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Mexico offers a great balance of centuries-old traditions and modern lifestyle. Acquiring a resident Visa is very simple and easy. What is ideal is the idea that there are innumerable amenities, and discounts offered to retirees. Further, Mexico is “closer to home” than any other popular retirement haven, such as Costa Rica and Panama for example.

Loosely translated, Mexico Life offer the comforts you are used to north of the border: high-speed internet and wireless, digital television and satellite television, and very upscale modern home appliances. If you “can’t live without it” when you move to Mexico, you can even bring all your favorite things with you without paying import taxes one time.

Living in Mexico offers affordability in that goods and services are less expensive, allowing you the affordability of such luxuries only the wealthy enjoy up north: a maid, a cook, and a gardener, for example. So it’s really about your dream and vision of the  retirement with considerations for  shopping, fishing, sunbathing, golf, diving, , parasailing, collecting crafts, visiting archeological sites, biking, mountain climbing,partying, going to concerts, attending the theater, or fine dining.  It’s abundant throughout Mexico and each area of the country offers something unique and inviting.

With geographic diversity you will find beautiful, warm oceans, crystal-clear tropical lakes, farmlands, majestic mountains,  gorgeous deserts, small towns or sophisticated cities. My own parents live in Mazatlan (Mazatlan Real Estate), attend theater, play golf, dine with friends, sail and sunbathe. It’s absolute paradise.   I have other friends who live in the place where earth, sea and sky meet, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Cabo Real Estate), where they enjoy premier golf, gourmet international dining, and fishing. 3 hours away, they can take part in eco tourism by visiting the pride of La Paz, the brand new Marine Laboratory, brought to Mexico and partially funded by France and the Jacques-Yves Cousteau Society. The climate diversity allows a lifestyle in warm and dry climates or warm and tropical climates….a little more humid.

The Real Estate market offers unlimited possibility. You can find opulence and luxury in multimillion dollar homes in areas such as Cabo San Lucas in neighborhoods such as “Pedregal” and “Querencia” and “El Dorado” or a reasonable if not luxury appointed condominium in Mazatlan ($200,000).  Puerto Vallarta offers stellar villas for retirement in close proximity to the beach for a song ($200,000), and within the artisan communities of San Miguel de Allende you can find a modest and comfortable home for much less than in the U.S. (2600 square feet, $229,000).

Since my early career days in relocation, I have been asked over and over again, how to go about MOVING to MEXICO in order to live and retire there. Baby boomers by and large, are on a mass exodus out of the states to live in Mexico for a number of reasons.

Healthcare, Climate, Cost of Living, Culture, the list goes on and on…..and frankly I don’t blame them.  Given a choice, in a perfect world, I too, would be inclined to pack it up and move south of the border. What beats living on the beach like the fortunate few at an affordable price???

So, what is involved and how do you go about doing it?

First step is to determine how long and for what purpose you want to live in Mexico. There are a few different types of Visas available, for the purpose of this blog however, I will refine the variations and expound on the “General” Visa, the FM3

An FM3 is a legal permit, issued by the Mexican consulate, to live and work in Mexico. With an FM3 you are permitted to import used household goods from the US without incurring a duty at the border. Obtaining an FM3 entails legal processes and documentation that ultimately must be arranged by you.

FM3 Requirements:

1. VALID PASSPORT AND ONE PHOTOCOPY.
Passport must have at least 6 months of validity remaining. If person is a legal resident of U.S., a copy of the front and back of the alien registration card is also required.

2. LETTER FROM THE BANK that proves a minimum monthly deposit of One Thousand ($1,000) dollars per dependent.
   OR
COPIES OF YOUR BANK STATEMENTS for the last 6 months that proves your monthly deposit covers the amount stated above.

3. TWO (2) PASSPORT FRONT VIEW PHOTOS
no automatic machine photos will be accepted.

4. COMPLETED APPLICATION FORM

5. FEES : 
Roughly $150.00 dollars (U.S.) paid in cash only – no money orders, company, personal or cashier’s check will be accepted.

MOVING HOUSEHOLD GOODS:

After obtaining your Visa, you can import used household goods and personal effects in quantities which would be considered normal for the number of family members in your household. This is based on cubic measure and total weight of the household goods.  The Mexican Consulate requires a “permit” known as  a Menaje de Casa. This is an itemized form, properly formatted and translated of all of your household goods. According to Mexico Law, you MUST import your household goods within six months of obtaining your Visa.

I get the question of the requirement for the Customs Agent frequently. It is simple.You do not have to hire a customs agent unless you exceed the value of goods that you are allowed to bring into Mexico.  Take note, the value is not indicative of the weight.  They are two very different issues.

Regardless of how you do it, on your own, or using a carrier, you MUST have a notaries ‘menaje de casa’ and you are allowed a  one time household goods exemption from import duties.

If you have chosen a professional forwarding company or moving company to handle your move, a Customs Agent is always retained, and included in the costs of the move from the carrier. It is assumed you have a declaration of high value household goods accumulative, thus the reason for the agent retainer.

Household goods are tax-free with FM2 or FM3 status. New and business related items are charged a 17% to 27% importation tax based on the value of your goods.  Motorized transportation such as motorcycles and scooters are charged a $150 broker fee plus a 27% importation tax

Mexico still uses the all-purpose “RED LIGHT-GREEN LIGHT” method. In other words, upon crossing the border you are subject to the kiosk that you push. If the red light appears, you are inspected, and if the green light appears, you are waved through. It’s not rocket science, and I am not sure if it really is random, but it keeps everyone relatively in check.

If you are driving you automobile or an RV, it MUST belong to you, free of liens or loans. American auto insurance is no longer valid once you cross the border, and you first stop should be with a “SEGURANZA” office. INSURANCE for Mexican Automobile Insurance.

If for any reason you are stopped, and you do not have the insurance, you will be returned without mercy, to the border, to obtain the insurance.

It’s not a risk worth taking, so I suggest you just do it upon entry.

If you are inclined to think about giving up all of your household goods, and start fresh (every woman’s shopping dream), I would recommend only one thing. Beds in Mexico are built small. It’s a fact. Additionally, they are hard, like sleeping on a plank. So if you are attached to that Tempurpedic, or love your California King Pillow Top, MOVE IT. You cannot replace it in Mexico with what you have in the states. Personally, I could not live without my bed.   I would sooner give up anything else.

Furniture is made remarkably well in Mexico. A favorite for this blogger, CRATE INTERIORS.  Found in some of the most luxurious and prestigious resorts and hotels in the United States and Mexico, and now making its way into some of the most opulent homes and villas  in Mexico, Crate offers affordable, luxury lifestyle, elegant and resilient furniture on the market. They will deliver this to you anywhere you want it to go in Mexico and it is all very well made and stylish. A complete turnkey furnishing for your home averages $50,000.00 U.S.  Bare in mind, this is for a larger home budget,

So, if you are thinking about it, DO IT. You live once.

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