Almost a million Americans live without the proper papers on the other side of the wall that President Donald Trump plans to complete with federal funds. The big difference is that some emigrants arrive with dollars and their credit card. That is why some are expelled from thousands and others are deported – at most – at the rate of almost three hundred per year.

As of 2016, immigration declined to the United States from Mexico. It is pointed out by the CMS, a study center specialized in migration. On the contrary, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) of Mexico, from 2015 to the present, the number of northern residents who live and work in cities such as Guadalajara or Puerto Vallarta, the Federal District or Baja California has increased.

Three years ago, only 65,302 Americans kept their documents in order according to the National Institute of Migration. By then, the Inegi accounted for 739,168 US citizens. Although statistics from the State Department carried that figure to more than 934,000. They represent more than 90 percent and that number could have increased since 2015.

The complacent attitude of the Mexican government in this situation has no symmetry with the treatment to which it submits immigrants arriving in the country from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The local Ministry of the Interior reported that 76,329 Central Americans were deported between January and August of 2018. At certain times, Mexico exceeded the US in the number of expelled.

A work by international migration specialist Omar Lizárraga Morales (distinguished in 2018 with the research prize of the Mexican Academy of Sciences) entitled “The immigration of US retirees in Mexico and their transnational practices” provides a lot of data on the characteristics of this type of migration. In the conclusions, he states: “In the case of the Americans, the surplus value that pensions acquire in the countries of Latin America is the main factor of attraction to migrate. In contrast to the current high cost of housing on the north side of the border, the moderate cost of living that prevails in Mexico led them to settle in these destinations.”

Lizárraga Morales, relying on the research of her colleague María Luisa Cabral Bowling, who studied US immigration in the municipality of Los Cabos, in Baja California Sur, points out: “The need to regulate this migratory flow, because it can represent a danger for the Caribbean society for its social and economic impact”. Also that “more than 90% of the real estate companies that are located in Baja California are Americans, they buy at low prices and sell at exorbitant prices. Faced with this situation, the local inhabitants are restricted to access to beaches that were previously the commune”.

According to the Mexican journalist Jaime Avilés, author of the book AMLO, Private life of a public man, in 2006 the Americans make up 10% of the population in places like Puerto Vallarta but control 85% of the real estate.

“Americans are 10% of the population, but they monopolize 85% of the real estate of the urban center. They have all the houses of the Historical Center; they only rent to foreigners and they charge the rent in dollars. In addition, they have almost all the hotels, restaurants, galleries, bars, and in some nightclubs, they have the luxury of preventing entry to Mexicans. ”

Americans, even those undocumented, live in privileged tourist destinations such as the beaches of the Riviera Maya or Puerto Vallarta or in historic centers of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato.

by Gustavo Veiga –

How To Obtain A Mexican Residency Visa Or ‘Green Card’

How To Obtain A Mexican Residency Visa Or ‘Green Card’

There is a lot of confusion regarding the process to obtain a Visa so that you can apply for your ‘Green Card’, and rightfully so!   While not a difficult process, each embassy or consulate has its own interpretations of the requirements.

First, it is not possible to obtain a Visa in Mexico, unless you are applying through a family member or spouse who is a Mexican citizen or holds a current residency visa.  Second, and again depending upon the embassy or consulate, it is not necessary to apply for a Visa in the country that your passport was issued.   Technically, any Mexican embassy or consulate can issue a Visa.   However, not all US embassies will process a Canadian passport, and vice versa.

Contact the embassy or consulate that is most convenient and ask what financial paperwork they require. Some will ask for twelve months worth of financial statements, some six. Their main goal is to vet your financial history and be sure that you will not negatively impact their economy.

What are the requirements to obtain a Visa? 

If you have a job offer from a licensed Mexican business that has a employer ID registration number within the Mexican Immigration Service, are marrying a Mexican national, approved humanitarian reasons, or you are a retiree or pensioner that meets the minimum financial requirements.

