is it an immigration lawyer you are using? Mexican or Canadian?
CancunCanuck said…
Jennifer- I just found the page for Mexico's side of the story, they do allow dual citizenship as well....

Jennifer said…
Thanks for those sites...I had seen the Cdn. side of things but was told that the Mex. side didn't agree which didn't make sense to me. I will definitely be informing the lawyer about this. He is Mexican and immigration is not is specialty but is a friend of a friend. I will probably now have to go to someone else.
Heather said…
Congrats and kudos to you for doing it legal!!!
sarah swan said…
Hello all,

It seems that this is the best blog i have found. I will be sponsered by a hotel company, but my husband is a photographer and needs to apply for an FM3. Would you recommend we hire a lawyer and if so do you have any in mind? thanks and I look forward to reading more wonderful and helpful tips.
CancunCanuck said…
Hi Sarah,
Glad you found the site helpful and good luck with the big move! I do recommend using a lawyer and I do have a name. I used a lawyer this year on the recommendation of several friends and he did a good job for me. His name is Mauricio Mendoza and his cel phone number is 998 159 1599. Drop me an email if you have trouble reaching him. Best of luck!

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