LIC. EDUARDO CHAVEZ FREGOSO
Real Estate and Immigration Attorney
LER CLOSING SERVICES
Plaza Centenario Local #3, Colonia Centro
Calle Manuel Doblado s/n esq. Blvd. Mijares
San José del Cabo, BCS México 23400
Baja California SUR
Our Immigration Journey in Baja California Sur
As many of you know, we have been travelling back and forth to many areas of Mexico. Mexico allows you to stay in the country as a tourist for up to 6 months without issue. Since we traveled back to the US frequently for business, we never had to obtain permanent residency. But this year, we decided to purchase property and make our residency official. Starting the process was easy, but finishing the process was rather difficult, due to the bureaucratic red tape that we encountered in Mexico.
However, we were very lucky to find an excellent immigration attorney (he also specializes in property and real estate contracts, which is a plus). After 4 (FOUR!) repeat trips to the Mexican immigration office (there was always one little detail or piece of paperwork that we seemed to miss), we had Eduardo step in.
He fixed the problem for us, and even went to the immigration office to pick up our permanent residency card in person! Excellent service for a great price, which was about $350 total, including the initial consultation. Considering that our US attorney charges us this amount PER HOUR, it was an incredible bargain for the amount of aggravation he saved us.
Interview with LIC. Eduardo Chávez Fregoso
Q. Some Americans who wants to obtain a Mexican Residency are confused about the process on how to do it. What would you recommend them if they are not married to a Mexican Citizen, what would be the process to obtain it? Is it true that the foreigner has to start with the process in his/her country?
Eduardo: They have to start the process in any Mexican Consulate in the foreign country. Now, the easiest way to start this process, (if you are not married to a Mexican citizen, or have Mexican Citizen parents), is proving that you have enough money in your bank account to qualify for the income thresholds. This are the steps that foreigners have to follow in order to obtain their Mexican Residency:
Steps to get Residency in México:
First. Contact the nearest Mexican Consulate in your hometown, ask for an appointment to get a visa to be able to get your "Temporary Residency Visa" in Cabo, tell them that you will go for the “Economic Solvency” or “Bank Account Savings Via"' that means that you have enough money in your bank account to live in Mexico, but tell them that you want to live or stay in Mexico for more than 6 months every year, (because if you tell them that it will be for less time, they will not authorize it). A "Temporary Residency Visa" allows you to stay in the country beyond the limits of the tourist visa, and it allows you to obtain employment, open a bank account, and purchase property.
At that appointment, bring: Original Passport, 2 passport pictures and 12 month's bank statements original or printed by you but with your Bank's Seal Stamped and your name on them, statements that have to show a balance of $1,500.00 USD per month as minimum per person.
If everything goes well at the meeting, they will glue a plastic visa (sticker, see sample image) in your passport, the same that you will have to show to Immigration at your arrival in to Cabo airport, or at Immigration Office in Tijuana if you are driving down, in both cases, Immigration is going to give you a document that will allow me to start your residency process in Cabo.
Second.- Contact me as soon as you get your visa from the Mexican Consulate located in your country. I will review it and to let you know the requirements that you will need to bring to continue with your residency process.
Permanent residency or temporary residency in Mexico is especially important for foreigners who want to own property in México, or get a job. The process is easier if you are related to a Mexican Citizen or someone with existing legal Mexican Residency.
Obtaining permanent residency or temporary residency gives you the right to stay in the country for over 180 days, get your CURP(Clave Única de Registro de Población, which is equivalent to the Social Security Number in the USA), and in some cases gives you the right to buy or sell property. You can open a Mexican bank account, get a drivers' licence and if you want to work independently or open a business, it gives you the right to obtain your RFC (Registro Federal de Contribuyentes) Federal Taxpayer Registration.
Q. Many foreigners come to México and want to buy property. What is the main problem that they face if they are not well informed at the moment of buying property? What would you recommend to avoid common pitfalls?