Financial requirements:

For a Permanent ‘Green Card’– Retirees or pensioners that meet or exceed $2,100 US per month, or have bank account minimum balance averaging, or assets averaging  $85,000 (some embassies require six months of statements as proof, others 12). Permanent residency is also granted to anyone owning property in Mexico valued at $3.2 million pesos or more.   The procedures listed above still must be followed.

Temporary ‘Green Card’ applicants are required to have a net monthly income of $1,200 monthly or assets averaging $25,000 for the same time period as above.

How long does the process take?  In many cases, the entire application can be completed in one day. However, it may take up to 10 days.

Once the Visa has been obtained, you have 180 days to return to Mexico to initiate the process for your residency visa. The application must begin within 30 days of your arrival. The website for the Mexican Visa application is

By Amy Triplett

Moving To Mexico: The One Thing That Many People Wish They Had Done Differently.

Moving To Mexico: The One Thing That Many People Wish They Had Done Differently


We’ve received tons of emails from our readers, many of whom are fellow expats living in Mexico. The expats normally write me to share their personal experiences or ask for advice.

Those emails have definitely accelerated my learning curve when it comes to Mexico and they have also been the inspiration for many of my articles.

Here are two very interesting facts about those emails:

  1. I’ve never corresponded with a single person who regretted their decision to move to Mexico.
  2. Of the people who say they wish they had done something differently, more than 80% name the same thing.

So, what was that one thing? The majority wishes that they had not brought their car to Mexico.

The border crossing into Mexico at Tijuana sees an enormous amount of traffic from the USA. Border of USA and Mexico, Tijuana, Mexico

A Common Problem

Importing a vehicle into Mexico is not as simple as merely driving it across the border. Mexico has strict regulations when it comes to importing a vehicle, especially when it comes to importing one permanently.

Many expats from the United States or Canada begin their new lives within Mexico with a temporary resident visa, which allows them to temporarily import their vehicle into Mexico for the duration of that visa.

Depending where you go in Mexico, you may be required to get a Temporary Import Permit (known commonly as a TIP). The TIP decal is attached to your windshield and it clearly shows the date the expiration. This makes it easy for the police at the checkpoints to see if your vehicle has been in Mexico too long.

For the next four years, they happily motor around Mexico with a car that still bears the tags from their former home.

This is where the headaches and legal problems begin for many of them.

You are only permitted to have a temporary resident visa for a maximum of four years, after which, you have to apply for a permanent resident visa — or leave. The problem is that Mexican law prohibits you from continuing to “temporarily import” a car once you get a permanent resident visa (Ley Aduanera, Art.106).

This leaves most expats with only two options: 1) remove their car from Mexico prior to obtaining the permanent resident visa, or 2) permanently import the vehicle, also known as nationalizing it.

READ NEXT  Five to Fit!

The second option sounds great, right? Well, that one may not even be an option for you, depending on the age of the vehicle and where it was manufactured. I told you Mexico was strict when it came to permanently importing a vehicle.

By now, I think you can see why many expats say they would have done this one thing differently.

My advice for anyone who wants to permanently move to Mexico is to sell your old car and buy a car in Mexico. It will make your life so much simpler in the long run.

**Additional notes: 1) the import rules are different for RVs; 2) a temporary import permit (TIP) is nor required to drive in the baja peninsula, the free zone of Sonora or within 25 km of the border. 

Retiring in Mexico: Deciding Which Visa Option is Best For You.

Retiring in Mexico: Deciding Which Visa Option is Best For You


This post will only address visa options for retirees from the U.S. or Canada who do not plan to work in Mexico. If your goal is to work here, whether in your own business or for someone else, there will be additional requirements.
• Retirees with Income from Outside of Mexico
The majority of the expats that I know fall into this category. This group includes people living on income from investments, pensions, savings, and/or Social Security.
If you are thinking about retiring to Mexico, you will have to decide whether or not to apply for a resident visa or to simply live here under a tourist visa. I will go through each option and discuss the advantages, disadvantages and costs.

