Retirement in Mexico

Updated 2022-05-22 14:19

Do you wish to retire in Mexico? It is, indeed, the dream of thousands of senior citizens across the globe. But there are some procedures you must follow in order to become a Mexican resident so you can retire peacefully.

Mexico is not only known to be the bridge between South and North America but also a choice destination in terms of expatriation. Mexico is very popular due to its proximity to the United States of America and Canada. However, the cost of living is relatively low compared to many neighboring countries, and this is why thousands of senior citizens across the globe dream of retiring there. In fact, the number of foreigners visiting Mexico and settling there has been growing steadily over the years.

Thus, Mexico can offer you what you are looking for if you dream of a positive change in lifestyle and environment. This country brings a lot to the table as it does not only have some of the most amazing landscapes in the world but also a very rich and colorful cultural heritage that you can see, feel and most importantly taste throughout the different regions of Mexico.

Benefits of moving to Mexico

Living in Mexico can be pretty advantageous to foreigners, and senior citizens in particular. Retiring in Mexico will allow you to enjoy a completely different lifestyle from what you have been used to in your home country. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about the country's rich cultural, historical and architectural heritage. The low cost of living is also one of the numerous advantages of settling there, not to mention the population's friendliness and hospitality.

Drawbacks of moving to Mexico

Retiring in the land of Sombreros, however, requires appropriate consideration. In fact, the country's lack of infrastructure and security has continuously been pointed out by tourists and the media. You also have to be cautious in terms of health threats before moving there, and you are hence advised to inquire about Mexico's environment and infrastructure beforehand.


Mexican authorities are well aware of the country's conducive climate and conditions for retirement. Therefore, special measures have been applied in order to facilitate the settling of senior citizens and ease their living in terms of accommodation, health care, etc. Thus, senior foreign citizens can easily access healthcare services according to their needs, as well as pharmacies and other healthcare services.

Regarding costly operations, foreigners are advised to subscribe to international insurance in their home country prior to their departure. Some countries' Social Security services may offer special conditions, and it is recommended to inquire about these beforehand.


To retire in Mexico, you have to apply for an 'immigrante rentista' visa at the Mexican Embassy or consulate in your home country. This visa entitles you to an unlimited stay in the country, provided that you don't work. Documents to be produced are:

  • a duly filled and signed visa application formalities that need to be done online
  • a valid passport (for the whole duration of your stay in Mexico)
  • photocopies of your passport's first two pages
  • A letter of request directed to the INM, in Spanish, and signed by the interested party asking for this migratory status as well as the purpose for which to live in Mexico as an immigrant.
  • two passport-size identity photos
  • Letter from a Mexican or international financial institution that states that you have enough funds that come from a foreign country and receive a minimum of 400 times the minimum wage to be eligible for this visa, plus an additional 200 times the minimum salary for each dependent)
  • proof of retirement in your home country
  • fees applied.

On the other hand, foreigners wishing to retire in Mexico for a short period can request a 'visitante rentista' permit, which is, called the FM3 permit. This permit can be renewed every year for a maximum of four years. Documents to be produced to the Mexican Embassy or Consulate in your home country are:

  • Letter from a Mexican or international financial institution that states that you receive a minimum of 250 times the minimum wage to be eligible for this visa, plus an additional 125 times the minimum wage for each dependent)
  • proof of regular funds (you must receive a minimum of US$ 1,000 monthly to be eligible for this visa, plus an additional US$ 250 for each dependent, resulting from bank interest, rent, or retirement pension)
  • a valid passport (for the whole duration of your stay in Mexico)
  • four passport-size identity photos (two face front and two right-side profile pictures
  • fees applied

Good to know:

You will be eligible for a six-month delay to pay the tax stamp if you intend to import your furniture. You are then required to produce a complete list and description of your personal belongings, including brand, model, and serial number, in case of electrical appliances.

Note that the visa request may vary. Senior citizens are required to inquire with Mexican authorities in their home country before proceeding.

Mexico's elderly care

IMSS provides home visits in the event of a medical emergency. Alternatively, there are several private assisted living and retirement homes in and around Mexico.

There are several assisted living choices for older expatriates near the US border or in regions with a significant expat community (Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende, Cabo San Lucas), and they can cost as little as 1000-2000 USD per month. But, of course, there are cheaper alternatives.

Residents have access to the IMSS public healthcare system, although it is suggested that you acquire medical insurance so that you can use private facilities.

Taxes for retirees

When you retire overseas, you must still pay taxes. You will still file a tax return and disclose income if you retire in Mexico, just like you'd if you retired in your home country.

Should you have a Mexican pension or pension account (Administradores de Fondos para el Retiro, or AFORE account), you may be subject to different tax regulations. Although AFORES enjoy advantageous tax status in Mexico, they are classified as a foreign mutual fund (or PFIC). So if you are a US citizen, prepare for a lot of paperwork.


If you are a US citizen and own property in Mexico you might have to add a Schedule C or E to your 1040 when you file your US taxes.

Popular destinations

Mexico is such a big nation as it offers plenty of different spots for you to settle down and enjoy your retirement while sipping margaritas.

We have created a shortlist of the most popular places for retirees like yourself to spend their golden years.