Eduardo: The most important thing to do is to notarize the sales contract immediately as they acquire the property, many brokers advise them not to notarize, saying is best to wait until they sell the property so they can save those expenses. In the US, a notary is usually present automatically when you purchase a home. But this is not always the case in Mexico. Not notarizing your contract properly can generate problems, if the original owner dies or his property later gets seized for some past debt, it makes it almost impossible for the foreigner to sell that property or recover what he has invested. The most important thing is to protect yourself.
Also it is recommended to notarize at the agreed price, never less, because when they sell their property in the future, they will have to pay a higher Income Tax or Capital Gain Tax.
It is always advisable to hire the services of a lawyer closer (LER Closing Services) because there are many legal issues arising from the sale that the buyer has to be aware of, so the buyer gets what he bought and this can prevent problems in the future.
Thank you Eduardo for your great advice and feedback!
Note: We are not affiliated in any way with this attorney, other than the fact that we are satisfied clients. We did not receive any kickbacks, discounts, etc for posting this interview. We just want people to know about our experiences and share those who can help make your expatriation journey easier!
On June 17, 2016, property owners and many visiting tourists in Tulum woke up to a spate of sudden evictions and seizure of about 17 different properties in the city. The evictions occurred with little warning, forcibly removing people from their homes or hotel rooms. In some cases, tourists who had come to stay in Tulum lost some of their possessions in the unrest. This was the latest incident in a string of evictions that have been occurring lately in this city, largely due to complicated legal disputes over land ownership.
Although unfortunate, the evictions were apparently legal, albeit abrupt, carried out by a court order. Since 2011, land disputes have been leading to forced evictions in Tulum; this is merely the most recent and extensive thus far. The biggest culprit behind these evictions is ejido disputes.
Ejido land is regarded as public property and cannot be owned by a single person without going through an elaborate legal proceeding to gain title to the land. Much of the ejido is coveted beachfront property, a prime spot that attracts many businesses and tourists. Foreign investors have purchased and developed various lots near the Tulum shores, but they should beware of deals involving ejido; according to Mexican law, a foreigner cannot legally own ejido land.
According to the accounts in this article from the New York Times, some of the investors were vaguely aware that their ownership of the land was in dispute when they started building property. The complicated legal system and problem of scams, bribery, and deceptive or outright forged paperwork have further muddied the waters, but one of the biggest causes of the problem is expats and foreigners simply not understanding the law. Although the evictions were legal, this recent incident has been especially troubling for the unsuspecting tourists caught up in the unrest. This latest seizure has raised questions among tourists about the legal situation in this city and whether it’s a safe place to visit, given how sudden a seizure of property can take place.
If you are an expat looking to move to Tulum in the near future, we strongly caution you to take great care in understanding land ownership laws in Mexico. They are not the same as laws in the United States and Canada. It can be very difficult for any foreigner to legally own land, and the complications of this legal system can easily lead to situations like this. Be especially careful not to purchase ejido; remember, under no circumstances may a foreigner legally own ejido. If you purchase land that might fall under this designation, you may also face evictions in the near future.
Understandably, tourists who experienced this incident are very upset, many of them expressing dismay and contempt at being “evicted like criminals”. Even so, tourism is still alive and well in Tulum. In order to protect yourself from getting mixed up with the legal problems going on, be extra-careful in choosing which hotel you stay at. If the hotel has had a history of trouble with this particular issue, consider staying elsewhere. A luxury hotel right on the beach is certainly tempting, but it’s a gamble given the current situation, so check on sites like TripAdvisor before you make your selection.
Our Advice: Instead of Tulum, consider Playa Del Carmen or Cozumel, which are both beautiful cities that are closeby. Neither is experiencing the type of unrest that is going on in Tulum right now. You wouldn't want to get evicted from your hotel or your Airbnb in the middle of the night, (that would ruin anyone's vacation!) so our suggestion is to stay in other nearby cities.
