15 Things to Consider When You Relocate To Mexico
1) Forward Your Mail – You will want to set up a mail forwarding service in the U.S. There are several companies out there that will provide services such as accepting your mail, scanning it so that you can view it on-line, accept checks and deposit them, and mail forwarding when you begin living in Mexico. Different companies offer different services and the fee will depend on the services you choose. It is handy to have a mail forwarding service as it can also be used as a U.S. address.
2) Notify Lenders of Change of Address – Once you find a mail forwarding company, notify all of your lenders, accountant, former employers, etc. of your new address.
3) To Drive Your Car Or Not – A lot of expats envision moving to Mexico with their car. After all, packing the car with your pet and your minimal belongings is seems the most straight forward way to travel. However, new laws regarding bringing your car to Mexico are causing people to reconsider. If you do decide to bring your car to Mexico, make sure you purchase Mexican auto insurance on-line as your domestic auto insurance ends around 100 miles over the border.
4) Home-owners policy – Do you have Mexican homeowners insurance for your new home in Mexico prior to coming down? If not you should.
5) Gather Tax or legal records – You might want to bring certain documents or copies via computer thumb-drives for all of your important records.
6) Make A List of The Items You Are Bringing – Whether you are moving your belongings yourself, or hiring a moving company, you will want, and need to have, a list of all of the items you are bringing into Mexico. On your list, you want to include the item name, the quantity, and the street value of the item. You do not need to have receipts, or remember the original amount you paid for an item, but use your best judgement as to the value of what the items would get you in a garage sale. This list of items needs to be in English and in Spanish for customs. You may also want to match your list up to a box number. The limit to bringing over personal belongings into Mexico is $3000.00. If the value is greater than that, you will need a Customs Broker at the Border to help you.
7) Pets – If you are bringing your pet across the border, you will need to get a Certificate of Health from your local vetrinarian 5 days prior to leaving. The vet will make sure your pet is current with all of their shots, and hand you a dated, Certificate of Health. You may want to attach this to the carrier, right on the top so it can be viewed easily by customs at the border. Make sure to have extra copies of this paperwork too.
8) Prescription Drugs – Make sure you fill up your prescriptions before leaving and that you have enough to last you until you find out where your new Mexican pharmacist is. Depending on the drug, you may not need a prescription for it in Mexico. Make sure all of your prescriptions remain in their original bottles with your doctors name on it for customs. You may bring over quantities such that it is suitable for your use only.
9) Medical records – Good idea to have copies made of your health history. Make copies of your health insurance if your have a policy.
10) Dental records -Ask your dentist for copies of your records.
11) Tune Up Your Vehicle – If you are bringing your vehicle across the border, bring your car in for a good tune up. This is the time to check all your fluids, air filter and tires. The roads in Mexico are not always paved, and surprise potholes can come out of no where. Make sure your spare tire is full of air too.
12) Permission Letter from Your Car Lender – If you still have a loan out on your car, you will need to get a permission letter from your lender allowing to take your vehicle into Mexico. This letter cannot be older than 30 days from the date that you leave.
13) Cancel Your American Car Insurance – Usually, your American car insurance will only cover you for the first 100 miles once you cross the border, so you will need to get Mexican car insurance prior to leaving. Call your American car insurance a couple of days before you leave to notify them of the cancellation. Make sure you will be safely into Mexico before the cancellation date. If you overlap insurance coverage, it is better than not being insured.
14) Find an International Tax Accountant – Take the time to notify your current tax account of your plans to move to Mexico and ask them if they are familiar with international tax laws. If they aren’t, politely let them know you have enjoyed working with them over the years, and start looking around for a reputable international tax accountant. For more information on this, read our article on Expatriates and Filing U.S. Taxes.
15) Sit Down and Relax With A Margarita – Remember to congratulate yourself for making the leap to have an adventure. Toast each other for your sense of fun, fearlessness, and dedication to trying to new things.