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Maritza Garcia
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Moving To San Felipe, Baja California !


Do I need an FM-3 and if so, how do I obtain one? 
Mexican law states: If you sign a contract, rent a house, buy a house, or lease property (i.e., campo’s), you are no longer a "tourist" and therefore, are required to apply for an FM-3. 

How soon should I move furniture down?
According to immigration, after obtaining your FM-3, you have 90 days to move furniture across the border duty free. Otherwise it is wise to hire an importer.

What about vehicle registration?
It must be current, check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered in Mexico, otherwise you must purchase Mexican insurance before entering the country, either on-line, at the border in Calexico, etc.

Which border crossing should we use for RV's/moving vans, etc?
Use the new border crossing as it has less turns, bigger lanes and is generally more convenient.


FM-3 VISA: 1,455.00 pesos for first time without working papers; 2,031.00 pesos for first time with working papers.

FM-2 VISA: 2,282.00 pesos for first time without working papers; 2,718.00 pesos for first time with working papers.

Call the San Felipe immigration office for more detailed explanations at telephone number 577-1083.

2/1/03 NOTICE ...Tourist visas are no longer required for car trips of up to 7 days to San Felipe!!


For those of you who either lease lots, rent houses, or have purchased property through a Fideicomiso Irrevocable, you must have an FM-3 Visa to be legal in Mexico. Once you have signed any sort of contract, you are no longer a tourist. I would like to say at the outset, that if you do not have an FM-3 Visa and you find yourself in a property dispute or other entanglement which puts you in the arms of jurisprudence, you literally have no rights as an "illegal alien". This means your property, bank accounts, vehicles and personal belongings, are in jeopardy. The very minimum you need for owning or leasing property is the FM-3 Visa which is renewable every year for 5 years. The following is a list of items you will need to obtain your FM-3 or FM-2 Visa:

1PROOF OF INCOME: $1,000.00 per person, or 1,500.00 per couple deposited into either a Mexican or American bank account. If not deposited into a Mexican bank, you must obtain a letter from your bank, translated into Spanish stating you have funds available in that bank. This letter must have an APOSTILLE from the Secretary of State's office and is not the same thing as a notary seal. The letter should be signed and sealed from a valid notary of your state, but in addition, you must have Apostille from your state secretary's office. You can contact the Secretary of State's office of your home state for more information on obtaining the Apostille.

2. PETITION LETTER: Letter from you requesting a change of your characteristic (from tourist to resident);

3. RESIDENT LETTER: Letter from camp or development manager, or copy of current Mexico electric, water or telephone bill verifying your current address in Mexico.

4. FMT TOURIST VISA: Can be purchased at any Immigration Office or local airport in Mexico for a current cost of 250.00 pesos for a period of 6 months.

5. PHOTOS: Three front and two of the side, in black and white. A specific infantile size is required and you can get these photos only at the Copicentro stationary store in San Felipe or any other shop that is familiar with this size.

6. The necessary "Form #5" (can be purchased in any stationery store in Mexico). You need three (3) originals for each visa applicant.

7. A current passport.

8. FM-1 APPLICATION: A form which must be carefully typewritten in Spanish. You can obtain this form at any Immigration office. We strongly recommend that the Immigration office or a visa service prepare this form for you (a minimal fee will be charged).

Take all these documents and letters to the Immigration office or visa service. Upon completion of your file, you will be asked to take the "Form # 5" to the bank where the appropriate fees are paid and receipted. They will keep 1 copy, and you will return the rest to the Immigration office. Now you're finished. It will take about 1 month for your file to go to Mexicali and be returned with your new FM-2 or FM-3.


FM-3 Visa without working papers is 1,055.00 pesos; FM-3 Visa with working papers is 1,713.00 pesos; FM-2 Visa without working papers is 2,194.00 pesos; FM-2 Visa with working papers is 2,194.00 pesos. The same requirements for money in the bank, etc. are necessary, except for the application and photos.

You can do all the paperwork and running around yourself or you can contact one of the following visa preparation services: San Felipe Immigration Office, Yolanda at or Lupita Mora Foudy on Mar de Caribe (577-1804) for assistance in filling out the required paperwork.


FMT: Is a Tourist Visa. If you stay MORE THAN 7 days in Baja (other regions in Mexico require a tourist visa upon entry) you will need a Tourist Visa. The cost is 205.00 pesos. Passport & I. D. required. This can be picked up at any Immigration office or at the airport.

FM-3: is a Visa for temporary residents up to 5 years or longer if desired. You can get your first FM-3 from your local Mexican Consulate in the states. It's quicker and you don't need the Apostille, but you must have your visa book in Mexico at any Immigration Office within 60 - 90 days (exact time will be stamped by the Consulate in your book) after the date your visa was received. If you don't do this, your FM-3 isn't valid and you will need to start over from the beginning.

FM-2: is a Visa for permanent residents. Requirements for FM-2 are the same but you must live in Mexico FULL TIME (residing no less than 9 months in Mexico).

For further information, concerns, or complaints contact the Secretary of Immigration office, 
Sub-Delegado Local Lic. Ramiro Ulises Contreras, or one of the very helpful, English speaking assistants in that office at 577-1083.

The office is located at the Glorieta (traffic circle) on the right hand side of the street as you are heading out of town.

Just a helpful hint from long-time returnees: After you get your FM-3, before you leave the country, you may want to get it date stamped at Immigration. This will facilitate the renewal process and late fines if you return later than the one year expiration date.