Living Part-Time in Mexico: Practical Considerations

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For years, a contingent of foreign residents has embraced part-time living in Mexico, typically between late fall and early spring of the following year.

These seasonal visits serve various purposes. Some escape cold winters in their home countries, while others return during Mexico’s sultry summer months to avoid humidity prevalent at beach locations from May to October. Some split their time, reuniting with friends and family back home or handling work and business matters.

Canadians and Europeans often maintain legal residency in their home countries by spending at least half the year there. This ensures access to healthcare schemes provided by their welfare systems. For many expats, Mexico is most appealing when experienced part-time.

Mexico’s allure as a lifestyle destination has long attracted foreign residents. Literature by those who live or have lived here captures this trend. Today, transient foreign residents are more common, driven by affordable long-distance transportation, short-term work contracts, and the rise of independent online professionals who can work from anywhere.

If you’re considering part-time living in Mexico, the magic number is 180 days for several reasons.

 Mexico’s Visitor Permit:

If your stay won’t exceed 180 days and you won’t engage in remunerative activities, you might not need a resident permit. The visitor’s permit (FMM) covers stays up to 180 days.

Previously, most visitors received the full 180-day allowance by default at entry points. However, this is changing. Some people who frequently return to Mexico for part-time living now contemplate residency applications to streamline their entries.

 Caution on Continual Use of Visitor Permits:

While some exploit FMM flexibility for longer stays, computerized entry and exit systems track movements. “Perpetual visitors” who repeatedly enter, stay briefly, exit, and re-enter Mexico now face scrutiny. Cases of people being turned away have been reported. If you plan to stay longer or return annually, consider applying for legal residency in Mexico.

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 Property Rentals for Part-Time Living in Mexico

Splitting your year into two equal parts offers several advantages. When renting property in Mexico for at least six months, you can often secure better deals. If you rent out your primary home to fund your six months in Mexico, a half-year tenancy is typically practical. This also applies if you own two homes—one in your home country and one in Mexico—making it easier to rent out the unused property for six months.

 Healthcare and Medical Visits:

Many part-time residents, especially under-insured Americans, leverage their extended stay in Mexico for healthcare procedures or dental work. The cost savings compared to hospitals back home can be significant. Even Canadians and Europeans, whose publicly-funded healthcare systems may not cover all services (such as dental care or cosmetic surgery), find value in Mexico. For those with healthcare plans in their home countries, considering medical evacuation insurance makes sense.

 Other Considerations:

Living part-time in Mexico under a visitor permit has limitations. You cannot legally work or engage in lucrative activities generating income within Mexico. Opening a bank account is also challenging; banks now require a residency permit. If you plan to stay longer, leaving the country every six months and returning becomes inconvenient. Perpetual visitors on a visitor visa may face scrutiny at the border.

If you intend to work part-time in Mexico, consider applying for a Temporary Residency permit. Note that volunteering is possible under the auspice of your visitor’s permit. 

Source: Mexperience