In Mexico one requires a prescription for antibiotics and for medications such as Valium. The fee to see a doctor at many walk-in clinics is typically 35 - 50 pesos. Most other medications are over-the-counter. In Mexico, Similares Pharmacies which may be found throughout the country has a 25% discount every Monday. It is very difficult to have medications sent to you from outside Mexico. Bringing medications into Mexico means those traveling with medicines for personal use are allowed to enter the country (regardless of the active component) as long as they bring their prescription or a letter from their GP in which it must state the amount of the substance required by the patient during her or his stay in Mexico, the amount bringing into the country and the daily dose.
Generic Medications: Prior to 2010 there were actually three classifications of drugs: 1) de patente – patent or name brand version; 2) generíco intercambiable – generic but tested to be 100% interchangeable with the name brand version; and 3) similares -drug containing the same ingredients as the patent version but lacking the testing for bioequivalence.
Many of the drugs sold by the pharmaceutical chain Farmacias Similares prior to the change fell into the third category. That’s the primary reason why some people were critical of the quality of their products.
In 2004, there was a significant reform to the health law (Ley General de Salud) requiring all of the medications sold in Mexico to pass rigorous testing for bioequivalence beginning in 2010. In layman’s terms, they were eliminating the third category. This was great news for the consumer and it greatly increased people’s trust in generic medications.
To comply with the new law, Farmacias Similares conducted testing on all of their medications at a cost of between $50,000 – $90,000 USD each. The generic medications that the chain now sells have been tested and approved for quality, dosage and bioequivalence.
Farmacias Similares drug stores are found throughout most of Mexico. Usually, like many pharmacies, they have a walk-in clinic next door. On Mondays, Farmacia Similares has 25% off and on other days for some medications, 3 for the price of 2. Generally, medications are less than in the US and Canada and sometime substantially lower in cost.
Some differences you may find in Mexico is that you may walk into a medical laboratory and order blood work, X-rays etc. And, if you wish to see a medical specialist such a cardiologist you simply call and make an appointment. And, antibiotics may be administered by injection.
All of my services are available in Puerto Vallarta / Riviera Nayarit and San Miguel de Allende.
Please contact me for your health, life, auto, evacuation and property insurance.
School transcripts are no longer are required to be legalized for grades and/or diplomas issued by Canadian institutions of primary, middle, and high school levels for revalidation purposes in Mexico, as of June 16, 2015.
Note: School transcripts of grades and/or diplomas from post-secondary institutions still require legalization for revalidation.
All of Mexico has a 911 emergency service.
As of August 3, 2019 phone calling became much simpler. The 01, 044, 045 are gone for national calling as will be the "1" on international calls and the need to add a "1" after 52 when calling a Mexican cell phone from another country.
Local calls: all numbers are 10 digits. In Mexico City for example, 551-234-5678 is the format.
Cell phone calls: you only have to dial 10 digits. Example: 551-234-5678.
National calls: whether you call from a cell phone or landline, you do not have to dial 01.
International calls: if calling from abroad to a cell phone number in Mexico you no longer have to add “1” after the “52”. Example: 52-331-234-5678. In the case of calls from Mexico to abroad, nothing changes. To call Mexico from the US and Canada the access code is 011. To call from Mexico to Canada and the US the access code is 001.
Canada or U.S toll-free #’s from U.S. To dial “toll free” calls to the USA or Canada, replace the 800, 866, 877, 888 prefix as below. Example: to call the USA 800-947-5096 use 001-880-947-5096. Calls are not toll free and a fee will be charged.
USA Toll-free Substitute
To bring pets in to Mexico via an airline please check your airline's web site. When bringing a dog or cat by car by law health certificates are no longer required. When you click the link you will find the rules for meat, fruit, vegetables, shrimp, lobster, flowers, seedlings, cheese, etc.
