I'm going to be very honest in this blog. Mexico is not for everyone.
It is not "perfect" but it is a stress free existence, in many ways. That may seem like a contradiction in terms but as I lay out some of the issues that you need to think about before making the move, I think you'll understand.
It's about attitude.
You are NOT just crossing a border and restarting your former life. When you cross that border, you are in another country which is FAR different from the USA. If you are not interested in learning about the culture, the customs, the people and the country but are only moving here because it is less expensive then your country, I doubt that you will be satisfied.
For instance, in your country you know the "lay of the land". You know where to go to get a drivers license, to pay a bill, to get the street lights fixed, to get a telephone or internet service. It's a whole new ballgame which can be energizing and exciting or it can be a drag. Sometimes it IS a drag.
Like when you have no internet for a couple of months............or no phone service.
This post is not to dissuade you. It is to give you information to help in your decision making.
First of all firsts, you must have a monthly income of $2400 USD per person to get an immigrante visa. I was told last year that if you owned property that it would be half of that, but that has been refuted by those who deal with INM (immigration) on a daily basis.
That is a big hurdle for those who are existing on only social security without investments or other sources of income. There has been a steady stream of people leaving San Miguel in the last year since that law went into effect.
In the past, one could enter on a tourist visa and then change over to Immigrante Visa (formerly the FM-3) but now one must leave the country and go to a Mexican Consulate office to get the Immigrante visa or the Permanent Visa. The Permanent Visa is a new thing. It was formerly an FM-2 which no longer exists. One can get the permanent visa now at the Consulate without having to fulfill the four year requirement from the previous law. The advantage is it's a one time deal and you don't have to reapply again - ever. The disadvantage is that you cannot bring a US plated car into Mexico but rather must buy a car in Mexico.....or do without a car. The bus service in Mexico locally and nationally is far superior to the USA. An inexpensive way to get around. Taxis also are plentiful and inexpensive.
You can have your US plated car nationalized at the border. If you do so, be sure it is a reputable firm. IF your VIN # begins with a J indicating your car was made in Japan, it cannot be nationalized - which is my dilemma. To get the Vehicle Import Permit, one must have a credit card to charge the deposit for the permit charge to. It can range from $200 to $500 USD. You must have your Title and/or Registration papers to get that sticker. And, have the new visa to show.
The visa that you get at the consulate in the USA or Canada or wherever is the first step. I suggest you go there to find out what that particular consulate requires. Each one is not the same!
When you go to the border (if driving), you have your passport stamped and get a temporary document that must be exchanged at the immigration office in the town you are moving to within 30 days. IF you don't do this within 30 days, you must go back and start over. AND, if you drove in, your car permit is now expired and your car is in the country illegally..............NOT something you want to have happen.
So, you get to the town of choice, who hopefully has an immigration office or you go to where there is one, maybe 30 miles away and begin the process to get the "official" visa. It will take from two to six weeks. During that time, it is wise not to travel as one does not have anything to show that you are in the country legally.
So now you have a visa. You're in the country legally as well as your car. Congratulations.
I was told by someone that the first thing someone should do is find a handyman and maid, especially since I was a single woman living in Mexico. I did just that. It was a great suggestion.
Josefina and Javier have known where to go, if I didn't, or who to talk to, if I didn't, to get something done. They have been invaluable in many big and little ways.
The next most important thing, if you don't already speak Spanish, is to sign up for Spanish classes. Go to www.warrenhardy.com to see his courses. They are taught for those over 40, as we learn differently after that age.
There is a wonderful man who has written tons of good information on his website about moving to Mexico, moving furnishings to Mexico, car information etc. Some of it might no longer be current but I think for informational purposes it would be good for you to go there to read all that he has written.
The site is www.rollybrook.com