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I've been living in Mexico for the past couple of years on a tourist card as I don't qualify for immigrant status because my income and assets aren't enough. This hasn't been a problem since I travel a couple times a year or leave to visit my family in the States. Last February I renewed my passport at the American Embassy. I keep hearing persistent rumors that Mexico will not issue 180-day tourist cards to people like me who go in and out every 6 months. I'm scheduled to leave May 20 and return June 13 and am worried that I might not be issued a re-entry tourist card. Is there any real justification for my concerns?
 

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I think nobody really knows Everyone who knows something only has a piece of the picture. What I have heard (this is true; no mere rumour) is that some people who did their visa runs at one of the southern borders have started being denied or given shorter-than-180-day tourist cards in recent months.

What is only speculation is that the system is now in place if they wanted to start preventing people from living in Mexico continuously on 180-day tourist cards. By this I mean that previously, the records of your going out and back in were only on little pieces of paper – there was no way to keep track of who was doing it. Now that everything is computerized, they have a way to keep track.
 

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The option that is open if not granted a 180 day Visitante is to go to INM and pay for an extension up to the 180 day limit.
 

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Mexico has, on a spotty basis, been targeting expats who are illegally in Mexico. Some day, probably not too far in the distant future ... they'll get a better grip of the problem. The most porous point of entry is indeed the land entry points, because at the airports (but now a few land crossings) the data collection/recall systems are much more efficient in weeding-out such folks. While you don't qualify for a tourist card ... there are so many government employees who fail to enforce the rules for various reasons, I doubt you'll have a problem getting back in Mexico. I have read, on some forum or another in the past 6 months, of several instances where expats living illegally in Mexico were blocked at the border and not granted an FMM. I don't recall what the final outcome was, in those cases.
 

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Longford has a history of providing useful information on this forum, but with regard to this topic he has a history of inaccurately describing those who live here on a tourist card as being here illegally. This is not the case and is personal bias. Or perhaps he is confused about the difference between law and policy. Anyways, on this topic, take his comments with caution.
 

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Mexico has, on a spotty basis, been targeting expats who are illegally in Mexico. Some day, probably not too far in the distant future ... they'll get a better grip of the problem. The most porous point of entry is indeed the land entry points, because at the airports (but now a few land crossings) the data collection/recall systems are much more efficient in weeding-out such folks. While you don't qualify for a tourist card [In Longford's opinion.] there are so many government employees who fail to enforce the rules for various reasons, I doubt you'll have a problem getting back in Mexico. I have read, on some forum or another in the past 6 months, of several instances where expats living illegally [In Longford's opinion.] in Mexico were blocked at the border and not granted an FMM. I don't recall what the final outcome was, in those cases.
Notes in boldface are my opinion of Longford's post.
 

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Since you will be out of Mexico for 24 days I doubt you would be denied entry ....
Please post a report when you re-enter Mexico in June and let others know of any problems.......
 

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I OP'd about this a couple of weeks ago. IMO it's irreverent what you hear. Who is being turned away? Who is being hassled? Have we ever seen them? Do we know them? Could it be they are undesirable even to a foreign tourist like myself? Could it be the agent had a bad day? Was he cranky after reading a news story about some ****** law enforcement injustice to one of his piasanos at the US Border?

I went to Reynosa to renew. Partied with the Immigration guys for 2 hours. I was the only "client" so far that day. Would they hassle the only ****** who wanted to travel in Mexico they had? Jeez, I got the grand welcome!

I have a student, he's a lawyer, a good one, well-paid and well-known. Damn if I'm not learning a lot from him. He told me, and after 30 years living here believe him, it doesn't matter to any Mexican law enforcer if you are "cool", well dressed, speak perfect Spanish, say Usted a lot, advanced in years, man, woman or child, he's going to enforce the law by any means he sees prudent for number one for that time and place. And the same goes for his compatriotas. Put yourself in their place; they're only human, some people rub you wrong and some people don't. Again, it's a matter of probability.

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I keep hearing persistent rumors that Mexico will not issue 180-day tourist cards to people like me who go in and out every 6 months.
From whom are you hearing these "persistent" rumors?

Living here as a tourist is every bit as legal as living here with any other form of immigration status. That's why they print those little tourist cards and charge that little fee.

I realize that there are some expats here who feel like they have some sort of exalted status because they're now "official" immigrants and everything, but living here indefinitely on a 180-day basis, as long as you leave once every 180 days, is still 100 percent legal according to Mexican immigration law.
 

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Notes in boldface are my opinion of Longford's post.
It's not opinion. The law is clearly written. Ignore it as you wish. The forum is no place to advise people how to break the law. I think the rules of participation on this website are clear on that point. If expats don't/can't respect the laws of Mexico and the Mexican people .. they should leave the country. :)
 

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It's not opinion. The law is clearly written. Ignore it as you wish. The forum is no place to advise people how to break the law. I think the rules of participation on this website are clear on that point. If expats don't/can't respect the laws of Mexico and the Mexican people .. they should leave the country.
It is not illegal to live as a tourist in Mexico.