Moving household items (typically when using a moving company) to Mexico in large quantities involves special requirements and documentation, including your immigration status and various customs declarations. The goods themselves are restricted to used (not new) items that are normally part of a household, such as furniture, clothing, linens, and appliances. Permissible items generally are allowed without trade duties (duty tax), but requirements vary. Minimize problems and fees by learning about all applicable requirements and preparing your documents and shipments accordingly. The following are some of the basics to get you started.
To be excluded from the IVA tax your items must enter Mexico no later than 6 months from time visa is fully issued in Mexico. Please note if you try to bring in a large number of household items with a moving company and you want to follow the law, you will need a Menaje de Casa from the consulate, a broker at the border and visa fully issued. Those with only a pre-approved visa may be required to have their household items put into storage on the US side of the border; wait weeks for your visa to be issued in Mexico and return to the border to retrieve your items. Some moving companies have a way to avoid many steps.
Here are some of the documents you are to provide to bring household goods into Mexico:
Resident card—official document of Temporary or Permanent Resident status
Bill of lading (BL or BOL)—required for transporting goods by sea; if shipping by air, this document is known as the airway bill (AWB)
Packing list—detailed catalog of your goods, including a description and shipping box number for each item
Proof of last entry date—may be an airline ticket or reservation
Proof of address—may be a utility bill dated within three months of your last entry
Passport—from your county of citizenship
Letter of declaration to customs—including your Mexico address, a description of your goods and acknowledgement of the requirement to bring your goods with you when you move out of Mexico.
Letter of empowerment—authorizes a customs broker you are working with to handle and transport your goods
Declaration of Household Goods (Declarción de Menaje de Casa)— with a Menaje de Casa is for use by a Customs broker to import your items. A Menaje de Casa is not required when an individual brings items. If you do have one, based on experience by clients, you encourage a thorough inspection of your vehicle.
Goods that are allowed include household goods and personal effects. Article 90 of the Mexican Customs Law states that the items you take across must be used (purchased at least 6 months prior) personal items and furniture of a house, e.g. clothes, books, furniture, appliances, and electronics. Tools and implements are also allowed if they are required for your profession or if they are used for a hobby. Medical equipment, such as a wheelchair, blood pressure or sugar monitors and oxygen generators are allowed duty-free. New (unused) items and those in unopened packaging may be allowed into Mexico but will likely be subject to duty and other requirements.
Goods that are not allowed include guns or ammunition of any caliber, as well as most other weapons. Also not allowed are fresh or frozen food including fruits and vegetables, plants, spices or seeds. It is illegal to bring into Mexico some over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the United States, including inhalers and some allergy and sinus medications. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers) or codeine are prohibited. Individuals are advised to carry a copy of the prescription or doctor’s letter but it is still possible that you may be subject to arrest for arriving to Mexico with substances in these lists. it is not recommended to ship these items with your household goods. Vehicles, including cars, boats, recreational vehicles, and trailers are not considered household goods and must be declared and approved separately. This does not apply to motorized vehicles.
Menaje de Casa is for moving household and personal items to Mexico. It is provided by a Mexican consulate and applies to expats with a Temporary or Permanent Resident visa. At the consulate, you provide your address both outside and inside of Mexico; provide original and 4 copies listing household items in Spanish; you list must contain a detailed description and the quantity of the goods. For electronic items, you must indicate brand, model and serial number. The fee for the Menaje de Casa is about $154 US. The tax exemption only applies for the first 6 months from when the TR or PR visa is issued in Mexico. A Customs broker is required for those with a Menaje de Casa.
All drones weighing over 250 grams (.55 pounds) must be registered with the DGCA. Registration requires an official ID proving Mexican citizenship, therefore prohibiting registration by foreign persons. Learn more about registering your drone in Mexico as per the link here.
Airline Tourist Visa Fee Refund
When a Temporal or Permanente visa holder flies into Mexico there is an automatic fee built into your flight’s cost. This fee is for the tourist visa. To obtain a refund the airlines web site will usually have a link for refunds. What you require will be scans of:
1.) Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente
2.) e-Ticket or ticket receipt
3.) Boarding pass
For example with United: Go to united.com > reservations > refunds > select 'E-ticket Refund' scroll down and fill in your info. Also, if booking online look at the airline website carefully. Some of them ask what country you reside in. Make sure you put Mexico then you do not get charged the tourist tax.