• Tourist Visa
If you have ever been to Mexico on vacation, you are already familiar with the tourist visa or FMM. This is what you were given at the airport when you entered the country and it allows you to stay for less than 180 days. If you decide to live in Mexico under a tourist visa, you will have to take a trip home or cross the border every six months. The good part is that you can immediately reenter Mexico and the clock starts over.
I actually have quite a few expat friends who have chosen this route.

No additional costs
No need to complete extra paperwork or hire an attorney.
You can enter and leave the country as much as you want.
You can bring your foreign plated car into the country.

Many Mexican banks require either a temporary or permanent visa to open a bank account.
You cannot get a Mexican driver’s license (except for a temporary license in some jurisdictions that expires when the tourist visa does)
You cannot register a car in Mexico.
You have to physically leave the country every six months.

• Temporary Resident Visa
This visa is valid for one to four years. The first temporary visa that you are issued is valid for one year and then you can choose to renew it for a period of up to three more years.  After that point, you will have to apply for a permanent resident visa, leave the country, or switch to a tourist visa.

You can open a Mexican bank account.
You can buy and register a car in Mexico.
You can get a Mexican driver’s license.
Many businesses will give you a local discount if you can present the temporary resident card.
You can bring your foreign plated car into the country.
You can enter and leave the country as much as you want.

You have to meet the requirements and show financial solvency.
You may need an attorney to assist you.
You will have to pay the fees.
It is a two-part process that begins at the Mexican consulate in your home country and ends in Mexico.
You will have to renew it.

Permanent Resident Visa
This visa is similar to the temporary resident visa, but it never expires. The other major difference is that if you have a foreign plated car, you will have to nationalize it or remove it from the country.

You can open a Mexican bank account.
You can buy and register a car in Mexico.
You can get a Mexican driver’s license.
Many businesses will give you a local discount if you can present the card.
You do not have to renew it.
You can enter and leave the country as much as you want.

You have to meet the requirements and show financial solvency.
You may need an attorney to assist you.
You will have to pay the fees.
It is a two part process that begins at the Mexican consulate in your home country and ends in Mexico.
You will have to nationalize your foreign plated vehicle or remove it from the country.

Let’s Wrap This Up
As you can see, the best option depends on your situation. If you plan to live in Mexico permanently and buy a car in Mexico, then the permanent resident visa is your best bet. You have to specify that you want the permanent visa during your appointment at the Mexican consulate in your home country. They may or may not grant it depending on your particular situation.
Anytime that I write a post like this, it is inevitable that I will receive messages from people who have managed to open a bank account or register a car with only a tourist visa. I have discovered that the rules in Mexico are not enforced uniformly, and some people do successfully slip through the cracks.
That being said, I can tell you that it has been much easier for us to live here since we obtained our temporary resident visas. Prior to getting them, we tried — and failed — to buy a car and open a bank account. In fact, the first question that every car dealer and banker would ask us was, “Do you already have your temporary or permanent resident card?”

Moving to Mexico: Why We Decided to Buy Instead of Rent.

Moving to Mexico: Why We Decided to Buy Instead of Rent




Readers of the blog often ask me why we chose to buy property in Mexico instead of simply renting a place.

I considered writing an article about the pros and cons of doing both – but that topic has been beaten to death. If you Google it, you will receive over 27,000,000 responses – I know, I did it.

Besides, an article like that still wouldn’t answer the question why “we” decided to buy a place in Mexico.

I can tell you that the decision was made only after carefully analyzing data and information from a wide range of sources and then scouting the area. My wife and I are fiscal conservatives and we only invest in something if the probability of a successful return is very high.

Just in case you’re curious what type of data and information I reviewed, here is a quick rundown (feel free to skip this part):

Historical data and projections related to population and economic growth; crime statistics; government investment and projected investment in infrastructure; real estate law; currency exchange rates and projections; environmental protection laws and possible impact on future construction in the area; medical services and facilities; price comparisons; probability of future rental income; and tax law (capital gains and property).

This amount of research might sound excessive to some people but it was necessary to give us both peace of mind.

