Global Mobility Program: Mexico Relocation Guide

Learn more about relocating to Mexico with Grid Dynamics. Tax system, health insurance, steps to take before relocation.

How do I know if relocating to this country is right for me?

Geography

Many people like to vacation in Mexico because of its warm climate and sunny beaches, but it’s also a great place to work and live. The country also contains mountains, jungles, and coastal plains.

Culture and Population

With a population of 128.9 million people, Mexico is the tenth most populated country in the world. Culturally-speaking, Mexico is extremely rich and diverse: the country’s cuisine was awarded the status of Immaterial World Heritage by UNESCO. What’s more, there are more than 60 languages spoken besides Spanish.

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Economy and Business

The cost of living in Mexico is more similar to that of living in Eastern Europe than in the United States or Canada. Dubbed “the Silicon Valley of Latin America”, Mexico’s IT industry is also the third largest exporter of tech talent in the world. The IT industry alone produces $21 billion in exports for the Mexican economy, which financial analysts expect to continue to grow in the coming years.

Safety and Security

Some cities in Mexico have a high risk of homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. Always do your research before traveling to a new area.It is best not to travel at night unless necessary and to only rely on official methods of transport.

Infrastructure

Mexico is a global manufacturing hub. As such, the country’s infrastructure is constantly geared toward improvement. The country has plenty of highways, airports, and train systems.

Thinking about relocating to Mexico? Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you should consider beforehand.

What to do before I move?

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There are a few important things you need to know before you begin the relocation process:

  1. Find an opportunity in Mexico to relocate
  2. Talk to your Manager and get approval to start the process
  3. Contact the H.R. Global Mobility department to apply for a temporary residency visa with Mexican authorities (the process can take upwards of four months).

How will Grid Dynamics help me get there?

The Grid Dynamics Global Mobility program ensures the safety and security of our people and their families, so they can thrive in a location that enables them to focus on what matters most: safety, health, wellness, personal growth and professional advancement. We offer relocation guidance to help make the transition as smooth as possible. For more details, please contact your local relocation manager.

Useful Contacts

Global mobility department: global-mobility@griddynamics.com

Legal and financial concerns

As part of the Global Mobility program, the relocation guidance we offer includes legal and financial advice from our team of immigration experts. Please contact your local relocation manager for location-specific details.

What to do after I move?

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There are a few important things you need to consider before starting your new life in Mexico, especially if you plan on staying long term.

Residency permit options

There are broadly two kinds of immigration permits: Non-Immigrant and Immigrant.

  • Non-Immigrant Permits are for people who intend to visit Mexico for a specific purpose and then depart;
  • Immigrant Permits are for people who wish to gain long term permanent residence in Mexico.

Types of work permits

Although some requirements might differ, these documents are usually required for a Mexican Work Visa:

  • Visa application form L1;
  • A passport which is still valid for more than 6 months from the filing date;
  • Signed letter of authorization from the Mexican Immigration Office with the NUT (Número Único de Trámite) number;
  • Signed and notarized letter confirming a job offer from the company in Mexico;
  • Signed and notarized letter confirming the registration of the company or employer (Constancia de Inscripción de Empleador);
  • Letter of Notification of Authorization of Visa received by the Mexican Company;
  • Airline ticket itinerary;
  • One color passport size photograph (minimum size 3.2 cm x 26.0 cm; maximum size 3.9 cm x 3.1 cm; white background, no eye glasses);
  • One photocopy of the following documents: main page of passport, national ID, any former Mexican visa or valid visa from any other country, and any original documents you want to keep;
  • Proof of permanent or temporary legal residence, or legal entry, will be necessary if you are not a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados or Suriname;
  • Apply in person at the Consular Section of the Embassy of Mexico in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from Monday to Friday, between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM;
  • Visa fee: USD 36 payable in TTD. (Please request an exact amount in TTD prior to arriving at the Embassy)

Note: All official documents that are not issued by Australian or Mexican authorities need to be legalized/apostilled.

For more info, visit: Requirements for a Mexican Temporary Residence Work Visa.

How to get temporary residence

Mexico offers a Temporary Resident Visa for those planning to stay in the country for up to 4 years. The Temporary Resident Visa is a renewable, long-term residence permit that grants temporary legal residence for the holder.