Advance Directives / Wills / Death in Mexico
Advance directive and planning for important health care decisions are very important. An advance health care directive, also known by some as living will, personal directive, advance directive, or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity. In Mexico, people should obtain a new advance directive and not rely on having one written elsewhere and in English. A notario can assist you. If you have one from another country it needs to be translated by a certified translator and notarized. It is usually less expensive to simply make a new advance directive.
Wills are desirable for anyone living in Mexico full time. For those owning property it is almost a must. Usually, it is written in Spanish, prepared by a notario and if you are not bilingual a certified translator is required by law to create your Will. In September, throughout Mexico notarios have a reduced fee for Wills. If Wills are done in dual column format (English and Spanish) by English speaking notario then no translator is needed. Wills prepared outside of Mexico are valid in Mexico. It’s having them recognized that is a lengthy, complicated and expensive process. Obtaining recognition of a US or Canadian Will in Mexico requires it be translated into Spanish by an official court approved translator. It also requires that it be “Apostiled” or "Legalized" in the country where it was prepared. This process can take several months and can cost a significant amount to complete. If certain issues arise, the Will may be required to be probated before the Mexican courts which adds months or more to the process of transfer of title.
Most foreigners who own property on the coast will do so through a Trust. If that is the case, beneficiaries are named in the Trust Deed, thereby eliminating the need of preparing a Will in Mexico for that property. However, please check if only immediate family members (wife, children) may be beneficiaries of trust property. Furthermore, bank accounts and other property such as vehicles and jewelry may not be included in the Trust Deed and therefore may require a Will or the probate process to be transferred.
A foreigner with property in Mexico who dies will have their property distributed to their legal heirs, depending on whether they die without a Will (ab intestate), with a Mexican Will, or with a foreign Will.
If a foreigner with property in Mexico dies without a Will, the law provides that their property is divided proportionately between their legal spouse (and not common-law spouses) and their children. The process is complicated and requires the translation and certification of foreign documents such as marriage certificates, marriage contracts, birth certificates, etc.
A foreign Will is legally valid in Mexico. However, it is inconvenient and it can be costly to have it recognized and acknowledged in this country. The process to have a foreign Will recognized in Mexico is as follows, the steps need to be done consecutively and in order: the Will needs to be probated in the jurisdiction or residence of the deceased; once probated, the Will must be legalized in Canada, or apostilled by the Secretary of State in the United States. Other countries have the same process but different government authorities will have the documents apostilled.
With a Will made in Mexico, the process is simplified and the delays are shortened. If a foreigner owns property through a Bank Trust, the Trust Deed provides the names of the first and second beneficiaries of the Trust. In that case, a certificate of death needs to be provided to the Bank Trustee who then is required to change the name of the Trust to the benefit of the named beneficiaries. Property held through a Bank Trust is not included or referred to in a Will made in Mexico. For other property, including real estate that is not held within a Bank Trust, a Will made in Mexico identifies the beneficiaries (general heirs that inherit all the property) and specific legatees (individuals that inherit an identified item or amount of money). It also appoints an executor who will administer the property until it is transferred to the heirs and will assist the notary with this process.
A person needs to go before a Notary in order to grant his/her Will made in México. The Will needs to be signed in the presence of the Notary.
Property transferred on death isn't subject to capital gains in Mexico but, in some cities, will be subject to transfer duties if it is real estate.
When a death occurs it normally requires funeral home representative to go with a family representative to REGISTRO CIVIL. Family representative will need ID and deceased person’s official ID. The funeral home representative will provide the required documents pertaining.
Registro Civil will issue a death certificate. It is very important at that time to ask for additional certified copies of the death certificate, typically, 5 or more copies. Keep the original in a safe place.
