Secret Tips You Need to Know Before Moving to Mexico
*If you see text in orange, that is a link to one of our full articles that can explain more on the subject of each individual tip. Click on it, and learn more!
The founder of WeExpats Aldis Barsketis has spent thirty years living in Mexico. If you ever get a chance to pick his brain, he can tell you stories of what Mexico was like before I was born; for example, when he proposed to his wife in Playa del Carmen, back when it was two dirt roads.
Over the decades, Aldis has offered up travel tips to thousands of expats and travelers during his brilliant and informative seminars. For the first time, now you can get these secret tips for moving to Mexico in written form now.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Getting Your TIP:
If you’re attempting to get your temporary or permanent residence, then the process will begin at the Mexican consulate or embassy in your home country—especially if you’re an American or Mexican citizen. Just know that every consulate is a little different in case you get some different requirements from what you’ve read online. Just follow your local consulate’s advice and you’ll get through it.
If you’re going for your permanent residency, it’s very likely that you’ll not be able to bring in your car. If so, then you can try and use a Temporary Import Permit. Whether one or three years, you’re going to have to renew your TIP—but eventually, you should face the realization that you’re probably going to have to get rid of your American or Canadian car.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Getting Your Mail in Mexico:
If you’re looking to move to Mexico from the United States or Canada, then you are likely wondering: How do people get mail? There are ways to get an address in the US that forwards your mail to you in Mexico. These are called Mail Forwarding Services.
For example, some companies in San Miguel de Allende are:
There is bound to be a mail forwarding service in your Mexican town that can help. Basically, you get an address in Laredo and then it’s forwarded to this post office. But you can’t get everything. There are some limitations, mostly having to deal with importation fees.
Also, you have to pay $1 – $2 USD a pound and %17 of the declared value. These kinds of services are great for getting your magazines, bills, and other paperwork forwarded. It’s only $20 USD a month, and it can be very useful.
Brokerage firms and banks that are sending credit cards can usually successfully forward these items, but sometimes they catch on that it’s a mail service and they demand a power bill to prove that this is actually your address.
You can also try an Online Virtual Post Office. Through these services, you get your mail sent to their office, they open it for you, and then you can decide whether or not they should send you a scan or shred it. They can even run to the bank and deposit checks for you.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Moving Your Stuff to Mexico:
Many people use a company to ship their stuff to Mexico. They end up paying a fortune to move their possessions. They have to pay the duty, hire a customs broker, deal with a customs agent, and then you never know if you’re going to have things broken by the movers.
You can sell your possessions in the United States and then replace them in Mexico for a fraction of the cost.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Calling in Mexico:
There are lots of great cell phone options that work in Mexico and let you keep your American phone number, such as AT&T, or Verizon, T-Mobile, and Google Fi. They used to cost a fortune, but then T-Mobile came out with a mobile plan which worked like a local call. Now a lot of companies offer their own packages in order to compete. But sometimes, if you have an American plan where 50% percent of your data is coming from outside of the country, then they might cut you off.
When moving to Mexico, bring an unlocked phone here. If you have to, take steps either before you arrive or here in Mexico to unlock the phone. Then get a SIM card (you can get one for $200 MXN at OXXO or roughly $10 USD). Mexican plans are far cheaper than American plans, and you can find that packages exist that will have no additional charges in the United States or Canada (though you will have a Mexican number).
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Flying to Mexico:
Mexican airlines like VivaAerobus and Volaris don’t generally pop up in American travel searches—especially if they are from smaller departures to smaller destinations. However, you can save a bundle on these flights! For example, Leon to Oakland costs a fraction of the price of a flight from San Francisco to Mexico City.
Another way to cross the border back to the United States for a fraction of the price is to fly into Tijuana and then cross the border through the Cross Border Xpress. From there you can take an Uber to San Diego airport.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Laminating Your Insurance Card:
One of the best things that you can do when you are abroad is to prepare for a medical emergency. One way to prepare is by laminating your insurance card.
Before you do that, write on the list name, address, contact information, son, spouse, birth date, blood type, allergic to medicines, passport number—and if possible your address in Mexico.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Take Pictures of Your Stuff:
You might buy a car in Mexico. You’ll certainly end up moving into a house. As soon as you move in, take your phone and record a video of your property.
That way, if something gets stolen or car damaged, before, a video exists that ensures your car or house was in good condition. Then email the video to yourself or upload it to Dropbox, which proves that your car or house was in good condition.
Most importantly, take pictures of your spouse, your family, and your pets in case someone goes missing. Then in a disaster, you have the necessary information readily available to help the authorities find them.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Get Your Documents:
When leaving the US, contact your doctors and health facilities and get .pdf copies of all your medical records. If you have a pre-existing condition, you can pull information instead of starting from scratch.
Doctors and hospitals change, so it’s best to have your information handy before moving to Mexico.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Banking without Fees:
Banking abroad can carry with it a lot of extra fees. There are lots of different ways that you can avoid costly fees when you’re banking abroad. One of them is by using banks like Fidelity or Charles Schwab. They barely charge you any international fees (only 1%) and they reimburse any foreign ATM fees. It’s easy to open a cheap account.
Transferring money is easy with a Transferwise account. Credit cards that are conducive toward not charging foreign fees are typically Capital One cards and Chase Sapphire. You can end up saving at least a hundred dollars in fees if you are careful.
Also, you can look into smart banking. There could be options that can help you, not only living abroad in Mexico but also if you’re traveling between countries.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Safety When Banking:
Never carry 2 credit cards together, always leave one at home. Have a main savings account with all your money, then a small checking with just your spending money. This small checking account will be the one that you carry with you. That way, if you get kidnapped, then you don’t have too much in your checking account.
Get APPS that help you manage your cash safely. These apps will notify you on your phone for each purchase—then you can know immediately if you got robbed.
Secret Tips for Moving to Mexico – Conclusion:
Many of these secret tips for moving to Mexico might seem like common sense, but they can save you a world of trouble. Many of these tips simply come from experience in the field. At WeExpats, we see how unfortunate incidents and accidents can happen. We see it every day. That’s why the most important thing that you can do to prevent disaster from striking is to get insurance for your time abroad. We can help!
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