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There are various categories under which the Temporary Resident visas are granted, and these relate to the activities you intend to undertake while in Mexico. Under the terms of the Temporary Resident Visa, you are authorized to only undertake certain, specific, activities which may be lucrative or non-lucrative, depending on the visa’s classification.

In order to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa you have to prove that you have sufficient savings to sustain yourself while staying in Mexico and regular income. You must apply for it at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico.

After four years of holding a Temporary Resident Visa, you have the right to either apply for permanent residency, renew your temporary residency permit, or leave the country.

To apply for a permanent resident visa, you should:

Prove that you have close family connections in Mexico;
Apply for retirement status and prove that you have a sufficient monthly income or savings;
Have four consecutive years of formal status as a legal temporary resident;
Be granted residency on humanitarian grounds or through political asylum.

How to get permanent residence

If you obtain a permanent residence card, you’ll have similar rights to an actual Mexico citizen, except for the right to vote.

To apply for the Mexican permanent resident card, you’ll have to:

  • Contact a Mexico consulat to set up an appointment. List of Mexican embassies
  • Complete the Mexico Visa Application Form. You can find the application form on the website of the embassy you apply in or at the embassy itself.
  • Collect the required documents (visa application form, passport and the photocopies of the first and last page, along with the pages with visas and stamps, passport-size picture with a white background and taken in the last six months, visa fee payment, booked flight ticket, additional documents related to your purpose of travel).
  • Submit the application.
  • Wait until the visa is approved.
  • Pick up your passport with an affixed visa.

If your Permanent Resident Visa is approved, you may use it to enter the country, where you have to convert it into a Mexican Permanent Resident Card at the National Immigration Institute.

Open a Bank Account and learn about the Tax System

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Opening a bank account in another country is another important step to starting your new life abroad.

Banking

Intercam is the only bank that allows account opening to foreigners (except Russian citizens) with tourist visas. They have over 70 branches throughout the country.

Currency

The official currency in Mexico is Mexican pesos. You can buy things in almost every store with cash, credit or debit card. Smaller establishments, taxis, and some services might only accept cash (Mexican pesos, no dollars), so please ask first the payment methods accepted. US dollars are only accepted in a very few establishments in more touristic cities (border cities, Cancun and Los Cabos).

There are no controls on the transfer of U.S. dollars into or out of Mexico. This means that profits can be repatriated freely. However, banks observe the following limits: 

  • Individuals that are account holders of the bank can deposit no more than USD 4,000 per month in all banking branches.
  • National citizens that are non-account holders of the bank can deposit USD 300 daily, but no more than USD 1,500 monthly.
  • Tourists that are not account holders at the bank can exchange no more than USD 1,500 monthly in cash.

Tax

Residents are subject to Mexican income tax on their worldwide income, regardless of their nationality. Non-residents, including Mexican citizens who can prove residence for tax purposes in a foreign country, are taxed only on their Mexican-source income.

For more information about the tax system in Mexico follow the link.

Get Health insurance 

Employment-based health insurance 

While working for Grid Dynamics in Mexico, you are entitled to a Mexican social security number that provides access to the public healthcare system and other essential services for you and your economic dependents (i.e., spouse, children, or parents). Additionally, Grid Dynamics offers additional coverage with private healthcare institutions (major medical insurance up to USD 6M, including a dental and vision plan) for you and your economic dependents. We also offer an emergency ambulance service for you and your economic dependents residing in Guadalajara.

Everyday life in the city

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Where should I live?

There are a few important things to consider about housing: 

  1. .It is relatively easy to rent an apartment or house. Contracts are usually for one year. For a shorter stay, AirB&B is a good option.
  2. The prices vary depending on the neighborhood and location (neighborhood nearby our facilities is expensive, but you can find a cheaper good area within a reasonable distance)
  3. It is easier to find unfurnished houses or apartments. You can find furnished apartments/houses for a higher rent.
  4. It is customary to sign a contract per year and a security deposit (one month of rent).

Sometimes, a landlord requests a guarantor to co-sign the rental agreement.

Grid Dynamics’ Mexico office is located in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco state in western Mexico. In Guadalajara, you can find traditional Mexican neighborhoods coupled with vibrant new ones (i.e., modern complexes that combine apartments, shopping centers, and business centers). 