If the person was legally in Mexico as a Temporary or Permanent, INM must be informed. When married, that is done by informing INM of the living spouse's change in marital status and presenting the visa and birth certificate of the one who has passed away. If person was registered with SAT for tax purposes, SAT too must be notified.
To transport the person's ashes or body those requirements are to be requested for the airline.
Death of a Canadian in Mexico requires a family representative to go to the Canadian Embassy. This person must have with them their Canadian passport and birth certificate. A Power of Attorney for non-family is a must and recommended for everyone as at times difficult to prove being part of family. Also, require passport of deceased person plus original or certified copy of death certificate.
Death of an American in Mexico
To enter Mexico, your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Mexico.
Taxation As Defined by SAT
Residents abroad are considered, regardless of their nationality or place of birth (persons) or country of incorporation (companies), the following:
The legal entities that have established the main administration of the business or its headquarters in a country other than Mexico effective management.
When they don't have a house in Mexico.
When they have a house in Mexico and in another country, in the following cases:
1. When more than 50% of the total income obtained in the calendar year is generated in a country other than Mexico.
2. When, in a country other than Mexico, they have the main center of their professional activities.
CURP / SAT / RFC Personal Identification Numbers
CURP (Unique Population Registry Code) is similar to an American SSN or Canadian SIN. Your CURP ID number is usually on the front of your Temporary or Permanent Resident visa. Your CURP may be printed out at the following web site as per the green button. Once in to the web site, when you know your CURP number, select “Clave Unica de Registro de Poblacion” and where it says “Ingresa tu Curp” enter your CURP number and then select “BUSCAR”. It will download and you may print out your CURP page.
If you do not know your CURP number select “Datos Personales”. There are times you may have a number and not be aware you do. Insert your first and second name where it says Nombre(s) and last name where it says Primer apellido. Then insert birth date, month, year. Finally, in the drop down box in the list of states at the bottom select "NACIDO EN EL EXTRANJERO". Then select “BUSCAR”. Your CURP will download and you may print out it out.
SAT and RFC are registrations required to earn income, sourced in Mexico, including as a landlord and to sell property. SAT is the equivalent of IRS or Revenue Canada. They also issue RFC numbers for these purposes. To obtain your RFC you will need to make an appointment on-line and then go to a SAT office.
These are sometimes required in Mexico. Please bring your birth certificate when coming to reside in Mexico.
Opening a Mexican bank account varies at different banks. As a tourist only a few banks will open an account. Normally, often you may do so at CI Banco, InterCam, Santander and ScotiaBank. If you are either a Temporary OR Permanent resident any bank will open an account. You will need your passport, FMM if a tourist or Temporary / Permanent Visa card and a recent utility bill, in any name showing address.
In Mexico, the Instituto para la Protección al Ahorro Bancario (IPAB) is the deposit insurance set up by the country for account holders in Mexico. It insures up to 400,000 UDIs (Unidad de Inversión), the equivalent of $2,743,209.20 pesos for each account (as of July 2021).
Foreign money transfer is available with many options. The blue button gives some options and reviews. Not all work from the US and Canada. We use WISE www.wise.com (formerly Transferwise). They have very competitive rates when you take into account exchange rate and fee.
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Complaints / Corruption
To anonymously report an act of corruption call: 01-800-737-8352 or 088. If you have an issue with a person regarding tax issues, Aduana, Customs they are all part of SAT and you can write here: DENUNCIAS@sat.gob.mx And if an issue you wish to report to immigration you may write: email@example.com Or call: 01 800 00 INAMI (46264). To these emails and phone numbers you may remain anonymous.
To file a complaint against federal public servants: do you want to file a complaint or complaint against a federal public servant? Do you consider that they are not fulfilling their obligations? Do not hesitate. Contact the Secretariat of Public Function (SFP)! The work of federal public servants is regulated by the Federal Law of Administrative Responsibilities of Public Servants. Telephone: 01 800 112 8700