Residency Options in Mexico

People all over are inquiring about how to gain residency in Mexico. More and more travelers and retirees are finding that there are major benefits to living in this country. Many baby boomers who are now retiring give the same general reasons for choosing to relocate there, and they all add up to this: you can enjoy a better quality of life for less. As the cost of living keeps rising in the United States (and across most of the world’s more advanced economies) and inflation is on the rise, it makes sense that anyone would want to go to a place where more costs less.

Take that sizable benefit and combine it with Mexico’s abundance of gorgeous beaches, fresh tropical produce, and perfect weather, and this residency thing is really a no-brainer. It is also important to note that Mexico has one of the most powerful passports in the world, placing 24th when compared against others for global travel freedom. A Mexico passport holder can visit 144 countries without a visa.

Here are the residency options and the visas available to those looking to go to Mexico:

Mexico Visa: Visitor Permit

When you first arrive in Mexico as a tourist, you’ll receive an entry permit as a visitor. As a visitor, you won’t be privy to any of the perks of residency, it’s just a step in the right direction. Think of it as a tourist visa. That’s essentially what it is. You’ll have to fill out an immigration form to get your visitor permit, and this will allow you to stay for a period of six months.

You cannot work during these six months if you are visiting as a tourist, but if need to do so (maybe you’re just getting a feel for what Mexican life would be like and you have to work while you’re at it), you can purchase a “permission to work” visa for only $155 USD. The only stipulation here is that you cannot be paid in Mexico for your services. If you’re working remote from a company back home, they’ll just continue to pay you via your home bank account.

Temporary Resident Visa

Residency in Mexico is relatively quick, and it is also very affordable. However, you can’t complete the process (or even begin it) while staying in Mexico on a tourist visa. You’ll have to go back home to do that. You will need to complete the appropriate paperwork at a Mexican Consulate and pay a $40 USD fee for a temporary visa valid for six months. During that time, you’ll make your way to Mexico and once there, have 30 days to swap out that temporary visa for the official visa. Don’t miss your 30-day mark, or it’s extra paperwork and fees, which is all an extra headache that’s completely avoidable.

Once you acquire your temporary resident visa, you can stay in the country for up to four years. You cannot work while holding this visa unless you apply for permission to work, as was mentioned above. The fee for that remains the same, at $155 USD. You’ll also need to provide an offer letter showing that you’ve already accepted a position.

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You can qualify for temporary residency by proving you have the ability to support yourself financially while living in Mexico. This includes the cost of housing and meals, and the minimum salary amount for this Consumer Resource Guidequalification usually comes out to be at least $1,553 USD per month. You will need to provide your last six months’ worth of bank statements to prove this income, and if you are bringing dependents, you’ll have to have an extra $520 in income per dependent. You could also prove that you own a property in Mexico (which does not require any type of residency to own) that is worth at least $208,000 USD.

After your four years as a temporary resident run out, you must either leave Mexico or apply for permanent residency. Those four years spent as a temporary resident will automatically qualify you as a permanent resident, so there’s no time lost there.

Permanent Resident Visa

If you already know you’d like to live in Mexico for the long-haul, you can skip right along to the permanent residency option and bypass those other steps. There is no time limit on the permanent resident visa, and it automatically allows you the right to work in the country, just like a citizen. Citizenship itself, though, is a separate process and so you still won’t be able to vote.

For permanent residency status, you’ll need to meet higher income requirements. Your monthly net income will have to show that you’ve made at least $2,588 over the last six months, either through a pension or net income. Otherwise, you can show investments with an average monthly balance over 12 months of about $103,500 USD.

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