Getting a Refund For Payments Made To Immigration

Due to some of the new INM rules, some immigration offices are requiring that the payment for new “tramites” be made at the start of the process, as opposed to the end of the process like was previously the case. Their logic is somewhat reasonable, based on how the law reads, although it has resulted for some foreigners to be a problem if the INM form is denied OR if the foreigner has to cancel the process unexpectedly. Once the payment is made and the process rejected or cancelled, OR even if the payment slip just has an error on it, getting the payment returned can be a hassle. Recently, my office has dealt with a few of these payment refunds and quite honestly the process can be frustrating for the foreigners involved, so I thought I’d add a little how-to guide to getting your money back from the INM office.

First of all, it is important to get somebody who has an RFC number to help you and be your “prestanombres”: Hacienda (the tax authority) has a policy that they will only issue refunds of payments made to the government to people who have a tax ID number (RFC). They also have a policy that if you do not have a residency card, you cannot have a tax ID number. This creates a bit of a catch-22 for people who need a refund on payments made to the Immigration authority for their new residence card. I heard that there was a way to get around this directly, but after spending hours researching with my local tax office, the law and finally the National tax authority hotline I am firmly of the belief that whoever applies for the refund needs to have a tax ID number.

Immigration officeOnce you have somebody with a tax ID number, you must write a letter to the Immigration office where you submitted or were going to submit the erroneous payment (it might not be erroneous, but that is what they call it). Your letter will include all the niceties of a standard letter to a government body and will ask for the refund of your monies paid, as well as the reason why you need the refund (My process was cancelled, the document was denied, my name was spelled wrong). Now, the important part of this letter is that it needs to be written from the perspective of, and signed by, your “prestanombres” or the person who has a tax ID number (which is you if you have a tax ID number). Include a copy of the payment receipt and a copy of the person who signed the letter’s identification.
Once the letter is turned into the Immigration office, they will issue you an official communication instructing the tax authority to refund your money to whoever signed the letter. This letter will need to be submitted to the federal tax authority along with the following documents (you will probably need to make an appointment):

A copy of the RFC card of whoever is applying for the refund.
Official identification of the person who is applying for the refund.
A copy of the Mexican bank statement (with CLABE) of the account where the refunded money is to be transferred.
A copy of the bank receipt for the payment
A letter to the tax authority asking them to process the refund and listing the name, address and RFC of the person applying for the refund, the authority that the payment was made to, and the reasons for the renewal, signed by the applicant.

Now, the hard part of all this is that person asking for the refund will need a “CLAVE CIECF” and a “FIEL”, which are the passwords and electronic signatures associated with their RFC number. Many people do not yet have them, but they can usually be processed in a day if needed. In the next few years everyone who does business in Mexico will need to have these numbers in order to continue.

Once everything is submitted the last step is the wait. I think the refunds get processed in 2-3 months, but I have heard that sometimes it is quicker and sometimes it is slower. Enjoy the beach and relax, your money will be transferred when it is transferred.