Check Your Docs
By Libby Colterjohn
We have entered a new era of Mexican officialdom which needs to be respected and adhered to exactly. All government computers are being brought up to date with software that detects the slightest error or discrepancy in information. No mordida or argument will get around these. You must conform exactly as directed or you will not get your documents registered or renewed.
In fact, I believe that the program stops you going any further when it hits a discrepancy. Car and driver’s license offices, health insurance (IMSS & Seguro Popular), and the airports are to be equipped with this too, so don’t think you are off the hook because you do not have any documents coming up for renewal. In fact, you will need to respect this when buying or selling a house or car, and registering a birth or death. Please read the following carefully to avoid grief in the future:
Your foreign passport is taken as the norm and all other documents must conform to it exactly - name, date-of-birth, address and phone number etc. This includes utility bills and leases, if they are to be used as proof of domicilio. If you obtained your CURP card when it first came out (2003), there is a substantial chance that it contains mistakes or that the name on it does not conform with your other documentation, especially if you are a woman.
In my case, I discovered that the way they wrote my name is no longer acceptable, and that my date-of-birth, as it is incorporated in the CURP number, was wrong. Don’t panic - take it along to the INM office in Chapala with photo-copies of your passport and immigration papers and they will fix it in a couple of days. But do it at once.
Every time you apply for any Mexican documentation, you will need the originals and one copy of each of the following:
- Immigration document: Permenente or equivilant.
- CURP card
- Proof of domicillio (utility bill, letter from Chapala Municipality etc.)
- Blood Group (New driver’s license and health insurance).
If you want to apply for a Mexican Driver’s licence for the first time, you can only do this in Guadalajara. Renewals can be done in Tlajomulco and Ocotlan as well. Avoid applying for these in December, January and February if you can. Government offices are closed for about two weeks in December and in January and February the Transito Vialidad offices are also renewing car licenses, making them very busy. Take someone with you fluent in Spanish and that really knows the ropes. It can be very confusing and frustrating if you line up in the wrong place.