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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Last month after a long break from blogging I posted about becoming a Mexican citizen. If you missed it you can read it here Becoming a Mexican In that post I focused on how I was feeling about becoming a Mexican citizen and what it meant to me but I didn’t go into the “nitty gritty” of it all. After reading several comments in response to that blog I realized that my next post should be a “Survivors Guide for Applying for Mexican Citizenship”

Let me start off by saying that I finally decided to apply for my citizenship after being here since 1995.  I could have applied many years ago but for various reasons I didn’t and then after that certain immigration paperwork mishaps (not my faultJ) prevented me from doing so until I was able to apply this year under the category of “married to a Mexican national”.  The form is basically the same for those that apply under “time served” or for those that apply because they are married except for a few variations. The only difference that I can see is that it is cheaper to apply under the “married” category but you have to supply documentation for your spouse. You can also apply under other categories. The general link for naturalization is  http://www.sre.gob.mx/index.php/tramites-y-servicios/nacionalidad-y-naturalizacion Be sure to click on the link on the left-hand-side that applies to your particular situation for a more accurate description.

This particular “Survivors Guide for Applying for Mexican Citizenship” deals with applying under the “married to a National” section but I believe it will also be useful for others and provide helpful tips as many of the sections are the same. But please do verify that the SRE haven’t changed any of the points since this post.

I will not be translating section by section the requirements for your application as a) it would take up far too much space and b) I think that everyone should do their due diligence if they so choose to embark on this process. I will however provide you with useful tips that will hopefully prevent you from having to make numerous trips to the SRE like I had to.

Let us Begin….. (You will need a printed copy of the Requirements to follow along)

1)      The DNN-3 form.—You MUST fill it out using a computer; however, the form available on the SRE website is NOT user-friendly. I requested a friendlier format and they sent me a Word file which was almost the same as the one on the website—useless!. My better-half, knowing that I have zero patience, used his mad computer skills and  converted the file into something that even I could fill out. (If you would like this user-friendly file give me your email and I will send it to you). Make sure you fill everything out in Spanish, in black and use the actual words for months instead of numbers. Under the section for your parents make sure that you use your Mother’s full maiden name as it appears on your birth certificate and not her married name. Also, if you have property in your name make sure that you put the date of your Fideicomiso and the address of the bank that holds your contract and the number of your contract.

2)      Be forewarned that any original documents that are requested like your birth certificate, marriage license, your spouse’s birth certificate will be retained by the SRE. It is not like the Immigration office that requests the original and copies but always returns the original. Be prepared to say goodbye to those documents! Make sure you make copies of your originals for your files so you can request new ones.

3)      When you have to make photocopies of EVERY page of your passport (#6) don’t try to save paper like we did….UNACCEPTABLE!!!! Even though the form isn’t specific you must copy each page of your passport on a separate page—don’t use the back-side and you can’t use the first copy to make your other 2 copies. Use your passport to make every copy. Saving trees is not a priority here 😦

My final stack of papers for submission

4)      Unfortunately, now it isn’t simply enough that you get a document from your local police station that clears you from having a criminal record in the State where you currently reside. In the past that was all that you needed. Now you need a Federal “carta de  antecedentes no penales”as well  . So what does that mean? Start looking for cheap airline deals online to Mexico City (I suggest Volaris). Either you or your spouse needs to go in person and if your spouse goes he will need to take  a “carta de poder” to get your  “carta de  antecedentes no penales” for you. In Mexico City, the process is very simple all you need are the following documents:

  • -Birth Certificate and a copy
  • -Your FM2 and a copy
  • -A bill with your home address on it and a copy
  • If your spouse is doing it for you:
  • -same as above
  • -“carta poder” (get one from your local “papeleria”.It doesn’t need to be notarized)
  • -wedding certificate and a copy
  • -spouse’s ID and a copy
  • It takes 20 minutes and is FREE!
  • ****VERY IMPORTANT—this document hast to be submitted with your application within 3 months from the date that you receive it in Mexico City or it isn’t valid!

