Time for a progress report

As we approach the move date of January 30, it is time for a progress report.

Visa stuff

I have been back to the consulate, having decided to apply for a residente temporal visa for a retiree. This visa is good for four years. It can be renewed annually, or multiple years can be paid for at the start. Residente Permanente status can be applied for from inside Mexico at the end of the four years.  On December 19 I applied for residente temporal status and am waiting to hear back from the consulate to go in for fingerprints and to get the document affixed to my passport.  I am supposed to hear in the next few days.  If I have not heard by January 2, I will go back to the consulate and check on the progress.

Once I get the permit attached to my visa, I will have six months to make the move, and 30 days after arriving in country to go to the local office of the immigration agency to start the in-country part of the process.

Moving household goods

We are going to move some household goods with us.  We have chosen to move overland using Strom White Movers.  We are going to limit it to one 7x7x4 crate (referred to as a lift van).  We also checked with Linea Peninsular, but getting a load smaller than a 20 foot container to them, having it palletized and moved was more complex.

On January 21, movers are scheduled to arrive at our place in Portland, OR, load the lift van and take it away.  It should arrive in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico within 30 days.  The cost is estimated to be a bit less than $6,000.  That seems like quite a bit, but there are items we want to take with us – some family things, kitchen goods, a little furniture, etc.

We are busy going through the next to last sort.  Many things are going to Goodwill, some to family members, some are going in the dumpster. After this sort is finished, there will be one last sort making the final decisions about what to take.  We will have a spot the size of the crate marked off the garage and space considerations will enter into the decisions.

Most of the remaining furniture has been spoken for and bought.  Some of that – a dining room and bedroom set, our king bed, and some other things will get moved to their new homes  the weekend of January 25.

The move down

On January 30 we fly out, Kathy, Flea the cat and me.  We will take Flea for his physical and health documents the week of the flight.  He had a physical and his annual shots in October, so we think this will be pretty much a formality.

Housing

We have rented a house for our first three months in Mérida.  It is a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house with an enclosed back room – walls on three sides and a decorative iron back wall with screens that is open to the outside and the pool.  It is in the historic center of the city and it has off-street parking for one car.  It is on a busy street that is a bus route, but is about 8 blocks from the main square.  We will see how it goes. We have the option to extend the lease, but the house is also on the market.  Real estate markets move more slowly in Mexico, but that will be a consideration.

Early tasks after we arrive

We will probably need to buy some furniture – the house is partially furnished and we will have a bit of furniture coming down in our crate, but we will need to supplement that with some purchases.  The rental agent will arrange for weekly maid and pool service, so that part is done.

I will have 30 days to go to the local office of the immigration agency and go through the in-country part of the process to receive the residency permit.

We plan to buy a car after we arrive.  This will be something we will want to get done soon after the final residency permit is granted.

That is about it for now.  There will likely be another post before we move, and more frequent ones relating our adventures in moving and getting settled in after we arrive.

 

Immigration Stuff

I went to the Mexican consulate in Portland today to apply for a residente permanente visa.  This may be viewed as roughly equivalent to getting a green card in the USA, I think. I was the second person in line, and after a 15 minute wait I was in.

My retirement income is enough to qualify for permanente, and if I had been receiving it for 6 months or more I would have walked out with the thing affixed to my passport saying I was eligible. Alas, I have not been receiving retirement benefits for that long. I could have received a residente temporal today (good for 4 years, after which one can apply for permanente status), I was told. The other option I discussed with the visa person was going down to Mexico on a 180 day visitante permit (what one usually gets when heading down on vacation via the form filled out on the airplane), returning after I had 6 months of retirement income documented and then get a permanente.

One cannot, I was told upon asking, combine months during which one was working with months during which one was receiving pensions/social security. The Mexican government wants to make sure, I was told, that a continuing retirement income stream would be present to support the visa applicant. Award letters from pension boards and social security were also not sufficient – actual deposits into bank accounts were the only documentation that was acceptable.

One can also qualify based on how much money one has in investments – documented via 12 months of investment/savings account statements. Our retirement assets are heavily tilted toward pensions and social security. We do not have 12 months of investment account balances that meet the minimum required. Balances that have been recently boosted by the sale of real estate would not work – 12 months of statements with a combined balance above the minimum was it.

We are leaning toward coming down on a visitante in late Jan / early Feb and, when we return to visit my mother in July, applying for a permanente. At that point in time I will have the six months of documented pension / social security deposits that exceed the minimum required.

The young woman I dealt with was very personable and professional. She sympathized with our return from a month long trip to Mexico during the winter.
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