With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, you cannot legally drive across the Mexico border for vacation right now! This week, we show you how we applied for Temporary Resident status at the Mexican consulate in Denver so we can RV in Mexico again, plus our little beach dog Scout sees snow for the first time. All the feels.
Why are we getting Temporary Residency in Mexico?
As our Newstate Navigators have known for several months, we’re planning to returning to Mexico! We decided back in June to go the route of temporary residents (Abbreviated “RT” in Spanish) instead of tourist visas because unfortunately due to COVID-19 you can no longer drive past the “free zone” areas along the US/Mexico border (and Baja) unless it is deemed an “essential activity” (translation: business purposes, emergencies, government sanctioned, etc). Every month since March, 2020, the USA, Canada, and Mexico continue to extend their driving bans, recently extended to October 21st, and it seemed too risky to chance whether the ban would be lifted. We decided to take the time (and higher fees) to apply for RT, as it will give us freedom to travel across the border for 1 year from when we reenter Mexico. A typical tourist visa is valid for 6 months, and is available even now for those who fly into Mexico, which still surprises us a little that there should be a difference between driving and flying into the same country?
How do you get residency, and what do you need to apply?
It may sound surprising, but the process begins OUTSIDE Mexico, at a Mexican consulate or embassy. Since we are in Colorado, we chose to schedule our appointment in Denver! This phase requires providing paperwork proving that you can financially support yourself without the need to seek local employment while a temporary resident of Mexico. Once approved at the consulate appointment, you have 6 months to enter Mexico and begin the second phase (fingerprints, biometrics, and getting your Temporary Resident identification card!). We’ll have more on the second phase when we return to Mexico, keep an eye on our social media for more updates!
First and foremost, it is important to note (while we can’t really explain why) there are SLIGHT differences in what is required from each Mexican Consulate. All the information, links, and experiences are based on our appointment at the consulate located in Denver, CO in September, 2020. The employees both in emails and in person were very helpful, and if you have further questions I would encourage you to contact whichever consulate you intend to apply at for help.
Let’s get started! The paperwork can be divided into three parts:
- Identification documents and photos
- Financial verification
- Application and letter
Lucky for you, we have it all listed below, and there’s a handy document provided by the Denver consulate with all this info HERE. ?
Get your copier ready, you will need the following
- Passport (must be valid for at least 6 months and have at least one blank page to affix the visa sticker)
- Passport photocopy (only personal information page)
- ID (Driver License, Identification Card, etc.)
- 1 Passport size photo
- If married, the original and an extra copy of your marriage license for each person. Does not need to be official copies.
- Minors: all under age (-18) applicants must present an original
birth certificate along with valid ID of both parents.
Financial verification is a little tricky depending on whether you are A) Employed by someone else or B) Self Employed/Retired
I’m employed by someone else
Great! You will need to provide 6 months of paystubs or bank statements showing the deposits from your employer of at least $1500 per month. If you are married or have children/dependents, you can “sponsor” them by showing an additional $500 per person in income (example: if you are married, you must show at least $2000/month on paystubs or bank statements).
I’m self-employed or retired
Also great! We’re self-employed, so this is our category, too. Here are your options:
Investments, 401K or savings (12 months bank statements). Minimum balance per month: $25,000 USD
Public deed notarized of real property in Mexico under the name of the applicant. Property value must exceed $160,000 USD.
Extra Important Note: Each person applying needs their OWN copy of financials. If you are sponsoring a spouse, for example, you will need two copies minimum of any financial documents you are using to get approved for residency.
Application, letter and fee
Finally, we get to apply for temporary residency! Here we go:
- Application form (Blank Form HERE. We’ve made a highlighted copy HERE of what you need to fill out).
- Letter addressed to the Consulate requesting residency. The letter must state your address in Mexico (just use the first RV park or hotel you intend on staying, it can change), your intended stay duration (unless you have a good reason, indicate 12 months), and that you are aware that as a holder of this kind of visa you are not allowed to work in Mexico. We made a template letter for you, too!
- Printed appointment confirmation (you will receive this when you schedule the appointment online)
- Fee ($40 USD) PER PERSON.
The Application Process
So you have your stack of paperwork, now you can apply. Here are the steps!
- Register for an account and schedule an appointment using the Mexican online appointment system. It can be a little confusing, but thankfully we have a friendly guide HERE for the whole appointment process. NOTE: One person can register for an account and make appointments for other people, but EACH PERSON needs their own appointment. For us, Howard was at 8AM and the next available time was 10AM. Try your best to schedule them back to back if you can.
- Collect all those documents, forms, and money, making sure you have 2 copies of everything just in case.
- On the day of of your appointment, report to the consulate at least 15 minutes early (or earlier if instructed in advance by whichever consulate you choose). There will likely be a greeter and they will direct you where to wait for your appointment.
- In Denver, the waiting area is the same as where Mexican citizens go for processing (getting new Mexican passports, IDs, etc). It filled up quickly and seemed busy during our entire visit.
- An agent will call your name and you present all your documents. They might ask clarifying questions just to be sure you are providing what they need to complete your application. In our case, when the agent realized we were married and that Howard was sponsoring Katelyn, they immediately told us that they would process our paperwork at the same time. Thanks, Denver agent! Saved us a couple hours of waiting.
- Wait. We were called up two more times with questions (agent needed our marriage license and copy).
- After about an hour, the agent called us up on more time and led us into her office. We were approved!
- In her office, the agent instructed us what to complete on the back of the application form (essentially which documents she was attaching to support our application, and signing the back).
- Each one of us had a digital picture taken, and a fingerprint scan. We shall see if this is repeated for matching purposes once we start the second phase of the process in Mexico!
- We each paid our application fee, $40 per person. In Denver, you can pay with cash or credit card, but we have been told some locations only accept cash.
- The agent came out one final time with our passports, each with the new visa sticker for us to reenter Mexico once in the next 6 months to start the next phase.
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? Where we stayed in this episode ?
Boondockers Welcome host in Denver, CO
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Apps & Websites We Use to Find FREE Camping
In order to find free camping, we use a variety of resources:
- Campendium: This is our go to search engine for camping because we can actually filter our locations based on cell service and connectivity, which is huge since we work from the road. It’s helpful to see reviews from other campers and you can set the filters for free camping as well.
- iOverlander: This is a great resource for not only finding camping, but the amenities you’ll eventually need after dry camping for a while. You can look for dump stations, water, even RV repair and showers on this user-generated map.
- Freecampsites.net: Another great user-generated map of camping with reviews and pictures.
- Ultimate Public Campgrounds: This is the most comprehensive list of public paid and free campsites with over 43,000 listings. You can display or hide based on operator, amenities offered, price, etc. Another great perk of this app is that you can download maps by region of the country, and once you have it loaded on your phone, you don’t need internet access to review the listings.