As Mexico’s new immigration law finally takes effect this month, confusion and consternation has spread like wildfire through expat enclaves across the nation.
At the same time, professional facilitators and officials working the desks at offices of the National Migration Institute (INM) seem to be having their own troubles sorting through the new immigration rulebook and coping with a flood of questions from frantic customers.
Although Chapala INM office chief Juan Carlos Galvan took a call from the Reporter this week, he was too swamped with internal matters to immediately sit down for an interview on major issues. He agreed to set up an appointment for Friday, with a promise to address frequently asked questions for publication in next week’s edition.
Meanwhile, the word from Galvan is “be patient and don’t panic.” His office staff is currently focused on dealing with persons whose applications for renewals of FM2 and FM3 visas were submitted prior to November 9, subject to the old rules. All other cases, including visas on the verge of expiration, will reportedly be dealt with in due time – and without peril of penalty – as regulatory details are eventually ironed out.
The Ley de Migracion was enacted in May 2011 to replace the statutes referring to immigration matters laid out in of the Ley General de Poblacion (Population Law). Since then however, the INM has being operating under standing legal stipulations pending official publication of revised regulations that complement the new law.
In broad terms, the Migration Law narrows down immigration status into three general categories: Visitors, Temporary Residents and Permanent Residents. But the changes in the terminology, definitions and guidelines have engendered puzzling questions among many of the estimated one million foreigners who reside in the country.
The specifics regarding income requirements appear to be a key topic of concern. Another big worry is how the new law impacts temporary importation of foreign plated vehicles, a separate matter that falls under the bailiwick of Mexican customs authorities rather than INM.
The Reporter is committed to keeping its readers informed in a timely manner on evolving legal matters of interest to Mexico’s foreign population and the estimated six million people who visit from abroad each year.
The INM advertises a 24/7 toll-free hotline staffed by English and Spanish speaking operators. To place calls from inside Mexico’s borders dial 01-800-004-6264.