FM-2, FM-3 or FM-T?

If you are not familiar with any of the acronyms above, they stand for different forms of immigration status for foreigners in Mexico. When you enter as a tourist, you are given a three-month visa called an “FM-T” with the “T” standing for Turista or Tourist. I believe it is still possible to get an additional three-month extension for this. If you are going to stay longer than this, if you plan to work, to study, and a long list of other reason you may be here, you would apply for FM-3 status. And after five years of FM-3 you can apply for FM-2 status. After that its “Landed Immigrant” status, which not too many make it to.

I’m not here to write about each of these and what they entail, but more about what is really necessary if you are a homeowner in Mexico. If you come down here for less than three months at at time, and don’t spend the majority or your time here, FM-T status is all you need. This way you avoid all the long line-ups at immigration and don’t have to have your little booklet stamped every time you leave or come back into the country. Even if you stay longer than three months, you can always get a three-month extension.

So why do American or Canadian Vallarta homeowners apply for FM-3 or FM-2?

Well, at one time it was to try and not have to pay capital gains on their Vallarta home. But those days are over. Unless you are really living in Vallarta for the majority of the year, and you can back it up with telephone and utility receipts that it is your principal residence, you are not eligible for capital gain exemption. You will be paying the taxes, just like you would be back in Canada or the USA.

So if you don’t live here more than six months of the year, why hassle with anything other than FM-T? Keep it simple – those line-ups at immigration aren’t worth it!

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