Ultimate guide to moving to Mexico
So you are a retired couple, baby boomers, single female or male looking to retire at some point and you want a place in the sun but you think you cannot afford it? If you have visited Mexico or in the middle of planning a trip to Mexico to scope out whether you should move here. Here’s where you can learn how to move to Mexico and it’s much easier than you think.
Moving to Mexico is relatively easy to do. Don’t be frightened off by the rumours of violence and trouble in Mexico, there are many areas of Mexico that are safer than any in North America or Europe for that matter. We lived and housesat on the gulf coast for a year and had great experiences in Chelem, Chuburna and Progreso as ex-pats and the Yucatan and Merida areas are said to be the safest in Mexico.
The media would have you believe there is some kind of apocalyptic hell taking place in Mexico. With their screaming headlines of murder and mayhem by the drug cartels, you would think that Mexico must be the worst country in the world for anyone to visit.
I am here to tell you something very different, and that, with sensible precautions, Mexico is as safe as if not safer than many other destinations you could choose to visit. Merida in the Yucatan is a perfect example – the safest city in Mexico and a haven for ex-pats the gulf coast area is a perfect place to check out retirement or living possibilities.
Moving to Mexico is easier than you think
The first thing I would recommend is doing some research about the particular area you might be intending to visit. Certain areas of the country are considered safer than the U.S. Take the Yucatan, Campeche, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo or Chiapas regions. An ideal way to see the country and scope out places you might like to live or just visit longer is backpacking and touring.
Fellow blogger Kate from the blog Our Escape Clause has written some excellent posts about Mexico. In particular, check out the 25 Reasons, You Should Backpack in Mexico, fantastic information here.
These particular areas also have the lowest crime statistics in the country and the best safety records with the crime against tourists being very low. In these areas, much of the crime is petty or a “crime of opportunity”. In other words, leave your cell phone on a table and it might just be stolen but it might also be handed to you by a Mexican saying, “You forgot this”.
My blogging friend Cassie has recently moved to Merida and has loads of great tips on where to eat, what to see and do in the area. Check out, Mexico Cassie.
What Visa do you need to move to Mexico?
No Visas can be applied for when in resident in Mexico, all Visas must be applied for outside of Mexico but not necessarily in your home country. There are ways to apply for a Visa outside of Mexico, for example in Belize which will be explained later in this chapter. A Tourist Visa allows you to stay in Mexico for 180 days, but you must leave before the visa expires, you can then return and obtain a Visa for an additional 180 days until you have applied for your Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa.
This is the link for the U. S. Visa Headquarters where you can find information on a Mexican Consulate near you. Much of what is written on the Canadian site links above will apply to U.S. citizens as well, but double-check before you go.
Retire to Mexico on a Temporary Resident Visa
(Mexico Retirement Visa)
In order to receive a Temporary Visa for Mexico, the applicant must have employment or a pension with a monthly tax-free income of at a minimum $1764.00 Canadian dollars during the last 12 months. If you don’t have this income, you must have investment income with an average monthly balance of $29,407.00 during the past 12 months.
If you have a spouse, child or elderly parent you must have an additional $588.00 income per month for the past 12 months to receive a Visa. This means a total income for you and a spouse or child of $2352.00 per month for the past 12 months. We have been told by the Consulate that if your income falls somewhat short of the monthly target that they will look at cases where there is some investment income plus the monthly income requirements. Please note that financial requirements do change as they are dependent on the Peso and dollar exchange rates so do check at the Consulate before you apply.
Here is what you will need to apply for the Mexican Temporary Visa
Download the online PDF application on one page, and make sure you fill in both sides.
You will require your original Canadian passport and one photocopy of the picture page with personal information this should be a black and white copy.
Original and a photocopy of the migratory document accrediting your legal stay in Canada (only for applicants who are not Canadian citizens)
One photograph, 3.9 cm x 3.1 cm with your face uncovered, no glasses, frontal view, colour with a white background. This is 39 mm x 31 mm and is NOT a typical Canadian passport size photo so make sure you get the sizing right.
Payment of requested fees, fees change regularly depending on the Peso exchange rate so check carefully before you send in for the correct amount.