Summary of Analysis

Although the data overwhelmingly supported the decision to buy a property as opposed to renting, we still planned to rent unless we could find the perfect place that checked some additional boxes on our combined wish list.

Through a combination of great luck and even better timing, we stumbled across the perfect place for us near Akumal, Quintana Roo.


Paul, What About Conditions Today?

If I stopped the article here, at least one reader would inevitably ask me the question above, so here is my answer:

Although I don’t dedicate as much time to researching real estate conditions as I did before we bought, I still keep up with current events that would affect our investment. Saying that, the conditions are still favorable to invest in real estate in certain areas of Mexico. This area actually reminds me a lot of south Florida in the early 1980’s before the price of real estate shot up.

Let’s Wrap This Up

The purpose of this article was not to convince anyone to buy a property in Mexico; rather, it was to explain why two highly fiscally conservative people would invest in a property located in another country.

So far, I think the investment was a sound one. We have lived here over a year and we have had two offers to buy the condo at a price above what we paid. The condo isn’t for sale but that doesn’t stop people from asking to buy it.

We know that we could sell it now and make a profit but we love the place too much to leave. We found a lot more than an investment property – we found a tight community of amazing people.

I pondered making a comment about how “priceless” that is but I resisted because it seemed a bit cliché.

It is nice to know that when we are ready to sell it, we should have significantly more return on our investment than we would have had if we had invested in bonds or left it in a savings account.

Of course nothing in this world is certain except for death and taxes. We are hopeful that people won’t get tired of the warm, turquoise waters of the Caribbean anytime soon. But if they do, the worst case scenario is that we have to keep living in this beach paradise forever. I think we could handle that option.



Maybe this is the year you’ll take the plunge and buy a condo or home here in the Banderas Bay area. Whether you plan to live here fulltime or part-time you may be wondering what happens after you are handed the keys.

Well, the first thing you should do is get yourself a briefcase or large pouch. You see, for the next few months, you will need to carry around reams of paper and documents in order to satisfy various officials and entities that you are who you say you are. Mexicans are big on paperwork and verification. Just how big, is something you will soon learn.

Depending on how much time you plan to spend in Mexico, it might make sense to apply for Residency status. Those pesky FMT’s (tourist cards) are only good for 180 days. Sure you can leave and return the following day to receive a new one, but if you have no compelling reason to leave, why do so?

Assuming you wish to become a Resident and have applied at the Mexican Consulate in your home country, you will need to visit the Immigration office a couple of times in order to complete the process. You can pay someone to assist you with this but we chose to do it ourselves and it wasn’t that difficult. All you need is your pouch of documents, some passport sized photos and an enormous amount of patience.  We all know that patience is a virtue, but here in Mexico it is an absolute requisite for maintaining your sanity.

If you no longer maintain a residence in your home country, you may need to get a Jalisco drivers license. This is not as hard as it seems. Don’t forget to bring that briefcase and your proof of residency. The official who served us discovered an error in my Residency card which sent me back to Immigration. Multiple times in fact, but that’s another story. When we took the written test, there were only ten questions (in the past there had been twenty). These are drawn from a pool of one hundred questions which you can find online. Of course they are in Spanish but translations are available online and you can bring a translator with you or ask a friend to help. As for a driving test, we didn’t need to take one, but some people do. As with many things here, it depends on who is on duty on any given day.

If you’ve bought a condo, your water and gas are most likely included in the HOA fees. Sometimes maid service is included too. If not, you will have to find your own. You will also need to set up electric and internet services. CFE provides the former. Take your briefcase and set up the account. If you think you can second guess what documents they want, believe me, the one thing you leave behind will be the one thing they ask for. We get our internet from Telmex and they require you to have a land line phone. Even for both services, it is incredibly cheap: roughly $20 USD per month at today’s exchange rate, with really good speeds in most neighborhoods. As of 2015, you can use your Telmex landline to make international calls for free.

Owning a home vs. a condo may mean hiring a gardener, a maid and maybe a cook or handyman. This takes you into the complex world of Mexican employment. In that case, you might want to consult a lawyer and probably hire an accountant. Relying on the advice of well-meaning friends could land you in a labor dispute or lawsuit.

