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.