While Mexico does not market a full-blown program designed to entice foreign retirees to its shores, this country is nevertheless a friendly haven for retirees and others from the U.S., Canada, and beyond.
Mexico Visa: Visitor Permit
The first time you come to Mexico, you will no doubt do so as a tourist, and you’ll get an entry permit as a visitor with no lucrative activity in Mexico. You’ll fill out an immigration form and then be given your visitor permit after you fly into the country…or at the border when you cross by car or truck. Your visitor permit allows you to remain in Mexico for up to 180 days (almost six months) without working.
Mexico Visa: Temporary Resident Visa
There are many types of temporary resident (residente temporal) visa in Mexico—for retirees, artists, sports figures, scientists, ministers, and the like. What they have in common is that they’re designed for people who wish to be in Mexico more than 180 days a year. You can hold a temporary resident visa for up to four years.
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.
You apply for your temporary resident visa at the Mexican consulate nearest your home, not in Mexico itself. You can apply for a temporary resident visa that is valid for one, two, three, or up to the full four years. After four years on this visa, however, you must either leave Mexico or switch to a permanent resident visa. The four years that you’ve held a temporary resident visa automatically qualifies for permanent status.
The specifics change from time to time, so be sure to check with your nearest Mexican consulate for the most up-to-date information.
Mexico Visa: Permanent Resident Visa
If you know you wish to live in Mexico long-term, you can opt to apply immediately for a permanent resident visa, bypassing the temporary-resident step. The permanent resident visa is open-ended—there is no expiration date. It also gives you many of the rights and responsibilities of a Mexican citizen, including the right to work. It does not give you the right to vote in Mexico, however. Nor does it make you a Mexican citizen—that is a separate process.
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.