Today I began one of the things which I need to accomplish during the month that I am here... obtaining my Mexican residency visa.
Alejandro and I drove from his house to the National Institute of Migration located in the swank neighborhood of Polanco. It was at least a forty-minute drive in typical Mexico City traffic. We figured that they would give us the information on all the forms and documents that we need to have, and that we could make an appointment at that time. The lady at the desk gave us the information on what we need. We need to bring our marriage certificate (which I expected). I have to fill out an application form from their website and print it out. I also have to fill out online an FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple), what we used to call a "tourist card". Travelers to Mexico used to get a "tourist card" to fill out on the plane as they headed down there. Now an immigration agent at the airport simply stamps your passport. However, that stamp in my passport does not suffice when applying for a residency visa. I have to electronically register and fill out an FMM online and print that out. And no, I could not make an appointment at this time. I have to hand everything in at the "Instituto", pay around 400 U.S. dollars (credit card payments are accepted), and THEN you are given an appointment. After the appointment it can take as little as one day or as long as a month to receive the visa. I told the lady I return to Ohio on June 28th. "Am I going to have enough time?!" I asked anxiously. She said "Yes, you shoud have plenty of time".
Then we drove another 40 minutes to the Civil Registry Office where we were married to get our "Acta de Matrimonio" (Marriage Certificate). When we were married in February, we were given a document, but the official "Acta" was not available immediately. I knew from when we registered to get married that the office does not take cash payments. The lady at the Civil Registry told us we had to go to a nearby stationary store / internet cafe where they would print off a form for payment. We then had to take that to a nearby supermarket and pay the fee for the marriage certificate there. Then we returned to the civil registry office. We thought that we would immediately get the certificate... but NO, we have to return next Wednesday.
I will fill out and print the necessary forms in the next few days. Then on Wednesday hopefully we will get our "Acta" at the Civil Registry, and then head over to the Institute of Migration and get an interview date for as soon as possible.
I should have known that getting my visa would not be a simple process... this is Mexico, land of bureaucracy.