Moving to Mexico from the U.S. — Here’s What You Should Know

Goldsmith Group Los Cabos May 15, 2023

Ex-pat community on the beach in the Los Cabos desert

Moving to a new country can be thrilling and overwhelming, especially when you’re new to international transitions and staying organized. There are numerous factors to consider, including differences in culture, language, and laws. As an ex-pat, it is important to be well-informed about the country you are moving to and to have a clear understanding of what to expect.

Moving to Mexico from the United States is a big adjustment. Despite the two countries’ proximity, Mexico differs widely from the U.S. However, as with any move, adequate preparation can ease the transition. Before relocating, learning about Mexico’s customs and lifestyle is vital to prepare for smooth integration into society. Here’s what to know. 

You do not have to know Spanish

While it might seem unreasonable to move to a country where you do not know the language, being a non-Spanish speaker should allow you to move to Mexico. Many areas of Mexico have a large ex-pat community where English is spoken, and locals are often very welcoming and happy to help non-Spanish speakers. More popular areas of Mexico and iconic tourist destinations will likely have plenty of residents and workers who speak English.

Of course, learning the language can enhance your experience and integration, but it’s not a requirement for a successful transition to Mexico. There are many language schools across the country, and some even offer intensive courses specifically for ex-pats. Many U.S. transplants often pick up the language quickly by being immersed in the culture and practicing daily.

The difference between temporary and permanent residency

When moving to Mexico, obtaining the proper visa is crucial. Depending on your circumstances and relocating objectives, there are several visa options available, including tourist visas, temporary resident visas, and permanent resident visas. It is vital to research and understand the specific requirements for each type of visa and any potential restrictions or limitations. U.S. residents can live in Mexico for up to six months with a visa. After six months, a proper visa is required. A temporary residency allows foreigners to stay in Mexico for up to four years, while a permanent residency permit allows an indefinite stay in the country. The temporary residency permit can be renewed after four years but does not offer the same benefits as a permanent residency permit.

The cost of living is lower

Mexico is known for its affordable cost of living, which can be a significant draw for U.S. transplants. Housing costs, food, and other daily expenses are generally lower than in the United States. However, it is essential to consider that these costs can vary depending on the location in Mexico. Larger cities and popular tourist destinations may have higher living costs, while smaller towns and more rural areas may be more budget-friendly.

Start building credit

Building credit is an important aspect of moving to Mexico that many ex-pats overlook. Just like in the United States, credit is essential and can affect your ability to rent an apartment, obtain a loan, or purchase a car. While you may have excellent credit in the United States, that is often insufficient to sustain a life in Mexico. To build credit in Mexico, start by obtaining a local bank account, making regular deposits, and getting a credit card. Ensure that you understand the terms of your credit cards, as many in Mexico have substantially higher interest rates than in the U.S., and using the card should be planned around quick payments.

Banking can be frustrating

Banking can be a frustrating and time-consuming process as many banks do not take online registration for an account, requiring newcomers to wait in long lines. Researching different banks and their requirements and any fees associated with opening and maintaining an account is important. Many U.S. banks have partnerships with Mexican banks, which can make the process easier. However, having a local bank account for day-to-day transactions and avoiding high foreign transaction fees is still recommended. If you are unfamiliar with Spanish, bringing a translator to ensure you understand the process may be a good idea.

Research places to drink safe water

Access to safe drinking water is a common concern among those considering a move to Mexico. While drinking tap water in Mexico is not recommended for foreigners, there are a few ways to ensure your drinking water is safe. One option is to purchase bottled water or invest in a water purification system. Many upscale resort communities provide safe drinking water using high-end filtration systems.

Explore different areas and research upscale neighborhoods

If you are considering a move to Mexico, it is important to explore different areas and research upscale neighborhoods. Places like Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Playa del Carmen are popular destinations for U.S. citizens, renowned for their upscale environments and exciting attractions. It may also be worthwhile to consider smaller towns or more rural areas, as they can offer a more authentic Mexican experience and more privacy. No matter where you decide to settle, it is critical to research statistics and choose a neighborhood that fits your specific needs and lifestyle.

Eliminate stress with a top-notch real estate agent

Planning a cross-continent move requires organized precision and expert support. As you prepare to move to Mexico from the U.S., the help of an experienced real estate agent can make a significant impact. Not only is an industry professional required to ensure a smooth real estate process, but an agent with expertise in relocations and ex-pats can also bring additional insights and support to the process. With a potential language barrier, new laws, and unfamiliar customs, you can count on an established real estate professional to make your move seamless.

The Goldsmith Group is a team of highly trained and knowledgeable Los Cabos real estate agents. Work with Goldsmith Group Los Cabos to learn more about attractive communities and luxury resort neighbourhoods that provide an effortless lifestyle and amazing amenities.



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