As we go to immigration almost daily in Chapala and Guadalajara, we try to make heads or tails out of the ever-changing policies.

Daily we receive hundreds of calls, emails, whatsap, instant messages, PMs, etc.

Everybody wants to know what to do, how to comply with the law, how to deal with expired documents and when they can or should travel.

As we are talking about a global pandemic, we need to take into account many layers of government and policies.  Someone in Mexico must factor in federal laws, state and local laws. For travel one then needs to do the same for their proposed destination as well as any place they may have a layover with flights and routes being changed and canceled daily.

Here in Mexico, there have been many landmark dates that have come and gone, with pending landmark dates of June 1st for proposed reopening of certain places, June 15 when the federal courts extended their reopening, June 21 for US / Canadian border crossing restrictions and August 1 mentioned by the president.

Each immigration office has handled the reissuance of tourist visas differently.  As of today, the policy is they will only reissue for people over 60 who can show why they could not go home. This current program is only for people with expired visas and is set to end this Friday, May 29, 2020.

Depending on the development of the issue, it could be reinstated again in a week or so.  Immigration is not seeking out foreigners to deport them.  The reissuance procedure may be a bit tedious, there were large lines at immigration in Guadalajara today and the process requires forms to be filled out, a hearing with an immigration officer and then a resolution must be issued and then the head officer prepares and signs the new tourist visa.  Plan to spend 3-5 hours at immigration.  Each time the program is offered the line gets longer.

Immigration has been reissuing tourist visas for 180 days from date of issuance, not from the date that the old visa expired.  Immigration is admonishing people to not be lollygagging in Mexico.  Tourists should return home at the first available moment.

In other news, today in the Diario Oficial de la Federacion or Mexico’s Federal Register, there was a decree to suspend all time deadlines for immigration for all temporary and permanent resident inside or outside of Mexico.

We have seen the application of this with clients whose documents expired and they did not have to pay a fine nor regularization fee due to a suspension of deadlines but without any cited authority.  The suspension now has a sort of specific start date, June 1, although there has been some retroactive application. The end date may be subject to regional policies which may leave the door open to uncertainty for the average person who wants to have specific dates so they know when they may enter the country to renew or process their documents and not be turned away or told to come back later after making an international journey.

The suspension of deadlines is from June 1, 2020 until the health authorities determine that there is no “epidemiological risk” relating to the gradual opening of activities relating to the Federal Public Administration.

As with everything, we will see how this will be applied.  Logically this should benefit people who have applied for visas at consulates outside Mexico who have a 180-day time limit to enter the country who have been unable to travel.  Also, there are people who need to renew their temporary visas or those that left on travel letters and who have been unable to return within the 60-day time limit.


About the Author:

Litigating Attorney and Official Court Translator in the State of Jalisco, Mexico