All you need to know before moving to Mexico

 

 

Moving to Mexico does not require a particular visa in advance; you can enter as a non-resident and then get an employment pass from the National Institute of Immigration. The most common visa for expats is the FM3 which allows you to stay one year in Mexico and which you can renew every year. Learn more about immigration laws and moving options with ExpatFinder.

Mexico is a federal republic, consisting of thirty-one states and the Federal District with a population of 122.3 M as of 2013. Compared to Western countries, the pace of life in Mexico is much slower. Expats living a fast paced life should take a breather and become accustomed to Mexico's hará mañana (will do tomorrow) approach to life. Learning the language is advantageous as 97% of the population speaks Spanish. However, English is used in commercial centers in the cities. Mexico is a middle-income country with a free market economy. The currency is Mexican Peso or M$. Mexico City is the capital city and one of the most popular destinations in the world. This old city is vibrant and extraordinary. Another famous area, Acapulco, known as the Pearl of the Pacific, is a world-famous resort with recreational activities like diving and snorkeling, fishing, river rafting and golf.

Dreaming about a luxurious life for less is everybody's dream, so it's easy to adapt to Mexico's laidback lifestyle.

Essential relocation information

Mexico is a famous expat destination located between Central America and U.S. Aside from its beautiful deserts and mountainous landscape; you will be drawn to Mexico’s rich history displayed in many Aztec and Mayan ruins. If food is the gateway to someone’s heart, then Mexico will make you fall in love with their sumptuous and spicy local cuisine. So if you’re all decided to venture in the country of many opportunities, here are some tips that will help you in relocating.

Smacked in the middle of Central America and the United States, Mexico is a country known for having a warm climate, vast rainforests and majestic canyons that are too perfect for the human eyes. It has total inhabitants of about 130 million people making it the tenth most populous country in the world. Mexicans also have the reputation of being very friendly and hospitable so expats will not have any worries about feeling alienated. However, this Pacific Paradise is more than just colourful sombreros and mouth watering burritos. Here are some tips that’ll help kick start an expatriate’s journey to the infamous Land of Enchantment.

Preparations

You can go around some of the cities to get a feel of the neighbourhoods. See the community, services available and the kind of public transport that they have. The best way to finding the best house/apartment is to contact a local, English speaking real estate agent. Most landlords only speak Spanish so it would be very helpful to have a realtor that can help you in your transactions.

In main cities, The average cost of your monthly utilities like water, gas, electricity, garbage collection, etc. is €35. Once you're settled, you can also apply for internet connection which is around €20 per month. A minute of local prepaid mobile call is charged €0.10.

Visa 

Expats who are coming from Schengen member countries as well as Uruguay, Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Chile, Panama and Brazil are not required to secure a visa for Mexico. The country also has ‘free zones’ which are 20 miles outside the United States border and foreign nationals can enter these border towns without any visa/permit as long as they do not stay longer than 72 hours. Overall, expats who are not from the countries mentioned above and plans on going farther the 20 miles free zone area need to secure a visa which can be obtained at the Mexican embassy/consulate from the applicant’s home country and any airline or travel agency. 

"We have a company lawyer via my husband so I haven’t really had to deal with it."-Stephanie Kempker Edri, Expat in Mexico

Weather 

In general, the average daily temperature in the southern parts is from 24°C to 28°C while the northern regions experience a temperature of around 20° to 24° C. Summers in Mexico can get scorching hot where the temperature reaches up to 40° C and winters are not that freezing so expats must include these items in their packing list: 

  • Light-weight clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Scarves, jackets and sweatshirts that can be layered on top of the other and removed whenever necessary. 

House and Apartment Hunting

When moving abroad, you always have the flexibility of choosing between a short term or long term rental agreement. There are different types of housing in Mexico: Apartments, Houses, Gated communities or closed streets and shared accommodations. In Mexico City, the state’s capital and where most expats live, you can get a one bedroom apartment for €400 and a three bedroom unit for €900 per month. You can also find houses with 1 to 2 bedrooms for around  €900 monthly.

If you want to live by the beach and still not too far from the metropolitan, you can go to Acapulco where a one bedroom apartment is €300, and a three bedroom unit is €400 per month. 

