The Reality of Mexico for Retirement: Visa

Mexico has been at the top of my retirement list for a long time. I’ve spent a lot of time there, and have been learning the language a bit at a time. I love the colonial mountain towns best, with their markets and plazas, with cathedrals anchoring one end and bars at the other, with lots of celebrating in between.

Joanne Bretzer Photo

Joanne Bretzer Photo

The culture of Mexico has both remained in and returned to the southwest of the United States, or the formerly north west of Mexico. Those of us who have lived in that part of the States can feel a bit at home in Mexico. It has always felt a bit like home to me.

But now the facts don’t fit the dream. High on my list of requirements are  health insurance and, of course, legal residency. Here is the problem:

Visa: The following is from the International Living website:

Temporary Residency Visa

The most common type of temporary resident visa for expats is as a retiree. To get it, you have to show that you can support yourself in Mexico on funds you’ve earned (or are earning) elsewhere. The minimum monthly requirement is about $1,553 in net income for an individual (as shown on your last six months of bank statements), plus about $520 a month for each dependent. Alternatively, you can provide bank account or investment statements for the last 12 months that show an average balance of at least $25,880. A third way is to show that you own a property in Mexico that has a value of at least about $207,046.

Permanent Residency Visa

You must show higher income requirements for a permanent resident visa. You can show investments with an average monthly balance over 12 months of about $103,523. Or you can show a monthly net income or pension over the last six months of at least $2,588.

Bottom Line

These requirements preclude anyone who is getting the average Social Security of a monthly $1300, unless you have good investment income. Now, being Mexico, there are ways around these requirements. You may either stay in Mexico on tourist visas and make visa runs, or try to work around the requirements with a lawyer.

This is a serious consideration for those of limited resources. It is fine to consider doing visa runs for a while, but do you want to when you’re 85? This also raises questions about insurance. If you want to be part of the national health plan, you will need legal residency.

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