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New FM3 process start to finish

 
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luckysarah



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:23 pm    Post subject: New FM3 process start to finish Reply with quote

I came to Mexico about a year ago and spent a good amount of time over the following months trying to decipher the new working visa process! I found a lot of help on this forum but it still wasn't clear. SO, with my shiny visa finally in hand - just in case anyone is in a similar position - this was my experience...

I walked in to a branch of one of the major language chains here in DF and was soon offered hours but with no full-time contract. A working visa was required so I began trying to figure out the process myself as the school were pretty clueless. This involved a visit to immigration in Polanco where I was abruptly informed that everything was done out of the country now and they had zero information. The school informed me it would all be a lot easier with a lawyer which would cost - including the cost of the visa - 8000 pesos. Eek. Since then I've heard of lawyers charging as much as 20,000.

The worst part was that the school wouldn't let me start working until I had the visa which could take 3 months. I told them my money just wouldn't last that long so I'd have to try somewhere else. At this point they offered me a full-time contract provided I committed to two years at the school. They would take care of everything to do with the visa, including costs. I jumped at the chance and the process kicked off. After job interviews and such, I was asked for lots of photos, my passport, my entry card, and my birth, degree and CELTA certificates. I only had a scan of the birth certificate but that was ok. I also have never had my degree or anything else apostilled in the UK. I kept waiting for this issue to raise its head. It never did.

By now I was happily working at the school. It's professionally run, and the package was good. In mid-August I was very abruptly informed I had ten days to leave the country to visit a Mexican consulate abroad. They told me I could go anywhere. I decided to visit SoCal as my boyfriend was there at the time. I made an appointment at the consulate with a funny feeling that the school didn't seem as knowledgeable on the process as I'd hoped. They gave me a few sheets of paper and said it was all I'd need. Luckily this wasn't the first working visa I'd ever had so I knew I'd need photos and photocopies galore too.

On arrival at the consulate in California we were immediately told that to apply for a Mexican working visa in the United States I would need financial records to prove I'd been living in the US for at least 6 months. I immediately got in touch with the school and had my first taste of Mexican HR. They told me to visit a different consulate in Cali. They even told me they would fly me to NYC! I told them to call these consulates and try to confirm it would be possible. I decided to just do it myself and saw on the New York Consulate's website that the same rule applied. It was easy to find but they would have booked me a flight without checking...I should have just let them! Except that if I ever decided to leave the school before the two years were up I'd have to reimburse them for ALL the expenses involved in getting the visa. Which took the fun out of all of it.

After a lot of furious emailing I finally got them to book me a flight back to Mexico. It felt like I'd never get this visa and was on the point of being sacked. By now I was wondering why I'd signed up for such a - and I'm sorry but this word really felt like it applied - Kafkaesque nightmare.

But the ten days weren't up! So they sent me off to Guatemala. Here I was successful. A few awkward questions about 'when' I was going to start working but it was ok. The only wonderful irritating thing they do is to ensure you stay an extra day in the city. You have your first appointment and they invite you back the next morning to have photos taken. You then pick up the visa in the afternoon. Around the time the ONLY Interjet flight that day is leaving for DF. Another 24 hours in Guatemala City yay!

Returned and back to work. Was asked to sign a few documents which were then returned because the signature didn't match the one on my passport. The one I did 10 years ago at 15. Mexico - not everyone has an IFE signature that can never change! Few weeks later I was told I had to go to immigration in Polanco. Arrived at 8 and left at 12. All to take my fingerprints and have me sign a paper. A few weeks after that I got my passport back and then FINALLY the visa itself. I think I was lucky to get it without needing to have my things apostilled though. It expires in August. Hopefully the renewal is relatively straightforward! Anyway, I hope my experience can help anyone looking for info on the way it works! It's worth it, I love DF and the job is decent (though I don't love it and doubt I'll stay longer than the contract). Just make sure you have all the information (and savings) you can!
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Lukas



Joined: 11 Jul 2010
Posts: 15
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for posting your experience. I'm considering Mexico and have read through all the threads on the new visa rules, yet still find the process to be murky at best. Hope everything works out for you in Mexico!
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LifterMan



Joined: 26 Nov 2013
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very informative post. This almost makes me think about backing out of Mexico. The visa looks like a nightmare and I suspect it is even more difficult without the school doing it for you.

So the entire time you were working at the school, was that considered illegal as you were still waiting for the visa? And is this common to work for the school while you wait for them to process the paperwork? This is very discouraging, I don't want to have to wait around for months for a visa that may or may not go through just to make a low wage.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9381
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the info! Your process has gone more smoothly than many others I've heard, believe it or not...

I wouldn't fault the school very much...it sounds like they too got caught up in what has been a chaotic mess at immigration. Did they pay for your trip to Guatemala?
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luckysarah



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are considered to be working illegally while you wait for your visa. But that didn't bother me too much as I'd done the same in Thailand and it seems to be pretty common.

The clearest information I got was from the foreign consulates when I emailed them directly. Immigration in DF was a nightmare.

I didn't mean to put anyone off coming to Mexico! In my experience all the inconvenience and stress was ultimately worth it. But I do think support from a school is important unless you're coming with plenty of cash to back you up. Like anywhere DF has its difficulties but if you like big cities and can deal with painful commutes then I think this is a great place to live.

I do know people who arrived around the same time as me and are making it work without visas. Schools find ways and this is Mexico after all...

And yes, the school did pay for my trip to Guatemala which made up for the US disaster Smile
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1082
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to hear you were able to go to Guatemala, it's good to have that as an option for non-north american teachers.
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Guero1



Joined: 20 Dec 2013
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long process mind, glad you got it in the end.
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