To get your State “carta de antecedents no penales”

 

  • -A bill with your home address and a copy
  • -Your FM2 and a copy
  • -Birth Certificate and a copy
  • -photographs—size: “infantil” –Make sure you get these done on matte paper as the seal doesn’t hold on glossy ( I had to get mine redone as the seal has to be clearly visible over the photo and mine rubbed off)
  • -150 pesos
  • It takes 48 hours after you submit your paperwork.

5)      When you get to section where you have to declare your “entrances and exits” for the last 2 years into Mexico make sure that you copy their “cheat sheet” exactly as shown on the page that they provide you with or it will not be accepted .Also, if your passport is less than 2 years old and you don’t have your old one you will have to go to Immigration to get another document that costs 320 pesos to back up what you are declaring for your “entrances and exits” for that time period.

6)      Once you have all of your paperwork ready for submission I recommend that you take a USB with all of your letters and forms that you had to fill out  backed up on it so that once you get to the SRE if there are any small changes that need to be done….and trust me there will be…they can adjust them there instead of you having to go home to make any corrections. This will save you time and a great deal of frustration.

7)      Do not pay the 1400 pesos until after you have taken the test…and passed… they will tell you when to pay. The date on your payment receipt must match the date of submission of your paperwork. I made the mistake of paying in advance and had to get the bank to reimburse me which of course required more paperwork 😦 This is ridiculous bureaucracy at its finest.

The form with all the submission requirements

8)      EXAM: You can find the 100 possible questions on the SRE site but they do not come with the answers. I just love the recommendation on the application  that tells you that you should get a copy of the “Historia Minima de Mexico” (condensed version) and read it in order to pass the exam. Who has the time? I found a great blog “Migracion con Integracion”  that listed the answers (a true godsend!) or if you like I can email you a document with the questions and possible answers with the correct answers highlighted that I made up as a study guide. You are only asked 5 multiple choice questions out of a possible 100. As always, I studied for this test, like any other tests I have ever had to take, with an almost religious fervour and I can proudly say that I aced my test and probably now know more about Mexico’s history than my own.

9)      Once you have submitted your papers, passed the test and paid you can now sit back and relax for the next 6-12 months until you receive notice that you are now an official Mexican citizen. That is the stage that I am in now 🙂

Well, that concludes my “Survivors Guide for Applying for Mexican Citizenship”. This blog has been by no means an amusing account on life in Mexico and may I dare say it is probably quite boring but I do hope for those of you out there embarking on this process that you will at least find some of these tips helpful and most importantly save you some time. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions that you may have about this process and by the same token I would love to hear about your experiences if you have already completed this arduous task.

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I was recently asked by Go Overseas to write a post about Mexico.They are a great site that provide  valuable information about  either teaching, studying or volunteering  abroad. They also feauture many interesting blogs about expat’s experiences living in numerous exciting locations.

I was asked to give a short blurb about Mexico’s background, a few helpful tips and recommend some of my favourite places in Mexico. It was the first time that I have been a guest blogger and I really appreciate Andrew Dunkle (Senior Editor) giving me the opportunity to contribute. I must admit that I found it somewhat challenging writing a structured post and it reminded me of my school days. 🙂

Check out their site and if you are interested check out my post: Travel With a Purpose-Mexico

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I have been living in Cancun year round since 1995 and it has been quite an adventure to say the least. The below list is in no particular order and is meant to be taken in the spirit in which it was written- musings from a Canadian Cancunense.

I will probably add more to this as they come to me but for now….

You Know You Have Been Living in Cancun, Mexico a Long Time When…….

