In Mexico, the quality of life is greatly enhanced by its sunny climate and the relaxed lifestyle of its inhabitants. This culturally rich country provides a variety of opportunities for those looking to start a new life. Thousands of people settle in this dynamic and exciting country each year. Whether it’s families, remote-working couples, retirees, or investors, Mexico has something to offer to everyone.
Must-visit cities in Mexico
Mexico is a Latin American country composed of 31 states. It is a large country with an area of 1,964,375 km² and a total coastline of 9,330 km. It ranks as the 14th largest country in the world and one of the largest in America.
Mexico City, with its 25 million inhabitants, is one of the largest cities globally. Other highly populated cities include Guadalajara (6 million), Monterrey (3 million), Puebla (2 million), and León (1 million inhabitants).
Several cities are worth exploring for their architectural and historical richness, classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Guanajuato, Morelia, Pátzcuaro, Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, Toluca, and Veracruz.
- Guanajuato, the former high-altitude mining town located 300 km northwest of Mexico City, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historic center often makes it the preferred destination for travelers seeking discoveries. It belongs to the state of Guanajuato.
- Morelia is the capital of the state of Michoacan and boasts a significant historic center.
- Patzcuaro, a beautiful town in the Patzcuaro Lake region, is renowned for its picturesque colonial architecture.
- Querétaro is a colonial city known for its historic monuments and squares.
- San Miguel de Allende is a popular tourist destination recognized for its cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.
- The pre-Hispanic city of Chichen-Itza, elected as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
- Toluca is the capital of the State of Mexico and serves as an ideal destination for cultural exploration or discovering the Nevado volcano.
- Veracruz is a port city known for its culture, beautiful beaches (Chachalacas Beach, Costa Esmeralda, and Playa Villa Rica), and historical sites (houses with large columns featuring various motifs and hues, as well as the numerous old trees adorning open spaces and public gardens, providing a vibrant display of style and colors).
Mexican climate and quality of life
Mexico is renowned for its sunny beaches and pleasant climate. The country is divided into two by the Tropic of Cancer, resulting in two main climatic regions: a temperate region in the north with cooler winters and a tropical region in the south with more consistent temperatures.
In Mexico City, temperatures remain comfortable throughout the year, averaging from 22°C (January) to 27°C (April).
Cancún offers pleasant temperatures year-round, ranging from 27°C (January) to 33°C (August). The sea temperature is also very pleasant, fluctuating between 26°C and 29°C.
Security in Cancún and Mexico in general
Travelers and expatriates can feel safe when visiting Cancún and other Mexican tourist sites. Generally, Mexico is a safe country to visit. Like anywhere, exercise caution when traveling. Avoid wearing clothing or jewelry that may attract attention and stay away from less frequented or off-the-beaten-path areas.
Cost of living in Mexico
Close to the USA and Canada, Mexico offers a significantly lower cost of living compared to these two countries.
For example, on average, the monthly salary for most Mexicans is £581.26 compared to £3,697.73 in the United States and £1,937.53 in the United-Kingdom.
Activities such as dining out, going to the cinema, or taking excursions are less expensive than in the United States or Europe. For example, a restaurant meal will cost you an average of £14.57. Naturally, as is the case worldwide, it depends on the type of restaurant and the desired menu’s quality.
Property in Mexico remains affordable for expatriates as well.
The price per square meter in the suburbs of Mexico in 2023 is £841.88, and the price per square meter in the city in Mexico is £1,195.95.
Taxes in Mexico
In Mexico, salaries are subject to income tax, with 11 tax brackets ranging from 0 to £5,103.46 (1.92%) for low-income individuals and up to 35% for those earning more than 3 million pesos. Non-residents are exempt from tax if their income is below 125,900 pesos, equivalent to £5,254.58.
If you are a retiree, check if your country of origin has signed a tax treaty with Mexico to avoid double taxation.
You can contact an iad Overseas property consultant* to guide you through the process and provide you with valuable advice.
Decided to settle in Mexico? Let’s review the best places to work and establish your family in Mexico.
Working in Mexico
Finding a job
Finding a job in Mexico should generally not be too challenging, especially if you are bilingual in Spanish. You first need to obtain a work permit, which is issued by the Mexican Embassy. Here are some of the best websites to check job listings:
- Opcion Empleo
As a resident in Mexico, you will be affiliated with IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social), the Mexican social security system. Generally, it is your employer’s responsibility to enroll you, but you can also enroll yourself if necessary. You contribute 10% of your salary each month, and all medical expenses are reimbursed at 100% for you and all members of your family. Remember that you must have a designated primary care physician. Note that there are two different funds in Mexico: one for private sector employees and one for government employees and the self-employed.
If you are a temporary resident, make sure to inquire with your insurance company about your coverage in the country.
