Jump to content
Chapala.com Webboard
chappy

"Tourist visa" question

Recommended Posts

We are in Ajijic for the summer, plan to be back again for summers to come. Bought a house!  How long can we keep returning before we become temporal or permanente?  Seems to me that I'd heard we could come for under 6 months on the "tourist visa" (I think there's another name) for a limitted number of years before needing to have the temporal or permanente status.

Related to that, is it true that if one of us is temporal we could continue to drive here with a US plated car? We were considering possibly doing that for several years before both becoming permanente.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can continue to travel as tourists, with the 180 day tourist permit, as long as you succeed in getting one. However, they will notice your frequent trips and could decide to 'strongly suggest' that you become a resident. They also have the right to refuse entry, which could really screw up your plans & budget.

It would be wise for at least one of you to become Residente Temporal, which will mean a conversion to Residente Permanente in four years. Meanwhile you can still drive your US car in Mexico, and even leave it behind if you fly out. A tourist cannot do that.

The second person may remain a tourist, with the same uncertainties, and become Temporal later, thereby extending the US car usage in Mexico, if its registration is made to match correctly.  The second person may also convert under vincula familiar, without the need for financial proofs, and do it in Mexico. That is also an advantage for many.

Should you need to sell your house, you could take a tax hit if you were still tourists. Best to be Residente Permanente.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OP suggests they will only be coming for "summers to come". I read that to mean 'several summers.

If that is the case I see absolutely no reason to do anything but continue getting Tourist Cards. I have not seen/heard of any credible data that would suggest Mexico is "watching" for this kind of 'behavior' and taking any kind of action.   I suspect that there are a ton of snowbirds Lakeside who have been doing this for years and plan on continuing this practice for many more to come.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious about this.  Are most of you people on this forum Americans?  Also are most of the people here from Chapala?  

 

Is there anyone on this forum that is say from Cancun or simliar places heres near there?

 

I like to know about this as well.  When they give you a tourist visa, almost everyone gets 180 days right?  And are there people that get 90 day or 120 days only and if so, what would be the reason?  So if you leave in under 180 days or say a few weeks... then you come back into Mexico again, they just give you a tourist card just like that and you get another 180 days?   So when you say there are lot of snowbirds who do this, you mean the Americans and Canadians that come to Mexico during the winter right?  But even when they do that, don't they go back to the US or Canada for a few months and then come back?  Also does it depend if you are flying in vs driving in and out?  Im guessing when you fly in and out, its different than you driving in and out?   And does one get looked at more vs the other?  Someone said they will notice your frequent trips.  Can you explain what you mean by that?  You mean if someone comes in and out of Mexico a lot like once a month or even more?  But someone that does it every few months wouldn't be looked at much?  The other thing im curious about is this.  When you fly into Mexico, they ask for your passport and ask you how long you are staying.  They would look at their computer screen for a bit which i assume is to confirm your passport is legit etc. But what else is on that screen that those agents look at?  Always curious what information is on that screen.  Does it show all the dates you been in and out of Mexico?  Or what does it show exactly?  Also when you say lot of snowbirds do this, are they staying in Mexico like throughout the year?  Or you mean something else.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have asked Many many good questions :) .  I will try to answer a few. During the winter months the  snowbirds come from where it is cold up north and that means a lot of Canadians and US citizens from the cold north. Usually some of these snowbirds begin to love this place so much that we make lakeside home and go north for shorter visits than the time down here.  I go north three times per year, but try to stay here as much as I can which is usually at least 8, hopefully 9 months per year.

Maybe during the summer there are more folks from the US but when the cold hits the far north, the farther north you go, the colder it gets and the motivation to come down is greater.  All I know is that during the winter months, there are a lot of us down here from up north. So just maybe there are as many or more Canadians down here during the winter. I don't really know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This forum is for people interested in the Lakeside area of Mexico primarily.  Each area of Mexico has it's own forum which you can google.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know that you could purchase a home with only a tourist visa?  I thought you had to at least have a temporal to own property here.  Interesting!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess you can buy, but to get some government services, tax advantages upon sale, and other perks, you sure should have a residence visa, CURP, RFC, INAPAM, etc.

Oh, just ask the border agent what the computer screen shows, and watch him grin!

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎7‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 11:10 AM, chappy said:

We are in Ajijic for the summer, plan to be back again for summers to come. Bought a house!  How long can we keep returning before we become temporal or permanente?  Seems to me that I'd heard we could come for under 6 months on the "tourist visa" (I think there's another name) for a limitted number of years before needing to have the temporal or permanente status.

Related to that, is it true that if one of us is temporal we could continue to drive here with a US plated car? We were considering possibly doing that for several years before both becoming permanente.

 

A few people who post here love to "scare" newcomers about what is needed in Mexico and how things work here. We have been coming since 1999, on a "tourist visa," as many call it. We have never had any problem, as Angus also points out. We come basically from first of June to late September, then again from late December to late February. We find Texas weather better for us the other months. When we get the "tourist visa", the agents giving us these "visas" do not use a computer, but do ask us how many days we want. We always say 180 and that is what they give. We always drive (passing through Laredo), as we know the roads and stops in these 20 years. WE get our car permit each time as well, as we return it each time we return to Texas(it being good for 180 days also). Don't worry, the "tourist visa" is your best bet for a few years until you make firm plans.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, suegarn said:

I didn't know that you could purchase a home with only a tourist visa?  I thought you had to at least have a temporal to own property here.  Interesting!