One of the major decisions that parents must make when they expatriate is the choice of schools. Thankfully, tourist regions like Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo have a wide variety of private and public schools to choose from. Private schools are affordable in Mexico, and most expats choose to enroll their children in private schools, rather than the public school system.
Note that the Spanish term “Colegio” does not necessarily translate into the word “college” the way you might understand it in the US and Canada. Often, this term just denotes that it is a school.
We hope that this makes your Google search a little easier. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.
Schools in Cabo San Lucas
Colegio Amaranto International School
Address: Km. 6.7 Carretera Transpeninsular s/n Col. El Tezal C.P. 23454 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S México
Phone: +52 (624) 145-8700
Contact Page: http://amaranto.edu.mx/en/contact-us/
Education Levels: Smart Start (nursery school), Preschool, Elementary
General Info: Founded in 1996, Colegio Amaranto is a bilingual international school committed to recognizing and building the individual talents of their students as well as strengthening their interpersonal skills.
Amaranto was the first school in Mexico to use a SMART Board in all of their interactive classrooms. This technology gives students a more interactive learning experience and develops their digital skills. The “Infoteca” builds students’ research skills while promoting personal responsibility in the learning process. The institution also believes in promoting student’s physical health through nutritious food and physical education classes.
Amaranto’s English specialists use various teaching methods supported by the Common Core standards and the Common European Framework of Reference to make sure students gain the confidence to speak and write in a second language on a variety of subjects. Sixth graders also have the opportunity to participate in an international exchange by visiting the sister school “Charlotte Country Day School” in North Carolina.
Colegio El Camino
Address: Callejón del Jorongo 210, Col. El Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S. Mexico
Phone: +52 (624) 143-2100
Contact Page: http://elcamino.edu.mx/contact-us/
Education Levels: Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School
General Info: Colegio El Camino is a Private K-12, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization civil association. There are currently 350 students. Most of the students are Mexican nationals but there are also many international families. El Camino enjoys international accreditation with both AdvancED and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. They are registered with the Secretaría de Educación Pública and they are currently a candidate school with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.
El Camino’s goal is to develop students’ ability to think critically instead of memorizing and reciting facts. Their bilingual program begins at the nursery stage. El Camino also provides counseling and career planning. They also have agreements with several Mexican universities for high performing students.
Colegio LICEO / Colegio Papalotl
Address: Campus Centro: 5 de Febrero e/I Zaragoza y M. Ocampo Col Ejidal Cabo San Lucas, BCS
Campus Tezal: Fracc. 1A Y1B acceso Ppal, del Tezal Col Tezal, Cabo San Lucas, BCS
Phone: (624) 143-1636 Campus Centro; (624) 105-9000 Campus Tezal
Contact Page: http://www.liceoloscabos.edu.mx/contacto/
General info: Education Levels: Nursery, Elementary, Middle School, High School
Intro Paragraph: Colegio LICEO is a bilingual educational institution committed to developing future leaders capable of improving their own communities and society at large. Educational programs offered at LICEO include constructive mathematics, music, art, physical education, extracurricular activities, and an after school program. LICEO hires highly qualified staff and uses cutting-edge technology on its campus. There are also security cameras and nursing facilities on campus to keep students safe and healthy.
Address: Vista al Mar S/N Fracc. Brisas del Pacífico, Cabo San Lucas, BCS
Phone: (624) 105-0565 / (624) 146-4117 / (624) 143-3088
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Education Levels: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School
General Info: Colegio Peninsula is equipped with a highly trained staff and adequate facilities for different educational levels, including laboratories, library, recreation areas, cafeteria and more. Colegio Peninsula has joined with the UNO International system, a program based on developing thinking skills. In partnership with Animal Planet, Colegio Peninsula usues educational software to improve students’ knowledge in both Spanish and English and the school uses Ipads for technical support. Colegio Peninsula also has an English certification from the University of Cambridge.