Remote job and telecommuting with your feet in the water
Remote work in the Riviera Maya is an ideal option, with digital nomad hubs located nearby in Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, and Cancún – all just a few steps away from pristine white sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Some examples of coworking spaces:
- CoWorking Tulum
- Los Amigos – Cowork
- Digital Jungle | Coworking in Tulum
- Colabora Cowork Cancún
- Orbis Coworking
Working or telecommuting in Mexico City
Mexico City remains an ideal destination for telecommuting in Mexico. Its status as a major capital attracts digital nomads from around the world. From its temperate climate to the wide range of activities available, the city offers an ideal environment for telecommuting. Moreover, its internet connection is top-notch, and it boasts numerous cafes and coworking spaces such as Regus (with 22 coworking spaces), Público Muzquiz, WeWork Reforma Latino, Cardumen, and Aldea Coworking Coyoacán.
Some must-visit places in the capital to relax after work or with family:
- The Zocalo
- The Metropolitan Cathedral
- Plaza Manuel Tolsá
- Plaza Santo Domingo
- The Templo Mayor
Living with family in Mexico
It is advisable to apply for a temporary residence permit if you intend to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days. The application must be submitted to a Mexican consulate in your home country.
The temporary residence permit can be classified into three categories: retirement, investment, and work. It remains wise to visit a Mexican consulate in your home country to obtain an application form and be informed about the requirements of your new country.
After five years, holders of permanent residency visas can apply for Mexican citizenship.
Schools in Mexico
In Mexico, public schools are free and secular. Mexican cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cancún, and Monterrey host numerous international schools that offer British, American, German, French, and Japanese educational programs.
Enrolling your children in school begins with the Mexican immigration office. To attend school in Mexico, you need to obtain a temporary or permanent residence visa.
Some international schools in Mexico:
- American School Foundation, Mexico
- The Churchill School, Mexico
- Eton School, Mexico
- International American School of Cancún, Cancún
- Montaverde International School, Cancún
What are the visa requirements for settling in Mexico?
Visa requirements for settling in Mexico may vary slightly depending on your country of origin. Before traveling to Mexico, you must apply for a temporary residence visa at a Mexican consulate in your home country. This step is mandatory.
Upon arrival in Mexico, you will need to register with the local immigration office within 30 days to receive a temporary residence card.
The temporary residence visa grants expatriates the right to reside in Mexico for a maximum period of one year. Upon expiration, the visa can be renewed for periods of one, two, or three years.
Requirements for U.S. citizens
U.S. citizens, for example, can generally obtain an FM3 visa relatively easily. This visa is valid for one year and can be renewed up to 4 times. Required documents include your identification and evidence of your future financial stability in Mexico. This visa allows you to stay in Mexico for periods exceeding six months.
For those wishing to stay in Mexico permanently, the FM2 (immigrant visa) must be requested from the Mexican immigration office.
Requirements for citizens of the United Kingdom, European Union, and Australia
Expatriates from other countries may need to provide different documents to obtain a visa. Depending on your country of origin, it is mandatory to contact your local Mexican embassy for more information. The visa application is subject to a fee. The issued visa has a maximum validity of 180 days from the date of issue to enter Mexico.
Afterward, you need to apply for a temporary/permanent resident card from the National Institute of Migration.
Note: Several types of visas exist depending on your activity/status.
- Visa with a permit for paid activities.
- Temporary visa for unpaid activities.
- Permanent visa for family reunification.
- Foreigners who want to live in Mexico as retirees must apply for a Permanent Resident Visa at the nearest.
- Consulate before entering Mexican soil.
In case of doubt, be sure to inquire well in advance.
Permanent residence permit in Mexico
The permanent residence permit is for individuals who wish to have permanent residency in Mexico and/or aim to obtain Mexican citizenship. You do not need to be a temporary resident to apply for permanent residency.
If you wish to stay in Mexico for more than 6 months, regardless of your nationality, you will need to extend your stay as a tourist. The application must be made on the INM (National Institute of Migration) online platform. The documents to be provided include:
- A migratory form (FMM).
- A passport valid for more than a year.
- Proof of financial means to support yourself during your extended stay. To obtain the list of requirements, you must visit or inquire at a Mexican consulate.
- Fees of approximately $50 (USD).
Mexico requires you to provide documents translated into Spanish.
Opening a bank account in Mexico
Once on-site, you can open a bank account in Mexico. Many banks are available. Here is a list of the main banks present in Mexico:
- BBVA Bancomer
- City Banamex
- Banco Azteca
To open a bank account in Mexico, an FM3 or FM2 visa is required. Possession of a tourist visa alone is usually insufficient. The visa must be accompanied by proof of identity and proof of residence (for example, an electricity bill).
Another solution is to open a Wise Borderless account to manage and access your money in dozens of international currencies.
Investing in a property in Mexico
Are you considering living in Mexico and want to learn more about the Mexican property market? A consultant from iad Overseas can assist you at every step and guide you through all the formalities to find the perfect property for your new life.