Moving to Mexico | 2021 Guide

If you’ve caught yourself daydreaming about moving to Mexico, you’re not alone. The culture is rich, the weather is good, the food is incredible, and the cerveza is always cold —what’s not to love? To help your dream become a reality, we’ve compiled a guide which will walk you through the entire moving process –from costs, to visas, to housing, we got your back!

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But before you keep on scrolling! Why not get into the mood by giving the playlist below a play? 😉

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

How Much Does Moving to Mexico Cost?

First things first, let’s get the least fun part –aka the moving costs— out of the way. It’s no secret that moving abroad will cost you a pretty penny no matter where you move to. Because of this, it’s important that you understand the factors that can affect the costs of your move to Mexico —hint: the size of your move and the distance play the biggest roles.

Tip!: Struggling to figure out the size of your move? Our handy moving space calculator can help you with this!

We understand that this might sound a bit vague, so to you give you a better picture of what you can expect, we’ve compiled a few ballpark estimates for a sea-freight move to Mexico City from both the East and West Coast of the United States.

Moving to Mexico from the East Coast

Property SizeTimeAverage Cost
1-bedroom5 – 9 weeks$2,500 – $4,200
2-bedrooms3 – 5 weeks$3,300 – $5,500
3-bedrooms3 – 5 weeks$5,500 – $9,200
4-bedrooms3 – 5 weeks$6,200 – $10,100

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just mere estimates. Your moving costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure, the size of your move and the service rates of the company.

Moving to Mexico from the West Coast

Property SizeTimeAverage Cost
1-bedroom6 – 10 weeks$2,800 – $4,700
2-bedrooms3 – 6 weeks$3,700 – $6,200
3-bedrooms3 – 6 weeks$6,300 – $10,400
4-bedrooms3 – 6 weeks$6,800 – $11,400

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just mere estimates. Your moving costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure, the size of your move and the service rates of the company.

Off the bat we can already tell you that moving costs are probably one of the hardest things to determine, so our pro tip is that you request moving quotes –this is the only way you will be able to get accurate estimates on how much a move to Mexico will cost you!

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A Checklist for Your Move to Mexico

Are you a fan of challenges? If yes, then we challenge you to put your memory up to test by trying to remember everything that needs to must be done before, during, and after a move to Mexico! 😉

If you think you need an extra hand remembering, our infographic below summarizes four of the most important points you must not forget! Interested in a more detailed checklist instead? We got your back! Check out our moving abroad checklist –it covers every little detail you might need to remember.

Comprehensive checklist to follow when moving to Mexico

How to Move to Mexico: Visas & Permits

We can guarantee that moving to Mexico will be an incredibly exciting adventure, but this adventure will require you to go through some slightly tedious process –visas and residencies being included in such. But don’t worry, it will be worth it! Because we know that visa and residency requirements can be quite extensive, we’ve summarized them all for you.

Employment-Based Visas

If you’re interested in working in Mexico, you’d have to apply for either a permanent residency or a temporary residency with work permits. Goods news, though! No matter what type of visa you’re applying for, there’s only one application form you need to fill out —phew. You can find the requirements for a permanent or temporary residency (with work permits!) here.

Family Visas

If you have a close family connection in Mexico, you’ll be able to apply for a temporary or permanent resident visa with the purpose of family unit. A “close family connection” includes:

  • Parent of a foreigner who holds permanent residency;
  • Child (under 18 years old) of a foreigner who holds permanent residency;
  • Sibling (under 18 years old) of a foreigner who holds permanent residency;
  • Child (under 18 years old) of the spouse of a foreigner who holds permanent residency;
  • Child (under 18 years old) of a Mexican National where the child isn’t entitled to a Mexican nationality;
  • Foreign parent of Mexican-born children;
  • Sibling (both minor and adult) of a Mexican national;
  • Child under the permanent resident card holders’ legal care.

Places to visit when moving to Mexico: Monument of revolution at night in Mexico City

Financial Arrangements in Mexico

One of the toughest tasks of moving to a new country is having to navigate the banking and taxing system –but don’t worry, we’re here to make it a bit easier for you. 😉

When moving to Mexico from the US, it’s likely that you’ll need to open a bank account to sustain yourself during your stay. Opening a bank account as a foreigner can oftentimes be tricky as most of the work is carried out in Spanish. So, if you’re not a master of this latin language yet, we recommend that you ask a native speaker to give you a hand.

Usually, the most common documents asked by banks are:

  • ID (e.g.: passport);
  • Proof of legal residency (e.g.: utility bill);
  • Proof of legal entry into Mexico.

Now, when it comes to everyone’s favorite topic, taxes, there’s a few things worth mentioning:

  • Personal income tax can range anywhere between 2% to 35% depending on your earnings;
  • VAT tax tends to be around 16%, except in towns close to the U.S border where rates as low as 8% can be found;
  • Property taxes vary according to the location and value of the property you own –a 2% rate is applied when acquiring a property.

Tip!: Exchanging your currency a few weeks before your move to Mexico (or immediately after you arrive) will save you a lot of headaches.

