How do I get a visa for México?

How do I get a visa for México?
There are three kinds of visas – FMM, FM3 and FM2  (actually there are more, but these three are all we are interested in.)  The INM 2010 manual can be read in Spanish here.
FMM is the common tourist visa that is issued as you enter the country and which you must turn in as you exit the country.  It is the new replacement for the FMT. The FMM, like the old FMT, is good for a maximum of 180 days.  It cannot be renewed.  If you wish to stay more than 180 days, you will have to return to the border, turn in your expiring FMM and get a new one. 

If you fly into México, you will be given the simple FMM visa form on the plane where you can fill it out between bumps, so you’ll have it ready for immigration when you get off the plane.  The cost is included in the price of your ticket.  If you walk, drive or boat into México, you will be given the FMM form at the immigration office.  You will have to pay a charge of about US$20.  You’ll have to pay at a bank.  Some border offices have a bank near-by, most don’t.  If your stay is no more than 7 days, you do not need to pay.

In addition the the tourist form of the FMM, there many other versions for business, transit, etc At the border or airport, the INM agent will ask the purpose of your visit and give you the appropriate FMM.  This is a tremendous simplification of the old procedures for business people.

Everyone entering the country must fill out an FMM even if you have an FM3 or FM2 for whom it’s for statical purposes. You should keep your part of the form to turn in next time you leave the country.

Next article, FM3

Follow the Money: Why the U.S. Mainstream Media has Mexico Under Siege


by Charles Simpson,

First: A reality check on Mexico

Mexico is in a unique position to reap many of the benefits of the decline of the US economy. In order to not violate NAFTA and other agreements the U.S.A. cannot use direct protectionism, so it is content to allow the media to play this protectionist role. The U.S. media – over the last year – has portrayed Mexico as being on the brink of economic collapse, not true. The Mexican people are either beheaded, kidnapped, poor, corrupt, or narco-traffickers, again, not true. The American news media was particularly aggressive in the weeks leading up to spring break. The main reason for this is money. During that two-week period, over 120,000 young American citizens poured into Mexico and left behind hundreds of millions of dollars.

Let’s look at the reality of the massive drug and corruption problem, kidnappings, murders and money. The U.S. Secretary of State Clinton was clear in her honest assessment of the problem. “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent the weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians,” Clinton said. The other large illegal business that is smuggled into the U.S.A. that no one likes to talk about is Human Traffic for prostitution. This “business” is globally now competing with drugs in terms of profits.

It is critical to understand, however that the violence in Mexico is confined to the three transshipping cities for these two businesses, Tijuana, Nogales, and Juarez. The Mexican government is so serious about fighting this, that they have committed over 30,000 soldiers to these borders towns. There was a thoughtful article written by a professor at the University of Juarez. He was reminded of the Prohibition years in the U.S.A. and compared Juarez to Chicago when Al Capone was conducting his reign of terror capped off with The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. During these years, just like Juarez today, 99% of the citizens went about their daily lives and attended classes, went to the movies, restaurants, and parks.
Is there corruption in Mexico? YES !!! Is there an equal amount of corruption related to this business in the U.S.A.? YES !!!. When you have a pair of illegal businesses that generate over $300,000,000,000 in sales you will find massive corruption. Make no mistake about the Mexican Drug Cartel; these “businessmen” are 100 times more sophisticated than the bumbling bootleggers during Prohibition. They form profitable alliances all over the U.S.A. They do cost benefit analysis of their business much better than the US automobile industry. They have found over the years that the cost of bribing U.S. and Mexican Border Guards and the transportation costs of moving marijuana from Sinaloa to California have cut significantly into profits. That is why over the past 5-7 years they have been growing marijuana in State and Federal Parks and BLM land all across America. From a business standpoint, this is a tremendous cost savings on several levels. Let’s look at California as an example as one of the largest consumers. When you have $14.2 billion of Marijuana grown and consumed in one state, there is savings on transportation, less loss of product due to confiscation and an overall reduction cost of bribery with law enforcement and parks service people. Another great savings is the benefit to their employees. The penalties in Mexico for growing range from 5-15 years. The penalties in California, on average are 18 months, and out in 8 months. The same economic principles are now being applied to the methamphetamine factories.