Delmar International School
Address: Paseo del Sol, El Tezal, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. CP: 23454
Phone: (624) 131 5002 / (624) 105 9357
General info: Education Levels: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School
Delmar International School is a bilingual institution that focuses on academic excellence and creating future leaders to make a better society. According to Delmar’s website, the institution is inspired by a “Christian vision of life, aimed at promoting personal growth through the practice of moral virtues.” The campus also has many modern facilities including smart classrooms, a robotics workshop, and an Olympic pool.
Address: Carretera Transpeninsular KM.7.7 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S.
Phone: (624) 104-3700
General Info: Education Levels: Elementary, Middle School, High School
Intro Paragraph: Founded in 2004, Instituto Baldor is committed to developing the intellectual and social skills of its students so that they will grow up to be leaders in creating a better future. Students are taught to respect one another regardless of social status or religious beliefs. Baldor has a diverse student body and the school honors this diversity by celebrating various holidays. Baldor was one of the first schools in the area to offer an MBA tourism management program because Los Cabos is a favorite for tourists visiting Mexico. Students have also won first place in Science, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics competitions.
Address: Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 6.5 S/N. Col. El Tezal Cabo San Lucas 23410
Phone: (624) 104-3454
Facebook Message: https://www.facebook.com/InstitutoPeninsularOficial/home
Education Levels: Middle School, High School
General Info: Instituto Peninsular’s goal is help shape young people into becoming spiritually strong, technical, and scientific adults that will have a positive impact locally and globally. Peninsular provides tutoring, a library with tech consultations, and science labs. Instituto Peninsular is sponsored by the Letty Coppel Foundation and associated with the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education.
Address: Narciso Mendoza No. 2708 esq. Álvaro Obregón Col. Juárez C.P. 23469
Phone: (624) 143-3169 / (624) 143-2017
Education Levels: Nursery, Preschool, Elementary
General Info: Instituto Samarin supports the academic and personal development of its students through highly qualified instructors, bilingual education, a positive school community, modern technology, and cultural and artistic activities. With about ten years of experience, Instituto Samarin is committed to helping students develop into people who will challenge the status quo to create a more inclusive and fair society. Instead of making all students uniform, they believe that each student must be allowed to follow their own path and it is the school’s job to support them.
Schools in San Jose del Cabo
Centro Escolar Picacho (Colegio McGregor)
Address: Colegios en Los Cabos. Carretera Transpeninsular km 24.8 col Cerro Colorado, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur. Código Postal 23400.
Phone: +52 (624) 144-5595
Education Levels: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School
General info: With over twenty years of experience, Centro Escolar Picacho is an educational institution that prides itself on the bilingual and multicultural education it provides to its students. Picacho has foreign and Mexican national instructors committed to providing a high level of academic training, promoting human, social, intellectual and transcendent values, and developing critical thinking skills. Centro Escolar Picacho thinks locally and globally by educating students with the hopes of building a better country and having a positive impact on the world in general.
Address: Guadalupe Victoria s/n (entre Vicente Guerrero y Francisco I. Madero) Col. San José Viejo, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico C.P. 23437
Phone: (624) 146-0252
Education Levels: Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Middle School
General info: Colegio Alebrije is a bilingual institution committed to the intellectual, cultural, technological, and moral growth of its students. Programs offered at Colegio Alebrije include English, physical education, music, art, ecology, and human development.
Uniforms are required for all student but can be bought on campus along with books and supplies. Alebrije also has a lot of green areas and modern facilities, and every classroom is spacious and air conditioned.
Colegio Ugarte de Los Cabos
Address: Calle Julia Navarrete y Guerrero No. 1430 Colonia Mauricio Castro, San José del Cabo C.P.23400 B.C.S.
Phone: (624) 142-6235 / (624) 142-0935
Contact Page: http://www.colegiougarte.net/contacto.html
Education Levels: Elementary, Middle School, High School
General info: Colegio Ugarte de Los Cabos is an educational community that promotes Christian humanist ideals forging leaders with high academic standards and social conscience to respond to current and future challenges through transforming their environment in a positive way. On their shield are the words “order, work, joy” and they use these values in their facilities and the way they educate children.