Healthcare in Mexico

Having to deal with medical circumstances is usually not an easy task, especially when you have to deal with them in a completely new country. To give you a hand with the matter, we’ve compiled the most relevant information to help you understand the healthcare structure in Mexico.

First and foremost, Mexico operates under a mixed healthcare system. This entails that you’ll be able to find both public and private healthcare coverage. If public healthcare coverage is something you’re interested in, keep in mind that you will need to present to the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) the following documents:

  • A copy of either your Permanent Residency or Temporary Residency visa;
  • Two copies of your passport and immigration documentation;
  • Three passport-sized photos;
  • Two copies of a recent utility/telephone bill or a lease agreement displaying your full name;
  • If applicable, two copies of your marriage license.

Keep in mind that in order to obtain this coverage you will have to pay a yearly fee that ranges between Mex$1,000 and Mex$3,000 (which is roughly between $48-$144).

Tip!: If you feel more comfortable, you can also take out an international health insurance in the United States. With such, you’ll enjoy a coverage for medical emergencies and routine healthcare work.

Living in Mexico: The Cost-Related Facts

We can imagine that you’re more than ready to hop on a plane and start a new life in beautiful and sunny Mexico, but before you do such, you might want to give the costs of living a look –you know… just in case you want to prepare accordingly. 😉

As you might expect, living in Mexico is not nearly as expensive as living in the United States is. Of course, the average costs will ultimately vary depending on your lifestyle. However, it’s important that you keep in mind that costs are proportionate to the average salary in the country, which is around Mex$33,200 (roughly around $1,585).

If you’re having a hard time imagining what this entails, don’t worry, we got ya’. To give you a better an idea of what you can expect, we’ve broken down the most common living costs in Mexico for you below.

Housing

Moving to Mexico will most definitely make you face the famous “to rent or buy” dilemma. Most likely having a ballpark estimate of what to expect in terms of pricing might help you with your choice. Because of this, we’ve summarized both the average rent and median home values for different Mexican cities in the table below.

CityAverage Rent (1-bedroom)Median Home Value (per sq meter)
Mexico CityMex$12,675 (≈$606)Mex$48,318 (≈$2,308)
GuadalajaraMex$8,852 (≈$423)Mex$20,465 (≈$978)
MonterreyMex$7,464 (≈$357)Mex$22,872 (≈$1,093)
Puebla CityMex$4,063 (≈$194)Mex$15,253 (≈$729)

Disclaimer: the prices shown above are just estimates. These prices will vary depending on the property size and the neighborhood of your choice.

Beautiful street in San Miguel de Allende to visit when moving to Mexico

Food & Groceries

If you’re a total foodie like us, then we just know that you’re dying to dive in face-first on the exquisite Mexican cuisine which, by the way, was established as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2010 —talk about exquisite indeed. 

However, unless you want to blow all your budget in dining-out, it might be smart to cook some homemade meals every now and then. 😉 To give you a glimpse of what you can expect, we’ve compiled a list of the average costs of common grocery items in Mexico in the table below.

Grocery ItemAverage Cost
1 lb. of chicken filetMex$43.35 (≈$2.07)
1 lb. of beef roundMex$74.66 (≈$3.57)
Loaf of breadMex$28.49 (≈$1.36)
Gallon of milkMex$79.14 (≈$3.78)
1 lb. of potatoesMex$11.77 (≈$0.56)
1 lb. of bananasMex$9.64 (≈$0.46)

Foodie Tip!: Besides the good ol’ trusty tacos al pastor and tamales, we recommend trying out enchiladas, carnitas con huevos rancheros, and sopaipillastrust us, you’d be in for a treat!

Leisure

We don’t need to convince you that moving to Mexico will be adventure in every sense of the word. To help you picture your new adventure in Mexico, we put together a list of cool things you can do in the country and their respective costs below.

ActivityAverage Cost
Cancún Underwater Museum Snorkel TourMex$1,387.14 (≈$66.29)
Three-course mealMex$700 (≈$33.48)
Chichén Itzá, Ik Kil Cenote & Valladolid All-Inclusive TourMex$1442.65 (≈$69)
Two tickets to the moviesMex$170 (≈$8.13)
Two tickets to the theaterMex$1,095 (≈$52.37)
Coba, Tulum, Cenote and Playa Paraiso TourMex$1,881.68 (≈$90)

Places to visit when moving to Mexico: Ruins of Chicen Itza

Did You Know…?

  • This might not come as a surprise, but Mexico is home to the largest tamale in the world. “El Zacahuil”, enjoyed in special celebrations, is a 3-foot long, 250 pound tamale that literally takes a whole village to make —talk about dedication!
  • The chihuahua, one of the smallest dog breeds in the world, is named after a Mexican state.
  • Chocolate and chilis originated in Mexico —we definitely owe Mexico a big ol’ thank you for that one.
  • Mexico is home to one of the seven wonders in the world —if you’re in for a sight, go give the Chichén Itzá ruins a visit.

We hope that after reading this article you feel more than ready to pack everything and embrace beautiful and sunny Mexico! If you still feel like you might need some extra help preparing your move to Mexico, we got your back. We recommend checking out the pages we have linked for you below. 🙂