Last week we described the beginning of our residency visa journey. Today, the thrilling conclusion of the beginning of our saga on dealing with Mexican immigration.
We crossed into the U.S. by vehicle for the first time in almost ten months. From Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Laredo, Texas.
If one is expecting the raging torrent of a river when crossing the Rio Grande, one is going to be disappointed. At this part of the border at least, it’s more a meandering stream than a swift river. But that it’s a border is very clear. Mexican officialdom staunchly on one side, U.S. officialdom on the other.
In Laredo, one is back on familiar ground. Fast food joints, the usual arrays of big-box stores. Could be anywhere U.S.A.
So we did our bit stimulating the economy after checking into the hotel. Off to Walmart to get some of the either can’t-get or hard-to-get items in Mexico. Starbucks Cold Brew coffee, a Ninja Foodie. Various other miscellany.
The next morning we went to the Mexican Consulate.
Now, our experience with consulates is very limited. Indeed, I had been to one only once, the American Consulate in Guadalajara, when I needed some papers notarized by an American notary. I made an appointment and off we went to the consulate. It’s huge; an entire block in Guadalajara. It’s busy. And it looks like, and is guarded and staffed like a fortress. Security is everywhere. Like the TSA, only if it was run by the military.
So that was the image and impression I had in mind going to the Mexican Consulate in Laredo. We left plenty early, expecting a rigmarole to even get inside. Google led us there, into the heart of downtown Laredo. An older part of town. Somewhat sad-looking brick buildings and homes. And there it was. A relatively small brick house. We parked less than a block away and walked in.
Nothing at the door. We simply opened it and walked in. No military presence.
Inside, we passed thru one of those doorway-like metal detectors, staffed by two private security officers. They asked our business, gave us a number and invited us to sit down among other folks all waiting for their turn.
We were early. Our appointment time came and we were invited to a desk with a lady who apparently was American. We conversed a little. Perfect English. Thank goodness!
In turn, we presented our papers, the most important of which is proof of regular income deposited into a financial institution. Social Security and/or a pension is perfect.
After the papers were processed, we were asked to an interview with one of the Consulate officials. A very pleasant Mexican man who asked us why we wanted to move to Mexico. We explained and we chatted a little longer and then we went back out to the waiting area while our visas were initiated.
A few minutes later, we paid the $36 U.S. fee (each) and received our visas.
The process has begun.