  • When you dream in Spanish and English
  • When you have to stop and think how to spell some words in English as the Spanish equivalent is what first comes to mind.
  • When you count in your head in Spanish
  • When you eat lunch at 2 pm and dinner at 9pm
  • When most of your friends sell Time Share
  • When you call your day planner an “agenda”
  • When you drink cheladas ( beer in a salt rimmed glass with ice and lime) instead of just a beer
  • When you go into taco withdrawal while away on vacation in Canada
  • When you can play boggle in two languages
  • When you have a party that starts at 10 pm and you tell your friends that its starts at 8 pm so that they arrive on time
  • When you use your car horn everyday while driving
  • When you just tap the brakes instead of coming to a full stop at stop signs
  • When you understand that “mordida” means more than just “ bite”
  • When you have favourite Spanish songs
  • When you kiss people on the cheek when you enter a room even if you have never met them before in your life.
  • When you eat “carnitas” for breakfast on occasion.
  • When you can’t imagine life without a cleaning lady
  • When you start saying “manana” (tomorrow) I will do it
  • When you put habernero sauce on everything
  • When you put chili-salt on your fruit
  • When you start believing that a shot of tequila will indeed cure your cold
  • When you have been to a “bruja” who tells you that you have been “cursed” and you pay them money to get rid of it just in case it’s true.
  • When you are used to seeing military soldiers walk down the beach in full combat gear and Uzis and you don’t flinch.
  • When you yell out your apartment window “ aqui aqui” (here, here) when you hear the water guy, the gas guy, the guy who sharpens knives, the cheese truck, the tamale guy, or just some guy selling something.
  • When you no longer notice the pink, purple, blue, mint green or fuchsia coloured houses on your street.
  • When you say you have to go to the “super” instead of the supermarket to do your grocery shopping.
  • When 15 degrees Celsius is considered really cold and you bundle up in a couple of sweaters.
  • When you can pronounce Xel-Ha, Xcaret, Tzintzuntzan and Guanajuato correctly…just to name a few.
  • When you use the shoulder on the highway to pass cars
  • When you are no longer surprised when your building runs out of water, gas or the elevator doesn’t work for weeks on end

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Many people over the years have asked me how the hell did I end up in Cancun? I have now been living here legally 🙂 since 1995. I always respond “I went on vacation and never left” which isn’t exactly true but seemed like an easy, quick way to answer people’s questions without having to go into too much detail.

 My story begins about  17 years ago when my boyfriend at the time and our friends talked about going to Cozumel for a few weeks in the summer. We never even considered Cancun as we had always heard that it was too touristy, expensive and a place for Spring Breakers. We thought that Cozumel sounded like the ideal place for us– endless white sandy beaches with crystal  turquoise water stretching out far as the eye could see – a sun drenched tropical island paradise where the margaritas never stop flowing and we could spend our days lazing around on the beach and our nights sampling authentic Mexican food and  dancing. Sounds great doesn’t it? I thought so; however, as we approached the deadline to buy our tickets life got in the way and little by little my friends and boyfriend were unable to go. All of a sudden my sun soaked island was disappearing in front of my eyes.

I can’t really explain what happened next except that I was determined to go even though the idea of going alone didn’t exactly thrill me but I had saved for this trip and I had lived and breathed Cozumel all through the planning stages and I couldn’t accept that just because other people had changed their minds or couldn’t go that this would dictate my outcome and mean an end to my plans so before I knew it I was boarding a plane to Mexico, alone, and with my grubby old purple backpack. I had travelled extensively  before with my parents as well as with my boyfriend and friends but this would be my first foray into the world alone. I was excited, nervous and full of preconceived notions of how it would be to travel by myself.

I remember arriving in Cancun airport which at the time was still rather small. I left  the air-conditioned arrival area and stepped out into a thick wall of heat and humidity and boarded a bus to Playa del Carmen which would then take me to a bus terminal and ultimately a boat that would get me to my final destination-Cozumel Island. I imagine that I had already pre-booked a hotel but I cannot be sure as it was a long time ago. I do remember that my room was small and basic but clean and had two double beds which would later play an important role in my stay in Cozumel.  I had a nice view of the ocean as back in those days one could still rent a room fairly cheap on the island especially if you were paying for a longer stay. So far so good. I collapsed into a deep sleep as it had been a long day of travelling.

Cozumel

Cozumel

When I awoke the view before me took my breath away ( I know, what a cliché  but it was true)  the colour of the water was just how I had imagined it and the white sandy beaches did indeed go on forever. I was eager to get outside and start exploring. Armed with my travel guide and day pack I set out to experience my first day in paradise. I started it off with breakfast in a small little restaurant and ordered huevos a la mexicana with a fresh fruit plate. I then decided to hit the beach. I spent a great day reading, swimming and basking in my newfound independence. That night I went for dinner with my book and enjoyed a quiet meal. Such would be my routine for many days, swimming, snorkelling, reading and eating …alone. After awhile I began to feel lonely. I have always been a very social person who loves nothing more than to be surrounded by friends. I had assumed that Cozumel would be full of young people like myself but in those days it was very family orientated. I started to regret coming but then one evening I went to Carlos ‘n Charlies and a young couple struck up a conversation with me. I remember thinking how kind they were to invite me to have dinner with them as I was starved for conversation. The only people that I had really spoken to since I had arrived were the staff in the hotel, waiters in restaurants and to ward off young and not so young advances from local guys.After a very nice time with the young couple from the States I returned to my room with a new resolve to stay.

