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Archive for October, 2014

Renewing your Residencia Temporal … recent (10/08/2014)

This page of info is for those who already have a Residencia Temporal Card  … and who need to renew an existing card.  The process for applying for the original card is located in an earlier post … here …

Now that we have been temporary residents for a year, it was time to renew.  We were only allowed a single year the first time in La Paz with the initial application.  I believe, in retrospect, that this is so Americans don’t apply and then decide that they aren’t staying.  In any case, if you wish to keep staying, you have to go thru a renewal process.

We just completed that process.  I have to admit it was a breeze.  So let me describe it here for those nearing this deadline.

Change of Address (Cambio Domicillio)

First a warning for cruisersYou must renew your Residencia Temporal Card in the state and jurisdiction that you reside!!!  You have to list a domicile when you apply for the initial Residencia Temporal; but, as a cruiser, you may be a thousand miles away in another part of Mexico when the renewal comes due.  The literal rule is that you have to ‘notify’  INM when you move … or change where you are domiciled or living.  Interesting words for people who move around a lot.

It gets a little trickier for cruisers, because we are constantly staying at a marina or an anchorage for months, or weeks, or a few days.  Which moves do you have to report?  Short version:  If you intend to stay where you are– at the time your renewal comes due– (and it is not the state in which you first received your Residencia Temporal card)   you must notify INM and make a change of address within 90 days of your decision to reside in a different state.  “Intending to stay” is my language, but it captures the questions we went thru with the renewal.

Here was our situation.  We were listed as living in La Paz.  We were sailing southwards for Chiapas till May when we stopped at Barra de Navidad.  We liked it and stayed on for the summer.  No further intentions.  Thought we would either go back north, finish trip south in fall, or maybe stay part of a year here.  Time passed and we had stayed nearly 5 months.

Mistakenly, we had thought that we could renew our Residencia Temporal at any INM office.  Our Bad!

Suddenly realized that we might not make it back to La Paz by the time we expired.  Went to the local (we thought) INM office, which had just opened in Melaque, only to find out that the Marina in Barra de Navidad is in the state of Colima and not the state of Jalisco as is the rest of the town.  We are across the bay and across the state line.  So, suddenly, we needed to go to Manzanillo (40 miles south).

This was  early September.  The INM agents also told us we had to be domiciled where we were renewing the cards … Uh-ohhh!  We needed to change addresses.  Oops, did not know that.  Now we did.  Can we do that in Melaque? …. big smile …. No!  Ok.  How do we do it?

(1) Go online at the INM site and fill out a request for a change of domicile.

The form is online here:


This actually turned out to be easy.  Just two lines of a pull-down menu then enter the new address. I don’t usually suggest getting local help but on the address change I suggest going to the Marina office or harbor master’s or somewhere they work with addresses.  Because, the political divisions you have to get correctly are not obvious to us as Norte Americanos.  As an example, looking at Google Maps, I still think we are in Jalisco.  I am wrong, but so is Google (according to the United Mexican States).


Turns out that the Wyndham Grand Isla Navidad Hotel and Marina has its own zip code and is its own ‘town’ — not a part of Barra, not a part of Colimilla.  The Grand Wyndham actually has its own streets for addresses.  It helped to have the marina staff (Harbor Master office)  tell us how to fill in the right local address.  Now this is in spite of getting mail correctly here, UPS correctly here, and Fed Ex packages.  So short version … make sure the address correction is correct.

(2) Go to the appropriate office of INM.  Manzanillo, Colima for us.  What to take?  (a) passports, (b) current Residencia Temporal Cards, (c) a printout of the online form you filled out at the INM website asking for the address change or change of domicile (d) color copies of our passports, and (e) most important, a letter in Spanish detailing your request and saying when and why you decided to ‘move’ to the new domicile, (f) we carried rent receipts and (f) utility receipts ‘just in case’, but we did not need them.

I will pause at (e) and talk to cruisers in boats regarding the letter requesting the address change.  The date you arrived is not as important as the date and reasons you decided to stay.  If you have not reported a change of address in the required time frame there is a fine.  Read that “FINE” for not doing so.  You have to report your request for a change of domicile within 90 days of deciding to stay.  We had been in Barra for 5 months but only found out when we decided to stay and went to the office in Melaque that we needed an address change.  For practical purposes, we used the date we went to the Melaque office for INM as the date we decided to stay.  Remember no more than 90 days.

End result, we took a one hour bus ride to the office in Manzanillo.  Took a couple of hours to process.  Only touchy point was when we decided to stay in Barra de Navidad.  We left there with a new form specifying our new domicile.  No cost,  No hassle.  Whew!

We also found out the time table for renewing the Residencia Temporal Cards.  You can come in to renew 28 days out.  No more than that.

Renewing the Residencia Temporal (10/03/2014)

Went online and visited the INM site.  Filled out the same form as the change of address but this time asked with pull down bars for a renewal of the residencia temporal status.  Only had to change two pull down two pull down boxes and we were done. Once it was accepted, printed a pdf copy out to take with us.

(1) Go online and fill out the firm at the INM website using the pull down menu for Expendition de Trajeta de Residente por Renovacion.   (Renewal of Temporary Resident Status)

The form is located online here:  The form is online here:

(2) Called INM local office in Manzanillo and asked ‘ what do we need to renew?’  Answer : (a) passports, (b) old now-expiring Residencia Temporal Cards, (c) go online and fill out a new request form (the one we had already done), (d) new pictures (two front and one side) (already had from a Melaque visit), (e) rent receipts,  (f)  we took electric receipts (utilities) but did not need them, and most importantly a letter in Spanish for the file stating why you want to extend the residencia temporal status, and finally (g) enough pesos to pay the fees at a bank.

(3) Go to appropriate local INM office.

We go up the next morning and took the early bus to get there by 9 but it did not come, so we took the next bus and ended up arriving at about 10 am in Manzanillo.  Sign in at door, state your business, sit, and wait.

Took about two and a half hours.  Then a trip by taxi to a bank to make the fee payment. About $4950 in pesos each for two more years.  We could have done three years but we did not have enough pesos with us.  Then back to the INM office with the official receipts from the bank.

Ended with much paperwork and new fingerprint forms. As a footnote:  We did not need the rent receipts, even though they were requested.  We were finished by 1 pm and on our way back to Barra de Navidad.

Remembering the four months it took to get our initial cards in La Paz, we asked ‘how long’ and were told come back on Monday …  much confusion here with wife outside office, till she finally went back in and asked again …. “Next Monday?” (this is Friday at noon) … “Si, Senora!”

We called back on the following Tuesday, October 7 and they were done.  Picked them up along with another official conformation form on Wednesday the 8th of October.  Turn-around time really was two to three days. exactly as they had told us.


End product.  Two shiny new Temporary Resident Cards, each good for two years, and official change of domicile.  Looks like we now live in Barra de Navidad.

All done in Spanish, though they did have English speakers available if necessary.