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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know where to start...

I'm 16 and I live in the United States. I want to go to Mexico (Zacatecas, specifically) for a year to stay with my girlfriend and her family. I would be doing homeschooling through an online United States program, learning Spanish, and taking various classes there, but I don't think I would be enrolled in a college. How would I go about doing this? Am I able to do this? Would I get some sort of Visa? Would I even be able to get a Visa if I'm not a college student or worker? Would there be any way to get around that? Maybe it's a lot simpler than I'm making it out to be? Maybe it's more complex? I essentially want to do a really unofficial one way foreign exchange thing for one school year, learn Spanish, absorb the culture, and have a life changing experience. I would love to hear from someone who has done something like this or who knows someone who has done something like this! Or anyone who just has answers!

I'm frustrated because I've been trying to figure this out for days now with no progress...

I have tried calling various Mexican consulates in the United States and NONE of them pick up there phone, and when I eventually did talk to someone by dialing a random extension, they were rude and unhelpful. It's a two hour drive to my nearest one and I don't want to waste a day with no certainty of getting any answers! I can't find anything on the internet, my girlfriend and her family don't know anything, and I don't know anything. I just want to find a way to make this work! I'm willing to do whatever it takes.

Thank you so much!

- Curtis
 

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I think the easiest way for you to do it would be to break your visit into two 6 month (actually 180 day) visits. You would receive a 180 day FMM tourist permit each time you enter the country. All you would have to do is fly back once to the US before that first 180 days is up, visit your family and/or friends for a few days and then return to Mexico and get a new FMM for 180 more days.

Some people feel that this technique is gaming the system but in your case it you would only need to do it once. Some folks do it repeatedly for years.
 

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You may need parental permission, a formal letter from each birth parent, especially if you look young. Of course, your DOB is in your passport, and you could possibly be asked to show it.
 

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I think the easiest way for you to do it would be to break your visit into two 6 month (actually 180 day) visits. You would receive a 180 day FMM tourist permit each time you enter the country. All you would have to do is fly back once to the US before that first 180 days is up, visit your family and/or friends for a few days and then return to Mexico and get a new FMM for 180 more days.

Some people feel that this technique is gaming the system but in your case it you would only need to do it once. Some folks do it repeatedly for years.
Can a 16 year old hop on a plane by themselves ?
 

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Can a 16 yo tourist go to school in Mexico?
I gave this young man on another board to contact the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento California which is the closest one to where he lives in Chico CA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all of the replies! I have my parents consent, and I have traveled alone to Mexico in the past with no trouble (I brought a parental consent form). It's looking like I'm going to have to split my trip into two six month trips.

Another question: If I take a couple of classes at a university in Zacatecas, not necessarily pursuing a degree (probably just language classes and maybe some others), would I be able to get a student visa? And, would I be able to get a student visa while down there? Or would I have to come back to the states?
 

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In addition to your passport and parental permission letters (which should really be notarized- bureaucrats love official looking stamps ) you should also bring a certified copy of your birth certificate. My 15 year old grandson, who lives in Mexico with his parents, recently flew up to Canada to have a holiday there with me. When they arrived at the airport in Cabo San Lucas, the immigration officer would not stamp him out, as he did not have his birth certificate with him. My daughter had to call a friend where they live, an hour and a half away, ask her to go to their house, get his birth certificate, and scan it to them. By that time, he had missed his flight, and had to re-book for 2 days later.
Since your birthdate and place of birth is in your passport, this really shouldn't be necessary, and from what my daughter and grandson told me the immigration officer was a real jerk, but he did tell them that this is a new requirement for minors, so better to have it with you just in case.
And the advice to come down on a 180 day tourist visa is a good one. You'll probably be ready to see your family after six months anyway, so you can have a visit, and then fly back for another 6 months.
It would probably also be good to have a letter in Spanish from your girlfriend's folks stating that you are a family friend and that they will be hosting you while you are in Mexico. Best if they don't say how long you are planning on staying, nor should they mention that you are their daughter's boyfriend, which immigration might read as you planning to just stay in Mexico for a long time on a tourist visa.
And remember, when it comes to officials, don't volunteer any more information or haul out any more paperwork than what they ask for :)
 

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And as far as a student visa is concerned, I would just suggest you come down initially on the tourist visa, then go to the immigration office in Zacatecas at some point, tell them you would like to take some classes and if it is possible to get a student visa so you could stay longer than the tourist visa allows you to.
 

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You could AUDIT the University class possibly. no credit but the teacher would probably allow you to attend class and take an exam without getting a visa or formal registration.

Not sure but worth asking.
 

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I would definitely try to plan this earlier. Maybe try and get in touch with a school in Mexico near the city your girlfriend is from and then try and get them to sponsor your visa? I have read online a lot about sponsorship for visas, it much easier and straightforward.
 

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You could AUDIT the University class possibly. no credit but the teacher would probably allow you to attend class and take an exam without getting a visa or formal registration.

Not sure but worth asking.
SEP the Secratary of Public Education allows 180 day FMM tourist card holders entrance into Mexican public schools free of charge. It might be the parents need to process the paperwork and bring the foreigners previous schooling documents to enroll students. The federal law also states a foreigner can pay a private school to attend with only a 180 day FMM tourist card. I presume this law allows Snowbirds with children a chance to keep the children in school when they are in Mexico for up to about 6 months every year. The law is called "Preparatoria Abierto." I don´t know about "primaria y secundaria" public schools.
 

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The OP already stated that he will be doing his NOB schoolwork online. I don't think he was concerned about whether he could take some classes here on a tourist visa, but was asking about the possibility of a student visa so he could stay in Mexico longer than the tourist visa allows.
 
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