Friday, April 19, 2013

Not of this World...Visa Process and Citizenship Issues

It always is funny to me when people say things like, "Well, because your wife married you, she is an automatic U.S. citizen, right?"  Or, "because you married your wife, you're an automatic Mexican citizen, right?"  Mayra and I were married in 1995, and were finally able to complete the very expensive and complicated process of residency and finally citizenship 10 years later. I've been living in Mexico for the last 20+ years, but only now will be getting my permanent residency here. There are many reasons why I haven't done this before, including the advantage of having an imported vehicle here (which is impossible with residency), but finally it looks like I'll be able to officially acquire permanent residency status, and pick up the final paperwork in about three weeks.

Changes in immigration laws here in Mexico have prompted me to do this. It hasn't been easy! I became the process in mid-January. After learning that the paperwork process could no longer be completed in Mexico City, I've since traveled twice to Toluca, the capital of the State of Mexico, the state in which we live. Getting to Toluca from here unfortunately means going the whole way through Mexico City. Not fun. About a 5.5 hour round trip. The first time I went, I was told that the residency was approved, but the appropriate documents that I had to sign weren't printed out yet. Grrr.  I went again this past Tuesday, waking up at 4:45 a.m. and leaving the house shortly after 5:30 a.m., picking up friend Juan Piza on the way, who is legal representative of the religious association of which I have been a part.

My process, although lengthy (going on three months) has been relatively easy. I haven't been asked for any additional paperwork, just the standard fare of pictures, fingerprints and multiple forms. And more money. In the past our yearly visas cost about $30, plus lawyer fees. This year...over 10 times that, at around $340. The wonderful advantage that we have as a family is that I'm the only one who has to go through this whole process...everyone else has double citizenship...two passports each (which brings with it a whole different set of challenges when you travel, making sure that everyone has valid passports for both the U.S. and Mexico!). I'm the only one who has to deal with a yearly visa renewal. And it the future, with permanent residency, even that will be much easier.

Quote of the Day: 1 Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

Below: Juan Piza, who has helped me through this challenging process. Together we look for places to eat breakfast in Toluca...and end up eating a tamal on a street corner!

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