Yes.  It is all peculiar.  You can buy a home with a Tourist Visa, but not a car.

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have recently purchased a house in Chapala.  I am still on a tourist visa.  We intend to live here permanently and would like to get a CURP.  Can I get that with a tourist visa or wait unit I get my permanent visa?

Thank you for your help in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to a communiqué that provides some additional thoughts about the matter:

INM Continues to Increase Enforcement of Restrictions on 6 Month 'Tourist' Visas
Source: Surviving Yucatan web blog

"(As Mexico) gradually gets all their computers connected ... agents can now pull up ... records of past entrances & exits from Mexico ... "

"... some INM offices now are more closely scrutinizing foreigners trying to get 180 Day "tourist" visitante visas when flying into Mexico."

https://goo.gl/vZf3es

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you now own a house, it will be advantageous for you to get residence visas ASAP.  You will need them to do many governmental acts, including getting a CURP, RFC, registering a Mexican purchased vehicle, etc.

You will need to apply at a Mexican consulate in the USA, with proofs of income, etc.  Then, once approved, you can return to Mexico with the 'canje' in your passport, report to INM and start the process to get the actual visa card issued, which can take a month or two.

Cograts on your new home!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have also bought a house here on a tourist visa, I just had to get the permission document.  However, I can sell the house with only a tourist visa but I will be charged at the highest tax rate which I believe to be 36 per cent.  If you are married or jointly own the house you will be taxed at this rate unless both of you get the permante.  It is also my understanding your car must be mexican licensed if you have a permante.  If you drive a US car on a temporary visa than the car is supposed to go with you when you go back to the states.   These laws seem to change every year so you probably need to seek legal advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To clarify about the vehicles.....  Correct that a Permanente cannot drive a foreign plated vehicle UNLESS that Permanente has a spouse that is a Temporal and that Temporal spouse’s name is on the title AND the TIP (temporary import permit) that the vehicle has on it. If this is the case, a Permanente can drive the vehicle, even alone, without impunity as it is the law.

If one is/has a Temporal visa or a tourist card for that matter and has a TIP vehicle within Mexico the regulations say that the vehicle should exit the country if/when the owner does. But in practice, and the jury is still out on this due to incomplete and unreliable or non-existent data IMO, the temporary owner can leave the car in Mexico and fly out and back into the country without jeopardizing the TIP.  Hundreds of people probably do this every year and so far there is no reliable data that says they will get “caught” doing so or jeopardize their vehicle or visa status.

P.S.  This ‘law’ has not changed in many years.... probably since 2012. Folks stories and opinions change but the law has not to my knowledge. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While there have been some changes to the various laws over the years, their provisions have not, to the best of my knowledge, changed substantially.  What has changed is how they are , 1) interpreted and, 2) applied.  A case in point is the ability of people with Temporal visas to keep and drive foreign plated cars in Mexico for more than six months.

There were often as many "opinions" on various topics as there were people you could talk to about them.  There was always much confusion about how different laws and regulations interrelated, e.g., the length of time you could be out of Mexico in a given year and , cumulatively, over five years without your Permanente becoming "invalid" (an immigration matter), and the fact that a Permanente allowed you, like Mexican citizens, to claim an exemption from capital gains tax on the sale of your property once every five years (now three),a fiscal matter.

When in doubt, talk to a lawyer.

  • Confused 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A related question.   Not sure if this was answered.  Mine is a little different.  If I come to Lake Chapala area to live on a trial basis with the option of making it very long term,  what would be the best way for me to do this?  Just spend a year doing the tourist visa renew?  Also, I may qualify for the temp. resident visa but not the perm. one.   Thanks to all

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, BAR said:

A related question.   Not sure if this was answered.  Mine is a little different.  If I come to Lake Chapala area to live on a trial basis with the option of making it very long term,  what would be the best way for me to do this?  Just spend a year doing the tourist visa renew?  Also, I may qualify for the temp. resident visa but not the perm. one.   Thanks to all

"tourist visa renew"?  It isn't renewable.  Most people return to the U.S., wait a bit, and apply for a new tourist visa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gringal is right-on. Some people just call getting another one 'immediately' a renewal.... but of course it is not.

BTW, another mistake is to call the  180-day Tourist Card a 'Visa'. In the true sense of the word, it is NOT a visa. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, RickS said:

Gringal is right-on. Some people just call getting another one 'immediately' a renewal.... but of course it is not.

BTW, another mistake is to call the  180-day Tourist Card a 'Visa'. In the true sense of the word, it is NOT a visa. 

I met one guy along the way who claims he's been in Mexico on a "serial" tourist visa for 30 years, but I suspect that method of residence is in danger from the greater computerization of record keeping.😉

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/14/2018 at 1:49 PM, BAR said:

A related question.   Not sure if this was answered.  Mine is a little different.  If I come to Lake Chapala area to live on a trial basis with the option of making it very long term,  what would be the best way for me to do this?  Just spend a year doing the tourist visa renew?  Also, I may qualify for the temp. resident visa but not the perm. one.   Thanks to all

To answer you directly.... there is NO best way, for you there is the ONLY way unless you can qualify for a Temporal... which you’ve suggested that you may not. Minus that, it’s a Tourist Card for 180 days, then a drive to the border to turn it in and, after a cup of coffee somewhere, get back in line for another 180 day card. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×