Visas & Citizenship

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Visas & Citizenship

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Corruption

To anonymously report an act of corruption call: 01-800-737-8352 or 088.

If you have an issue with a person regarding tax issues, aduana or customs they are all part of SAT and you can write to: denuncias@sat.gob.mx​

And if it is an issue you wish to report to immigration you may write to: atenciontelefonica@inami.gob.mx​  Or call: 01 800 00 INAMI (46264).

To these emails and phone numbers you may remain anonymous.

Types of visa

FMM Card (Forma Migratoria Multiple) allows people to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days. Prior to expiration you must return to the border as it can not be extended in Mexico. In nearly all cases you can “re-enter” with a new FMM without leaving the country (while at the border). Visitors may obtain their FMM physically at the border, if flying in by plane it will be handed to you by the plane crew or by entering the required information online, paying the fee of $500.00 MXN with a credit or debit card and printing the document plus proof of payment. The traveler then has 30 days to use the document to cross the border, where it must be stamped upon entry. Keep your FMM safe until leaving Mexico. (You might need to click a button that will either give you a Green or Red light with customs in order to have your personal belongings checked or not). First page is conditions and terms “términos y condiciones” which you need to accept at the bottom where it states “He leído y acepto los términos y condiciones”. It will then send you to the FMM form in Spanish. You may fill out questions, save (guardar) and print. If you lose an FMM while in Mexico the fee is $500.00 MXN pesos paid to the Immigration agent at the airport or border.

Note: Once you have a Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa at NO time enter Mexico with a FMM tourist card. You will then be a tourist and need to start the process all over at a Mexican consulate. And please never have a color copy of your visa, driver’s license or any other government issued ID / paperwork as that is considered fraud with serious consequences (black & white is perfect). If you loose your visa while outside of Mexico, contact the nearest consulate. In Mexico, when not far from home, there is no need to carry your visa. I suggest you save a photo of it in your phone (both sides).

Mexican Consulate appointments are required to apply for a pre-approved Temporary or Permanent Resident visa. Appointments may be made by calling or via the web site by clicking the “appointment” button. Each person needs a separate interview time including children. Pre-approval costs around $40.00 USD / $800 MXN Pesos. ​You must tell the consulate staff you intend to retire. If you mention working you will likely be declined. A very few consulates require a police report, background check. Every consulate has different requirements for no reason.

Or call a Mexican consulate and ask if an appointment is required and to schedule. Most require an appointment.

Photos measuring 39 mm x 31 mm max to 32 mm x 26 mm (typically passport size), face uncovered, no eyeglasses, front view, in colour, with white background will be required.

Mexican Consulate Visa application form: prior to going to a Mexican consulate please print, complete and take the form. On question 21, for a Temporary Resident pre-approval check more than 180 days and less than 4 years and for Permanent Resident check “DEFINITIVE”​.

Pre-approved Consulate Visa Processing in Mexico. When entering Mexico by car you must stop at the border and obtain an FMM. That FMM must be marked CANJE on the lower left side by Immigration. Your pre-approved visa in your passport is also to be stamped at same time. When flying you will receive a FMM from the airline and again it must be marked CANJE. If this is not done you will be sent back to the border. This FMM will indicate 30 days. The pre-approval allows you to enter Mexico up to 6 months from the time it was pre-approved. Once you enter Mexico you have 30 days to start your visa process. Typically that process takes 6 to 8 weeks but varies with each INM offices. One can leave Mexico once approved and finger printed and one has applied for and received a travel letter from them allowing you to exit. The minimum time for that to happen is approx 5 weeks but again varies with each INM office. Some INM offices are faster and some take months longer. You can not expedite the process. You can not leave Mexico without your travel letter. Or, you may wait the full period until your visa is issued. Unlike the USA where one who is applying for a visa for residency in the USA you can not leave the USA until process is completed and that takes up to a year. Please, do not come to Mexico and say I have to get back to my job in 2 weeks. It will NOT happen. Please be realistic and expect the worst.

Temporary Resident Visa (TR) starts with a pre-approval at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico. Once a pre-approved TR visa is issued you have 6 months to enter Mexico. Once you enter Mexico you have 30 days to continue your visa process at a local INM office. When you enter Mexico with a pre-approved visa, at the border you also complete a FMM as above. It must be marked CANJE by Immigration. In Mexico visa takes typically 6 – 12 weeks to process. There are several steps including on-line forms, photos, bank payment, several copies, finger prints after approximately 3 – 4  weeks, etc. Visa will be issued for 1 year and up to one month before expiration you may renew for 3 more years. After 4 years you can become a Permanent Resident. A foreign plated car is allowed only while you hold a TR visa. One can not earn income as a TR. Proving home ownership in Mexico will also be given credit when applying. The amounts vary based on exchange rates. Prior to going to a Mexican consulate please complete and take the consulate application. Again you can’t earn Mexican sourced income as TR, however you may earn income from outside of Mexico.

The amounts are per person but some consulates will accept lower financials for a spouse. Consulates vary and may use different amounts taking into account exchange rates but many will not. What I post here is my and friends experiences with Mexican Immigration. Consulates are not a part of Immigration. There will be variables at consulates and they are not totally consistent. Some consulates want originals. I recommend you review your Mexican consulate web site. I am not responsible for those variables and the mood, knowledge, politics or skills of the person at the consulate.

For financial statements, if account is in both names, have both names appear on statements. Mexican account printouts usually show one name on joint accounts.

Investments around $20,000.00 USD with 12 months of individual statements ($5000.00 MXN x daily minimum wage of $80.00 MXN) or, Monthly income around $1,400.00 USD with employment or pension source showing 6 months of bank statements ($300.00 MXN x daily minimum wage of $80.00 MSN) or, Home ownership in Mexico with a value of approximately $3’200,000.00 MXN ($40,000 x daily minimum wage of $80.00 MXN). You need originals and copy of deed.

Once your visa is issued do not leave the consulate without first checking your pre-approved visa in your passport. If you applied as a TR and issued a Permanent resident pre-approval, you foreign plated car is illegal after 30 days. This does happen.

Your first TR visa will be issued for 1 year. Within 30 days prior to the 1 year expiration you may renew for up to 3 more years. Financials are not required and renewal is done locally.

Permanent Resident Visa (PR) also starts with a pre-approval as above and process is same as a TR visa but it is as name implies, permanent. One may work as a PR but must inform INM. A foreign plated car is not allowed to be owned. Proving home ownership in Mexico will also be given credit when applying for pre-approval at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico. The amounts are per person. Consulates vary and may use different numbers taking into account exchange rates but many will not. Prior to going to a Mexican consulate please complete the form. For those who are TR living in Mexico, you may become a PR at any time in less than 4 years. To do so you must prove around $2,500.00 USD per month of only pension-sourced income, no other form of income, investments nor home ownership will be considered.

The amounts are per person but some consulates will accept lower financials for a spouse. Consulates vary and may use different amounts taking into account exchange rates but many will not. What I post here is my and friends experiences with Mexican Immigration. Consulates are not a part of Immigration. There will be variables at consulates and they are not totally consistent. Some consulates want originals. I recommend you review your Mexican consulate web site. I am not responsible for those variables and the mood, knowledge, politics or skills of the person at the consulate.

Mexican Citizenship

There is more than one way to become a Mexican Citizen. These include being a resident, child born to a Mexican national in another country, getting married to a Mexican national, being adopted by a Mexican national, one who contributes to the country in ways such as business, art, sports, cultural, scientist, etc in a very significant way.

The following process only applies to those with 5 years of residency. One must have been a resident of Mexico for 5 years. This means being a TR or PR for 5 years. And one needs a letter from INM stating what was your visa status 5 years ago.

Those over age 60 do not have to write a test in Spanish with questions pertaining to Mexico. Those 60 and under write the test.

Your birth certificate has to be legalized and/or apostille, and both the birth certificate and apostille/legalized document need to be translated in Mexico by a certified translator.

Required are 3 photos, passport size 45 mm x 35 mm with a white background, front view, no glasses, etc.

The name on your passport must exactly match your name on your birth certificate. If not, your consulate or embassy needs to provide a letter stating the documents are for one and the same person.

You need 2 background checks / criminal records. One is from the state in which you live and one is Federal that you need to go to Mexico City or have a person on your behalf with a power of attorney represent you there.

You need to complete the form “Solicitud de carta de naturalizacion” (DNN-3). With the form you need to submit a letter indicating how many times you exited Mexico in past 2 years and complete a chart indicating when you left, when you returned, where you went and the page number in your passport with the stamps confirming this. You also need to copy your complete passport (all pages). You must be present to submit.

All applicants regardless of age will be interviewed in Spanish with questions about your name, where were you born, citizenship, etc. All submitted documents need to be in triplicate (3 copies). The process takes 6 to 12 months.​ Cost is around $5,000.00 MXN.

SAT, RFC and CURP

SAT (Secretaria de Administracion Tributaria) and RFC (Registro Federal del Contribuyente) are registrations required to earn income including but not limited to a landlord and to buy and sell property. SAT is the equivalent of your country taxing authority. They also issue RFC numbers for these purposes. Process involves on-line applications and meeting with government officials and paperwork.

CURP (Clave Unica de Registro de Poblacion) is your personal registry. Your CURP ID number is usually on the front of your TR or PR visa. For medical insurance, property buying and selling, INAPAM, etc this wallet-sized card is required. A separate card can be printed out and you can laminate a copy for your wallet. There are times where you may have already a CURP and not be aware (if you already have a TR, PR or are in the process).

To understand how CURP codes are built, one must first understand Spanish naming conventions. Full names in Spanish speaking countries (including Mexican full names) consist of three elements: Given name(s), first surname (the father’s first surname) and second surname (the mother’s first surname).

The CURP code is composed of 18 characters that are assigned as follows:

The first surname’s initial and first inside vowel, the second surname’s initial (or the letter “X” if the person has no second surname), the first given name’s initial, date of birth (2 digits for year, 2 digits for month and 2 digits for day in that order!), one letter gender indicator (H for male or M for female), two letter code for the state where the person was born (for persons born abroad the code NE is used), the first surname’s second inside consonant, the second surname’s second inside consonant, the first given name’s second inside consonant, two characters ranging from 0 – 9 for people born before 2000 or from A – Z for people born since 2000 these characters are generated by the National Population Registry to prevent identical entries. For married women, only maiden names are used.

For example, the CURP code for a hypothetical person named Juan Perez Lopez, a male, born on 15 May 1976 in Spain, could be PRPJ760515HNERPU02

Airline Tourist Visa Fee Refund

When a TR or PR visa holder flies into Mexico there is an automatic fee built into your flight’s cost. This fee is for the tourist visa. To obtain a refund the airlines web site will usually have a link for refunds. What you require will be scans of: TR or PR visa, e-Ticket or ticket receipt and Boarding pass.

For example with United: Go to united.com > reservations > refunds > select “E-ticket Refund” scroll down and fill in your info. Also if booking online look at the airline website carefully.

Some of them ask what country you reside in. Make sure you put Mexico then you will not get charged the tourist tax.

Moving household items

It applies to personal items and nothing of a commercial nature, and these personal items must have been purchased at least 6 months prior to entering Mexico.

You may bring these items in to Mexico within 6 months of receiving your TR or PR visa or taxes will apply. You will require a broker to complete the process when moving a large amount of household / personal items.

Tourists by law are not allowed to import large quantities of household goods.

TR by law are expected to remove the items from Mexico within 3 months prior to leaving Mexico to 3 months after leaving Mexico. PR have the same rights and obligations as Mexican nationals because it is a definitive import. For large quantities and definitely when using movers a “Menaje de Casa” paperwork is required plus 3 copies listing all items.

If you have questions call your Mexican consulate. This does not apply to motorized vehicles.

Common Law Relationship

It is understood as being in a relationship between a man and woman who live together outside the bonds of matrimony, in an ongoing and permanent fashion, for the period of time established by the legislation of the corresponding country. The couple does not need to have cohabited for the established term if there are children born of the union.

To prove a common law relationship in Mexico the applicants must present a Statutory Declaration or Affidavit signed before a Public Notary stating that as of the date of the visa application the interested parties have cohabited publicly and continuously for a minimum of 2 years. This declaration must contain certified copies (certified by a Public Notary) of the official Government issued ID of the interested parties (passport, drivers license, etc) as well as documents demonstrating their common law relationship (rental contract or financing to purchase a home signed jointly, joint property, joint bank or credit accounts, income tax return showing the common law union, life insurance policy listing the common law partner as beneficiary, etc).

If the couple has children together they should present the original birth certificates of the children. In this case it is not necessary for the couple to have cohabited publicly and continuously for a minimum of 2 years. Nevertheless they must show that they maintain a common residence by means of receipts of payment for utilities issued under both names.

If the Statutory Declaration is signed before a Public Notary from a province outside the jurisdiction of the representative office carrying out the procedure or outside the country, it must be legalized by the corresponding Mexican Consulate and it must be apostilled or legalized, depending on the country.

Wills

Mexican wills are desirable for anyone living in Mexico full time. For those owning property it is a must. It is written in Spanish prepared by a Mexican notario and if you are not bilingual a certified translator is required by law to create your will.

All over Mexico notarios charge half price in September and sometimes October for the wills. Typical fee is approximately $2,000.00 MXN. When a certified translator is required an additional cost of around $500.00 MXN will be added. If wills are done in dual column format (English and Spanish) by English speaking notary then no translator is needed.

Wills prepared outside of Mexico are valid in Mexico. It’s having them recognized that is a lengthy, complicated and a very expensive process. Getting a foreign will recognized in Mexico requires that it be translated into Spanish by an official court approved translator. It also requires that it be “Apostiled” or “Legalized” in the country where it was prepared. This process can take several months and can cost several thousands USD to complete.

If certain issues arise, the will may be required to be probated before the Mexican courts which adds years to the process. During this time property in Mexico may not be disposed of and management may be very difficult.

Although Mexican law allows for different types of wills, prefer one prepared by a Mexican notario as it is more readily recognized and requires fewer steps to have it officiated.

Most foreigners who own property on the coast will do so through a bank trust. If that is the case, beneficiaries are named in the trust deed thereby eliminating the need of preparing a will in Mexico for that property. However it should be noted that only immediate family members (married partner, parents or children) can be beneficiaries of trust property. Furthermore bank accounts and other property such as vehicles and jewelry are not included in the trust deed and therefore require a will to be transferred.​

Death of a foreigner in Mexico

It requires a funeral home representative to go with a family representative to the Registro Civil. Family representative will need a government issued ID and dead person government issued ID. The funeral home representative will bring the required documents pertaining to the person as to when and how they died.

Registro Civil will issue a Death Certificate. It is very important at that time to ask for additional certified copies of the death certificate typically 5 or more copies should do it. Keep the original in a safe place.

If the person was legally in Mexico as a TR or PR, INM must be informed. If person was registered with SAT for tax purposes they too must be notified.

There are no other Mexican requirements.

For the foreign government a family representative must go to the foreign Embassy. Family member must have with them their passport and birth certificate. A power of attorney for non family is a must and recommended for everyone, as at times it is difficult to prove being part of the family. Passport of deceased person plus original or certified copy of death certificate will be required.

To transport the person’s ashes or body those requirements are to be requested by the airline.

Vehicles & Driving

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Temporary Import Permits

Also known as TIP they are for all vehicles, controlled by Aduana (Customs) and are needed if you travel outside of the “Franja and Region Fronteriza” (border zones), further than 20 kilometers from the border or outside the permit-free zones of Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Sonora and Quintana Roo, if you are heading to one of those permit-free zones be aware that you will need a TIP if crossing other states.

For those entering as a tourist the normal permit is for 180 days. You may obtain your TIP as you enter Mexico for around $50.00 USD or on-line (60 days before entering) for around $45.00 USD. They are sent by regular postal service and arrive normally in 15 days.

You can not extend a TIP obtained as a tourist within Mexico. You must return with the vehicle to the border.

The question often comes up if as a tourist with a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico, can you fly out and leave the vehicle in Mexico as long as the TIP has not expired?, The answer is yes you may as per a conversation with an employee of SAT that I once had. But be aware that if the vehicle overstays the date on the TIP you will need to file a “Retorno Seguro” document that allows you 5 days to drive to the border.

For those entering as a pre-eapproved TR from a Mexican consulate, vehicle permits are to be issued for 30 days. Within 30 days of entering Mexico you must start your visa process at your local INM.

Your next step as a pre-approved TR is to extend your vehicle TIP. Once you start your process in Mexico, INM issues you a document indicating you have done so. That document has on it a NUT (Numero Unico de Tramite) number starting with six “0’s”. Along with that document you will need a original and copies of your passport, title or registration and document from which windshield the vehicle TIP was removed. You also need to complete a letter usually provided by Aduana. Take these to nearest Aduana (Customs) and request a TIP extension, then repeat the trip when visa is issued. Failure to do so will mean your vehicle is illegal and your deposit forfeited. It is same process when renewing a TR visa. Your TIP is to be extended for the duration of your visa so both have the same expiration date.

Your TIP as a tourist will be for 180 days and it can not be extended within Mexico. The deposit is $400.00 USD for 2007 and newer vehicles, $300.00 USD for 2001 – 2006 vehicles and $200.00 USD for older vehicles. Recreational vehicles such as motor homes can often receive a 10 year TIP. These vehicles can be paid for in cash or charge card. If the latter, you are best to have the same card active when you leave to obtain a credit without hassles.

Vehicle TIP border requirements

There is a lot of paperwork to be done: Original and a photocopy of the passport or passport card, original and a photocopy of the driver’s license issued outside Mexico, a Tourist FMM or TR Visa, original and a photocopy of the bill of sale, title or vehicle registration issued by a foreign authority in the applicant’s name.

​In the case of leased vehicles, the leasing contract and authorization from the leasing company to temporarily import the vehicle. When their is a lien holder, an agreement with lien holder allowing vehicle to be temporarily imported. When the vehicle belongs to a corporation, a document attesting to the employment relationship with the applicant and authorization for the applicant to conduct the temporary import process. Where applicable, proof of the return of previously imported vehicles.

Sign a declaration under oath, in which the foreigner pledges to return the vehicle within the authorized period and not commit acts or omissions that constitute infractions or offenses resulting from improper use or purpose of the vehicle.

Pay the equivalent of $44.00 USD + IVA (tax) for the procedure. This fee may be paid in cash or by credit card issued outside Mexico, in the name of the importer.

You can not sell a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. For a Temporary Resident it is recommended you turn in your vehicle permit when you drive out of Mexico. If you were unable to return the same vehicle out of Mexico (due to total loss, for example), you will have a difficult time to have the vehicle removed from the Mexican data base. They would consider the vehicle as still being in Mexico and you would forfeit your guarantee deposit and be prohibited from bringing in another vehicle.

If anyone offers to nationalize a vehicle and the process is to be completed within days and/or it includes different state plates including Estado de Mexico (EdoMex) the process has a 100% chance of being illegal. For those obtaining EdoMex plates for their foreign-plated vehicle the process is totally illegal. If you want to check out such a process go and ask your local SAT/Aduana office if it is legal. Every vehicle when legally nationalized receives a pedimento from Aduana and a factura from the broker.

Units that can be Imported along with the vehicle

Together with the TIP of the vehicle you can temporarily import a boat up to 4.5 meters (14.7 feet) long including the trailer for transport, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, ATV’s or watercraft up to a maximum of three units, for which you must prove ownership of the units transported and they must be registered on the same TIP as the vehicle.

When the vehicle leaves then the motorcycle, boat, trailer, etc, that are tied to the main vehicle’s TIP must leave, or you will be sent back to get all “vehicles” on the TIP.

In the case of motorcycles or ATV’s entering Mexico by their own and having foreign plates they must apply for a TIP and comply with all the requirements.

PR visa holder can't have a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico

It is subject to confiscation and the owner subject to a large fine. If in an accident your insurance is null and void period.

Mexican nationals living abroad

They can obtain a TIP if they can prove they are working abroad for a year or more, they must submit the document issued by the immigration authorities of the foreign country proving they are a permanent or temporary residents abroad by the legal authority of that country in accordance with international agreements to which Mexico is a part of.

Who can drive your foreign plated vehicle in Mexico

Vehicles with a TIP can be driven in Mexico by the importer and/or their spouse, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren even though if they are not foreigners or by a foreigner who is a tourist or TR without the permit holder in the vehicle. They can be driven by a Mexican national when whichever of the prior persons authorized to drive are in the vehicle. This means if TIP is in the name of a TR, then that person’s spouse even if it is a PR or a Mexican national can drive the vehicle without the person in whose name the TIP is. It also means that a Mexican national such as a maid, gardener, mechanic, bellhop, etc can’t drive your vehicle without the TIP holder in the vehicle. In that case if they are caught the vehicle will be confiscated and fined.

Toll costs, distance and approximate travel times

Can be calculated here and one is in English

Selling, scrapping or donating a Vehicle

Quick and easy Questions and Answers:

Can you sell a foreign plated vehicle in Mexico? No.

Can a foreign plated vehicle be donated to Aduana? No.

If a vehicle is unable to be driven can it be left in Mexico? No, it must be towed to border.

Can a foreign plated vehicle be scrapped in Mexico? Only at some locations and you have to pay a very high cost. Because once scrapped you then need to deliver proof of the vehicle being destroyed following specific requirements using specific forms and a lot of paperwork.

Buying a used vehicle in Mexico

It is not impossible but it has some obstacles. This is not to discourage but to inform. There is no CarFax or similar services available in Mexico to check a vehicle’s history.

What is the actual distance the vehicle was driven?, Was it stolen?, Was it in an accident and possibly totaled and restored?, Was it used as a taxi or used in some other commercial application?, Is the emissions test current?, Are the annual fees current?

Previously most places such as small parts stores, supermarkets, rarely sold multi-grade oil and oil changes consisted of 40 and 50 grade oil which may be detrimental to a vehicle engine, even today it is common to find those on store shelves. Also, how many of the miles / km driven were on cobblestone?, Was the vehicle maintained?, Etc.

Can you register your vehicle in your state in Mexico as a tourist if you are not a TR or PR?, In some states you need a CURP number to register a vehicle and the CURP is ony available once you become a TR or PR resident. In all states you need to have a Mexican driver’s license when you own a Mexican registered vehicle.

Is the vehicle registered in another state?, if so the plates and “tarjeta de circulacion” should be returned to that state and the “baja de vehiculo” issued before you can register locally, be aware that you will need to have a temporary permit to drive it without plates or tarjeta de circulacion. And to do so the emission’s test must be current and all past annual fees paid. If plates are not returned one may be able turn in the plates from another state locally but each state has its own requirements, however your vehicle will continue to be registered in the state from where it was registered and the annual fees and emissions fines will keep accruing. When a vehicle is registered in another state you must have your vehicle physically inspected and a stolen report issued before the local office will register your newly bought vehicle and your state issues state plates. There will be fees and a taxes to complete this process.

Did you check on REPUVE (national database of 30 million plus vehicles) that this vehicle is registered there?

Does the VIN on the factura match the VIN on the vehicle?, If not this creates a huge problem and definitely happens very often, it could have been stolen and re-branded (common) or it could have been a typo when the original paperwork was issued (less comoon but it happens).

Note: the original factura (bill of sale)from when a motorized vehicle was purchased new must remain with the vehicle for its life and signed off on the back by every subsequent seller. Factura for motorized vehicles must follow the Mexican registered vehicle. In many cases a factura is impossible to replace and without it the vehicle can not be registered. For vehicles that have been nationalized the same rule applies in keeping the original pedimento from Aduana. Without the original factura (even if it’s 50+ years old and it was signed off by the registered seller to you) you can not register the vehicle, and technically the vehicle is still owned by the registered owner.

There is a shortage of quality used vehicles in Mexico and even more so since the thousands of used vehicles that used to be brought in from the US monthly by commercial operators and nationalized has practically stopped. In summary do your homework when considering a used vehicle purchase in Mexico.

Mexican brand new vehicle registration

It involves a lot of paperwork and several documents that will be done by the dealership when buying a new vehicle in Mexico.

Also please note, the original factura (bill of sale) obtained at the dealership needs to follow the vehicle for the life of the vehicle. Never travel with the original inside of the vehicle because if it gets stolen then whoever has the factura legally owns the vehicle, keep it safely stored somewhere.

Retorno seguro

Is a special permit for those with a vehicle which are no longer legal in Mexico (expired TIP date). The Retorno Seguro is available by going to the office in Mexico City.

8 documents are required with 2 copies each. The vehicle owner needs to be present or he must have a notarized power of attorney for your representative. The process takes about 2 months. ​The Retorno Seguro is valid for 5 days following the day it is issued.​​

Importing a Mexican registered vehicle into another country

It is very difficult unless the vehicle has been registered in that country previously. It must meet all of that foreign country federal requirements, emissions and safety standards and most do not.

Vehicle insurance

It is mandatory by law when driving in Mexico. Your policy in another country will not cover you in Mexico. You need to have Mexican insurance for each and every vehicle you have in Mexico.

Vehicle accidents are processed very different in Mexico. If in a accident the vehicles are not to be moved until insurance adjuster comes. If anyone is injured in any of the involved vehicles (following medical treatment) all driver’s go to jail until fault is determined by a judge, that is normally around 72 hours. Once in jail access to a phone is not common at all, nor is toilet paper nor food, and your bed may be a concrete slab or the floor.

It should be noted that there should be a legal defense clause on your auto insurance that includes a bond to secure your release after the investigations are completed. The Ministerio Publico (MP) waits for the official results and no insurance company can issue a bond until the MP have the results. It’s important to mention that there is no insurance company in Mexico that can issue a bond until the MP have the result of the investigation.

It’s very important that in any vehicle accident if you have vehicle insurance you stay at the place where the accident occurs until the adjuster and/or the authorities arrive. If in the accident both vehicles have insurance and the adjusters of each company agree who is responsible then the vehicles can be moved to a place where they do not block traffic.

The Mexican laws say that if there is any person injured in the accident both drivers will be held in the MP jail until the authorities can declare who is responsible for the accident.

If you are involved in a vehicle accident where someone is injured, call the insurance company immediately and your insurance agent, so that he/she can help you requesting the insurance company lawyer to assist you legally.

If no one is injured there should be no reason for the authorities to hold you in the MP jail.

In the insurance industry in Mexico THERE IS NO COVERAGE for you to skip any of the obligations mentioned before. There is no coverage for you not to be held if there are people injured.

Articulo 106 - Document to print and carry in the vehicle for a tourist or TR

Note: only agents from the Aduana and/or Policia Federal can legally ask to see your vehicle permit. Article 17-17.4 are beneficial as well. If you have questions you can call or write Aduana.

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Que Se Entiende Por Régimen De Importación Temporal

ARTICULO 106 de la Ley Aduanera

Se entiende por régimen de importación temporal, la entrada al país de mercancías para permanecer en el por tiempo limitado y con una finalidad especifica, siempre que retornen al extranjero en el mismo estado, por los siguientes plazos.

ARTICULO 106. ………………………………………………………………………………

Fracción IV. Por el plazo que dure su condición de estancia, incluyendo sus renovaciones, en los términos y condiciones que establezca el Servicio de Administración Tributaria mediante reglas, en los siguientes casos:

Las de vehículos propiedad de extranjeros que se internen al país, con la condición de estancia de visitante y residente temporal, siempre que se trate de un solo vehículo.

Los vehículos podrán ser conducidos en territorio nacional por el importador, su cónyuge, sus ascendientes, descendientes o hermanos, aun cuando éstos no sean extranjeros, por un extranjero que tenga alguna de las condiciones de estancia a que se refiere este inciso, o por un nacional, siempre que en este último caso, viaje a bordo del mismo cualquiera de las personas autorizadas para conducir el vehículo y podrán efectuar entradas y salidas múltiples.

Los vehículos a que se refiere este inciso, deberán cumplir con los requisitos que señale el Reglamento.

Los menajes de casa de mercancía usada propiedad de residente temporal y residente temporal estudiante, siempre y cuando cumplan con los requisitos que establezca el Reglamento y el Servicio de Administración Tributaria mediante reglas.

Ley Aduanera 9/12/2013 D.O.F. http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php

Ley Aduanera: Dec. 9, 2013 http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/12.pdf

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Below is the English translation of the Article 106

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ARTICLE 106. ………………………………………………………………………………

Fraction IV. For the term of your stay, including renewals, in the terms and conditions established by the Tax Administration Service (SAT) by means of rules, in the following cases:

Those of vehicles owned by foreigners who travel to the country, with the status of visitor and temporary resident, provided that it is a single vehicle.

The vehicles may be driven in the national territory by the importer, his spouse, his ancestors, descendants or brothers, even if they are not foreigners, by an alien who has any of the conditions of stay referred to in this subsection, or by a Mexican National, provided that in the latter case, any person authorized to drive the vehicle is on board and the vehicle may make multiple entries and exits.

The vehicles referred to in this subsection must comply with the requirements set forth in the Regulations.

Household items used for merchandise owned by a temporary resident and temporary resident student, as long as they comply with the requirements established by the Regulations and the Tax Administration Service by means of rules.

Customs Law 9/12/2013 D.O.F. Http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php

Customs Law: Dec. 9, 2013 http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/12.pdf

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Temporary import regime means the entry into the country of goods to remain in the country for a limited time and for a specific purpose, provided they return abroad in the same state, for the following terms.

Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 y 17.4 - Document to print and carry in the vehicle for a tourist or TR

Note: only agents from the Aduana and/or Policia Federal can legally ask to see your vehicle permit. Article 106 is beneficial as well. If you have questions you can call or write Aduana.

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Aduana Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas:

Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 & 17.4,

17.- El plazo para retornar los vehiculos que hubieran sido importados temporalmente al amparo de las calidades migratorias señaladas en la ley, será el de la vigencia de la calidad migratoria, sus prórrogas, apliaciones o refrendos otorgados a dichas calidades migratorial conforme a Ley de la materia.

17.1.- Para estos efectos la prórroga de la vigencia del permiso de importación temporal del vehiculo se acreditará con el documento oficial que emita la autoridad migratoria, sin que se requira autorización de las autoridades aduaneras; en este caso, el permiso de importación temporal se mantendrá vigente aún y cuando el importador haya obtenido cambio en la calidad migratoria de no inmigrante a inmigrante rentista, (Residente Temporal), siempre que exista continuidad en las calidades migratorias.

17.4.- En caso de que el trámite de importación temporal se haya efectuado mediante tarjeta bancaria, y la documentación esté completa, el responsable del CIITEV de la aduana que corresponda, procederá a informa al interesado que no es necesario la presentación de dicho aviso, en virtud de que su vehiculo se encuentra legal en el territorio nacional mientras continúe vigente su calidad migratoria, incluyendo sus prórrogas, ampliaciones o refrendos.”

Aduana Manual de Operación para la Importación Temporal de Vehículos y Motocicletas: “Articulo 17: Fracciónes 17.1 & 17.4

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Below is the English translation of the Article 17: Sec. 17.1 & 17.4

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Customs Manual of Operation for Temporary Import of Vehicles and Motorcycles:

Article 17: Fractions 17.1 & 17.4,

17.- The period to return the vehicles that have been temporarily imported under the migratory qualities indicated in the law, will be the validity of the migratory quality, its extensions, applications or endorsements granted to said migratory qualities according to the Law of The matter.

17.1.- To these effects, the extension of the validity of the temporary importation permit of the vehicle will be credited with the official document issued by the immigration authority, without requiring authorization from the customs authorities; In this case, the temporary importation permit will remain valid even if the importer has obtained a change in the migratory quality from nonimmigrant to rentiant immigrant, (Temporary Resident), provided there is continuity in the migratory qualities.

17.4.- In the event that the temporary importation procedure has been carried out by bank card, and the documentation is complete, the person responsible for the CIITEV of the corresponding customs office, shall inform the interested party that it is not necessary to present such notice, By virtue of the fact that its vehicle is legal in the national territory as long as its immigration status continues, including its extensions, extensions or endorsements. ”

Customs Manual of Operation for the Temporary Import of Vehicles and Motorcycles: “Article 17: Fractions 17.1 & 17.4

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Temporary import regime means the entry into the country of goods to remain in the country for a limited time and for a specific purpose, provided they return abroad in the same state, for the following terms.

Healthcare & Seniors

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Medication purchases

In Mexico you will require a prescription for antibiotics and for medications such as Valium. The fee to see a doctor at many walk-in clinics and/or pharmacy is typically $35.00 – $50.00 MXN. Most other medications you simply ask at a pharmacy for them without a prescription. All over Mexico “Farmacias Similares” Pharmacies have a 25% discount on Mondays. It is impossible to have medications sent to you by a postal forwarding or courier service from outside Mexico.

Advance directive, planning for important health care decisions

An advance health care directive, also known by some as living will, personal directive, advance directive, or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.

In Mexico people should obtain a new advance directive and not rely on having one written elsewhere and in English.

A notario can assist you. If you have one from another country it needs to be translated by a certified translator and notarized. It is usually less expensive to simply make a new advance directive.

Cost is typically $2,000.00 MXN plus $500.00 MXN in case you need a certified translator.

Seguro Popular

This is a Mexican government healthcare program, it has many hospitals and hundreds of clinics throughout Mexico.

The Seguro Popular’s main office in Mexico City has agreed foreigners don’t need to be a Mexican a citizen, they need to be a TR or PR to apply but it is not valid for tourists.

If you have an emergency you go directly to “Hospital General” for treatment.

At any time if you have any problems at the hospital including billing, quality of care etc, you are advised to contact the “Medico Gestor del Seguro Popular”.

Coverage includes over 700 medical interventions including cancer, X-rays, fractures, appendicitis, hernias, vasectomy, heart disease, electro-cardiograms, HIV, etc. That is over 90% of all medical issues.

​Most medicines are given by the hospital/clinic although if insurance does not cover those medicines they are usually sold to you by the hospital at a very reasonable price. Sometimes the Seguro Popular pharmacy may not have the medication you request but a generic may be offered and to be honest, if you walk into the clinic with prescriptions expecting them to automatically fill them with no medical consultation this will not happen as they will not take kindly you doing so.

There is no pre-existing conditions restriction and there is no age limit. Your insurance starts immediately and is nation-wide. You always need to present the original enrollment approval form and number when needing care.

Fees for your policy and care depends on how you answer questions such as: do you own or rent?, do you have cement, dirt or tile floor in your house?, do you have a refrigerator and stove?, how many TV’s and bathrooms do you have?, number of bedrooms inside the house?, do you work?, do you own a car?, what is your level of education?, how old are you?, number of people inside the household?, are you a Mexican national vs a TR or PR?, etc. Your answers will generate a “Decil Level” from 1 to 10, this will also determine what you may be required to pay for example towards surgery.

These questions are asked in Spanish, computer generated and asked by the receptionist. It is important that you answer these questions correctly otherwise an error may result in over-charging. There is no chart showing all the variables which establishes your annual fee and also what may be your costs when hospitalized, etc. Those who pay an annual fee will be allowed to have one year coverage policy at a time. Sometimes there are no fees but more often around $1,000.00 MXN up to $4,000 MXN will be charged per year.  If no payment is required you will be covered for 3 years, but if payment is required you will renew annually.

IMSS

This is also a government healthcare program mostly for employees supported by employer contributions but some foreigners who are TR or PR can join if they pay for the coverage.

It provides full health coverage including medical clinics, hospitals, medications and dental. The annual fee is approximately $7,000.00 MXN per person and renewed annually. For those with pre-existing conditions you are normally declined. First year’s coverage is almost non-existent but second year is much improved and subsequent years provides full coverage.

Part of the decision to join IMSS vs Seguro Popular is availability of hospitals, clinics and annual fee but you can’t have both (Seguro Popular or IMSS).

Cedula or professional designation

A cedula is a professional license to practice. All attorneys, doctors, architects, accountants, engineers, notarios, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, etc. must have one to legally practice.

Mexico does have certifying boards for medical specialties. The cedula is a government issued document that certifies that the professional has completed proper studies for that degree in the appropriate school. For doctors every one must have a cedula as a general practitioner and the doctors with specialties may have a second or even third cedula that certifies them legally for the practice of their specialty, however that does not mean that a doctor is competent in what they do or claim to be specialized at.

Aside from the cedula there are certification boards for every specialty in Mexico. This is a different kind of certification which requires not only that you have legal documents but also requires a board exam of knowledge and of technical skills when it applies.  Board certification needs to be re-established every 3 or 4 years to ensure that specialty’s are up to date. In order to get re-certification a specialist needs to obtain certain amount of points that are given for national and international congress meetings, conference attendance, publishing, teaching and other educational or continuing education participation.

Board certification is mandatory to work in most private hospitals and to be part of other medical associations/staff. For a patient it is very important to know if their specialist is board certified and up to date. It is the only way to fight charlatans and fraud.

Boards in Mexico are known as “Consejos”, like: “Consejo Mexicano de Medicina Interna”, “Consejo Mexicano de Otorrinolaringología”, “Consejo Mexicano de Cardiología”, “Consejo Mexicano de Ortopedia”, etc. and all databases can be accessed on line.

There are also foreigners who will indicate they are professionals but have never proven their credentials in Mexico and they may not be certified in another country as anyone can print and fake certificates. Once a foreigner is certified they apply at INM for permission to work, some have bypassed this requirement as well.

The next time any one including a foreigner states they are a doctor, engineer, architect, lawyer, chiropractor, dentist or any other professional designation ask to see their cedula and check it on-line to ensure it is real. http://www.cedulaprofesional.sep.gob.mx/cedula/indexAvanzada.action and if you know the cedula number enter it here: http://www.buholegal.com/consultasep/

INAPAM

Instituto Nacional de las Personas Adultas Mayores is a government organization that helps seniors by giving them discounts in form of a card for those who are 60+ years old. They are available to citizens plus TR and PR.

It provides benefits throughout Mexico. Here in San Miguel I will obtain your card for you after coming to your home for the required documents, etc. Once completed I will return with your INAPAM card. We contribute significantly to help the office and the people they support. The public may only apply one day a week which means being there at 7:30 am and waiting up to 2  hours hoping you have the correct forms etc..

In many municipalities of Mexico your INAPAM card will allow you to get discounts on water and property taxes and upon showing your INAPAM card many places of business, parks, hot springs, museums, movie theaters, etc. will provide a discount, this is a quick summary: Pharmacies, supermarkets, laboratories, orthopedics, optical centers, restaurants, cafeterias, department stores, hotels, water parks, museums, recreational parks, archeological sites, buses, airlines, movie theaters, etc.

This government list of benefits is often being revised so please check regularly.

Buyer & Employee Rights

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Employee social security

Employees are entitled to social security, the bulk of which is paid by the employer based on employee’s weekly wage. The employee pays a little fee that is retained weekly by the employer.

Payment to this program through SAT is every month and bi-monthly for “INFONAVIT” (Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores).Most employers would retain an accountant to determine amounts and process. This does not apply to a maid, gardener or staff who works for you a few hours a week being paid on the side. It does apply to large employers and anyone with a registered business who employ a person full time creating an employee/employer relationship.

Social security is comprised of 3 components: IMSS health care, AFORE (senior’s pension) and INFONAVIT. Many employees for fear of loosing their job will not insist on being placed on social security nor do they understand the ramifications of not having contributions made to social security. Some simply ask for a slightly higher wage not thinking of long-term implications. Employers try to avoid social security altogether or they under report their employee wage to save money.

AFORE

AFORE (Administradora de Fondos para el Retiro) is basically your pension and based on contributions related to an employee’s wage and years of employment. Compared to foreign standards it is not a lot of pension income but certainly important for retired seniors.

INFONAVIT

Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores was started in 1972 and it provides homes to Mexicans who otherwise could not qualify for financing nor save for a down payment. The interest is extremely low and the amount that someone qualifies for is based on their wage and duration of employment reported by employer.

Example based on a case: an employee works for a small organization making $1,200.00 MXN a week. After a very few years he bought an INFONAVIT home in August 2015 for $280,000.00 MXN. He only paid $1,500.00 MXN to the purchase price and the rest will be paid trough INFONAVIT. His payments will be $1,497.00 MXN per month to pay off the home. All closing costs were paid by the same program.

The homes are very basic and may start at around 500 sq ft on one floor and some are up to double that size with a second floor. In more expensive areas and with bigger homes prices go up accordingly but seldom go beyond $700,000.00 MXN. The person can also buy land or any home from their INFONAVIT credit. If you don’t qualify for the full amount you may borrow from the pension noted above or qualify for a bank loan for a portion. The housing loan payment is deducted from the monthly employee wage.

An employee making for example $1,000.00 MXN a week would cost the employer around $800.00 MXN a month for this coverage. It is important that employees are provided with Social Security and to be based on full wage or else the issues and ramifications are huge.

Employment contracts

It is very important to have employee contracts. Some time you may need to be able to defend when an employee started working, wage rate, hours of work, days worked, duties, issue of visitors, keys, etc. and should there be an employee performance issue a contract will protect you.

Your contract will include that your employee will sign receipts of all payments/wages and the reason for the sum paid.

Mexican government labor boards where employees can file disputes are always very pro employee. Settlements of tens of thousands of pesos are not uncommon. At time of termination a signed document outlining the payment and reasons to leave are critical.

Paid vacations, holidays, aguinaldo, trials, traning & overtime

Vacations must be paid in cash either before the vacation or before the end of the year if no vacation has been taken. The vacation pay must equal required number of vacation days of salary plus an additional 25% of the amount (vacation premium).

To calculate the amount divide the number of days worked during the past year by 365 then multiply that figure by the number of vacation days times 1.25 to determine the amount of the vacation pay due.

Example, If you have an employee working for one year who works one day a week making $200.00 MXN: 52 / 365 x 6 x 1.25 x $200.00 = $214.00 MXN = vacation.

Year 1 = 6 days, Year 2 = 8 days, Year 3 = 10 days, Year 4 = 12 days, Year 5 = 14 days, Year 10 = 16 days, Year 15 = 18 days.

For every year that the employee continues to work for the employer, he will receive an additional 2 working days. After 4 years the employees vacation period will increase only 2 working days for every additional five years he works for the employer. In the formula above replace the “6” with the appropriate number of days.

Holiday pay: If an employee is required to work on one of the official government holidays they receive regular payment for the day plus double time for hours worked.

Jan 1= New Year’s Day, First Monday of February* = Constitution Day, Third Monday of March* = Benito Juárez’ Birthday, May 1 = Labor Day, Sep 16 = Independence Day, Third Monday of November* = Revolution Day, Dec 25 = Christmas Day.

*These 3 days are established by the Mexican law and may be changed to tie in with a weekend.

Sunday pay: If an employee is required to work on a Sunday then the normal pay + 25% is required. If that employee has worked the other six days of the week the employee is entitled to overtime pay as well as the 25% premium.

Aguinaldo (Christmas Payment) is considered a regular part of an employee’s wages. It is not a bonus and is required by law to be paid to all employees including part-time. Payment is to be made by December 20th although many pay a week or more earlier. The aguinaldo amount to be paid is what an employee would earn over a 15 day period which is half of a typical month.

The easiest calculation is to establish what is one month’s pay for an employee. Then divide by 2 which is half a month and payment due. Or use a multiplier of 2.14, for example if employee is paid $1,000.00 MXN per week the amount to be paid is: $1,000.00 x 2.14 = $2,140.00 MXN if an employee worked only part of the year pro-rate this payment. Cash only as no other form of “payment” is acceptable including: days off, gifts, in-lieu-of, etc.

Payment of wages is normally cash on the last work day of the week but with the employee’s prior consent, an employer may pay wages by check, direct deposit, transfers or through any other electronic means.

Trial Periods and Initial Training Periods allows employers time to evaluate if a new employee can perform the requisite job functions. Employers may also opt for an initial training period, which allows the employer to train the employee on skills necessary for the job. In both cases the type of “new hire method” must be written into the employment agreement.

The trial period may only last up to 30 days for most employees but for management-level and high-level executives an extension may be granted up to 180 days in total. The initial training period has a maximum term of three months with high-level general administrative functions or functions requiring special professional knowledge qualifying for an extension of up to six months in total. Please note that these terms cannot be combined. The advantage of these new hire methods is that once the trial or training period has expired if the employee is not able to perform the skills for the job the employer may terminate the employee without having to pay severance.

The working week must not exceed: 48 hours for day shifts, 42 hours for night shifts, 45 hours for mixed shifts. The working week consists of 6 working days however the daily or weekly distribution of hours can be agreed so that employees have all, or part of Saturday and Sunday as regular days off. Employees required to work on Sundays (as a regular work day) as noted above are entitled to an additional bonus amounting to an extra 25% of their usual daily wages.

An employee can only be required to work overtime in exceptional circumstances. Employees are paid: Double their usual wages for the first nine hours of overtime per week. Three times their usual wages for each subsequent hour of overtime per week.

Employees are entitled to at least one fully paid day of rest every six days. If employees agree to work on their day off they receive triple their wages for that day also employees are entitled to a rest break of at least 30 minutes during a working day. If the rest break given to an employee is only 30 minutes long or the employee is not entitled to leave the work facilities to rest then that rest break must be determined as time actually worked and remunerated.

Sick leave

Employees must obtain a certificate from the IMSS in the case of illness or injury of course they are to be provided IMSS by the employer. Once a certificate has been obtained from the IMSS the entitlement to sick leave varies depending on the type of illness and degree of incapacity. The IMSS decides whether sick leave is to be granted as well as the amount to be paid to employees during the illness or injury. The IMSS pays this amount directly to the employees.

Pregnant and nursing women must not work night shifts in industrial plants that have a hazardous work environment nor work after 10:00 pm in commercial or service establishments nor do overtime work. They can’t carry out any work that could endanger their health or that of the child, this includes work involving the use of considerable force for example: lifting, pushing, standing for long periods of time, etc.

Pregnant employees are entitled to six weeks’ statutory maternity leave before and six weeks after giving birth. During maternity leave the IMSS pays the employee’s registered salary. If the employee’s salary is above the cap registered salary (25 times the minimum daily wage), then the employer pays the difference between that amount and the employee’s total wage. Pregnant employees subject to prior medical approval and authorization from the employer and IMSS may transfer up to 4 weeks of the six weeks which are supposed to be enjoyed prior to the childbirth to the moment after the birth.

During the nursing period the new mother is entitled to two additional 30 minute rest periods every day to feed the child in an adequate and hygienic place set aside by the employer, this provision is available to the mother for up to 6 months following the birth. When returning from maternity leave the employee is entitled to be reinstated, provided that not more than 1 year has passed since the date of childbirth.

Fathers are entitled to five days paternity leave in the event of child’s birth.

There are no rights for employees in cases of surrogacy in Mexico.

Female employees that adopt a child are entitled to take adoption leave of 6 weeks when they take placement of a child.

Fathers that adopt a child are entitled to five days leave when they take placement of a child.

There are no parental rights for employees in Mexico.

Reductions, termination & dismissal

To reduce the hours of employment you need a written agreement signed by employer, employee and 2 witnesses.

Termination pay (Finiquito) amounts needs to be calculate for employees because Mexican labor laws are pro worker. This is why employment contracts are so important identifying hours and days of work, duties, expectations, etc. and if violations of the contract where noted in writing, presented to employee and signed.

Employees who voluntarily resign their jobs as well as those who are justifiably dismissed with cause are only entitled to accrued benefits up to date of termination. When an employee is terminated when work is time specified employment such as a specific building project or just cause that is well documented no severance is required.

Therefore, there is the need for an employment contract specifying hours and days of work, duties, etc. unless termination is voluntary or justified as per list below:

Termination  pay includes 3 months salary plus 20 days for each year worked plus prorated vacation and Christmas pay. The seniority premium (12 days per year worked) must be paid to workers who voluntarily leave the employment after 15 years of service. To calculate daily wage divide total weekly pay by 7 (even if employee works 6 or less days per week).

Example: a person works only 1 day a week making $300.00 MXN. The wage used in the calculator would be $300.00 / 7 = $43.00 MXN. If that person works 3 days a week making $300.00 MXN a day that is $900.00 / 7 = $129.00 MXN per day for the calculator. And the wage at time of termination is used to calculate all payouts even if the person in previous years made less or worked less hours.

Termination pay must be paid at the time of termination or regular salary shall continue until the termination is paid in full. If the compensation is not paid when the employee is dismissed like when there is a labor lawsuit, then the employer is to pay all salaries that would have been earned during the period in which this delay took place up though the date of the payment. If the employee quits voluntarily termination pay is not required.

Employees in Mexico can only be dismissed if there is a cause for the dismissal including: Use of false documentation to secure employment.​ Dishonest or violent behaviour on the job. Dishonest or violent behaviour against co-workers that disrupts work discipline. Threatening, insulting or abusing the employer or the family unless provoked or acting in self-defense. Intentionally damaging the employer’s property. Negligently causing serious damage to the employer’s property. Carelessly threatening the workplace safety. Immoral behaviour in the workplace. Disclosure of trade secrets or confidential information. More than 3 unjustified absences in a 30 day period. Disobeying the employer without justification. Failure to follow safety procedures. Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs. Prison sentence that makes it impossible for the employee to render the services supposed to render. The commission of any other acts of similar severity.

Notice of dismissal must be delivered to the employee at the moment of dismissal setting out the precise causes by which the employee is being terminated.

Consumer laws, PROFECO, CONDUSEF & CONAMED

In 1976 Mexico passed the Federal Consumer Protection Law (Ley Federal de Protección al Consumidor) with the goal of protecting consumers across Mexico. The legislation also created the PROFECO (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor) a government agency tasked with enforcing the law and investigating possible violations and it has the authority to close a business and levy fines.

A. Common Violations by Category

There are a lot of activities on the part of a vendor or service provider that may constitute a violation. The following are some of the most common violations according to PROFECO:

1) Prices must be exhibited within view of the consumer or provided in the menu. This is probably the most common violation. If a vendor can only quote you the prices verbally, that is a violation. All prices must be in writing.

2) Tips cannot be made mandatory or included in the price. You should always inspect your bill carefully, if they add the tip or a surcharge for service, that is violation.

3) Restaurants and bars cannot make getting a table dependent on buying something. This is most common in bars and nightclubs. Some businesses will require you to buy a bottle of something in order to get a table, that is a violation.

4) An establishment cannot have minimum consumption requirements. Some businesses require you to purchase at least two drinks or spend a minimum, that is a violation.

5) Providers must honor promotions and exhibited prices. Some vendors may refuse to honor promotional prices or may change the price at the last minute due to some “unforeseen circumstances”, that is a violation.

6) Providers cannot discriminate based on national origin, gender, sexual preference, race, or disability. Some vendors may refuse to honor a promotional offer or even charge you more because you are a foreigner, that is a violation.

7) Exhibited prices for goods and services must be the total price to be paid. This means that the price must already include all taxes, commissions, interest, insurance or any other charge that the person may be required to pay, you pay only whats on the price tag or advertisement.

8) Prices must be exhibited in the national currency (pesos) although additional currency types may be included, if you go to a business or restaurant and the prices are only listed in dollars, that is a violation.

B. Gas Stations

Frauds related to Mexican gas stations are notorious: shortchanging the customer; not putting the pump on zero before pumping, pumping part of the gas into a different container and software hacks that make the pump dispense fewer liters.

PROFECO is the agency that is tasked with investigating any consumer violations related to gas stations and even conducts inspections of gas stations and measures the liters being dispensed to ensure the meter on the pump is accurate. If you do feel that you have been a victim of a fraud at a gas station, request a receipt, take some pictures of the pump and of the attendant. These will be beneficial when you file a complaint with PROFECO.

C. Reporting a Violation

PROFECO provides various methods to report a consumer violation. Website: http://www.profeco.gob.mx Phone: 0155.5568.8722 and 01800.468.8722 Email: denunicasprofeco@profeco.gob.mx and a mobile APP.

C. PROFECO en 30 (available at the app store of your device)

To use the app you will have to attach pics of your official identification when you are creating an account, once you are approved you will receive a password that will allow you to begin reporting violations. The app has a drop down menu with common violations a GPS button to give your exact location and allows you to upload pictures. If you are reporting that the prices are not exhibited it is a good idea to include a picture of that.

Once you make a report, you will receive a tracking number via email so you can monitor the progress of your complaint and learn the outcome.

D. Vacation Ownership Contract

By law you have 5 business days to cancel a vacation ownership contract after you have signed it. If you decide to cancel the purchase within this period notify the developer by email and certified mail. Keep the receipt as evidence you cancelled on time. You should receive a prompt refund of all the money you have paid without any canceling penalties within 15 business days.​

E. Additional Tips

Knowledge is power. Unscrupulous taxi drivers, service providers and vendors are counting on your ignorance. When faced with a clear violation advise the person that you aware of the law and that you plan to report the violation to PROFECO.

CONDUSEF

If you have an issue with a financial institution in Mexico this is whom you contact.

CONAMED

For those with a complaint with a medical service, doctor, medical facility, etc this is whom you contact.

Banking & Services

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Opening a Mexican bank account & Foreign transfers

To open a Bank account he process varies at different banks because some banks will open an account when you have a FMM and others want a TR or PR visa. They also require an utility bill showing your address and your passport. Some banks such as Bancomer insist on a minimum balance of $5,000.00 MXN or a significant fee is added.

International Money Transfer is available with many options. Paypal, WorldRemit, Swift, Western Union, etc.

Education & Culture

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School transcripts

They are no longer required to be legalized for grades and/or diplomas issued by foreign institutions of primary, middle and high school levels for re-validation purposes in Mexico as of June 16th 2015.

Note: School transcripts of grades and/or diplomas from post-secondary institutions still require legalization for re-validation.

Cost of Living & Contacts

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Generals

It does not have to vary greatly other than accommodations. Rents and home costs vary greatly depending on the location, location, location but utilities such as telephone/internet, electricity, propane, gasoline, water are relatively consistent. And if you shops at local markets VS supermarkets for items such as clothes, fruits, vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, housewares, etc. they are very inexpensive, every town and city has these markets. Also Numbeo http://www.numbeo.com provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.

Your life style, choices of service provider, rent VS own, etc. will vary greatly your cost of living.

Household

Property taxes will vary greatly depending on the location, location, location as the price in posh, heavily developed, modern, beach, etc. areas can be 10 times as a rural off the grid area, you can expect anything around $2,000.00 MXN to $20,000.00 MXN for 2016 with 6,500 sq. ft lot (600 sq mt) and a 2,700 sq. ft (250 sq. mt) home.

Water in a city is around $150 – $200.00 MXN a month.

Internet & Telephone around $500 MXN.00 a month including free calls anywhere. Cellphone plans can range from $150.00 MXN to $3,000.00 MXN or more a month depending on the use, data, calls, etc.

Electricity will depend on the area of Mexico as the tariff is divided into zones, it’s also divided into hot and normal months. I have seen people who don’t need air conditioning or heaters spending as little as $200.00 every 2 months but I have also seen bills of people who use a lot of electrical appliances, TV, laptops, lights, ovens, air conditioning / heating units, hair dryers, etc. who have been billed more than $40,000.00 MXN a month. The way you decide to live will change the bill, some people can’t live inside a home that is not very cold (you go to visit them and they even offer you a sweater) all year round, some people that have big windows, lots of sun light, etc. will use the money saved on electricity for other things.

Propane is the norm for most homes as the majority of stoves, ovens and water heaters use it. around $350.00 MXN per month unless you live in a cold area and need a lot of it (not everywhere in Mexico is hot, there are areas that reach below freezing point temperatures).

Vehicles

Gasoline change daily but you can expect around $18.00 MXN a litre of Premium, $16.00 MXN a litre of Magna (regular) and $17.00 MXN a litre of Diesel. 1 gallon = 3.8 liters so you can do your math.

Taxes vary greatly by state but for a 2017 annual fee around $1,000.00 MXN, motorcycles around $300.00 MXN.

Car Wash depends if done by a guy at the street $50.00 MXN or by a car wash $200.00 MXN or more depending on the service.

Insurance also depends a lot on the insurance company, coverage, model, etc. You need to call at least 5 different companies and compare them.

City Buses depnding on the city but between $5.00 MXN and $15.00 MXN

Taxis like anywhere in the world tend to scam foreigners so ask a local about the rates before hand and negotiate with the taxi driver before getting in.

Food

Restaurants ranging from $50.00 MXN per person for a “Comida corrida” (lunch menu including a soup, main dish, tortillas, 1-2 glasses of water, tortillas and sometimes dessert) to $1,500.00 per person in a fancy restaurant with a few glasses of wine.

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds            1 litre : about 1 US quart

Meat / Poultry / Dairy / Etc.

Chicken breast $100.00 MXN per kilogram, Chicken Feet (for dogs) $20.00 MXN per kilogram, Ground Beef mix $130.00 MXN per kilogram, Pork Tenderloin $130.00 MXN per kilogram, New York Steak $300.00 MXN per kilogram, 18 Eggs $25.00 MXN per container, ​​​​Milk 2% $20.00 MXN per litre, Pre-sliced Bread $30.00 MXN per unit, Sugar $20.00 MXN per kilogram.

Fruits / Vegetables

Figs $70.00 MXN per kilogram, Strawberries $30.00 MXN per kilogram, Nectarines $35.00 MXN per kilogram, Small green tomatoes $10.00 MXN per kilogram, Potatoes $15.00 MXN per kilogram, Carrots $10.00 MXN per kilogram, Apples $10.00 MXN per kilogram, Cucumber $15.00 MXN per kilogram, Broccoli $10.00 MXN per kilogram, Bananas $15.00 MXN per kilogram, Tomatoes $15.00 MXN per kilogram, Grean beans $20.00 MXN per kilogram, Peppers (red, green, yellow) $30.00 MXN per kilogram, Avocado $50.00 MXN per kilogram, Mango $20.00 MXN per kilogram.

Honey $80.00 MXN per litre, Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice $30.00 MXN per liter, Fresh squeezed orange juice $30.00 MXN per liter.

Education

Schools will give you 2 options public or private. Private schols are not cheap and can range between $40,000.00 MXN to $500,000.00 MXN including uniforms, books, annual subscription and monthly payments, per school year depending on the quality, level, languages, prestige, connections to other schools/universities, etc.

Health

Doctor at walk in clinic $35.00 – $50.00 MXN, MRI $2,500.00 MXN, CATSCAN of head with dye $3,000.00 MXN, Several back X-Rays $600.00 MXN.

Cardiologist, Orthopedics, Surgeon or any kind of specialyst around $800.00 MXN per consultation.

Dentist (quality and costs vary big time). You can expect around $1,000.00 MXN for cleaning or filling, $6,000.00 MXN for a crown (including labs), $12,000.00 MXN for root canal, post, etc. Pediatric dentist around $600.00 MXN for cleaning, checkups, filling, etc. dentists seldom charge separate for an X-Ray nor do they charge extra for lab work for a crown as those costs are in the fees already.

Veterinarian neuter/spay $800.00 MXN, teeth cleaning $600.00 MXN, quick checkup $250.00 MXN.

Important phone numbers

All of Mexico has a 911 emergency service.

Calling land line in Mexico from United States or Canada: Prefix 011.52 Call 011.52.998.XXX.XXXX

011 is international code, 52 is the country code for Mexico, 998 is an area code.

Calling a cell phone in Mexico from United States or Canada: Prefix 011.52.1 Call 011.52.1.998.XXX.XXXX

Calling US or Canada from Mexico: 001 + area code + 7 digit number

Canada or U.S toll-free #’s from U.S. To dial “toll free” calls to the USA or Canada replace the 800, 866, 877, 888 prefix as below:

USA Toll free – Substitute

800 – 880

844 – 885

855 – 884

866 – 883

877 – 882

888 – 881

Calls are not toll free and a fee will be charged.

Land line to land line in same city: No prefix and no area code (depends on the town in Mexico 7 to 10 digits total)

Land line to cell phone in the same city: Prefix 044 + area code and phone # (10 digits total)

Land line to cell phone in another city: Prefix 045 + area code and phone # (10 digits total)

Land line to land line in another town: Prefix 01 + area code and phone # (10 digits total)

Cell phone to cell phone in same city: Prefix none (10 digits total)

Cell phone to cell phone in another city: Prefix: 045 + area code and phone # (10 digits total)

Cell phone to land line in the same town: Prefix none (depends on the town in Mexico 7 to 10 digits total)

Cell phone to land line in another city: Prefix 01 + area code and phone # (10 digits total)

Real Estate

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Renting VS buying

In Mexico it usually favors renting first but there are times to buy without renting. There are few building codes and restrictions, hence you may be in an area with a carpenter shop, metal worker, event center, retail outlet, etc. very nearby or one can appear at any time.

