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!
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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