Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > Mar. 2005

Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa Maya, - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the coast

***********************Newsletter: March 12, 2005**************************


Where exactly is the Costa Maya?
Update on Recycling efforts - Balance and setting up a non-profit corporation to handle wastes and protect the environment
Ecological Museum
Re-zoning efforts in the city of Mahahual - No more horses in the city
Costa Maya Chamber of Commerce News - Semana Santos preparations and how to join the chamber
Immigration Q & A

Hi Neighbors,
Sorry for the late publishing date of the newsletter but I was waiting for the Immigration meeting (especially after spamming you with false alarms the last couple of weeks!). Q&A from the Immigration meeting is listed below along with a link to a web site that provides more information about Immigration issues.

You can find this newsletter and archives of past newsletters at this location:

The Costa Maya is all of the following:

  • The area that stretches from Xcalak to Punticulb, or the boarder of the Sian Ka'an.
  • The name of the Pier and cruise ship destination
  • A group of small communities (including Mahahual, Xcalak and El Placer) that have banded together to take care of the growing population, garbage and other issues.
  • I have been told that it officially does not include lake Bacalar or the Sian Ka'an

The efforts to improve the recycling drop off center at the secondary school have been going full board. The foreign investors (as all of you who have generously donated are referred to) have collectively contributed again to the city who have used the latest funds to build additional composting bins. This is a very good thing for the community as the number of restaurants and hotels increase. 60% of a restaurants waste can be composted and turned into fertilizer. I purchased the first load of composted soil from the city, but I purchased everything they had (and I have an order in for more!). Those of you who want compost for your gardens can get on a waiting list to purchase compost when it is ready. With the money donated they will have 8 new large bins (they only have 2 now) so this will become easier to acquire. The sale of the compost will help them maintain the bins.

New contributions to the recycling fund:
>>John and Valarie McChristy .............. $100
>>Todd Story .......................................$100
>>Pam and Don Laurion........................ $100
>>Correction: The Layman's donation last month was reported as 55 pesos, when in actuallity it was 550 pesos (I still get my dollars and pesos mixed up!). Apologies and thanks to the Laymans.

Total donations to date: 1,491.27

Debits from the fund:
Previous : .............................. $200
February: ............................... $454 (or $5000 pesos)

Balance: ..............................................$836

Other news about "garbage" and recycling.
The group who has been meeting together weekly to solve the recycling problems has banded together to form a non-profit/civil corporation to take care of all of the garbage for the Costa Maya as well as to help enforce environmental issues. The corporation has a president, secretary, treasurer and other officers. As described above, the Costa Maya is a stretch of land running almost 100 miles, so over the long term this will be quite a project. I think the name of the corporation is Amigos de Costa Maya (Friends of the Costa Maya). I haven't heard back as to whether or not the name is taken by some other corporation. Once we have approval of a name, this section of the newsletter will be renamed.

The group (soon to be incorporated) petitioned Chetumal for funds to improve garbage collection. They were granted $7000 dollars. This was less than they asked for, but will allow them to purchase a motorized 4-wheel "scooter" to supplement the tricycle they now use for recyclable waste collection. It will also pay for a trailer to haul the recyclables in, a trash compactor for the plastic collected, labor to collect garbage, sun-resistant garbage bags and a few incidentals such as gasoline and other items. You can see why the money you have donated up to this point is so appreciated.

If you are familiar with Mahahual, you may have wondered what the little round white house was as you entered Mahahual. Currently it is owned by SEMARNAT, the environmental protection agency of Mexico. The goal is to use this for a turtle museum. It is hoped that SEMARNAT will help pay to renovate it and deed it over to the area. In order to do this, a trust has to be created to raise funds, market and promote the protection of the turtle grounds and educate people about protecting the environment. If you are interested in this project, let me know and I will forward your contact info to an English speaking representative from the University of Quintana Roo who is heading up this effort.
The city of Mahahual if very small, only three streets deep and a few blocks long. The Primary school is on the beach road, which most of you are aware is a sandy beach road. Every day the kids get out of school and walk down the street, mingling with tourists who have come off the cruise ships. In the midst of this are taxis, horses, ATVs, bicyclists and miscellaneous motorized vehicles. It is an accident waiting to happen. A petition has been filed to rezone the area to protect the pedestrians. While horses may not sound dangerous, their excrement left on the streets is pretty awful so they are the first to be targeted. Expect changes in this arena soon and if you are traveling through Mahahual, please be careful.

