Wednesday, November 3rd 2021

Yes, Mexico Is Cracking Down on Visas.

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Mexico Is Cracking Down on Visas

In the 18th Century, Scottish philosopher David Hume best articulated the Problem of Induction. To paraphrase it poorly, it states that: Just because things have always been one way, does not mean that they will always continue to be that way.

Later, an analytic philosopher named Bertrand Russel would offer a metaphor to articulate this idea better: “The chicken that is fed by the farmer each morning may well have a theory that it will always be fed each morning. . . and it works every day—that is, until the chicken is slaughtered.”

When it comes to Mexican visas, we have seen the same mentality from many expats and nomads—a reluctance to accept a changing climate in favor of how things have always been.

Unfortunately, yes, <u>Mexico is cracking down on visas</u>. In this article, we’ll tell you why, how, and what you can do about it.

Why Is Mexico Cracking Down on Visas?

Mexico is Cracking Down on Visas

It all started a month ago, when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Mexican President López Obrador in Mexico City. They were set to overhaul a 13-year-old, joint security accord between the two nations, called the Merida Initiative. They discussed how best to tackle security, drug and precursor chemical flows, smuggling American guns into Mexico—and above all: immigration.

After the difficulties posed by the last administration in protecting the southern border of the United States by means of a wall, and the recent controversies this administration has faced involving Haitian and immigrants from other Latin American countries, made immigration a top priority issue in Mexico right now.

Though their ideologies differ, a deal was struck between the Biden Administration and AMLO’s cabinet. In the new agreement, called the Bicentennial Framework, the pressure would be put on Mexico to stop illegal immigration in its own borders so it didn’t reach the United States. In exchange, AMLO would be allowed the freedom to pursue his own agendas in other areas without American interference or pressure.

Sure, the crackdown on immigration in Mexico is aimed at targeting refugee migrants from further south. However, ironically, the U.S. government’s pressure to secure their southern border has put many American expats and nomads in Mexico at risk of losing their homes, temporary incarceration, and even deportation.

And some of these American expats and nomads in Mexico—who have become dependent on Mexico’s lax approach to immigration—are getting caught in the new restrictions.

Reports are still coming in from expats in Facebook groups around the country. We’re seeing a picture of immigration officials setting up checkpoints to check for papers on bus routes and at bus stations.

We’re seeing restrictions being placed on international tourists arriving at the border; more so from those flying into airports than the crossing by land, but overall, people who have clearly been living in Mexico, floating from one travel visa to the next, are being restricted upon.

It’s even worse if you’re in Mexico on an expired visa. Whereas before a well-placed mordida might resolve any issues, now American expats and nomads in Mexico are being detained in the deplorable conditions of Mexican jails.

Perhaps as a courtesy to the United States government, many of these detained Americans are being offered the opportunity to purchase their own flight home. The only other option is to be deported, whereby one couldn’t return to Mexico for roughly 7 years.

The United States Embassy recently released a statement about jailing American citizens. In short, they said, the Mexican government has the right to detain foreigners without a visa for 60 days while they verify the paperwork of the occupant. They recommend that <u>you carry your FMM permit, temporal visa, or permanent visa</u> on you at all times.

From a Recent Interview with an INM Agent about Incoming Flights

Mexico is Cracking Down on Visas

Recently, there was a live radio broadcast in Spanish with a guest who is a senior executive with Inmigracion in Mexico City. Immigration Broker Sonia Diaz took down some notes from the radio feed to share on her Facebook profile, in hopes of clearing up some of the confusion found in many Facebook groups and forums recently. She writes:

INM has been more diligent recently in attempting to crack down on misuse of tourist visas. This is not to punish travelers but to educate and inform.

INM agents are asking for more proof of travel itineraries such as hotel accommodations and dates; return airline tickets; length of stay. . . etc. Regular tourists (typical 1-3 week stay) are given appropriate tourist visas.

Snowbirds (and tourists with longer-term stays) now require that an INM agent review the applicant’s age and the retirement factors in their assessment. These people are given appropriate time-based FMM's based upon the length requested—provided that they satisfy the agent’s questions.

*Note: There is one exception. If snowbirds own and rent out property in Mexico, they are expected to be a temporary resident with permission to work, or be a permanent resident.

Concerning Remote Workers / Digital Nomads, these tend to be younger travelers. INM officials believe if you work in a country, then you are a resident of that country. You are not a tourist. You are expected to have a temporary resident visa card.

Anyone who stays for 180 days, leaves, and then comes back for another extended period within the same year is obviously living in Mexico and not living in their native country. These people are now being flagged by agents and given short FMM periods. Some tourists will be denied entry altogether. They will be encouraged to return to their home countries where they can apply for residency.

*Note: Repeat or serial tourists should be aware that all travel history is available to INM agents. It’s constantly updated. INM staff can quickly identify misuse of tourist visas.

In summary, agents are more thoroughly assessing the following factors (among other requirements):

  • Tourist’s age
  • Accommodations
  • Length of stay
  • Return plane ticket
  • Being a landlord
  • Digital nomad
  • Source of income
  • Repeated entries
  • Duration of previous entries
  • Suspected Criminal Activity
  • Country of Origin

*To view Sonia Diaz's original Facebook post discussing the content listed above, click here.

What Can You Do About It?

Mexico is Cracking Down on Visas

The first thing you can do is make sure that you have proof of residency on you, and that everything is in order. If you’ve overstayed your visa, click here to learn what you can do.

You’ll pretty much need a flight out. Expat Insurance is still trying to fact-check a lead on how to renew your visa without having to leave the country. It seems the crackdown has made this all but impossible.

The best thing you can do is apply for a temporal residency visa. We recommend messaging Sonia Diaz by clicking here. She's an immigration broker based in San Miguel de Allende and Puerto Vallarta, and she can help you get the process started for a reasonable price.

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