What is Up With the New Mexican Immigration Law?


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What is Up With the New Mexican Immigration Law?
And No-Immigrant (FM-3), Immigrant  (FM-2) and Inmigrado Status?

By Gisela Talamantes Saenz, Attorney at Law
On May 25, 2012 a new immigration law was published amending several provisions of the Mexican General Population Law. This new immigration law will govern the entry, exit and residency of foreigners in Mexico. Immigration authorities have been waiting for the governing law just published on September 28, 2012, in order to start the execution of the law and the implementation of new proceedings.
Among the most important changes are the following:

1. Entry and residency of foreigners in Mexico.  In general terms, the new law makes two distinctions:
a.) Foreigners residing in Mexico for NO LONGER than 180 days
b.) Foreigners residing in Mexico for MORE THAN 180 days
A)   Residency for no longer than 180 days.  When a foreigner wishes to stay in Mexico for no more than 180 days, performing an economic or non-economic activity, he or she may be able to request the status of “estancia”. For example tourists, business people and temporary travelers may apply for this status. The foreigners under this condition of “estancia” shall request at their entrance into Mexico a migratory form denominated “Forma Migratoria Múltiple” (“FMM”), which is generally delivered to the foreigner on airplanes or other type of transportation. Except for the foreigners that are related to Mexicans, the foreigners holding an (FMM) will not be able to change his or her status for another that will allow him to stay longer than 180 days, therefore he or she will have to exit the country once the 180 days are up.
As per above, switching from tourists status to business people status or other residency conditions that will allow the foreigner to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days will not be an option any more. Now said foreigner will have to apply for the now called admission permit “permiso de internación”. (See below B)
B) Residency for more than 180 days. When a foreigner plans to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days, performing an economic or non-economic activity, he or she must apply for the following migratory status: (i) Temporary Resident; or (ii) Permanent Resident.
i) Temporary Residency (Residencia Temporal). This status will allow the foreigner to remain in Mexico for a period no longer than four years, being able to enter and exit Mexico as he or she wishes. The foreigner will have to apply for this status before the INAMI Offices and obtain a card stating Temporary Resident (Residente Temporal).
ii) Permanent Resident (Residente Permanente). This status allows the foreigner to remain in México indefinitely with a working permit, being able to enter and exit Mexico as he or she wishes. Not all foreigners will be able obtain this status; only the ones that comply with the requirements of the new law.  For example, this includes relatives of permanent residents, foreigners with more than four years under the temporary residency status, among others. The foreigners that qualify to obtain this status may request to migratory authorities and they will obtain a card with the legend stating Permanent Resident (Residente Permanente).
What about No-Immigrant (FM-3), Immigrant  (FM-2) and Inmigrado status?
Under the new law, the issuance of FM-3 for No-Immigrants, FM-2 for Immigrants and Inmigrados will be discontinued.
- Foreigners holding a card with the legend No-Inmigrante (FM-3) will be equivalent to a Visitante (visitor) under the new law.
- Foreigners holding a card with the legend Inmigrante (FM-2) will be equivalent to the temporary resident (residente temporal) under the new law.
- Foreigners holding a card with the legend (Inmigrado) will be equivalent to a Permanent Resident (residente permanente) under the new law.
Per the above, under the new law foreigners holding No Inmigrante (FM-3), Inmigrante (FM-2) and Inmigrado cards will have to request the change for new cards with the new status of “visitante”, “residente temporal” or “residente permanente” as applicable. Also, it is important to highlight that the foreigner currently holding a No Immigrant card (FM-3) with an economic activity or working permit will have to request the change to temporary resident with economic activity in Mexico as per the law. It is a legal obligation of the employer to hire foreigners with the proper permits or foreigners representing Mexican corporations to hold the proper permit from immigration authorities in order for their legal acts to be valid.
The proceedings to carry out the new changes have been published with the Governing Law of the New Immigration Law and will start being implemented by the immigration offices upon corresponding training in the next following weeks.  Immigration offices will confirm in the following weeks if the foreigner must wait to its expiration date to request the new status and card. Those holding a position under a Mexican Corporation or carrying out an economic activity should seek clarity of their status immediately before the Immigration authorities.
The above is a general overview of the major changes. We expect more clarity from the immigration authorities as they start implementing the new law.An important question to be determined by the authorities will be the criteria that the foreign relations agency (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores) will take now for the naturalization proceeding as before the agency required 5-years with the inmigrante (immigrant or inmigrado status). Under the new law, FM-2 holders are considered temporary residents therefore it is not clear how the agency will consider the classification of “temporary” for their naturalization proceeding.For more information please contact Gisela Talamantes Saenz at gisela@bajalegals.com or via cell phone 612 136 4598. Website: www.bajalegals.com :  offices in La Paz and Los Barriles.

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