Relocation Steps in Order of Priority

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun' started by CancunWordWhiz, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. CancunWordWhiz

    CancunWordWhiz Enthusiast Registered Member

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    I'm an American, planning to relocate to Cancun for longer than 6 months. I've been gathering quite a bit of information about relocating to but am not quite sure about the order of things. Maybe you could help?

    It seems that, unless you already have an employer in Mexico, you must come in on an FMT (hopefully, for 6 months, if you plan to relocate). Once in Cancun, you can "change your mind" and seek work, then hopefully change to an FM-3, then eventually an FM-2 later, should you decide to become a permanent resident. Also, getting a job in Cancun is not really possible until after arriving in Cancun, correct?

    Once employed, in order to get the FM-3, I'd need to show three recent bank statements with consistent income. Any particular amount over a specified timeframe? Or do I need to show bank statements with income upon arrival as a tourist on an FMT? And what amount of money, if any, does Immigration expect you to have as an an extended tourist (180 days)?

    How do relocating tourists transfer money from their U.S. banks to Mexican banks? Wire transfer? Or is it preferrable to bring a Certified Check with funds in person in order to open a bank account in Cancun? What is the minimum amount for opening an account in Cancun?

    I'm planning on driving to Cancun in my own car but Title is under two people's names. What is required beforehand to bring my car into Cancun? Will I have to change Title to my name only, in order to do so, since I am the only one traveling?

    How much luggage are we allowed to bring into Cancun by car? Are there any restrictions? Must we have receipts for everything we purchased in the U.S. in order to prevent these from being confiscated or surcharged when we return to the U.S.?

    I'm also planning on bringing my two dogs and understand they need a health certificate from the vet. Are there other documents related to my pet's care that I should bring? My dogs are on medication. Is there a restriction on bringing prescribed medication into Cancun?

    In general, which documentation do I need to bring with me in when relocating to Cancun? Which documents are critical to finding a job and a place to live? Do any of these documents need to be translated in Spanish before we arrive in Cancun, or does translation become essential only after arriving on an FMT and later applying for an FM-3?
     
  2. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    You are asking a lot of questions at once but I will try to answer the ones I can now.

    Yes, you come with an FMT and then you can get an FM3 once you are here. If you need permission to work then you need a job offer when you apply for that FM3. If you will be "rentista" (living off your own income or savings from outside Mexico) you will have to show income and/or savings to get your FM3. I don't know the numbers they ask for as far as the amount of savings they like to see goes. But if you need to work you won't be "rentista" anyway as being "rentista" won't give you permission to work...

    If you enter Mexico by land, in your car, you will need to specifically stop and go to Immigration to get an FMT. Because of the weird rules at the border you don't automatically get an FMT when you enter Mexico, you need to go find the INM office and ask for one. And they may ask how much money you have for your trip in Mexico. If you tell them you have a credit card they should leave you alone about money.

    You cannot get a bank account here until you have an FM3.

    Don't bring traveler's checks. They are a pain in the ass to get changed and you get ripped off in the exchange rate. Best is to leave your money in your US account and use ATMs here until you figure things out.

    We've done a few wire transfers of large amounts (over $20k USD each time) for when we bought the house and then condo. For smaller amounts we either use the ATM or I went to the US and got cash and carried it back on the plane.

    I don't know anything about the car stuff except that if your car is not one that sells here it will be a royal pain in the neck to get parts. We left our Subaru and our Honda in Colorado when we came here because neither was sold here (Honda is but not that model and year).

    When you drive across the border you will have to push the button for Customs. If you get a green light they will wave you in without looking at all the stuff in your car. If you get a red light they will examine you. You should make a full inventory of everything you are bringing. And you need to understand what you are allowed to bring (I had to leave my Oriental rugs behind, not allowed to cross with those). Not sure how much of a hassle it will be to get back in the US with your stuff, haven't done that one yet.

    You need to check with Mexican health officials about the exact regs for your dogs. But if memory serves it was just standard shots, rabies, distemper and a normal health certificate.

    As for docs you will want to get apostilles of your birth certificate and maybe any school degrees, not sure on that. Marriage and divorce decrees would be needed if you have those. Your passport of course must be valid. Any translations to Spanish can happen here. But it could really suck to not bring the right docs and then to have to ask someone back home to try to get them.

    I think you need more specific info than I'm giving you on INM docs, pets docs and Customs regs, the rest you can figure out when you get here.

    Oh and most landlords here will not rent you a long-term place until you get an FM3.

    Might be easier to come, get a job, get an FM3, get a place and then go get the dogs and the car...
     