Address: Nicolas Tamaral, Lote 5. Mza. 8, 3 blocks from Kinesis Gym, Col. Chamizal || San José del Cabo, B.C.S.
Phone: (624) 146-9401
Education Levels: Preschool, Bilingual Elementary
General info: Montessori Regina is the first Montessori preschool/elementary school established in the city of San Jose del Cabo. Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.
Montessori Regina works with children aged 1.5 to 6 years old.
We are dependent on a reliable internet connection when we travel. Getting a reliable internet hotspot in Mexico has been difficult as a frequent traveler, but we took a chance and purchased the KeepGo hotspot and took it to Baja California with us in order to have a back-up in case we couldn't get reliable service at our rented condo.
Please note that we purchased the complete KeepGo device, which comes with a SIM card included and a Gig of data automatically. The current cost is $119 USD. They also have very good support if you need it.
I'm pleased to say that the Keepgo works great! We are getting reliable 3G service all over Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. The best part? We take it driving with us, so we always have Google maps available when we drive. No more paper maps, no more getting lost!
Now, there are drawbacks. The KeepGo device is not as fast as you might be used to. The connection speed we get varies. Although we have had fairly reliable service all over Baja California, the speeds are 3G at best.
Another warning, if you are using the hotspot with your laptop, then TURN OFF data hogging software, especially automatic Windows updates, cloud backups (like Carbonite), and absolutely turn off Dropbox, because these programs will burn through your data allowance very quickly!
The service is also metered, so you pay for the amount of data that you use. Data is expensive, but you can pay for multiple gigs at a time and get a cheaper rate. 1 Gig of data costs $45. You can purchase 10 gigs for $299, so it's more affordable to purchase more.
As an example, we have used the Keepgo daily in the car and a few times inside our condo when the wi-fi went down. We do not use it to watch videos or play games, etc. Based on our light useage, in three weeks, we have used 2 Gigs of data.
Our advice? If you plan going to Mexico, most of the major hotel chains have free wi-fi available, and it's important that you confirm this by calling ahead to make sure that it's available.
This is especially true if you are using Airbnb to book your stay, many of the hosts (especially new or inexperienced hosts) will often say that an internet connection is available when it is NOT. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that A/C as well as internet service is available anywhere you will be staying, or your trip to Mexico may be unpleasant.
The KeepGo data is pricey, which is the main drawback.
However, for us, it's worth it, especially since we always have working navigation in the car. It's wonderful to have a working hotspot while we are in a foreign country, and it gives us great peace of mind when we are noodling about town with the kids.
The only time the KeepGo did not work was when we were in the high desert between Cabo and La Paz, and in that case, we only lost service for about 30 minutes. The device is dependent on a working cellphone signal, and there weren't any towers available, because we lost mobile phone service, as well. That's not really the KeepGo's fault.
Bottom Line: The KeepGo is totally worth it for the peace of mind it provides, and worked reliably all throughout Baja California for us.
NOTE: This is our honest review of the KeepGo device based on our own experiences with the product. We are not, in any way, affiliated with KeepGo, and we paid full price for this product. We did not receive any discount, freebies, etc. for posting this review.
Update: The KeepGo is also working great in Salamanca, Guanajuato. It also works in Leon, Celaya, and Irapuato, GTO (neighboring cities). It isn't lighning-fast by any means, but it has allowed us to work, check email, and use Google maps. This is a great little hotspot!
How to Dial the US with Your iPhone While inside Mexico (When you have Crickett Wireless or AT&T U.S. Service)
It was diffiuclt to figure out how to make voice calls to the US (I've called my bank and our office several times). After struggling mightily with this concept, I have created a short guide for you.
