Mexico Digital Nomad Visa - Explained by Remote Year
6. Feb. 2023
Mexico offers a digital nomad visa alternative that allows you to immerse yourself in Mexico’s rich culture and history while you work.
As a foreigner, there are two types of visas you can apply for: the temporary resident visa (stay for 6 months to 4 years) and the permanent resident visa (stay as long as you like).
If you meet the requirements, have the right documents, and pass your Mexico visa application interview, you may even get your visa on the same day!
Within 30 days after arriving in Mexico, you'll need to get a temporary residence card from the National Migration Institute.
Mexico has good roads and affordable transportation and food options, so digital nomads will find it easy to move around and enjoy delicious local foods.
Every year, millions of visitors flood Mexico because of its stunning beaches, ancient ruins, rich culture, vibrant cities, and tasty fare. If you’ve been dreaming of spending time in this southern country of North America, the Mexican digital nomad visa alternative ensures that you can finally enjoy that vacation you’ve been longing for without missing a beat at work.
This hotspot for digital nomads offers good internet connectivity, a low cost of living, amazing co-working spaces, and lots of fun things to see and do.
Join us as we tell you all you need to know in this digital nomad Mexico guide.
What Is a Digital Nomad Visa?
Digital nomad visas typically allow digital nomads to stay in a country longer than tourist visas. This presents you with more opportunities to fully experience what countries like Mexico have to offer without needing to take a lengthy vacation or resign from work to travel.
To get this visa, applicants must prove that they’re financially stable and able to support themselves during their stay. Their income must be obtained independently, remotely, and from a country outside their host country. This provides assurance that they won’t enter the local labor market and take jobs away from locals.
Types of Mexico Digital Nomad Alternative Visas
Mexico does not have a special digital nomad visa, however, foreigners can legally work in Mexico with a temporary or permanent resident visa.
Temporary Resident Visa
The temporary resident visa, also called a “no lucrativo (non-lucrative) visa,” is designed for you if you want to stay in Mexico long-term. The amount of time you’re allowed to stay and work in Mexico will depend on your nationality, but it is typically valid for anywhere between 6 months to 4 years.
With this visa, you can open a bank account, travel to and from Mexico free of restrictions, buy mobile packages, and even buy or rent cars!
Note that you must earn money from outside of Mexico to be eligible for this visa.
Permanent Resident Visa
If you want to stay indefinitely, consider getting a permanent residence visa. It will allow you to stay in Mexico for as long as you want.
Mexico Digital Nomad Visa Alternative Eligibility Requirements
People from all over the world can apply for a Mexico digital nomad visa alternative. You only need to show that you have:
A monthly tax-free income of $2,473.34 from the previous six months. For each dependent you’ll be bringing, you’ll need an extra $861.
An average monthly balance of $40,740.89 (during the last 12 months) in your savings account
An original letter of invitation from a foreigner with a temporary resident visa, marriage or close relationship with someone who has a permanent resident visa or is a Mexican citizen, or ties with someone who holds a migratory status of temporary resident or student visa.
Mexican property worth at least $164,905.80
Visa issuance is subject to your application and interview.
How to Apply for Mexico’s Digital Nomad Visa Alternative
Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for a digital nomad visa in Mexico.
Schedule a Visa Appointment
Request a visa appointment at the closest Mexican embassy or consulate in your home country. Depending on where you’re from, this process could take a few weeks.
Gather the Required Documents
You’ll need the following documents to apply for a digital nomad visa in Mexico.
A valid passport or a travel and identity document valid for six months or more from your application date.
A recent passport photo measuring 3.9 cm x 3.1 cm. Your face should be clearly visible without glasses, and the photo must have a white background.
Proof of income. You should have bank statements and investment receipts to prove that you have a monthly income of about $2,600.
Medical insurance coverage. It should last for the duration of your stay in Mexico and cover repatriation as well as medical evacuation.
Original birth certificate. If you don’t have an original document, a certified copy will also work.
No criminal record. You must get a criminal background check from the police department of your home country. If you travel frequently, you’ll also need a clean criminal background report from every country where you’ve stayed longer than six months during the last decade.
Complete Your Application Form
Once you’ve gathered all the documents, the next step is to fill in the application form.
Get a copy of the application form on the embassy’s website. After filling it out, sign the form to confirm the validity of your information.
Attend the Visa Appointment
Note that you’ll pay a $40 fee in cash or money order for the issuance of the visa at the consulate.
If you pass the interview, you could get the visa on the day of your appointment, but you might also have to wait for a few weeks or even months to get it.
Once you get your visa permit, you have to register for a temporary residence visa in under six months.
Apply for the Permanent Residence Card
Once you arrive in Mexico, fill out an online form. Within 30 days of your arrival, go to the National Migration Institute (NMI) to start the process of obtaining a temporary residence card. Be sure you have all your documents, 2 passport-sized photographs where you’re facing front, and 1 passport-sized photograph from the right side.
You’ll need to pay a fee at a bank between $150 and $350 based on how long your stay is.
