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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Mérida’s office for bewildered expats is at your service

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Before an invited gathering of expats at the Olimpo cultural center, Mérida Mayor Renán Barrera Concha and US Consul General Dorothy Ngutter discuss the new office to help new residents. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

A collaboration between the city and the U.S. consulate has resulted in an office to help expats settle in. 

The Oficina Municipal de Atención al Migrante — or The Municipal Office for Migrant Assistance — was formally presented with a ceremony Tuesday night at the Olimpo Cultural Center. Yucatán Magazine provided translation and interpretation services for the gathering, which included live music and remarks by US Consul General Dorothy Ngutter.

“We will be offering assistance to those who have chosen to make Mérida their new home with guidance regarding obtaining visas (both permanent and temporary) and requirements and information on how to file to obtain Mexican citizenship. We will also be offering services recommending language schools, medical facilities, and other services offered by the city, such as parks, recycling points, and more,” said Diana Canto Moreno, president of the Mérida City Council Citizen Participation Commission.

“Tonight is all about building bridges and strengthening bonds that promote the participation of all of Mérida’s residents, including those born here and those who have come from afar. It’s about getting to know each other better and affording ourselves the opportunity to enrich the diversity that is now intrinsic to our city,” she continued before an audience of mostly expats.

The space was requested in 2019 by Mayor Renan Barrera Concha, and a “Living Merida” guide was printed with basic information about day-to-day life in the city. It opened in September, but was formally announced with an elegant, catered ceremony that included live music.

The foreign community — including residents from elsewhere in Mexico — represents 20% of the population of Mérida, the mayor said.

“We want whoever comes to feel good in Mérida to know us and join our customs and enrich us with their own and thus maintain the harmony that characterizes us so much,” Barrera Concha said when the office first opened.

The Oficina Municipal de Atención a Migrantes is on Calle 15, #312-D, between 38 and 40, in Col. San Pedro Uxmal, on the city’s west side. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and to make an appointment, email atencion-migrantes@merida.gob.mx or call 999-338-8301.

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