Playa del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen is known to be one of the most popular Mexican tourist destinations after Cancun. The city allies modernity with a bohemian lifestyle in the middle of tropical heaven. Rent prices, as well as the cost of living, are lower in Playa Del Carmen. However, high temperatures and humidity can be inconvenient for senior citizens who are more likely to settle in coastal regions. Its proximity to Cancun makes it easily accessible and the perfect location for the entire family to come visit for some perfect beach vacations in the Caribbean.


Merida is a more prosperous and livable city, with various cultural and artistic, and other leisure activities. In fact, the city center counts some 2,000 expats. The colonial city houses an international airport with many direct flights to Canada and the United States, making it the perfect location to come and go as you please. Merida presents you with both ancient culture and modern city vibes. One of the most attractive things about it, apart from its beautiful architecture, it offers some of the country's best cuisine. Being a pretty big city, it comes with all the amenities, like developed hospitals, etc. It does get pretty hot there during the summer month and the closest beach is approximately 35 minutes by car.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is located in the state of Guanajuato, just about 4 hours away from the country's capital Mexico City. The nearest airport is in the neighboring state of Queretaro, about 66 kilometers away. The city is well connected through bus routes, and you can get within no time to the next famous city over called Guanajuato or hop on a bus to Guadalajara, the thriving capital of Jalisco.


Chapala is also quite appreciated for its low cost of living. Some US 7,000 Canadian and European senior citizens have settled there to enjoy a better lifestyle and living standard. The region is famous, above all, for its artistic and cultural activities, as well as its clubs and sports, not to mention its population's heartiness.

Puerto Vallarta

You could as well settle in Puerto Vallarta or in neighboring coastal regions where you can enjoy the same environment as the cities, as mentioned above. It has its own international airport with daily direct flight connections to the US and Canada. Visit the beloved towns Sayulita or San Pancho in the next state over, Nayarit, for a quick day trip if you need a change of scenery.


Zihuatanejo is a city in the state of Guerrero that has become quite famous amongst Canadians probably around 20 years ago. It still has a very original vibe and kept much of its local traditions alive and did not turn into another city that only lives for tourism. The price level is also way above what other popular destinations can offer you.


Also known as Santa María Huatulco, offers its residents the turquoise pacific coast. It is one of the most visited places in the state of Oaxaca and houses many expats and retirees. The area includes 9 beaches dedicated to Huatulco, so you definitely won't get bored counting the same sandcorns.

Oaxaja de Juarez

Oaxaca de Juarez is the capital of the state Oaxaca, which holds many treasures of this country. Not only does it have the reputation of offering the most delicious food in the entire Mexican nation, but also magical encounters through its extensive cultural heritage like Etla, Mitla, Matatlan, where you can find textile and the tasty beverage made from agave - Mezcal. Ancient myths say it is the remedy for everything and that it holds the key to eternal life.

San Jose del Cabo

Baja California Sur is one of the top-visited places in Mexico. San Jose del Cabo is its capital and less hectic city, with more tradition than the modern getaway place Cabo San Lucas. It is a beautiful small town with astounding mountain terrain and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the entire country. Fans of fresh fish and seafood will definitely feel like they've landed in heaven. The wild pacific ocean might not be suited for swimming all year long, should you be interested in water sports like surfing, windsurfing and/or diving this might be just your perfect place. Also, you can do whale watching tours and go on sailing trips.

Cozumel and Isla Mujeres

Both being among the most popular islands of Mexico, you will have no shortage of entertainment and housing options. They also have regular boat connections to reach the coast of either Cancun (from Isla Mujeres) or Playa del Carmen (from Cozumel) in no time. Cozumel and Isla Mujeres are very appreciated retirement locations, not only for Canadian and US citizens but also for Europeans. Many artists and musicians reside there half of the year, one of the reasons for its ever-happy vibe. If you are looking for a place that offers excellent living standards and the most beautiful beaches and diving spots around the globe, look no further. These two islands will be a retirement dream come true for you.

Peace and liveliness

Mexico is, above all, a highly active and lively country. But you can also find really calm regions where you can relax and enjoy a peaceful retirement. As it is, most essential services and facilities are easily accessible in the whole country. Thus, Mexico can be your dream retirement destination, provided you make appropriate planning.

Still not sure why to choose Mexico for your retirement?

If all of these reasons we have mentioned above still do not make you itch to pack up your things and move to Mexico, we could try a more number focused way to convince you:

  • Healthcare is more affordable than, for example, in the US and accessible for residents in Mexico through public insurance (IMSS or INSABI), between 100 USD and 270 USD a year
  • As a couple, you can easily live off 2500 USD a month in Mexico (of course, depending on your lifestyle)
  • The cost of living in the US is around 114% more expensive than in Mexico
  • Enjoying a romantic dinner for two can be as cheap as 35 USD or even less (especially if you like tacos, and who does not, right?)
  • Mexico is under the top 5 countries to live in worldwide according to International Living
  • The economy grew 4,8 % in 2021 after its crash in 2020, tendency rising
  • Going to the dentist is really cheap; for example, a filling costs around 60 USD compared to the US with more than 160 USD, and the price for a ceramic crown is as low as 375 USD in Mexico, whereas you would spend at least 1500 USD on it

Useful links:

Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) - Visa request form


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