Today is July 31st and I finally had mug shots and fingerprints done at INM. The card will hopefully be ready next week and I will once again live and work legally in Mexico. But only for one year, and not the three years I requested.
The renewal process has been somewhat of a gong show. In actuality, the original application for a work visa a year was less tedious.
I accepted a job offer in April from a school here in Mazatlan. While I had been assured that I would have the school’s support in renewing my work visa, this was not the case when it was time for action.
This necessitated retaining a professional to assist me with all the documents. He had come highly recommended. However due to his inefficiency and ignorance, the proper documents were not filed requesting a three year renewal. Instead documents were filed for a one year renewal.
I wanted a three year renewal for two reasons. The first is that I would not have to deal with Immigration again for three years. The second is that one year costs 3500 pesos and three years only $6600.
This morning at Immigration, the staff there explained to me in perfect English that they were willing to renew for three years. The mistake was not theirs. Of course the person I had retained tried to blame it all on Immigration. Scrambling to save face, he actually told me that Immigration had told him that it couldn’t be renewed for three years because I had moved to another city and changed jobs. That really took nerve on his part, seeing as we were all standing in front of staff in the Immigration office.
I had a fabulous immigration lawyer when I lived in Guadalajara. German Pajarito, you need to open an office here in Mazatlan. I highly recommend German to anyone requiring legal advice in Guadalajara. He is one of the most honest and trustworthy people I have ever met in my life, and a talented musician as well.
As to who I do NOT recommend here in Mazatlan, he shall remain nameless for now…………
Aside from stressing out over my work visa, I have really enjoyed the time I have spent here in Mazatlan so far. I teach part-time and I write. I’m also in the midst of a university course online. Despite the scorching temperatures and high humidity here, I venture out exploring every day. i used to come to Mazatlan, check into a hotel in the Zona Dorada, and bask on the beach all day. But now that I live here, I am discovering places other than government buildings associated with renewing my work visa.
On Saturday I spent some time at Plazuela Machado. I was there during the day and I look forward to returning at night when this area comes alive with music in the many bars and restaurants. I’m a people watcher by nature, so I parked myself close to the kiosko on a bench in the shade. Shortly thereafter, I was inundated by vendors selling jewelry to toys and everything in between. The women often had a baby in their arms or young children in tow. I also watched groups of tourists posing for photos in front of the kiosko. Although they spoke predominantly in English or Spanish, I did hear other languages too.
Growing thirsty from the heat, I sought refuge at a small cafe at a table outside with two enormous fans creating a most welcome breeze. Never was an ice cold cerveza in a frosty mug more appreciated!
I then ventured down the street to explore the Teatro Angela Peralta. Built in the style of a European opera house in 1874, this building has been restored as a performing arts center after it was almost destroyed in a hurricane in the 1960’s.
I opted to leave the upstairs museum for another visit, but I did view the small display of artwork in a hallway outside of the theater.
Future excursions will include museums, the lighthouse, churches, the aquarium and the 20 kilometer malecon. I’d also like to watch the cliff divers and the surfers. And of course there are the boat excursions out to the other islands. And did I mention the incredible sunsets?
It’s mid-July and my work visa expires next week. A month ago I retained someone to help me with it. I was assured that all that was required was a photocopy of my passport, a photocopy of my migratory card and a photocopy of a utility bill. A simple process. After all, it’s only a renewal.
Two weeks later I messaged the office to find out what was happening. Oh, more information is needed. I provide all of the information. A messenger arrives at my home the following day to obtain my signature on some documents.
Then the following day I receive a text that the messenger will be back to get my passport and migratory card as the originals are now needed to file the documents. This was on a Thursday. The messenger promised I’d have my passport back on Friday.
True to his word, the messenger returned my passport to me on Friday, along with the migratory card. The papers had not been filed. Why? They required three types of documentation from the school where I now teach. Except that they have also asked for documentation from the school I no longer teach at which is in Guadalajara. I now live in Mazatlan. And the director of the school where I teach here in Mazatlan is out of the country. OK, we still have two weeks to get this done before the visa expires.
This past week brings us closer to the deadline and the entire process has now been revised. The school cannot provide me with the documents I require. On Monday, I registered at El SAT and was assured that everything could now be filed with INM. I would just be registering as an independent worker rather than an employee at a school.
Instead of the messenger arriving in the morning on Tuesday, with the revised documents, I got a message asking for more details of my last employer in Guadalajara. And now more documents have got to be filed.
To my surprise the messenger arrived with the new documents a couple of hours later. So once again I signed my life away to documents in Spanish that I did not completely comprehend. Yes I got the main idea. But even with English legal documents, there is legalese that is not possible for a layman to decipher. At any rate, everything will be filed at INM this afternoon and then I can breathe again.
Wrong! Nothing was filed! More documents required! Daily the messenger arrives with more documents that require my signature. And because I moved to another city and am teaching at a different school, there is now a monetary penalty. And of course there is now a new fee to file these documents as well.
It is now Friday and time is running out. Will this visa actually happen? Stay tuned for Part 2……………
It’s the end of the first week of July, the first week of summer and it appears that Winnipeg has been riddled with violence.
On July 1st celebrations were held at The Forks in Winnipeg to mark Canada Day. The news reported that a vicious stabbing had taken place. The violence continued with a bombing at a law office that seriously injured a woman. And the news last night reported another bomb at a law office in Winnipeg.
This second bomb at a law office hit home for me for two reasons. This is the office of a lawyer I had used for years in the past. And this office is also located across the street from the building where my son works.
Then this morning there were reports of suspicious packages at City Hall and at a Canada Post depot.
I remember growing up in Winnipeg and never locking doors at all. My own children grew up decoding alarm systems. And I am thankful that I am not now a mother raising young children in Winnipeg today.
In the neighborhood where I live here in Mexico I watch the children playing freely in the streets. People sit outside of their homes and visit. Pedestrians far outnumber the vehicular traffic. Memories of my own childhood spring to mind.
What has happened to Winnipeg? It has become a hotbed of danger. I read the headlines in The Winnipeg Free Press and they are constantly filled with assaults, murders and other reports of criminal activity. I was astounded to read a couple of months ago that a student had been fatally stabbed at a high school I attended. And just recently the airport was closed due to bomb threats.
Is media hype the true culprit responsible for the increase in crime in our society? Look at some of these recent headlines from The Winnipeg Free Press:
The media selectively chooses to embellish the news in the hopes of attracting more readers. The worldwide exposure makes it easy for people to not only learn about crime but also to attempt to copycat the crimes they read about or see on television.
I recall the numerous festivals and activities that occur during the summer in Winnipeg. What will be the effect on tourism this summer with all this bad press? Let’s hope that the media will focus on more positive aspects that will attract visitors rather than scare them away. I have fond memories of Winnipeg in the summer.
I am shocked and saddened by the headlines this past week, and I hope that this coming week will be a better one.