Snowbirds in Mexico Changes in Visas for Retirees

I’m currently attending a social media marketing workshop at the fabuloso San Miquel de Allende Literary Conference facillitated by Penny Sanservieri of  Marketing from San Diego. One of this morning tasks was to research other blogs in your particular noche.

My first and top hit after typing in ‘snowbirds in Mexico’ was this very interesting posting about the changes in the visas for snowbirds. For the last three years I’ve entered Mexico on a basic visitor/tourista visa which is a non working visa for up to six months. My first winter was four months and the last two five months which I find about right.

Last year, when I was in Ajijic,  all the immigrado/tourista visa regulations and qualifications changed which caused a considerable amount of anxiety and emotional upheaval amidst the expat community there because there is now a higher monthly income qualification which many of the long time expats did not have. Fortunately after the dust settled on the cobblestone streets the incumbent expats found out that even though their FM3 visas no longer existed they would be ‘grandfathered’ in under whatever new regulations were coming in. However, the whole foreign plated car situation was another story.  Now, all cars must be Mexican plated and no vehicle is going to be grandfathered in. Hence some expats with aging vehicles are deciding to go vehicle free which actualy is quite doable in a small city of about 10,000 people.

In the case of seasonal snowbirds the six month tourista visa still exists but there is now a new rentista category whereby your stay can be extended if you own property OR can prove a qualifying monthly income outside the country.

Personally, my Plan A included being sponsored as an exchange teacher visa wise but this desirable situation unfortunately fell through a couple months before I arrived and I flipped through the rest of the playbook alphabet before deciding to s tay in SMA for the winter and visit the surrounding communities including Guanajuato and Queretero, an easy bus daytrip away.


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