Here is a general phone dialing guide for you that should work throughout Mexico, and has worked for us throughout Baja California and all of Cabo:
To Dial Mexican Numbers with your U.S. iPhone:
Local Numbers: Calling a local number in Mexico is easy. To call any local land line, just dial the local number with the area code. You don't have to put any special numbers in front of it. EXAMPLE: for example, when I call the local Costco in Cabo San Lucas (WHILE I am in CABO), from my US iPhone, I dial like this: (See Pics)
To Dial a U.S. number from your Cellphone while you are in Mexico
U.S. Numbers: Now, let's say you want to dial back to the U.S. with your iPhone while you are inside Mexico. That's easy, too. So, let's say I want to contact my local Wells Fargo Branch, while I am on vacation in Mexico. Here is the full Wells Fargo Number for my local branch, and the second picture shows how I dial to get a connection (see pics).
I hope this step-by-step dialing guide is useful for you when you are in Mexico, and enjoy your travels!
La Paz is the capital of Baja California, and the largest city in southern Baja California. We spent several days in La Paz, in order to get a real feel for the city. In that time, we interviewed several long-term residents, and asked them their opinion of the city overall.
We saw several homes for sale as well as multiple "Se Renta" signs near the waterfront. Many of these homes are not advertised online, so the best way to get the information is to visit La Paz and search the area on foot. However, searching online will show you the average prices for homes and rentals in the area so you can get a feel for what your money will buy. Right now, as I write this post, the peso is at 18 to the U.S. dollar, so our American dollars are stretching very far. You could easily get a rental property near the waterfront (a few blocks away) for $500-750 American dollars. The homes for sale that were a few blocks from the water ranged wildly in price, but $100,000 USD could purchase a nice home in the area near the pier (just not right on the water--that would cost considerably more).
The Incredible Beaches Just Outside La Paz
We spoke with a Canadian expat, Jennifer, who was walking her dogs on the Maelcon. She is the one who told us: "I love it here in La Paz, and if you want to see REALLY gorgeous beaches, go to the Playa el Tecolote and Playa La Balantra."
So we decided to do just that!
If you follow the bay, and drive a little further outside of La Paz, an incredible array of beautiful, unspoiled beaches awaits. We decided to stay an extra day in La Paz just to explore this region. First, you drive northeast on a paved, two-lane highway (the road is well-maintained and safe to drive, but go slow! It's a very twisty road and part of the road descend to sheer cliffs).
When driving in this direction, you will pass a Hyatt Hotel, the Hyatt La Paz. We stayed in this hotel overnight during our exploratory trip in La Paz. It was nice, the A/C in the rooms worked great. With the exchange rate, it was less than $90. After a free buffet breakfast in the morning, we headed north to the beaches.
On the way there, you will pass the luxurious private community of the CostaBaja Golf Club. There is a small, private marina with vsmall yachts, then a golf course and luxury condos. I searched for information on these condos, and they all seem to be sold out, although there are home sites available, and I assume they will expand. You can stay at the hotel in Costa Baja, now is the low season, so the rooms range in price between $118-$200. In the winter months, the rooms are double or tripe the regular rate, if they are available at all.
You have to pass the golf course and keep going along the coast. There aren't many homes beyond the Costabaja golf course, although there are a few scattered shops, hotels, and the main marina where the Baja Ferry docks. This is a huge ferry that takes people, goods, and cars across the Sea of Cortez to Sinaloa and Senora.
From here, keep driving and you will soon reach the Playa el Tecolote and Playa Balantra. Playa el Tecolote has a few restaurants as well as comfortable palapas and chairs for rent. There are also bathrooms and outdoor showers for guests to use. It's a fabulous place to take your kids. The water is warm and safe, clear and shallow all the way out for many yards.
Sunscreen is an absolute must, we used 70 SPF on the kids and ourselves and my shoulders still got uncomfortably pink after a full day on the beach.
Our whole trip was very insightful, and we will be adding a major section about La Paz in our upcoming relocation guide about Baja California. If you are thinking about a move to this city,
Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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