Mexico Visa Considerations For Living In Lake Chapala
Updated: Apr 18
What are the things you need to know when you finally decide you want to make the move to Lake Chapala? How is it different from moving to another town or city in the country you live in?
As you will see, a lot will depend on whether you are moving down on a Visitor visa, or have applied for and received a Temporary (Temporal) or Permanent (Permanente) visa.
Find out what you need to know before you make the move so that you are as prepared as possible.
Establishing Proof of Residency – This is really important for almost anything you do in Mexico! “Prueba de Domocilio” or Proof of Residency is tied explicitly with your CFE (electrical) bill and/or your Telmex (telephone) bill and/or other Internet Service Provider. You must get your name on one of these documents in order to do just about anything in Mexico. So if you are renting, work with your landlord to have one of these important documents changed to your name. If you are purchasing a home, you will need to have a Temporary or Permanent Visa in order to change any of the utilities into your name.
Banking – As a visitor, you are now allowed to open a bank account at a few select banks, Intercam is one of them with a 10,000 pesos minimum balance.
ATMs's are also widely available so if you have a debit card on your bank account back home, just draw money out as you need it. This can get a bit cumbersome when you require large sums of money, but doable.
Temporary or Permanent visa visa holders can easily open a bank account with your passport, visa, and “Prueba de Domocilio”.
Car – As a person on a Visitor visa, you are not able to purchase a car in the state of Jalisco.
Temporary or Permanent Visa holders can purchase a car with the following documents.
Photo ID. This needs to be your passport
a) Temporary Visa – With proof of Address “Prueba de Domocilio” in buyers name (official receipt CFE, Telmex, Telcel, Mexican Bank statement)
(note: Jalisco will not accept a rental agreement with a Temporary Visa as Proof of Residence)
b) Permanent Visa – With proof of address in buyers name “Pueba de Domocilio”, or a rental agreement with proof of address in home owners name (in this case, must provide photo ID of home owner)
Proof of address in buyers name “Prueba de Domocilio” - CFE, Telmex or Mexican Bank Statement showing full address and no older than 60 days
CURP. This number is issued by immigration and is found on your Temporary or Permanent Visa card
RFC – This is a tax number issued by SAT (Servicio de Administration Tributaria) and is easily obtained through various agencies such as your insurance agent, car vendor, state automobile administration office, or lawyer.
(the above information supplied compliments of S&S Auto)
Bringing A Car Down To Mexico - If you want to bring your own car down to Mexico there are a number of considerations. As a tourist you need to a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) to bring your car into the country. This TIP is valid for the 180 day stay assigned to your visa.
As a Temporary Visa holder you may bring your car into the country for the 1 year assigned to your Visa. This will need to be extended when you extend your Temporary Visa and, in fact, is tied to your Visa. Therefore, if you extend 1 year you can extend your TIP for one year. If you extend your Temporary Visa for 3 years, you can extend your TIP for 3 years.
As a Permanent Visa holder, you cannot bring your car into the country unless you Import your vehicle. Only some vehicles are allowed to be imported and the cost runs around $3000-4000.
Drivers License - Tourists and Temporary Visas holders can drive their own cars with their home country's license. Only as a Permanent Visa holder will you need to obtain your Mexican Drivers License.
Real Estate - Good news! There is no problem buying real estate on a Visitor Visa or with a Temporary or Permanent Visa. Read the FAQ's of the buying process in Lake Chapala, “Buying Property in Lake Chapala”
Renting – As a renter, there are no differences as to your visa status. Renting is usually easy and very similar to renting north of the border where you need to place down first and last months deposit and damage deposit. Check out our Rental Checklist For Renting In Lake Chapala for in-depth information.
Health Care – Fortunately, health care in Mexico is inexpensive and of good quality. Whatever your residency status, you can access the health facilities at minimal cost in Lake Chapala or go to Guadalajara for more serious issues.
Prescription Drugs – Prescription drugs are easy to get in Mexico. You can bring your bottle to show the pharmacist, have it written down on a piece of paper or just have a picture of it on you phone. The pharmacist just wants to know the drugs name and dosage. Most drugs do not need a prescription so a doctors visit is usually unnecessary.
If you would like information on this article on other things regarding your research and/or future move to the Lake Chapala area, contact me or consider our week long intensive Retirement Seminar and find out all there is to know about moving to and living in Lake Chapala. Thanks for reading!
Michaela & Ricardo are your FULL SERVICE Real Estate Agents. Along with our Retirement Seminars, our over 20 years of combined experience Lakeside, and our network of area Professionals, we help guide you to from beginning to forever in your Retirement Journey to Lake Chapala, Mexico.