Moving to Mexico from US

Palacio de Bellas Artes
You might probably be one of the many who are planning on moving to Mexico from US. The thought of the beautiful landscapes, beaches, warm weather, accommodating people, cultural festivals, and low cost of living is more than enough to convince you of relocating. With about 1.5 million American expats in Mexico, you will undoubtedly feel at home while savoring the delicious tacos and tequila. Also, the proximity of Mexico to the United States will give you the privilege of visiting your family back in the US quickly. So, what is not to like about Mexico?!

Table of Contents

Requirements for Moving to Mexico

Despite how close the United States is to Mexico, you will still need to get some paperwork ready before moving. This is to ensure that you achieve your goals of moving to Mexico without any delay. So, here are the things required to land yourself in Mexico safely.
  • A valid passport that remains valid for another six months.
  • A Mexican visa application form.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Proof of funds.
  • A recent passport-size photograph.
  • Original copy and photocopy of the acceptance letter (moving to Mexico for study purposes).
  • Driver’s license.
  • Job offer.
  • Legal proof of permanent or temporary residence.

Visa & Work Permit

Applying for a visa is usually the first thing required to actualize your plans of moving to Mexico from US. The process of applying for a visa are as follows:

  • Contact the Mexican embassy to fix an appointment.
  • Fill in and sign the visa application form.
  • Get the required paperwork.
  • Submit the form and pay the visa fee.

In Mexico, there are two types of residents: temporary and permanent residents. The temporary residents are simply those who come to Mexico for work or study purposes and intend to stay for more than 180 days but less than four years. Conversely, the permanent residents are those who are not citizens but legally have the right to live in Mexico permanently. Those who are Temporary Residents are eligible to apply for Permanent Residency if they meet the requirements.

Mexico Healthcare System

Having shifted towards a completely universal healthcare system, Mexico offers free treatments to Mexicans without health insurance. This transition started in 2020 with the introduction of Instituto Nacional de Salud para el Bienestar (INSABI), which replaced the Seguro Popular scheme of 2004. The fact that the treatment is free and the doctors are adequately trained and fluent in English makes it relatively easy for expats to receive medical care. However, the Mexican healthcare system ranked 61st globally, which is far below the healthcare system of the US, which ranked 37th globally. Regardless of the rankings, Mexican healthcare is good because healthcare services are free to citizens.  Also, with so many competent doctors who often visit to check on the patients’ health, Mexican healthcare just got even more admirable. While the healthcare system in Mexico is sound, it cannot be proven whether it is better than that of the US. But to fully understand the two healthcare systems, here is something for you.

Job Market

The job market in Mexico is progressive as there are several ways to find jobs easily and many industries to make a living from. However, most Mexican jobs require that you have a basic understanding of the official language, Spanish. This, in a significant way, makes finding jobs in Mexico difficult for some ex-pats. To alleviate this problem, try to find jobs online by utilizing one of these websites, OpcionEmpleo, Indeed, and Bumeran. 

Every country has its list of popular jobs that are highly demanded. To fully equip yourself for your eventual move to Mexico, you must understand what the highly demanded jobs in Mexico are and how high their pay or salary is. This will make you an extranjero (foreigner) with class and knowledge of the Mexican job market. Here is a table showing the high-demanded jobs in Mexico and their average salaries.

Jobs or Positions
Salary in USD
Salary in MXN
Marketing manager
74,948
1,515,000
Teacher
25,216
510,000
Software Engineer
24,722
500,000
Accountant
20,771
420,000
Product manager
40,070
810,000
Nurse
24,477
495,000
With the unemployment rate sitting at 3.65% in 2020, Mexico sure holds the key to a plethora of job opportunities for you. As an American, moving to Mexico will also allow you to earn from teaching English to Mexican students as a second language. You can find jobs for that here.

Banking & Taxation

Banking in Mexico is straightforward, save for the excessive bureaucracy. Expats who want to move to Mexico have several banking options; they can choose between national and international banks. They also have a wide range of good national banks with online services available to them. And coupled with the recently reduced interest rate, expats are more than happy to move to Mexico from US.

Although Mexico recently reduced her interest rate from 4.50% to 4.25%, the United States’ interest rate that sits at 0.25% is more appealing. While it may not be as the US’s interest rate, it certainly means that you can borrow and pay back quickly. But why is the interest rate of Mexico so high? That might be the question you are asking right now. Here is a concise answer for you. The interest rate in Mexico is high because the federal government aims to preserve the currency, increase the banks’ profit margin, and by all means, prevent inflation.