Night Life. Guadalajara has a wide variety of restaurants and nightclubs which offer traditional, international, and fusion cuisine; you can easily find bars and entertainment. It is a city with a young population that enjoys parties. Remember, Mexican cuisine has been recognized by UNESCO World Heritage.

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Shopping. Due to its closeness to the United States, Canada, and Central America, Guadalajara has a wide variety of shopping malls, where you can find international brands and other hot items.

Magical Towns and 'Haciendas.' You can visit traditional Mexican towns called "Magical Towns," named for their timeless aesthetic. They are former Haciendas transformed into high-end boutique hotels that offer lodging, spa services, horse rides, etc.

Tours through the town of Tequila. The town of Tequila is also located in Jalisco, and you can go on guided tours of the haciendas where the famous alcoholic drink is made.

Visit Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is a resort town in Jalisco, known for its beaches, water sports, and nightlife. You can go on sightseeing whale tours, scuba diving, surfing, world-class fishing, and a number of other activities. It is the perfect combination of a very Mexican-traditional town and a high-end resort.

Visit Guachimontones. Guachimontones is an archaeological center located close to Guadalajara, where the Tehuchitlan culture flourished around 1000 BC. Its unique complex of circles and its excellent conservation state have been granted by UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Travel domestically and internationally. Guadalajara international airport has direct flights to the United States, Canada, Panama, Colombia, Spain and plenty of options for domestic flights.

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Best areas to live 

Ensenada is commonly considered to be one of the best places to live in Mexico. Low costs of living, a variety of entertainment options, and an attractive location makes the city an amazing place. Other great cities for living include Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Tulum, Lake Chapala, Merida, San Miguel de Allende, Huatulco, and Sayulita.

How do I get around?

Public transport 

Larger cities in Mexico have efficient transportation infrastructure (i.e., bus, subway, taxi, and uber), and the cost is relatively low.

For transportation in between cities, buses are the most cost-efficient way to move around the country. There are two types of buses: first (primera) and second (segunda), although on major long-distance routes there’s often little to no difference between them. The first class has reserved seats and air conditioning, although a great number of second-class have the same amenities. First-class buses are usually 10% more expensive. 

Driving and traffic system 

Expats driving Mexican roads have to make sure that they do so slightly below the speed limit. It is also recommended to stick to toll roads and always have Mexican pesos in your vehicle because US dollars are not accepted. 

You can also rent, buy or lease a car at competitive prices. 

What about my family? 

Education system

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There are some international schools to choose from in all major cities for children of various nationalities. Due to the low standards and language barriers in public schools, most expats in Mexico choose to send their children to one of the many excellent international schools instead.

Some expats choose to homeschool their children, or send them to a Mexican school for half of the day which helps children learn Spanish language, make friends and assimilate into local culture.

In Mexico, basic education is normally divided into three levels: primary school (ages 6 to 12), junior high school (ages 12 to 15) and high school (ages 15 to 18). Throughout all three levels of schooling, attendance is compulsory.

International schools may be an excellent choice for expats. This option offers foreign curricula taught in English and other languages of the school’s country of origin. Most international schools in Mexico are located in large cities, such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

Please be aware that private schools tuition varies depending on the reputation and quality of the education provided. You might need to pay for uniforms, books, stationery, and other such items.

Hospitals

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By working under Grid Dynamics Mexico's payroll, your compensation benefits package per law will include Social Security, which provides public healthcare and other public services for you and your economic dependents.

Additionally, Grid Dynamic benefits have additional coverage in private Healthcare institutions.

You can find doctors, dentists, and healthcare professionals that can speak English, which is not very common, but you can ask your colleagues for their recommendations.

About 70% of hospitals in Mexico are private and the remainder are public facilities. The main public hospitals are the Secretariat of Health (Secretaria de Salud), the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), and the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE).

Be prepared to wait in long lines if you choose public hospitals for treatment.

Religion

Mexico is primarily a Catholic and Protestant You are unlikely to find Orthodox churches in the country.

Job potential for spouses 

Here you can find some useful information about finding a job in Mexico as an expat.

Important links

list of links for government institutions/banks/internet/mobile providers/real estate agencies/public transport networks/etc.:

  1. Expats in Mexico Facebook group
  2. Living in Mexico as an expat
  3. Top 5 internet providers in Mexico
  4. Everything you need to know about telephony in Mexico
  5. Top Mexico Real Estate Services
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