5 things to know when moving to Mexico

We all know Mexico as the home of great food, beaches and wonderfully welcoming people. Many people move to Mexico every year for work purposes, cheaper cost of living or just for a fresh start. Whatever your reason may be, keep the following things in mind when making the big move.

1. Sort out documents well in advance

The Mexican bureaucracy takes its time when issuing any important documents you may need, so make sure you start paperwork procedures well in advance. Most employers take care of employment visas for their employees but if you are moving to Mexico independently, you will have to do this yourself. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least one year at the time of application and other documents you may need are in order so as not to delay the process further.

2. Adjusting to the altitude

Most of the cities that expats are most likely to move to, such as Guadalajara and Mexico City, are situated at a higher altitude than most people are used to. It can take some time for your body to adjust to this and mild altitude sickness or tiredness it to be expected when you first arrive. Try and plan your move so that you are not doing anything too strenuous during the first couple of days and give yourself a chance to acclimatise. Drink lots of fresh water, rest and avoid alcohol if you feel nauseous or dizzy.

3. The pre-1993 peso

Something you may not be aware of as a non-native is that the old peso (MXP) is practically worthless, almost 1000 times less valuable than the new peso (MXN). It has been known for people to fall into a scam of accepting old pesos without realising from street vendors or small shops. You are less likely to recognise the difference if you are not a citizen of the country who is aware of the currency looks and feels like. Be sure to double check your money before paying and accepting change.

4. Remain cautious

Safety should be a primary concern no matter where you are in the world but it is understandable that people may have more concerns over their safety in Mexico. Granted, the country has a history of violence due to drug wars but this should not stop you from moving there. Any violence to do with drug trafficking is between the cartels and rarely involves locals and it’s even rarer for expats to be involved. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on your belongings as you would in any other country but there is no reason to feel paranoid about your safety.

5. Bribery in Mexico

Although it’s common knowledge that a lot of police officers accept bribes in most Mexican cities, it is not recommended to use this to get out of trouble with the law. You can never assume that bribery is accepted with the police officer you have encountered. If you’re pulled over for speeding, accept your ticket and pay the fine at the nearest police station. It is easy to fall into the idea of bribing the authorities if you have a lot of friends of colleagues who do the same. You could run into a lot more trouble if you offer money to a police officer who does not agree with bribery.

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