News from Around Banderas Bay | August 2005
|How to Become a Mexican Citizen|
Puerto Vallarta - When you have been living in Mexico for 5 years, you may qualify for Mexican Citizenship. There are benefits in being a Mexican Citizen, but there are also a few drawbacks or limitations. Mexican Citizens cannot legally drive (or own) a vehicle that has foreign license plates. If you have a vehicle that you are strongly attached to, citizenship is not for you.
On the plus side, Mexican citizens have lots of advantages. They can own land, for example. While visitors have to use a bank trust, Mexican citizens can own property in their own names without having to use a bank trust. Mexican Citizenship also means that you don't have to make the annual trip to the local immigration office to renew your FM-3.
There are other advantages, too. Certain jobs and businesses have restrictions, wherein only Mexican citizens can hold those jobs or own those businesses. You may not want to drive a taxi, or own a corner taco stand, but as a citizen it's an option. Mexican Citizens can vote. While I've never been politically minded, a Mexican voter registration card is better identification than a passport when cashing checks or dealing with government agencies.
Becoming a Mexican citizen is comparatively easy. You fill out a form, submit it with a copy of your existing passport and FM-3 or FM-2, along with some photos, pay a fee, and wait. In a few months, you will have to pay a second fee, and sign some additional documents. Again you have to wait a few months. Finally you'll get the call to pick up your Certificate of Naturalization, at which point you'll have to surrender your FM-3 or FM-2. At that time, you can also apply for, and receive, your Mexican passport.
There are a number of ways that the above steps can be accomplished. You can do it yourself. You can hire an attorney to do it for you, or you can work with HELP!, The Manzanillo Foreign Community Assn. AC. The director of HELP!, Bonnie Sumlin, has been assisting foreigners in Mexico for many years, and becoming Mexican Citizens is only one of the services she and her organization provides. This year, for example, more than 40 people will receive their Mexican Citizenship thanks to the efforts of Bonnie Sumlin.
Often, people have questions such as: "Do I have to give up my existing citizenship (USA or Canada)?" or "Will it affect my Social Security?" The answer to both is ABSOLUTELY NOT!
To find out more about obtaining Mexican Citizenship, and the services provided by HELP!, you can call representatives of the Association in Puerto Vallarta - Dr. Marcie Hammond, 222-2806 or Richard and Pat Bendix, 221-5730, all three of whom have attained Dual Citizenship.