Moving Your Belongings

Many international companies provide shipping and removal service to Mexico. They will facilitate the whole moving process until the delivery arrives in your new home. The average transit time to Mexico is 10-14 days, depending on your country of origin. The largest port in the country and where a majority of containers arrive is in  Port of Lázaro Cárdenas.

You can bring domestic animals with you as long as you provide the necessary documents for customs purposes. Make sure that you have the pet vaccinated against rabies and the original Rabies Vaccination Certificate. Also, ask your veterinarian to give you a Veterinarian Health Certificate (Form 7001) ten days before your flight.

"The most memorable experience was my husband getting upgraded to business class while moving with our small, carry-on sized dog. Dogs technically aren’t allowed in business class, but no one noticed. Yay for getting upgraded! "-Stephanie Kempker Edri, Expat in Mexico

If you want to use your vehicle in Mexico, it is important to get a Mexican car insurance policy right away because local authorities do not recognise overseas insurance policies. Other documents that you also need to prepare for import are: 

  • Title
  • Proof of Ownership
  • Purchase Invoice
  • Registration from Originating Country
  • Passport
  • Residence Permit

Now that you’re about to start a new journey in the wondrous land of Mexico keep an eye as you walk the streets. Because underneath their colourful sombreros are the faces and smiles of the friendliest people in the world.

How to live like a local

Sandwiched between Central America and the United States, Mexico is a country renowned for its magnificent canyons, dense rainforests and majestic mountain ranges. It is the perfect place for expats who want to experience a unique culture and be with locals who are so accommodating they will hardly feel like new-comers. 

Mexico has total inhabitants of around 120 million people who make it the tenth largest nation when it comes to population. Over the years, thousands of foreign nationals have found their way to this country because of its dynamic economy and low overall cost of living. Starting life in the birthplace of the colourful sombreros and sumptuous burritos is not as easy as many think so here is a short guide on how to make a smooth transition in Mexico. 

Language 

Expats will find English speaking locals as long as they stay in the central cities or tourist destinations. However, if they are going to remain in Mexico for a couple of years, it is best to learn some of their dialects to ease the language barrier when it comes to everyday interaction with the locals. A majority of the Mexican population only speak Spanish, and these people are mostly the ones that foreign assignees will regularly mingle with like landlords, shop owners, bus drivers/conductors, etc. Here are some basic Spanish words and phrases  that newcomers can use for starters. 

  • Hello – Hola!
  • How are you? - Cómo está usted?
  • What’s your name? - Cómo te llamas?
  • My name is - Me llamo..
  • Please  - Por favour
  • Thank you – Gracias
  • How much is this? - Cuánto cuesta?
  • Where is the... - Dónde está el... 

Weather 

While Mexico has an overall warm-temperate climate, every region still experiences different types of weathers. For example, the hottest months in the south are from April to May, July to September in the Pacific Coast while the Yucatan experiences it between May and September. Autumn and winter start in September where the weather is refreshing and the snowfall is just enough not to cause someone to freeze. Expats who will live in the coastal cities should expect an average yearly temperature from 32⁰ to 35⁰ C. 

The rainy season in Mexico begins in May and lasts until October of every year. During these months, the country experiences light to heavy rainfall accompanied by thunder and lightning especially during the afternoons. Expats shouldn’t forget to pack an umbrella or any rain gear to avoid getting soaked or worse, sick during the wet season. 

Safety 

The level of security in a particular destination abroad is one of the top concerns of many expats most especially if they are bringing their family along. Mexico has a reputation for its drug-related crimes and violence. Gang or turf wars between notorious Mexican cartels and kidnappings are among the top reported crimes, particularly in the urban areas. Expats should strongly consider renting an apartment inside a gated community or if financially able, invest in home security if planning on purchasing a house. 

When it comes to daily living, expats should be cautious when walking the streets because of the increasing incidents of pick-pocketing and theft. One area that is becoming popular for cases of mugging is the Parque Nacional de las Cumbres del Ajusco. Avoid wearing flashy jewellery and carrying around a huge sum of cash. Public transportation is also a favourite spot for the bad guys so expats who are going to ride the bus should ensure that its route only passes on the cuotas (toll roads) where there are stationed police officers instead of the libre (free roads) where hijackers and robbers are prevalent.

 

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