We’re officially Mexicans for 3 more years – the last step on the road towards becoming Permanent residents. It has been a surprisingly easy process, although not without typical Mexican bumps – the most annoying being the Bureaucratic Lineup from Hell. This last process meant 6 trips to the Immigration office to present application forms, bank receipts and fingerprints. The Christmas break created an expected slowdown but last week the awaited message showed up online saying everything had been registered and we could come to the office to be fingerprinted – the final stage before issuance of the card. It did seem silly since we had been fingerprinted in the same office 1 year ago, and 1 million copies had been made then. But I have learned to follow Mexican bureaucracy without question and I was not going to start ‘whying’ at this stage.
Normally we would not be particularly concerned about the timeline. Mañana would be just fine. But I must leave for Canada on Tuesday to attend meetings and I can’t leave without my renewed card in hand. Time matters this time so when we got word that our application was ready for fingerprints we headed to the Immigration Office in Nuevo Vallarta. The office opens at 9:00 and we arrived by 9:30 only to find we were already 42nd in line. Seriously. 41 grey haired gringo couples ahead of us. All clutching a dog eared file folder full of papers to be sorted, shuffled and stapled.
We had no choice – I was running out of days. We bought a cup of coffee from the nearby coffee shop and settled in for the wait. Which turned out to be 4 hours long. The clock read 1:30. 4 long hours. Waiting to be told that the application was not ready. WHAT? My online profile told me to come, it would be ready. No senora…. maybe tomorrow. Well of course it wasn’t ready.
We returned the next day – at 8:15 – to take the 10th place in line. By 9:30 we had been fingerprinted and today we returned to pick up our coveted card. With one day to spare. Tuesday I fly out as a Mexican resident, a green card with an unsmiling photo to prove it. All is again well.
For the next 3 years we will be considered Temporary Residents and then we will automatically become Permanent Residents. And by automatically I mean 6 appointments, long lines, more papers and fingerprints and payments. But we are approved, accepted, welcomed, official. Just in Time!