Moving to Mexico? 5 Tips You Will Find Helpful
Each year, an increasing number of foreign families, retirees and young people decide to move to Mexico in search of their happy ever after in warm climate, surrounded by affordable lifestyle, delicious food and all the comforts that would be hardly accessible at home. Tulum has been one of the most popular destinations in Mexico to move to – it offers gorgeous beaches, yoga, relaxation, water sports, tons of activities and great return for your investment since it’s one of the fastest-growing real estate markets in the world. Easy-going atmosphere of the Caribbean promises to eliminate stress and lift you out of the never ending work-home-work cycle.
Here is some advice to everyone who is planning to move to Mexico:
1. Buying real estate in Mexico as a foreigner
There are standard procedures for foreigners to follow when buying property in Mexico. A foreigner buying land in Mexico within 32 miles (50 km) from the coastline has to use a bank trust (fideicomiso) or establish a Mexican corporation to make the purchase. You can choose your bank – HSBC, Scotia bank, Banamex (Citigroup), etc – that will act as your trustee, with you maintaining full control over the trust: you will be able to lease, sell or pass the property on to your heirs. Make sure you choose a trustworthy local real estate agency that will take care of all the steps of buying your property. Riviera Maya Property Consultants is an expat-founded real estate/ architectural agency in Tulum that is known for offering A to Z services to clients: from land or property selection, to architectural projects, construction and property management.
2. Becoming a resident in Mexico
If you are coming to Mexico as a tourist, you don’t need any visa – you will simply get entry permit as a visitor at the border, usually for 180 days, with no permission to work. In order to apply for Mexican residency, you must do so before going to Mexico at the Mexican embassy or consulate.
Temporary resident visa is issued for up to 4 years, and is meant for those who wish to spend more than 180 days in Mexico per year – it’s perfect if you own a second home in Mexico. You would need to show monthly income of at least $1,553 per person and at least $520 per month per dependent. You can also get temporary resident’s visa by showing a bank statement with a balance of about $25,880. There is also a way to get your temporary status by proving you own property in Mexico that has the value of $207,046 or more. When temporary residence card expires, you have to either leave the country or apply for permanent residency.
If you decide you are moving to Mexico permanently, you can apply for permanent residency immediately. The process will be similar as applying for temporary status, but you will have to show higher levels of income: investments with approximate monthly balance of around $103,523 over 12 months or monthly income of $2,588 per person over 6 months.
3. Cost of living
The cost of living in Tulum and the Riviera Maya depends strictly on your lifestyle. For example, the cost of renting a property on the beach can be a few times higher than a few blocks inland, while still being a few minutes away from the beach. Also, Tulum is full of expensive gourmet restaurants – but also has plentiful local markets that are very affordable. So it’s completely a choice of each family how to spend their budget. Similarly, you can spend $2,000 for a fancy penthouse condo in Playa del Carmen or $500 for a lovely one-bedroom in Tulum. Utilities – not cheap in Mexico – would come down to about $300 per month, groceries would cost around $400, and a maid would come down to about $60 (once per week). Thus it’s safe to say that $2,000 budget per couple per monthwould be sufficient to lead a comfortable life in Tulum
Is Mexico safe? That’s a thought that often crosses the mind of many would-be retirees in Mexico. Mexico, in fact, is considered to be one of the best countries for expats in the world. InterNations, which is a popular expat website, named Mexico as a top place to move to because of quality of life, ease of settling in, work opportunities, family life, personal finance and general satisfaction with life. Certainly, every foreigner in Mexico should exercise common sense and caution, as anywhere in the world. Touristy regions as the Riviera Maya are completely safe, but such violent states as Guerrero, that includes Acapulco, the once-glamorous beach town, are not recommended at all.
Mexico offers great and affordable universal healthcare, and its private healthcare is amongst the most affordable in the Western hemisphere. Locally, there are a few smaller hospitals in Tulum and modern healthcare centers in Playa del Carmen and Cancun.