I'm almost legalized.
Today I'm going back to the immigration offices to finish my application for an FM3 visa. I received a few notes about this yesterday, so I thought I'd explain.
When you vacation in Mexico, you fill out a form on the plane and there's a small scrap of paper you're supposed to keep until you leave. Not everyone pays much attention to it, but that's your tourist visa. When you fly, officials note the date you're leaving and write in the amount of time you'll be in the country. But, you can specify that you'll be there for up to 180 days, which is what I've been doing since moving here two years ago. It costs $20, plus whatever you pay to get to the border or leave the country.
(I'm assuming the arrangement is similar for other countries, but my travels have been limited to Northern American.)
When I was first moving here, I looked into an FM3 visa, which allows a foreigner to stay for one year and is renewable for five years. It's more expensive (roughly $160) but if you consider you don't need to travel every six months, it makes more sense. The problem I faced at the time is I didn't qualify for any of the requirements for an FM3. Off the top of my head, they were retiree, student, artist, and a couple others that I can't remember. But no option for "I want to go live in Mexico with my husband." So I opted for the tourist visa.
Well, my tourist visa is expiring. Of course it slipped my mind with all our visitors so now we're in a bit of a rush, but as long as we file the paperwork before it expires, the nice lady at immigration assures us I'll be fine. Plus, no one has ever asked to see my documents in the two years I've been here (knock on wood), so I don't think it'd make a huge difference.
Apparently I now qualify as Ibis' dependent and can get an FM3 visa based purely on him. We went in to the offices yesterday and got the process started, and today I get to return with, among other things, eight pictures of myself, including four profile shots. Lovely.
I was told I can't leave the country while my application is processing, and at first I panicked because I thought I heard her say three months, but it's just three weeks. That'll be over before I know it.
No word yet where these profile shots will be displayed...