  3. CancunWordWhiz

    CancunWordWhiz Enthusiast Registered Member

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    Thank you RiverGirl, fellow former Coloradan. I appreciate the detailed info. That's exactly what I was looking for -- a sequence of events.

    If anyone else has more details on any of this, please let me know.
     
  4. CancunWordWhiz

    CancunWordWhiz Enthusiast Registered Member

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    Oh, RiverGirl, I forget to ask, what are "apostilles?" Thanks!
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    http://tinyurl.com/8xaxwu

    But seriously, an apostille is a process of endorsing an official document in your home country such that it is recognised abroad.
     
  6. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    You will get an apostille of your birth certificate from the Dept of State in the state you were born in. Other types of apostilles will be gotten from other agencies. I think my daughter's school transcripts were apostilled at the Mexican Consulate in Denver. And our marriage certificate was apostilled by someone in the Country Clerk's office.
     
  7. Jim in Cancun

    Jim in Cancun Guest

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    Here is an extremely helpful site: http://rollybrook.com/how_to_move_to_mexico.htm

    Especially the part about "menaje de casa" which is the listing of what you are bringing into Mexico. This gets delicate. If you are driving in as a tourist, you are limited to "tourist stuff" but if you are moving here it is more complicated.

    For those thinking of moving here or planning on moving here, a very helpful site with a lot of expat participation is www.mexconnected.com

    http://www.mexconnected.com/mex_/lr/livinginmexindex.html Registration required for this subscription site.

    There is a particularly great article by a friend of mine: "MOVING TO MEXICO'S A BREEZE .....compared to heading west in a Conestoga" which can be found at http://www.mexconnected.com/mex_/jrrimmig.html

    You should also read the sticky at the top intitled "Top Ten Tips for a Happy Life" which are country specific in this case. Good luck!!

    Other fun and enlightening links:
    http://www.ezinearticles.com/?Mexico:-Expat-Quiz&id=66612

    http://www.ricardobarraza.com/thebasicsteps.html

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/164225/choosing_the_right_mexican_town.html?cat=16

    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/42594
     
  8. T.J.

    T.J. I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Hey RG and Christina,

    1. I think the amount that needs to be shown as being deposited on your bank statements needs to average $1,650 US per month. And it could be $0, $0 and $5,000 and that will work.

    2. RG - I am puzzled about the border crossing and INM and FMT. Are you saying that you can come into Mexico by car, go through Aduana/Customs and then NOT stop at INM. I know when flying in, you do INM then Customs. So you have to "ask for at FMT" (Christina-Mr. R.G is a big shot INM dude in Cancun so she knows all about this stuff.

    3. You are correct that "most Landlords" will not rent without an FM3 but it is not that unusual or that hard to do. Your legal rights are somewhat diminished without a proper notarized contract but it happens all the time that non FM3 holders find a willing landlord who will rent without the tenant having an FM3. But guess what. If you have a legal dispute and you are not a Mexican and the other person is, I will give you 10 to 1 odds that you will lose if you get into the legal system or you will get so frustrated you will just give up. I did it myself (rented without an FM3) as a tenant before I got my FM3 and had zero problems. I even ended up buying from my landlord.

    Good luck Christina.
     
  9. T.J.

    T.J. I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    As to what you can bring and not bring into Mexico, by car, air or ship, go to the Aduana website or just do a search for a Mexico Customs Declaration. I think the site is www.aduana.com.mx. Find the form and on the back it tells you what you are looking for. The list is long and there are certain exemptions during certain big travel seasons, like Christmas, Easter and summer vacation. You can bring more stuff in duty free.

    But as RG says, if you don't get the redlight you are home free.

    If you get in a pinch I have the form and could scan and email it to you.
     
  10. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    I don't know what happens at every land-border crossing into Mexico. I've only crossed by land once and that was at the Brownsville/Matamoros crossing. When we crossed the bridge we had to push the Customs button. We got a green light and then we were in Mexico. There was an INM office there but it was set well back from the road and was easily avoidable (they don't make you go there by default). We went into Matamoros and got settled in our hotel and had lunch and then went back a few hours later to get me an FMT.

    The rules at the land borders are different than when you come by air. At the border you are automatically allowed to be in Mexico for some amount of time (24 or 48 hours I think) without having an FMT. But you can't go very far into Mexico without an FMT (there's a mileage limit beyond which you can't go legally).

    There are checkpoints deeper in the country where you will get in trouble if you didn't stop for that FMT. Of course those checkpoints aren't always manned. So sometimes people get all the way to Cancun by land and have never gotten an FMT.

    But without that FMT those people can't fly out of the country (because you can't get on a plane in Cancun unless you prove you were here legally). And without that FMT you can't apply for an FM3.

    So you have make a deliberate stop to get an FMT at the land border crossings.
     
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