FOX News continues to scare people with its focus on kidnapping. There are kidnappings in Mexico. The concentration of kidnappings has been in Mexico City, among the very rich and the three aforementioned border Cities. With the exception of Mexico City, the number one city for kidnappings among NAFTA countries is Phoenix, Arizona with over 359 in 2008. The Phoenix Police estimate that twice that number of kidnappings goes unreported, because like Mexico 99% of these crimes were directly related to drug and human traffic. Phoenix, unfortunately, is geographically profitable transshipping location. Mexicans, just like 99% of U.S. Citizens during prohibition, go about their daily lives all over the country. They get up, go to school or work and live their lives untouched by the border town violence.

These same protectionist news sources have misled the public as to the real danger from the swine flu in Mexico and temporary devastated the tourism business. As of May 27 2009 there have been 87 deaths in Mexico from the swine flu. During those same five months there have been 36 murdered school children in Chicago. By their logic, if 87 deaths from the swine flu in Mexico warrants canceling flights and cruise ships to Mexico, then close all roads and highways in the USA because of record 43,359 automobile related deaths in the USA in 2008.

What is just getting underway is what many are calling the “Largest southern migration to Mexico of people and real estate assets since the Civil War” A significant percentage of the Baby Boomers have been doing the research and are making the life changing decision to move out of the U.S.A. The number one retirement destination in the world is Mexico. There are already over 2,000,000 US and Canadian property owners in Mexico. The most conservative number of American and Canadian Baby Boomers who are on their way to owning property in Mexico for full or part time living in the next 15 years is over 6,000,000. Do the math on 6,000,000 people buying a $300,000 house or condo and you will understand why the U.S. Government is trying to tax this massive shift of money to Mexico through H.R. 3056. The U.S. government calls this “The Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007”. Those who will have to pay it are calling this the EXIT TAX.

Mexico: A better economic choice than China

Another large exodus from the U.S.A is high paying skilled jobs. The job shift in automobile sector, both car and parts manufacturing, is already known by most investors. In the last few months as John Deere and Caterpillar have been laying off thousands of workers in the U.S.A., and hiring equal numbers in Mexico. The most recent industry that is making the shift is the aerospace manufacturers. In the city of Zacatecas there is currently a $210 million aerospace facility being built. With the 11 U.S. companies moving there, it is estimated to provide over 200,000 new high paying jobs in the coming years. One of the main factors for the shift in job south to Mexico instead of China is realistic analysis of total production, labor and delivery costs. While the labor costs in China are 40% less on average, the overall transportation costs and inherent risks of a long distance supply chain, and quality control issues, gives Mexico a distinct financial advantage.

Mexico’s real economic future

Mexico has avoided completely the subprime problem that has devastated the U.S. banking industry. The Mexican banks are healthy and profitable. Mexico has a growing and very healthy middle and upper middle class. The very recent introduction of residential financing has Mexico in a unique position of having over 90% of current homeowners owning their house outright. U.S. banks are competing for the Mexican, Canadian and American cross border loan business.

 It is and will continue to be a very safe and very profitable business. These same banks that were loaning in a reckless manner have learned their lesson and are loaning here the old fashioned way. They require a minimum of a 680 credit score, 30% down payment, and verifiable income that can support the loan. In most areas of Mexico where Baby Boomers are moving to, with the exception of Puerto Penasco (which did not have a national and international base of buyers), there is no real estate bubble. The higher end markets ($2-20 million) in many of these destinations are going through a modest correction. The Baby Boomers market here is between $200,000 and $600,000. With the continuing demand inside the Bay of Banderas, that price point, in the coming years, will disappear. This is the reason the Mexican government is spending billions of dollars on more infrastructure north along the coast all the way up to Mazatlan.

The other major area where America has become overpriced is in the field of health care. This massive shift of revenues is estimated to add 5-7% to Mexico’s GDP. The name for this “business” is Medical Tourism. The two biggest competitors for Mexico were Thailand and India. Thailand and India’s biggest drawback is geography. Also recent events, Thailand’s inability to keep a government in place and the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai, have helped Mexico capture close to half of this growth industry. In Mexico today there are over 56 world class hospitals being built to keep up with this business.

