French (citizen) Immigration Lawyer Living as a Digital Nomad in Mexico
By Alicia Marie Salhi, cross border Immigration Lawyer & Digital Nomad
I can surely understand what it is to be an immigrant and how it feels: filling out forms, waiting, worrying, waiting again and then having to adapt oneself to a new culture, new habits, and learning a new language among others.
I am an immigration lawyer admitted to the Paris Bar (France) currently based in Mexico city working for a U.S. based law firm (Donald Gross Law) and also helping civil society organizations in Mexico protecting human rights.
Journey to Becoming an Immigration Lawyer
I was born in France but went through the process of what used to be called Republican Identity Document for Foreign Minor born in France (“titre d’identité républicain” (TIR) d’un mineur étranger né en France) and even obtained French citizenship when I turned 15 years old because my parents were not French citizens. I will describe this specific procedure in a separate article on how to become a French citizen.
Thus, the best (immigration law) school for me has been my personal history and also my professional experiences abroad.
I went to law school in France and then had the opportunity to intern in an immigration law firm in Montreal in 2017. Finding strategies for individuals to migrate to Canada, drafting recommendations, arming the applications with strong arguments and evidence, submitting them and seeing the applications approved by the authorities was the most satisfying feeling I had ever had.
I then moved to Boston, United States in 2018 and worked in the immigration department of an IT company where I learnt from scratch U.S. immigration law and absolutely loved it.
Digital Nomad in Mexico
Then when applying for my Mexican visa, I got familiar with the Mexican immigration system. At first, the Mexican Consulate in Paris, France almost denied my visa application because I did not hold a passport in good condition. If you are interested in moving to Mexico, please make sure you look at the requirements of the Mexican Consulate of the country where you will apply for your visa, it is very important to meet all the requirements! I had just one week to obtain my passport renewed, my visa stamp and go to Mexico. And I made it! But three weeks later the Covid pandemic hit and the rest of my immigration process on obtaining a temporary resident card took longer than expected.
Living in Mexico has been an incredible adventure so far; I say it out loud I am living the “Mexican Dream”. Mexico City, or CDMX for Ciudad de México, is one of the largest cities in the world but also a city with multiple facets: 21.1 million inhabitants, a total of 170 museums and 43 galleries, around 1,500 markets, a wide range of restaurants and cafes; the megalopolis surrounded by volcanoes, and vestiges of the pre-Hispanic era, attracts people from all over the world with different stories who choose to visit, settle temporarily, permanently or to seek asylum. Mexico is a refuge for some, an escape for others.
But adapting to a new country, like Mexico, can be difficult especially if you do not speak Spanish. For this specific reason it is crucial to try not to anticipate, not to judge, not to compare, to enjoy the culinary delights and even before arriving, evaluate your need for obtaining a visa. For the specific process on how to obtain a temporary resident visa for Mexico, please refer to the Mexico section Digital Nomad Visa page.
Advantages of Living Abroad
My passion and curiosity for immigration matters keep growing. Working and living abroad definitely opened my mind to understanding different cultures, and developing my capacity to communicate in several languages (French, English and Spanish).
If you still hesitate to move abroad, I will give you one piece of advice: try for a short period of time. I can guarantee you that you won’t regret it.
Learn More About Living as a Digital Nomad in Mexico and More
Alicia Marie Salhi is a French citizen and cross border Immigration Lawyer. Admitted to the Paris Bar, though her immigration law experience widely covers the U.S. and Mexico.
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