Red tape for ESL teachers in Mexico

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Mexico is a great destination for ESL teaching: it has beautiful beaches, wonderful cuisine, and lots of cultural activities and festivals.

Mexico also has a rich ancient history ‘bequeathed’ to it by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Here is a brief guide about how to deal with red-tape if you are applying to teach in Mexico.

ESL teachers would normally apply for the “Visitor Authorized to Conduct Lucrative Activities Visa” (VACLA), which is valid for 180 days and can be extended for up to five years: once you have obtained an ESL post, you will be able to teach for a continuous period of 180 days and then renew it for a further 180 days. Succinctly, a VACLA visa will allow you to work for up to 180 days for a Mexican ESL school, but approval will be required from the Instituto Nacional de Migración (Inicio), and the VACLA visa must be obtained prior to entering Mexico. ESL teachers should not travel to Mexico hoping to get a VACLA visa: the application has to be done at the Mexican embassy or consulate in your country; it is no longer possible to apply for a visa in Mexico: visit http://mexico.embassyhomepage.com/ (Incidentally, this is not the easiest of sites to navigate).

When applying for your visa, you will also be required to prove that you have $1,000 Mexican dollars in your bank account. You should also contact the embassy before applying so as to ensure that you have all the necessary documents. However, before you rush to apply for a visa – first make sure that you have secured a job. Once your ESL school has made you a job offer, you should submit a copy of their letter of confirmation of employment along with a “proof of registry” document: this is a confirmation that the school has the legal right to hire foreign nationals.

Here is a list of some of the additional documents (make several photocopies of all documents) that you will require for the VACLA visa application process: 1. A passport 2. Passport size photographs (taken by a professional photographer) 3. A letter from your bank (bearing the bank’s letterhead) that states there is at least $1,000 Mexican dollars in your account 4. Bank statements covering the last six months’ transactions 5. A completed visa application form 6. Visa application fee – which must be in cash 7. Birth certificate 8. TEFL qualification(s) WARNING     Over the past two years, Mexico has introduced new immigration rules, and visas procedures; thus, you should ignore information on websites dated before November 2012. As this article is only a brief guide – keep up to date by checking with the Mexican embassy in your country.

ESL teachers would normally apply for the “Visitor Authorized to Conduct Lucrative Activities Visa” (VACLA), which is valid for 180 days and can be extended for up to five years: once you have obtained an ESL post, you will be able to teach for a continuous period of 180 days and then renew it for a further 180 days. Succinctly, a VACLA visa will allow you to work for up to 180 days for a Mexican ESL school, but approval will be required from the Instituto Nacional de Migración (Inicio), and the VACLA visa must be obtained prior to entering Mexico. ESL teachers should not travel to Mexico hoping to get a VACLA visa: the application has to be done at the Mexican embassy or consulate in your country; it is no longer possible to apply for a visa in Mexico: visit http://mexico.embassyhomepage.com/ (Incidentally, this is not the easiest of sites to navigate). When applying for your visa, you will also be required to prove that you have $1,000 Mexican dollars in your bank account. You should also contact the embassy before applying so as to ensure that you have all the necessary documents. However, before you rush to apply for a visa – first make sure that you have secured a job.

Once your ESL school has made you a job offer, you should submit a copy of their letter of confirmation of employment along with a “proof of registry” document: this is a confirmation that the school has the legal right to hire foreign nationals. Here is a list of some of the additional documents (make several photocopies of all documents) that you will require for the VACLA visa application process: 1. A passport 2. Passport size photographs (taken by a professional photographer) 3. A letter from your bank (bearing the bank’s letterhead) that states there is at least $1,000 Mexican dollars in your account 4. Bank statements covering the last six months’ transactions 5. A completed visa application form 6. Visa application fee – which must be in cash 7. Birth certificate 8. TEFL qualification(s)

WARNING     Over the past two years, Mexico has introduced new immigration rules, and visas procedures; thus, you should ignore information on websites dated before November 2012. As this article is only a brief guide – keep up to date by checking with the Mexican embassy in your country.

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