Mexico is currently sitting on a cash surplus and an almost balanced budget. Most Americans have never heard of Carlos Slim until he loaned the New York Times $250 million. After that it became clear to many investors around the world what Mexicans already knew: that Mexico had been able to avoid the worst of the U.S. economic devastation. Mexico’s resilience is to be admired. When the U.S. Federal Reserve granted a $30 billion loan to each of the following countries Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and Brazil, Mexico reinvested the money in Treasury bonds in an account in New York City.

The following is a quote from Rosalind Wilson, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on March 19, 2009. “The strength of the Mexican economic system makes the country a favorite destination for Canadian investment”.

Mexico, with the world’s 13th largest GDP, is no longer a “Third World Country”, but rather a fast growing, economically secure state, as the most recent five-year history of its financial markets when compared to the U.S.A.’s financial markets suggests.

DOW JONES AVERAGES MAY 2004 10,200 MAY 2009 8,200 20% LOSS IN 5 YEARS

MEXICAN BOLSA MAY 2004 10,000 MAY 2009 23,000 130% GAIN IN 5 YEARS

7 Affordable Places to Retire Abroad

7 Affordable Places to Retire Abroad
Retirement can be about elevating your standard of living and enriching your lifestyle, even if you have only a modest nest egg. And retirement can begin at any time and any age. To do this you need to shift your perspective and look beyond our own borders.
The idea of relocating to another country, in retirement, can be intimidating. To pick a place, start by figuring out how much money you have to live on in retirement. Tally the equity in your home, the value of your IRA or other retirement accounts, your Social Security or other pensions, your car, other property holdings, collectibles, and household goods.
After you’ve taken stock of what you own, take a good look at who you are. Make a list of your personal priorities and preferences, your interests and agendas, and your objectives and goals at this point in your life. What could you not live without?
Then compare your personal priorities against the world’s most interesting, appealing, and affordable places to spend time. There are at least 25 countries where you could live well on very little. Here are seven of my picks for the world’s top retirement havens.
Mexico. Mexico is a good choice if you don’t want to move too far from children or grandchildren. Far safer in many regions then reported on border activity.
Panama. It’s certainly the best choice if you’re considering launching a new business as part of your new life overseas.
France. France is far more affordable in some regions than you might imagine and delivers an unparalleled quality of life for every euro invested.
Uruguay. You’ll be far removed from all the troubles of the rest of the world in this safe, stable, and welcoming country.
Belize. With both Caribbean island and inland highlands living options, this is a country where life is sweet and simple.
Croatia. This is the new and far more affordable Tuscany.
Malaysia. My top pick in Asia is not only super-affordable but also, unlike most countries in this part of the world, open to foreign retirees. Malaysia has straightforward, user-friendly options for establishing foreign residency.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas. Her book, How to Retire Overseas – Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

The Absolut Fenix sales team is ready to serve you, offering decades of experience in real estate and living here at Lake Chapala. Our professional team is headed by Dixie Nicholson, founding member of one of Mexicos first Multiple Listing services. When you buy or sell property with Absolut Fenix, you are assured of smooth navigation through the technicalities of Mexican real estate by our team of expert realtors, many of whom have have received training through the National Association of Realtors, in addition to the Association of Mexican Professional Real Estate Agents. Condo, vacation home, full time residence or commercial property, Absolut Fenix Realty has been helping folks start their new lives in Magical Mexico for 20 years.

Ajijic and our wonderful weather

The largest lake in Mexico, Lake Chapala, at 55 miles long and 11 miles wide has a distinct effect on the weather here in Chapala / Ajijic. Our giant neighbor, Guadalajara, usually dominates the radar with their less then perfect weather. Even though we both share a hot season (April, May and early June) temperatures run 8 – 15 degrees cooler here in Ajijic, than Guadalajara. In our winter cold time, (Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day) the lake works its magic to keep us from being Guadalajara’s low temperatures – we are easily 10 degrees warmer than our hover mega city.
There are many other benefits of being along the shores of Lake Chapala.