The concept of taxation to US expats in Mexico means that they pay tax depending on their circumstance. If they are employed in Mexico or own a property that was rented out, they’d have to pay income tax, which is usually between 1.92% and 35% for residents. Conversely, those on work permits (nonresidents) get to pay between 15% and 30%. It is also important to remember that US expats still pay taxes to the US on their worldwide income. But even if you don’t fall into the income tax category, you will be pinned down by the sales tax, also called the Value Added Tax or VAT, where you’d have to pay at a 16% rate the sales and imports of goods and services.

Education

It would be wrong to assume that you aren’t the least worried about how education in Mexico would be for you or your kids. It is understandable, and with Mexico ranking 36th globally for the best education, it doesn’t help matters. This does not connote a flawed educational system, but it only shows how meticulous you must be regarding your education in Mexico.

The educational system in Mexico offers public or free compulsory education from primary school (primaria), junior high school (secundaria), and high school (preparatoria). Students have the option of schooling in public, private, and international schools. However, most expats prefer private and international schools for their kids because the public education system is not adequately funded, and thus, lacks enough resources. Also, the university education in Mexico is partially free as little payments are made from time to time.

➤ Differences between the Mexican Schools and the US Schools

There are several differences between the educational system in Mexico and that of the US. If you are still keen on moving to Mexico from US, you will be pretty much interested in the differences. Here is a table that shows the differences.

Mexico Schools
United States’ Schools
The Mexican education system is divided into preschool, elementary school, junior high, and universities.
The US school system is grouped into elementary school, middle school, high school, junior college, vocational, and universities.
Mexico uses the number system to grade students’ performance.
Schools in the US use the letter system in grading performance.
There are three types of schools: public schools and private schools.
There are five types of schools: public, private, charter, and homeschool.

With these differences, the educational system in Mexico has been relatively good while teaching eight subjects to secondary school students (high school students). These eight subjects include Spanish, Math, Science (including Physics, Chemistry, and Biology), Foreign Language (specifically English Language), Geography and History, Technology, Arts, and Physical Education.

Living in Mexico

As an American, living in Mexico would be so much different from your life in the US. This is so because you would be astounded by how great the cultural shock is. Thinking of ceremonies like Dia de los Muertos and Dia de los Reyes Magos, living in Mexico is undoubtedly going to be a whole new and fun experience for you.

If you can cope with noise, bureaucracy, warm weather that mostly makes you sweaty, and all the so many different Mexican slang, Mexican could be a good place for you to live in. Overall, the country is filled with the kindest people who find it difficult to say no, and a lot more adventure for you, so this sort of makes it an even better place to live.

As an American, you are permitted to stay in Mexico for 180 days as long as your passport is valid. But this doesn’t give you enough time to explore Mexico. Mexico is addictive and can leave you desiring to stay a little longer. So, permanent residency is the way to go! To obtain permanent residence, you must have stayed in Mexico for four consecutive years as a Temporary Resident, among other requirements.

But if you even fall more in love with Mexico to the point that you’d love to be a citizen, you will be more than eligible so far as you have gotten your permanent residence. But bear in mind that some paperwork will be required.

Cost of Living in Mexico vs. the US

If you are looking for something that adds more flavor to your life in Mexico, here is something for you; living in Mexico equates a significantly low living cost. But how low could it be? Here is a table that explicitly shows the cost of living in Mexico vs. the US.

The total cost of living
Mexico (USD)
United States (USD)
One person per month
891
2,586
Family of four per month
2,177
4,578
Student per month
712
1,100
This table shows that the United States is a lot more expensive than Mexico. Check out Expatistan’s comparative analysis of the two countries’ living expenses.

➤ Places to Avoid in Mexico

While deciding to move to Mexico, it is only wise that you investigate the best cities to live in to ensure that your safety is guaranteed. Here is a list of three places to avoid in Mexico. It should be noted that these places should be avoided because of the high crime rate in the areas.

  • Los Cabos.
  • Tijuana
  • La Paz.

Housing and Real Estate

Getting a house in Mexico is not entirely complicated. The only thing that sometimes scares extranjeros is the bureaucracy because foreigners have to get a Mexican citizen to sign as a fiador (guarantor). But overall, the essence of the procedures is to rent your apartment and leave the landlord with an assurance that the tenant is of good behavior and that if the tenant runs away, there would be someone accountable for the rent.

In Mexico, the average cost of an apartment could be as low as $618, but this depends on the city. The price could be higher if you live in some city centers and it could be much lower if you prefer to stay in rural areas of Mexico. It is also dependent on your choice of houses. If you decided to buy a beach house, that would go for an average of $500,000. But buying houses in Mexico is a very profitable investment. You can get a steady cash flow and ROI because properties do not depreciate and Mexico’s proximity to the US makes it even more lucrative for you. There are 1.5 US expats in Mexico; they need good places to stay, so your investment won’t be in vain.

➤ Conclusion

Ven y disfruta de las bellezas de México (Come and enjoy the beauty of Mexico). A lot awaits you!

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