Originals and photocopies of investment receipts and bank statements clearly outlining the investment total and income. You will require the last 12 months of these statements.
Original and photocopy of pension income, preferably with a letter from the Pension organization detailing the pension amounts plus the bank statements that are original showing the Pension deposited to your bank account for the past 12 months.
Check with the Consulate you are applying through, generally, you will send in all the copies and originals of the documents along with photos, statements, and passports by registered delivery (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc). These originals should be returned to you within 10 days along with an appointment to visit the Consulate to process the paperwork and your temporary Visa. In some cases, you can contact the Consulate and make an appointment to arrive with your paperwork to be processed; the processing can take up to 10 days.
Retiring to Mexico on a Permanent Resident Visa
For the permanent resident Visa like the temporary, you must apply at your local Consulate outside of Mexico and you must have the following;
- Download the online application on one page, and make sure you fill in both sides.
- You will require your original passport and 1 photocopy of the picture page with personal information this should be a black and white copy.
- Original and a photocopy of the migratory document accrediting your legal stay in Canada (only for applicants who are not Canadian citizens)
- One photograph, 3.9 cm x 3.1 cm with your face uncovered, no glasses, frontal view, colour with a white background. This is 39mm x 31 mm and is NOT a typical passport size photo so make sure you get the sizing right.
- Payment of requested fees, fees change regularly depending on the Peso exchange rate so check carefully before you send in for the correct amount.
- Original and photocopy of investment receipts or bank account statements showing an average monthly balance of $117,629.00 Canadian you will require the last 12 months of these statements. With a letter from the Pension organization detailing the pension amounts plus the bank statements that are original showing the Pension deposited to your bank account for the past 6 months
- Original and photocopy of proof of tax-free monthly income from pensions in an amount greater than $2941.00 Canadian during the last 12 months.
- If you have a spouse or child, you must add $588.00 Canadian to the above income and have the 12 months worth of bank statements to prove the amount.
- For foreigners who obtain a valid single entry visa, once they enter Mexican territory they must, within the first 30 calendar days, apply to the National Migration Institute for the residence card that accredits their legal stay in the country and allows them to remain in Mexico for a period greater than 180 days.
Getting your Mexican Residence Visa in Belize
You do not have to apply for your temporary or permanent resident visa in your home country; you can apply in any country as long as you are outside of Mexico when you apply. For example, there are many U.S. border crossings where you can apply and some are very quick at processing the Visas. Laredo Texas is said to be a border crossing where they process your Visas within a few hours with the correct paperwork.
If you are already in the Yucatan and decide, you want to apply for your Visa you can go to Belize City, Belize to apply. You must make an appointment with the Consulate by emails and there is a wait time of approximately 2 – 3 months before you will have your appointment.
Esquina de Newtown Barracks y Wilson St., P.O. Box: 754, Belize City Phone+501-2-2230193
You can get to Belize by car, flying or the ADO Bus does an overnight direct trip from Merida. The ADO bus leaves at 8 pm from Merida and the cost is around $40 US, and there are flights out of Merida Airport with the return cost ranging from $200 to $300 US and up depending on the airline.
A few warnings about going to Belize:
Try not to go when your Tourist Visa is set to expire you may experience some issues where Belizean officials ask for an incentive shall we say to allow you into Belize using a variety of trumped-up excuses. There have been stories of folks being told that the Consulate does not like people near the end of their Visas and using “Belize under false pretences of tourism” and asking for US dollars to allow them to pass through the border.
Living in Mexico an expat story
As an ex-pat living in Mexico for a year I had the pleasure of experiencing a great deal of fabulous Yucatecan foods, sites to see and simply exploring the area. I loved discovering all the new farmer’s markets that were beginning to flourish alongside some fantastic artisan crafts. There is much to take in and explore in Mexico whether you decide on the Yucatan or any other region. In the Yucatan, you can explore Mayan sites like Uxmal and a hidden garden, Dzibilchaltun and other Mayan legends. You can easily travel to Playa del Carmen and Tulum to explore the Caribbean side and experience cenotes and the superb Rio de Secreto.
There you have it, relatively simple to move to Mexico and it doesn’t cost a fortune to live there.