By PARK WILSON –
Mexico has been a favorite expat destination for several decades. For those contemplating moving to Mexico, here are the answers to your top questions about going “south of the border.”
With a rich cultural history, established communities, and many locations to choose from, expat life in Mexico becomes a great option. Understanding some of the basics can make the transition from visitor to resident less complicated.
1. Is Getting a Visa in Mexico Complicated?
The short answer is: No. However, like other Latin American countries, there are rules concerning the types of visa and residency requirements. that you should be aware of.
Non-Immigrant Tourist Visa
Perhaps the most common type of visa is the “Visitante” or Tourist visa. This is intended for those who are planning to stay in the country for six months or less. Importantly, it is not renewable. Known as the FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple), the form is supplied by airlines prior to landing in Mexico; if entry is by land or sea, the form is available at the Immigration Office at the point of entry.
Temporary Residence Visa
A second type of visa is Residente Temporal, which allows foreigners to live in Mexico longer than six months. This is generally the visa chosen by expats looking to make Mexico their retirement home.
The major stipulation is that you can prove that you have sufficient funds to live there; a general estimate is a bank balance of about $25,164 USD , or roughly $1510 US per month. Since the amount required is revised on a regular basis and dependent on which location you are applying in, it is important to keep track of any changes.
This visa is good initially for one year, with an option to renew for an additional four years.
Permanent Residence Visa
The Residente Permanente visa is what you would apply for if your goal is to ultimately become a Mexican citizen or seek permanent residence. Upon being confirmed for this status, an identification card is issued.
It allows foreigners to live in Mexico indefinitely, open a business, and cross Mexico’s border as if you were a citizen. Monthly income requirement is $2,417 USD (can come from either employment or pension), or a 12-month average bank balance of approx. $96,689 USD. Again, Since the amount required is revised on a regular basis and dependent on which location you are applying in, it is important to keep track of any changes.
2. What About Crime?
In recent years, Mexico has made the headlines concerning the ongoing problems with various drug cartels and other criminal activities. With so much attention being given to these high profile incidents, being concerned about the impact of crime, when considering moving to Mexico, is both understandable and realistic.
While there are certain areas that seem to be hotspots for many of the incidents, the majority of the country is largely unaffected. In a real sense, a comparison could be made to urban centers in many countries that are dealing with similar issues. Doing your own due diligence when looking at a particular location can better inform you of any potential problems before making a move.
3. Is Mexico the Place for Me?
Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to spend some time in various parts of the country. Learn what living in Mexico is like and, even more importantly, see how you feel about the possibility of making it your own. There’s no time like the present to begin the journey.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Park Wilson
Park (and associate Josh Linnes) left the U.S. behind in search of something better, and found it south of the border. They have co-authored the book Top 57 Places to Live and Invest In the Tropics, with over 200 photo-filled pages. Visit their site at http://vivatropical.com/ to download their book (currently free) and read more about investing and living in Latin America.