It really isn’t as ominous as it sounds. A lot of the things you will need to do aren’t much different than the things you’d do if you moved to a new area your home country. If you find yourself in a situation where Spanglish doesn’t get your point across, talking louder and getting irritated won’t help the situation. Put on your biggest smile, try some hand gestures, and be patient. Oh yes, don’t forget to take your briefcase.

A warm welcome for Peña Nieto in Canada.

A warm welcome for Peña Nieto in Canada

Prime minister confirms visa removal; president removes beef restrictions


Trudeau jogs this morning in Ottawa with Peña Nieto. 

Trudeau jogs this morning in Ottawa with Peña Nieto. CBC NEWS

Canada’s prime minister told a press conference yesterday that Mexicans will no longer be required to obtain a visa to visit Canada effective December 1.

The announcement, not unexpected, came after a private meeting this morning between Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is in Ottawa for a state visit and tomorrow’s North American Leaders — or Three Amigos — Summit.

Trudeau said Canada will work with Mexican immigration officials over the next few months to iron out the details. Canadian officials have said off the record that visa restrictions could be reimposed should the number of Mexican refugee applications soar as they did in 2009 before the visa requirement was implemented.

It was reported this morning that in exchange for lifting the visa requirement Mexico has agreed to fully reopen its market to Canadian beef, a restriction that was imposed after the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in Canadian cattle in 2003.

Mexico initially banned all Canadian cattle and beef imports but today the ban only applies to cattle or beef from cattle that is over 30 months old. Despite that, Mexico is Canada’s third most important market for beef exports due to a growing appetite for beef among middle-class consumers and its geographical proximity, reported CBC News yesterday.

Peña Nieto said this morning the cattle import restrictions would be lifted in October.

Trudeau said the visa decision will permit Mexican citizens to travel to Canada and grow the relationship between the two countries. Peña Nieto saw the decision as an effort to remove obstacles and strengthen the relationship.

The president said 14 agreeements are being signed during his visit. They include broadening student exchanges, further sharing of information regarding security, promoting the development of indigenous peoples and boosting tourism.

Peña Nieto arrived in Canada Sunday night, landing in Quebec City. He was given a welcome ceremony yesterday by Governor-General David Johnston, as well as a welcome by demonstrators protesting the events in Iguala in 2014, in which 43 college students disappeared, and the more recent violence in Oaxaca.

“Oaxaca, Quebec is with you,” read one placard.

Later, Peña Nieto traveled to Toronto for an official dinner with Trudeau and about 300 guests. Trudeau toasted Peña Nieto by observing it had been six years since the last visit by a Mexican president to Canada. “. . . six years is too long to wait for visits between friends.

“Of course, Canada and Mexico are more than just friends. We are partners, and it’s what we share as partners and friends that I’d like to celebrate tonight. We share a continent, but we also share connections between people.”

Trudeau said the two countries want a relationship that allows for “greater trade, stronger growth and more job creation.”

He recalled that Mexico had sent firefighters to Fort McMurray, Alberta, to help fight that province’s huge wildfire in June. “That kind of help is exactly what good friends do. We appreciate it and we will not forget it.”

In response, Peña Nieto said, in Spanish, “You will find in Mexico a partner and you will find a friend in me.”

More protesters, angry that Canada welcomed Mexico’s president after the clashes in Oaxaca, greeted the president as he arrived at the dinner.

Today, the two leaders began the day with a morning run in Ottawa. Tonight the governor-general will host a state dinner in Peña Nieto’s honor.

Tomorrow they will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama for the Three Amigos Summit.

The improved relations between Mexico and Canada will be warmly welcomed by businesses and business organizations, particularly in Canada, where they have been calling for several years for a renewal of the relationship.

It soured when the visa requirement was introduced and remained chilly until Trudeau won election last October. He was expected to eliminate the visa after promising to do so during the election campaign.

Source: Milenio (sp), CBC News (en)

– See more at: