Everything You Need to Know to Move to Mexico

Whether it's the warm weather and beautiful scenery or the lower cost of living, people decide to live in Mexico for many reasons. Despite the reports of drug wars and drug-related crime, people continue to choose Mexico as a place to live, retire, own a vacation home, or go on vacation. Many are beginning to realize the advantages of living in a place where the median household income is about one-tenth of that in the US.

While you shouldn't ignore security concerns, it is useful to put these media reports in perspective. Do the research and decide for yourself whether moving to Mexico is the right idea for you.

  • 01 of 04

    Cost of Living in Mexico

    View of houses in Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico
    Kryssia Campos / Getty Images

    The cost of living is a significant reason why people decide to move from the United States to Mexico, but incomes are lower, too. So much depends on your needs, your lifestyle, and whether you buy or rent your home. Even though it's cheaper to live in Mexico than other areas of North America, some people still spend as much or more than they do back in the U.S. or Europe. Do a budget to figure out if you can afford to make the switch.

  • 02 of 04

    Safety of Living in Mexico

    Santa Catarina church in Coyoacan - Mexico City, Mexico
    Sergio Mendoza Hochmann / Getty Images

    The first thought you might have about moving to Mexico is questions about its safety. With media stories going on about drug wars, shootings, and kidnapping, can it be safe to live in Mexico? Check out a first-hand account of whether or not it feels safe to live south of the border.

  • 03 of 04

    Visa Requirements to Live in Mexico

    Person holding an open US passport
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    People who are planning to move to Mexico, either permanently or for an extended period, need to understand the immigration laws of the country, as well as the paperwork you will need to make the move.

    There are three types of Mexican visitor permits or visa. To move, you'll need either the FM3 or FM2 visa. The FM3 (or No Inmigrante) Long-Term, Non-Immigrant Visa is what tourists apply for in order to stay in Mexico for anything longer than the six months' maximum they get at the border. If you want to stay in Mexico for anything longer than six months (without having to exit and re-enter the country), you will need to apply for an FM3 (No Inmigrante) visa.

    The FM2 visa, which has lately been renamed the Inmigrante Visa, is what you'll need if you want to be a permanent resident in Mexico or if you are ​planning eventually to obtain Mexican Citizenship.

    It might be a good idea to hire an immigration attorney, but for most people, it's possible to do it all yourself.

  • 04 of 04

    Moving Household Items to Mexico

    Man loading boxes into truck
    David Papazian / Getty Images

    Moving everything in your home to Mexico isn't as easy as calling up a moving company, like you might do if you were just moving to another state. To move household goods to Mexico, you must have an immigration status of Permanent Resident (Residente Permanente) or Temporary Resident (Residente Temporal). You have to provide a number of documents to move the household goods, and certain items are not allowed.