A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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July 23, 2006 — Last year, it took us six or seven trips to Queretaro, from the town of Bernal where we were living, to get our FM-3 Mexican residence visas. They need to be renewed annually, and as the time approached this year, I was reluctant to go through anything like that again. People say that renewals are easier, but we would be changing locations in Mexico and having to provide paperwork to prove that we had bought our house. The amount of income you need to prove is a Kafkaesque number, a bit hard to pin down, but it is said to be cut in half or so if you own a home.

Here in the Lake Chapala area, foreigners often do their renewals on Wednesday mornings in the small city of Chapala. An American friend here on a tourist visa told of waiting and waiting to apply for a renewal while other foreigners waltzed in with the scraps of paper with numbers they had saved from the previous week, and effectively cut in line ahead of her. I wasn’t eager to go there myself, though at least it would be a much shorter trip than last year.

There are Mexican attorneys lakeside who handle such matters, and we ended up working with Azucena Bateman Campos, who was a delight to work with. (She’s in the law office on the west side of Colon in Ajijic, just up a bit from the central plaza, Legal & Immigration Services at Col√≥n # 41-A, and everyone in the office is great!) She knew just what papers were needed to show our financial worthiness, and it wasn’t what I would have thought. Because she does so much of this kind of work, she goes to Guadalajara several times a week, as the immigration office there is open Monday through Friday.

As it turned out, she was well worth her reasonable fees. The unexpected snag we ran into was that last year, in order to qualify for showing less income, I had been listed as a dependent of Kelly’s. The Queretaro office of the Migra, as it’s called, had required that they receive a copy of our marriage certificate, apostilled and translated into Spanish, by July of last year. We had had the documents sent to a woman translator in Queretaro we became friendly with, and she had evidently submitted them, as when we saw her this year, she gave us copies. But neither she nor we noticed that she didn’t give us hard and fast proof from the Queretaro office that these papers had been turned in and on time.

So the Guadalajara office socked me with a daily fine for not having turned in the papers until the day that our attorney here, Azucena, did again. It came to about $90 US. Azucena said that generally her office doesn’t recommend going the dependent route because of possible hassles like this. Live and learn.

We picked up our renewed FM 3 visas from her just a day before we had to fly to the US because Kelly’s mother had died. I’m sure there would have been a creative Mexican way that we could have gone out of the country and back in again without them, but it was nice not to have to learn it!

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