There are certain things that are illegal for you to do if you are only here as a tourist, such as illegally working for a Mexican company without appropriate immigration status.

But simply living here as a tourist is perfectly legal.

You can live here for 180 days, leave, rinse, and repeat.

I obey Mexican immigration law. The fact that you don't happen to agree with said law doesn't make it any less the law.
 

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The tourist card is a means for them to keep track of you. Sure, you can live here as a tourist. They don't care. But I'd agree they surely have the right to know who you are and where you are. That's why they question you. Ever heard of any foreigner crossing the border without being questioned? Many of y'all don't understand the process' evolved, how things work here. Many never seem to come to grips with the fact they're not in their country anymore.

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The tourist card is a means for them to keep track of you. Sure, you can live here as a tourist. They don't care. But I'd agree they surely have the right to know who you are and where you are. That's why they question you. Ever heard of any foreigner crossing the border without being questioned? Many of y'all don't understand the process' evolved, how things work here. Many never seem to come to grips with the fact they're not in their country anymore.

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When a person from the US or Canada or any other country crosses by car or foot into Baja California they are not questioned about anything. They have lanes marked "Nothing to Declare" and they have a Green/Red light system on the vehicle lanes driving into Mexico and if I happen to get a red light then I drive up to the customs officer about 30 feet away, he or she taps my trunk. I pop the lever and they look inside and close the trunk then from behind my car wave me on. They also have lanes marked "Something to Declare".

When I crosss by foot they have a Red/Green light button in the very small room you enter almost behind the 2 large turnstiles where you have to reach back to push it in TJ and nobody does this because the turnstile will have another person coming out and you will be in their way. They have 2 customs agents, one at the turnstile and one behind a table smiling at you and one military person with a rifle. No Immigration officer, not asking for passports or anything similar to entering the US from Mexico.
 

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That's a free zone, so is Sonora. And not all crossings have the red/green system setup.

The point I'd like to make is that there really isn't any laws here, as in the way most of us define law. The court system isn't even based in presidents; each case is unique.

Whether or not it's legal for you to live here as a tourist is up to the Imm official. They decide.

The key to living and working here as a tourist without hassles is in your composure. Don't rattle the cage, get along with your neighbors, be respectful. Don't give anybody a reason to report you. And if you are reported there are ways to deal with it. Mexicans are good for giving the benefit of a doubt.

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Mexico Immigration Guide visas, work, Temporary Resident, Permanent Resident, FM2, FM3, Mexican Citizenship

I found this, that explains the intent of the Mexican Immigration Law. Says that a Visitante is needed for stays of less than 6 months, and a Visa is needed for a stay longer than 6 months. Many people "get around/violate" the law by living full time in Mexico, and just leaving when the 180 day expiration time arrives, for an hour/day/few days, and then renewing the Visitante for another 6 months.
IMHO, that is a violation of the law, but, so far, Mexico has really done nothing about this. I believe they are indeed headed that direction.
In my case, I live in Mexico 3 months, then the U.S. 3 months (give or take a few days/weeks). So I have been using a Visitante Permit. I might be considered in violation of the law, as I have done this for years.
But, as we all know, in Mexico at this time, there is no "Rule of Law", so who knows when things will become consistent. :D
 

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Mexico Immigration Guide visas, work, Temporary Resident, Permanent Resident, FM2, FM3, Mexican Citizenship

I found this, that explains the intent of the Mexican Immigration Law. Says that a Visitante is needed for stays of less than 6 months, and a Visa is needed for a stay longer than 6 months. Many people "get around/violate" the law by living full time in Mexico, and just leaving for an hour/day/few days, and then renewing the Visitante for another 6 months.
IMHO, that is a violation of the law, but, so far, Mexico has really done nothing about this. I believe they are indeed headed that direction.
In my case, I live in Mexico 3 months, then the U.S. 3 months (give or take a few days/weeks). So I have been using a Visitante Permit. I might be considered in violation of the law, as I have done this for years.
Since this immigration guide mentions FM2's and FM3's, it is several years out of date.
 

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Mexico Immigration Guide visas, work, Temporary Resident, Permanent Resident, FM2, FM3, Mexican Citizenship

I found this, that explains the intent of the Mexican Immigration Law. Says that a Visitante is needed for stays of less than 6 months, and a Visa is needed for a stay longer than 6 months. Many people "get around/violate" the law by living full time in Mexico, and just leaving when the 180 day expiration time arrives, for an hour/day/few days, and then renewing the Visitante for another 6 months.
IMHO, that is a violation of the law, but, so far, Mexico has really done nothing about this. I believe they are indeed headed that direction.
In my case, I live in Mexico 3 months, then the U.S. 3 months (give or take a few days/weeks). So I have been using a Visitante Permit. I might be considered in violation of the law, as I have done this for years.
But, as we all know, in Mexico at this time, there is no "Rule of Law", so who knows when things will become consistent. :D
Written by an Expat and not relevant to any laws or rules in Mexico. The rules and laws permit it and if that is the case using the word illegal is a logical fallacy [lie/false].

No rule of law in Mexico. LOL. Just look around and see where that thinking will get you.
 
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