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Mea Culpa?

5 January 2022

How much responsiblity Mexfiles… and other Mexican-based “private media”… bears for the present confusion foreigners have about their permission to stay in the country isn’t clear. Some, perhaps quite a bit.

For years, with the visitors permit (the FMM…Forma Migratoria Múltiple) would — almost without exception — give the holder UP TO 180 days to stay in Mexico. When it was first introduced, it was meant to replace a plethora of different forms for different types of visitors: business travelers going to meetings, academics on sabbatical, students, and — of course — tourists. We (in the Mex-media biz) — given the generous time given even to casual visitors spending a week in Cancun, or a couple days in Mexico City … got into the bad habit of referring to the form as the “tourist visa” … undertandable, but highly misleading.

An FMM assumes the holder had no ties or committment to the country (one reason over the years, I’ve read about so many FMM holders who just can’t understand why when they’re arrested, there is no question of any sort of “bail” or bond they can post… they’re a flight risk). Or, why they are denied re-entry after holding themselves out as residents, and expecting the same rights of entry as a resident. A VISA implies the state has decided the person is worthy of a longer stay… temporarily, or permantly (depending on the situation), has some legitimate reason to live full-time (or nearly full time) in the country, and is unlikely to become a public charge.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 January 2022 7:18 am

    It gets even murkier on the expat forums when posters interchangeably substitute “FMM” for “Visitante Visa”. All foreigners flying into Mexico & flying out must fill out FMMs, including all Residente Visa holders, so the FMM has NEVER been a visa of any sort. … It’s just a multiple use form, as the M (Multiple) in “FMM” states.

    Since Nov. 2012, Mexico automatically gives Visitante Visas upon entry to so many nation’s citizens without making them pre-apply, it appears to average people that their FMM is somehow a Visa, but it’s not. For foreigners without a Residente Visa, the FMM is simple the card that documents that they were issued a Visitante Visa by INM.

    Sadly, the highly-respected Rolly Brook** & a bunch of other people on Mexconnect & on the big Chapala forums got things really confused back when INM’s Reglamentos were published in Nov. 2012.

    **Sadly, as a friend of Rolly’s, I have to say that Rolly’s vision was so bad by that point that he could physically no longer read things – and he relied on what some schmucks told him about the “new” Reglamentos. It took weeks to get those facts ironed out with Rolly, but in the meantime, the whole FMM “somehow equals tourist visa” thing took root, as Rolly insisted that INM was supposedly not issuing Visas – as Rolly like to call them “permits” … while the May 2010 Ley de Migracion & the Nov 2012 Reglamento clearly called all of them “Visas” every single time in the text of our laws.

    So, I very much miss Rolly – as the Rolly-wanna-be’s have never come close. 😉

    • 5 January 2022 3:09 pm

      Rolly was an institution, and is still missed. I think the FMM as “visa” meme though, goes back much further than anything his influential (and still highly informative) site published, having seen a plethora of sites and books (remember them?) pushing the idea that people could just stay here indefinitely without a visa … though to be completely kosher, they were expected to day trip “back home” every six months… or not.

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