Written By: Carrie Osman
Cacheaux Cavazos & Newton
1. Register with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate - U.S. citizens living in Mexico should register on-line with their local embassy or consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has a U.S. Citizen Services department that offers a 24-hour hotline for seeking emergency help as well as U.S. passport services, notary services, and voter registration.
Once registered, U.S. citizens receive security and travel information periodically from the U.S. Department of State that is usually in the form of electronic travel warnings. These travel warnings have been exceedingly cautious for Mexico in the past years given the security crisis, and of particular interest to those living in Northeastern Mexico. In Monterrey, residents were pleased to see that the most recent travel warning issued on July 12, 2013 acknowledged that violence and insecurity in Nuevo Leon has decreased in the last 12 months, although the U.S. Department of State kept the travel advisory in both Nuevo Leon and other states.
2. The Mexican Visa Requirements - Under the new streamlined visa rules, which went into place in Mexico last November, there are three visa categories for foreigners who enter Mexico to work: visitor; temporary resident; and permanent resident. The visitor´s visa, which is issued at the airport upon arrival, is appropriate for most business travelers. However, foreign individuals who intend to live and work in Mexico must obtain a temporary resident card, which is a credit card sized visa with a photo issued by one of the regional offices of Mexico´s National Immigration Institute.
Unfortunately, the new application process for resident visas can be quite time-consuming, and in some circumstances requires that the applicant start the process at the Mexican Consulate in their home country even before entering Mexico. For this reason, it is important to seek visa advice before entering Mexico from an experienced Mexican immigration lawyer. At a minimum, the Mexican immigration lawyer will consider the job description and the entity that will pay the salary in Mexico (specifically whether it is a Mexican company or a foreign company) in order to advise on where and how to initiate the resident visa application for the applicant as well as any family members.
3. Use Resources like AmCham - The American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico (AmCham) offers tremendous resources and contacts for international business people living and working in Mexico (www.amcham.org.mx). AmCham and similar organizations can provide local information that most expats find essential to doing business in a foreign jurisdiction. For example, in Monterrey as in other large cities in Mexico, there are English speaking churches, social and charitable organizations for spouses, families, and other expat groups that can offer valuable support for foreign citizens living in Mexico.