Semana Santos, or the week around Easter, is the focus of the Chamber right now. The Military checkpoint has been monitoring the number of vehicles during this time frame for the last two years. In 2003, there were around 5000 vehicles, 2004 - 8700 and this year it is expected to be over 10,000 vehicles with an average of 4 per car. Add this to the cruise ship passengers and you can expect shortages of Gasoline, purified water and Ice as the locals vacation at the beach. If you are planning a visit here, please be prepared and don't come to Mahahual with an empty gas tank -- fill up in Chetumal or Carrillo Puerto just in case.

After reporting the formation of the Costa Maya Chamber of Commerce, I got requests asking how to join the chamber of commerce if you are not here. The president of the Costa Maya chamber told me that they are members of the Mexican chamber of commerce community. Therefore, if you want your corporation to be a member please tell your accountant to join the Costa Maya Chamber (not the Chetumal chamber). He should know exactly what to do.

NOTE: This was a safe meeting to ask questions, but the presence of immigration officials scared many people off and they didn't stay to ask questions. I was one of only 2 persons asking questions, so I didn't get the benefit of bouncing off other individuals.

1) There are four main types of foreign Visas here in the state of Quintana Roo that you need to be aware of.
Tourist Visas -- these allow no working of ANY type.
FMVL - given to Belizean citizens, and is good for 72 hours. They CANNOT work with this type of visa, so you cannot hire someone with this type of visa.
FM3 -- different lengths of time and varying qualifications listed. This is good for 90/180/365 days, based on the type of application. Most of the information below is about FM3s.
FM2 - provides more time and benefits than an FM3
2) Is the FM3 you get as a Business owner different than a FM3 for a worker?
It is the same visa, but it states on the visa whether or not the holder is a business owner or worker

3) Are there limitations to the number of Foreigners with FM3s you can hire?
No, but you can only hire 10% foreigners. The other 90% must be Nationals.

3a)Do the owners of the corporation count as part of the 10% (meaning that a husband and wife would require 20 nationals?)
No, the owners of a corporation do not count. They should have a visa with an owner status. This is why it is important to have the visa with the right status.

4) Can I rent out my house with a retirement visa status?
No, this requires a FM3 with the status of Business owner

5) Can I get an FM3 outside of Mexico?
Yes, you can get an FM3 for the status of retiree or worker, but you cannot get an FM3 with the status of business owner. You will have to be in Mexico to get this type.

6) Who needs an FM3?
Everyone who is not a tourist. Retirees, business owners, workers, even priests.

7) I currently have an FM3 that expires this May from when I was working in Guadalajara. I would like to change the employer to my wife (owner of our property) and my position to property manager. How do I do this?
The first thing you must do is to make the changes in your corporation to designate yourself as a manager. From there you make the change in your FM3.

8) We own property in a Mexican Corporation that is labeled inactive as it is land only. Do we need to have an FM3?
No, not if you are not going to do anything with the property.

9) Before you build a house do you need an FM3?
Yes, because you need to register with the government - at least as a retiree.

10) Can you be working while you are waiting to set up a corporation?
No. You must first file for an FM3. About a week later you will get a temporary stamp which will give you the authorization to work while you are waiting for the official FM3.

Additional comments from Immigration: If you are a partner for an active corporation it is a requirement to add to your permanent FM3 the status partner/employee or owner to your FM3. All shareholders, not just CEO's are required to do this. They will have tax numbers now in the event that the corporation pays you dividends, you will pay taxes on those dividends, similar to taxes in the states.

There is a web site that answers many questions. Part of the site is in English.
Until next time!


Updated: 05-May-2008

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