Tomorrow morning in Mazatlan, the expat community is having a forum related to all of the recent changes in immigration. The forum was arranged by the Governor’s Advisory Council and will feature representatives from Immigration, Aduana and Hacienda in an attempt to clarify a lot of the things we have all read about on various forums on the Internet.
Well you didn’t miss too much today. Hacienda was a no-show, so nothing learned about capital gains. Aduana showed, but nothing was prepared ahead of time and they seemed a little lost as to why they were there.
There were a few new things learned after the meeting this morning. The good news for most is that all of the new financial requirements do not apply to anybody currently holding a valid visa. Just don’t let it expire. If it does expire and you go more than sixty days, you not only have to pay a fine, you lose your seniority and have to start all over (after leaving Mexico).
The switch to Permanente takes 20 days. If you need to come and go from Mexico during that time, you can purchase a permit for 320 pesos.
Aduana said that nothing on their end has changed. If you are in Mexico temporarily you can have a car just like in the past. If you are permanent, you need to return your car to the country of origin or consider nationalizing it if it qualifies. At the very end, the Aduana representative made reference to a category of Permanente – Rentista. He said that if you have the rentista designation you can keep a foreign-plated car here. There was no time at the end to circle back and verify with Immigration that they will have such a designation under the new rules for those who qualify. It seems to make sense as the Rentista category clarifies that you are not earning income in Mexico and are supported by sources outside of Mexico. Without this designation, it would imply that a Permanente can work, and we know this is not the case.
Overall, the main message is that this is much better for anyone with a current visa. Once you have four years, you have to go to permanente (or leave Mexico and come in under a new visa). Once you pay for permanente (4,815 pesos), you never pay again. Never is a long time and governments need money, but that is what they said. Also, when you think of it, the immigration offices will be a lot less busy in the future. With one-time applications for permanent replacing a lot of FM3 and FM2 renewals and multi-year temporary applications replacing much of the remaining – they will have a lot of time on their hands – this is perhaps part of the master plan.
The meeting was fairly well run. Somehow during the Immigration presentation the Spanish/English/Slides got out of sync and some people were confused. If you understood even a little Spanish you could understand what had happened.
The place was packed – standing room only and then some. Most people were polite, but there were a few cantankerous individuals in the crowd as always.
There were only a few questions from the floor and they were helpful to keep the car conversation going.
It will be interesting to watch this unfold. I’m glad that I won’t have to let our FM3’s expire and then reapply – that never made sense. We don’t renew until May/June, so we are lucky that others will go through this and iron out the system before we arrive!