The Real Story Behind Applying for Temporary Residency in Mexico
What I learned from trying and failing to get a 1-year temporary residency visa for Mexico.
Oh man, it did not go the way that I planned. Not even close.
I credit many of my successes to my blinding optimism. Actually, to even having the courage to try in the first place. When your general assumption is “she’ll be right” (an expression stolen from my 1.5 years Down-Unda’), it helps you give things a go. Things others might be worried about or intimidated by. It’s a huge reason why I’ve done enough international travel to write a book about it.
I recently flew back from Puerto Escondido to the Midwest for a wedding. I scheduled a temporary residency meeting at the Mexican Consulate in Milwaukee for Thursday morning before the wedding weekend. I was hoping to get a 1-year visa. I rolled up with 150+ pages of bank statements and crypto records printed off, a 15-minute convo with a Mexican lawyer fresh in my mind, my partner’s support, and a she’ll be right attitude. She was not right. She was dumb for showing up.
Let me back up a bit.
When I first began visiting Mexico around 2018, I would get stamped in for 180 days as a tourist without any real questions or hesitation on the part of Immigration. This happened my first 4 times entering the country. It felt like Mexico was more than happy to welcome their neighbors from the north and our tourism dollars. I also began dating a wonderful Mexican woman around the same time, my current partner María.
I knew numerous other ex-pats and gringos who loved living in Mexico and applied for Mexican temporary residency, and I would think, “Aw, that’s cool! Maybe I’ll do that when I stop traveling.” I would also think that the whole exercise sounded like a lot of bureaucratic acrobatics. I reasoned I’ll have to leave the country for some reason every six months or so anyway, and they keep stamping me in for 180 days, so I’m fine. I also began to think, and maybe I’ll marry this adorable Mexican woman I love at some point down the road, and then I’ll obviously be fine.”
She’ll be right.