More days passed and my once white skin had turned a beautiful golden brown and I had read more books than I care to remember. I decided to have lunch one day at a small restaurant on the beach. I ordered chicken enchiladas and a chelada ( a beer in a salt rimmed glass with ice and lime). I paid my bill and walked along the beach for a while. All of a sudden I had terrible stomach cramps and I knew that I would be in big trouble if I didn’t get back to my room pronto! I took off running and arrived just in time to my room where I would spend the next 3-4 days!

I don’t know what was wrong with me exactly probably a very bad case of Moctezuma’s Revenge. For the next few days I would change from one bed to another while the cleaning lady came in and changed the sheets and left me with new bottles of water. I will not go into too much detail but it was a HORRIBLE  time for me. I couldn’t even really stand on my own two feet I felt so weak. On the 3rd day  the cleaning lady arrived with an elderly gentleman who turned out to be a doctor- I think that the hotel staff were worried that I would die in their room LOL  In any event he gave me a shot and some pills and later that day the cleaning lady brought me some plain toast. I was feeling much better. The next day I gingerly got out of bed and decided that it was time to get the hell out of Dodge so I packed up my backpack and settled my bill and profusely thanked the staff for being so kind and for worrying about me enough to send for a doctor.

I bought a ticket on the next boat out of Cozumel as I had come to the conclusion that I was terrified to eat anything more on that island and that Cozumel was just not for me but maybe Cancun would be better. My spirit felt renewed and I now had a nice new slim body to go with it though I got it in a way that I would never wish on even my worst enemy. 🙂 At that time I didn’t know it yet but it would be about 12 years before I ever set foot on Cozumel again as I had an irrational fear that if I ever went there I would get sick again.

I boarded a bus in Playa del Carmen headed for Cancun. I remember that at that time the bus was filled with army guys,elderly ladies with chickens and backpackers. What a motley crew of passengers to say the least! The buses to and from Cancun  have definitely changed over the years since the first time I boarded one. I arrived at the crowded bus station and set out looking for a hotel along Tulum Avenue which was once a very popular downtown street full of life. I booked a room at the Antillano Hotel and soon became fast friends with the staff especially a very nice woman and her husband and little boy. Years later I would still stop in to say hello to them but now unfortunately they no longer are there.

My first night out I went to Pizza Hut and ordered a personal sized pizza and took it back to my room as that would be the first real  meal that I had eaten in 4 days and I didn’t want to take any chances. I kept it all down!  I woke up the next day feeling renewed and once again excited about being in Mexico. To make a long story short I met many great locals who showed me around, invited me into to their homes and made my decision to go to Cancun the best thing that I could ever have done. At the end of my stay I went back to Vancouver but when I arrived I quickly realized that I had left something behind… a part of me. I eventually decided to go back but this time for a longer period. I stayed for  little less than a year hoping to satisfy my Cancun itch; however, after about a year when I was back in Vancouver I realized that my itch just couldn’t be scratched away that easily. So I made the very difficult and frightening decision, much to my parents dismay, to move to Cancun! I sold most of my belongings and packed up the rest including my cat Missy and we set off to our new home leaving behind everything that was familiar to me and safe.

It has been 15 years now and I am married and I have a new cat called Simba as Missy is now buried in a park that I can see from my kitchen window. My Dad once said after a few years “You are never coming back are you?” Never say never but for now Cancun is definitely where I call home. It has been an incredible journey filled with many ups and downs and it has made me the person that I am today…. and I wouldn’t change a thing! 🙂

Simba

Simba

I would love to hear about any adventures that you may have had that  led you to live in a foreign country.

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