By Ángel Marín Díaz
Dating back to January 2020, regulating the migratory status of foreign citizens was quite straightforward.
A foreign national would enter the country by land, air or sea and receive an FMM Tourist Visa, giving them the right to remain in the country for up to 180 days. A person could leave the country by any means and upon re-entry, would receive a new visa granting an additional 180 days. At the time there was no mechanism to receive an extension without leaving the country.
However, if for medical or other accepted reasons they were unable to leave the country in a timely manner, they could solicit a humanitarian visa for a specific timeframe.
Individuals seeking either temporary residency or permanent residency had only one choice for procuring the document through a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico.
Since February 2020, due to the dangers of travelling during the pandemic, INM (Mexican immigration) has made many changes to the established migratory system.
In February 2020, 180-day tourist visa extensions were approved with a cost, but this method was removed in March and replaced with the humanitarian visa. From March to April the humanitarian visa was issued to applicants so they could remain in the country for an additional 180 days without having to exit the country. As the Mexican government observed the prolongation of the pandemic in May through July, it added a “right to work” to the humanitarian visa. In August and September additional benefits and rights were added to the humanitarian visa, unlocking the path to temporary residence as well as permanent residency without needing to leave the country.
The last week of September the humanitarian visa was discontinued for new applicants and replaced with an extension visa which is also good for 180 days but does not include any of the aforementioned rights. Individuals can only apply for the extension visa within the first 59 days prior to the original visa’s expiration date, otherwise the only option available for renewal is exiting and re-entering the country.
Immigration protocols have fluctuated and yielded to pandemic-related circumstances and it is this writer’s opinion that as we progress into the fourth quarter of Covid-19, the government will need to continue developing procedures to best attend the guest community’s needs and find ways to prevent increased travel for migratory compliance.
For all notary and immigration services, questions or information, contact the author, Angel Marin Díaz, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 415 121 9005.