What You Should Know About Moving to Mexico
When you think about, moving to another country is no small endeavor - especially when they speak a language that is foreign to you. So kudos to you if you’re even considering moving to Mexico! You are among the brave few who will venture out of their comfort zone to embrace someplace new. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Is a Tourist Visa Enough for You?
If you are considering moving to Mexico as a snowbird who stays no longer than 180 consecutive days and will not be working in Mexico, you don’t need a residency visa. All tourists flying into Mexico automatically receive a 6 month visa in their ticket price and if you travel by land or sea you can obtain one online prior to entry, at the border or at an immigration office within Mexico. Cost is roughly $30 USD. It’s a two-part form and whatever you do, don’t lose the stamped portion while you are visiting because you’ll need to hand it in when you leave the country or you'll need to pay for another one.
Temporary or Permanent Residency Visas
If you are planning on staying longer than 180 continuous days you will need to apply for one of the other visas. The type of visa and eligibility depends on various factors including your purpose for travelling to Mexico, your age, income, employment status, etc. We recommend that you contact your local Mexican consulate or embassy for current information because there can be inconsistency from office to office - even in the same country!
With very few exceptions, you must initiate the process from your own country. If you meet the preliminary requirements you will be given a temporary visa. This visa is actually just permission to enter Mexico so that you can apply for residency within a specific period of time and it is good for a one time entry only. At the time of publishing the temporary visa was valid for only 180 days.
The Calgary Embassy Web page says, “The visa may only be used during the period of validity, which begins on the date of issuance, and is valid for one single entry. Once you have entered Mexican territory, within the first 30 calendar days, you must go to the local National Migration Institute to process the residence card that proves your legal status in the country and allows you to remain in Mexico.”
Note that possession of this temporary visa to enter Mexico does not guarantee admittance. A customs officer at your point of entry still has the right to turn you back so be polite, patient and don’t do anything stupid! By stupid I mean don’t pack along illegal substances such as drugs or weapons or a trunk full of undeclared items that you intend to sell in Mexico. For the official government list of prohibited items click here.
Assuming you are allowed in and you begin that second step of the process within Mexico, you cannot leave the country without special permission! Once you receive your residency card you can travel out of the country again. Keep all these time requirements in mind when you do your initial application so that you allow yourself enough time to complete each step.
For more details on the entire process for Mexican immigration download the Mexico Immigration Guide 2019 here. It’s a fantastic resource written by Mexperience.com
Here in La Paz there are a number of reliable agencies that can help you navigate the immigration waters so don’t worry if you don’t speak fluent Spanish.
Written by Baja Linda for Team Olivia - Vista Properties