That little store selling soda, bread, junk food and beer may seem handy but at same time on a Saturday night it could be local hangout for beer drinking, crude language, loud music lasting well beyond midnight for which complaining may mean they will make sure you move. Children play on the street as many homes have little to no yard. Your front and garage door becomes the stop for their soccer balls and this may go on until late at night. Complaining may very likely result in retaliation and your being forced to move. In some areas of Mexico fireworks may initially be a novelty as may be the church bells but after some time it becomes a major distraction.

Maybe you are not familiar with Mexican building techniques and the lack of codes, so while the granite counter tops may impress you the wiring, plumbing, unstable ground, poor quality of windows and doors, lack of screen and improperly mixed concrete will come back to be a major negative.

Termination of employees

When you are selling property this is a must, otherwise, the buyer has obligations to all employees who quits or are terminated back to originate date of employment. A good real estate agent and notario should always raise this issue. The same may be true when renting if the employees continue from last tenant.

Rentals

They may be found on a couple of web sites: Rentas y ventas, Segunda mano, Metros cubicos, Mitula, Locanto and even several Facebook groups. Usually prices are in MXN VS sites such as Airbnb, VRBO or through property managers and foreigners that will quote you in USD. Places may be found in many parts of Mexico.

MXN are the only legal currency in Mexico. If your rent contract is in USD your landlord must accept payment in pesos at the exchange rate posted daily in the Diario Oficial de la Federación (Official Journal of the Federation). It is illegal not to accept pesos in payment anywhere in Mexico.

Your landlord must give you a fiscal receipt or invoice in exchange for the rental payment. A fiscal receipt must show the landlord’s full name, fiscal address, RFC, the rental property address, your RFC (if you have one, otherwise the generic RFC for “Sales to the General Foreign Public” XEXX010101000 must be used), the rent amount, the period covered by that payment and if a furnished dwelling the IVA (tax) must be disclosed. The receipt must be duly authorized by the SAT otherwise it is not a valid fiscal receipt and may mean that the landlord is committing tax fraud, money laundering and other crimes.

Many landlords would tell you that if they give you a receipt meeting all fiscal requirements they will charge you IVA (tax) above and beyond the rent, they are mistaken. For furnished rentals IVA (tax) must be included in the agreed upon rent by law. Any landlord attempting to add a second IVA tax to the rent may be subject to fiscal and criminal penalties if reported or otherwise discovered.

Taxes

Foreign residents (not residing in Mexico) who are landlords are subject to tax payment in Mexico and they generally fulfill this obligation when the tenant, pays them withholding the tax and paying it to SAT.

What the law says about it is: Residents in Mexico or foreign residents with a permanent establishment in Mexico and who pay foreign residents are compelled to withhold the tax. When the rent is paid to a trust company / property manager the fiduciary institution must issue the receipts and withhold and pay the corresponding tax. The tax is 25% that the tenant must withhold by law.

The person who withholds the tax must pay monthly at the latest on the 17th day of the following month to that in which withholding was carried out. If they are a fiduciary they must pay by the 15th of the following month. Payment shall be made through the Internet or at a banking window according to the person’s obligation.

Home construction

Construction is very different in Mexico whether buying, renting or building here are some considerations you should have.

First lesson is buyer beware for issues such as: foreigners are all considered wealthy and the cost of labor and materials will be higher, plumbing often lacks traps meaning an odor emanates from drains, water supply lines are 1/2″ whereas 3/4″ is better, no vents on plumbing systems means shower drains slowly, electrical wiring is not what is the code in other countries, receptacles are cheap and pull apart, color of wire does not mean anything (black is hot, white is neutral and green is ground? not in Mexico), wiring is #12 and breakers are 20 amp but appliances and receptacles are only 15 amps capacity, the proper receptacle for a home with 20 amp breakers is the one shown with a “T” (you never see these in Mexico, you see 15 amp receptacles), wiring should be #14, breakers 15 amps and lots of circuits with ground fault receptacles in wet areas, normally all electrical connections consist of twisted wires and electrical tape where as proper connectors called “maretes” is what should be used.

Spend a little extra and purchase vinyl or aluminum windows and doors with proper screens, your house will have less dust, require less heat or air conditiong and will be more comfortable.

Sillar block is cut out from volcanic rock and a better building material for walls than the small red bricks in the end it is also faster to build, cheaper and with a better quality. Going for 10′ ceilings at extra cost VS 8′ is minimal.

In many parts of Mexico nights are very cool and this can last for 4 months. Often homes are adjoining other homes meaning few windows to let in the heat from the sun. If your heat source is a fireplace or open flame propane heaters they lack efficiency and create a safety issue with carbon monoxide. Consider an efficient propane wall furnace such as those made by Rinnai and Empire.

If you have a major project or building a whole home, rent or buy a cement mixer as you will obtain a more even and stronger mix VS workers mixing on the ground and you save workers’ backs. Buy a back brace and safety glasses for workers as cost is minimal and force them to use them.

Don’t forget to obtain a building permit.

When looking at existing homes do not be impressed by granite or marble but look beyond as those materials are relatively inexpensive. If you wish to tile an existing concrete floor very likely it requires leveling and therefor a jack hammer to “etch” existing concrete, creating a major mess.

Labor while much cheaper than the one paid outside of Mexico is not as cheap as it appears as they lack “productivity” tools and do everything by hand including mixing concrete and due to amazing weather a smaller house will suffice. A nice house can be built for $5,000.00 MXN to $15,000.00 MXN a sq mt plus land.

These issues are common even in more expensive homes. There are no apprenticeships and no formal training or codes.

Mortages

They are available with a typical rate of 8% to 15% interest. Few banks will lend to expats and the bank official facilitating the mortgage with usually receive an added amount to your mortgage payment as commission to that person for the life of the mortgage. In addition life and property insurance are a must. Mortgages may have to be paid off by the time you are 70 but now some banks have raised this to 77 and some to even 80’s. So one of your first questions will be at what age must my mortgage be paid.

To qualify for a mortgage Mexican lenders only consider your Mexican credit score and amount you deposit into a Mexican financial institution. Your foreign credit score and bank deposits are almost never considered when they review your ability to pay. My suggestion should you think you may want a mortgage, car loan, extra money for a medical bills, etc. is to open a Mexican bank account. Once you have done so obtain a charge card, initially the limit on your card will be low and $5,000.00 MXN limit is very normal. You can have your bank automatically pay each months charges in full avoiding high interest which are typically 30% to 65% with the upper range being more common. Each month buy something on credit or buy an item with 12 payments with 0% interest. When allowed (which is usually annually) increase your card’s limit.

A mortgage takes many weeks to approve and there will be pages and pages of forms all in Spanish. Plan to start an application 3 months in advance at least.

Capital gain

A term foreigners use when selling a house. In Mexico it is not really capital gains as the tax is not based simply on purchase VS selling price, there are several variables and the only legal representative who may process selling and buying property and “capital gain” is a Notario. Talk to a Notario prior to buying or selling.

If you only have a tourist card you will pay around 30% tax selling a property. You must be either a TR or PR to reduce your selling tax. You must also be selling a principal residence and it must have been so for at least 3 years. Prior to 2016 you were allowed to sell a principal resident once every 5 years but in 2016 this became once every 3 years. The tax exemption for a TR or PR is approximately $3’500,000.00 MXN but this rises slightly each year. For each additional TR or PR on title the exemption increases $3’500,000.00 MXN per person. The buyer selects the notario but the seller may also have their own if you wish not to have the buyer’s notario represent you.

Note that some buyers commonly recorded a much lower purchase price to reduce property tax. If you are buying a home that was recorded to have been bought in say 2007 for considerably less than the true purchase price this may significantly affect what may be the taxes when you sell, so make sure your notario checks this aspect.

Real estate agents and brokers have minimal training and I would not rely on them to protect your interests from a legal, construction issues, zoning or any other aspect.

RFC number refers to Registro Federal de Contribuyentes (RFC) a legal entity, such as a company or a person, who are assigned a tax identification number according to 2 types.This tax identification type can be applied to companies and to people. An RFC number for a company is 12 characters, while an RFC number for a person is 13 characters.

The RFC number for natural persons is 13 characters long. The first 4 letters are taken from the person’ s name, followed by their date of birth (YYMMDD), then 3 letters chosen at random. An example would be Maria Juarez Robles = JURM590503WGY, an RFC is now required for all real estate sellers and in addition that number must be on their utility bill. That means obtaining the number from SAT and then having it registered so it appears on their bill to have the proper evidence for capital gains tax exclusion.