The temporary residence card is only valid for one year. You’ll thus have to renew it and pay the corresponding fee for every year that you’re allowed to stay.
Accommodations in Mexico
There are plenty of accommodation options for digital nomads in Mexico.
Airbnbs are convenient, but they can be a tad expensive.
Depending on the location, amenities, and facilities, you could end up paying double or triple what you’d pay if you rented an apartment. However, since the platform is a convenient way to view accommodations and contact owners, the cost can be worth it for many digital nomads.
Expat and Digital Nomads Facebook Groups
You can use digital nomadFacebook groups during your hunt for an apartment. You can also post what you’re looking for so that landlords and brokers can contact you.
In co-living spaces, you get your own bedroom but share the facilities with your housemates. The good news is you’ll also be splitting the cost, making it the perfect option for those who like socializing with fellow nomads
Co-working Spaces in Mexico
Mexico offers a range of top-tier coworking spaces for digital nomads, such as:
El 3er Espacio
El 3er Espacio allows digital nomads to co-work and meet locals. Here, you can enjoy fast WiFi speeds, comfortable chairs, and printing equipment.
The place has complimentary tea and coffee, an outdoor terrace, and a kitchen.
El 3er Espacio costs $12.50 a day, but you can avail of a monthly pass for as little as $117.
NEST is the ideal hub for those located in Playa del Carmen.
It has fast, stable, and reliable Internet speeds of 60Mbps and more, ergonomic chairs, free coffee, as well as events and workshops. For work breaks, you can chill in the outdoor area or head to the beach, which is just a 10-minute walk away.
NEST costs $13 a day, but there’s a monthly pass for around $180.
Nstro.Lab Cowork is an affordable co-working set-up available in Monterrey. It provides high-speed WiFi, personal lockers, ergonomic chairs, and printers. Members also enjoy discounted access to its many events and workshops.
Tea, coffee, and snacks are free for members. In addition, the place has a small library, kitchen, ping pong tables, and board games.
Nstro.Lab costs $5.28 a day, but you can save by getting a monthly package for $79.14.
Internet Connection in Mexico
The major provider in Mexico is Telmex which provides high-speed internet plus landline services for as little as $20 a month. Their packages come with 10 Mbps internet speeds and access to long-distance calls. If your work requires a high-speed internet connection, there are packages of 60 Mbps for about $27.81 a month. These come with unlimited data and also include charges for cable/ADSL.
Networking in Mexico
Make the most out of networking in Mexico! Join one of Remote Year’s travel programs in Mexico and enjoy all the perks that come with having an international community of like-minded people to travel with. Our team at RY arranges everything, including group tours and logistics for its participants, so you can focus on the work while we focus on the fun.
The icing on the cake? Mexico has a high concentration of English speakers, particularly in big cities and their bordering regions. So, even if you aren’t that fluent in Spanish, you’ll find many people you can communicate with.
”Mexico City has so much to offer - great food, nightlife, people, art, history, and culture! Remote Year made my trip amazing. Our group became a little family and I’ll stay in touch with most people in my program. Thank you RY!”
Kristin C, Remote Year Traveler
Cost of Living in Mexico
While the cost of living will vary based on your lifestyle and where you decide to stay, we used Numbeo for rough estimates so you can better plan your budget.
Rent prices vary across cities but are overall affordable. Puerto Vallarta has one of the most expensive real estate rentals at $405 for rent and utilities for one person. Rent and utilities in Playa del Carmen are about $310, while a single-occupancy unit in Merida is around $385. Oaxaca is even cheaper at $292 for a single individual.
Food and Groceries
Food is delicious and reasonably priced throughout Mexico. You can buy a basic meal for $8.04 and beer at $2.04 a pint in bars. A pound of rice is about $0.66, a pound of apples costs $1.18, a dozen eggs can be had for $1.86, and a gallon of milk is around $4.70.
Tacos cost $0.50 to $0.75, enchiladas are $2.65 to $4.24, and burritos are $2 to $10. Street food is plentiful and even cheaper. You can get fresh juice for $0.53 to $1.06, beer for $0.80, and sausage with potatoes at $0.80.
If you’re eating street food and shopping at local markets, it’s possible to get by on about $300 a month. However, this figure will increase by $200 (or more) if you dine out frequently, consume imported food and drinks, and shop at supermarkets.
In Mexico, you’ll have access to affordable transportation options like the Metro ($0.25), bus ($0.45-$0.55), scooters (fees vary by kilometers traveled), bikes ($25/year), small green micros ($0.24-$0.29), and Uber ($7 for a 30-minute ride).
Expect to pay $56.48 monthly for basic utilities like electricity, water, and garbage disposal for an 85-square-meter apartment. However, keep in mind that this cost will be affected by how often you use these utilities.
Taxes for Digital Nomads in Mexico
Will digital nomads have to pay taxes in Mexico? Maybe, maybe not.
As a resident, you’ll have to pay anywhere between 0 to 30% in taxes. How much you will pay will largely depend on your situation and earnings.
For example, if you earn more than 51% of your total income from a business outside Mexico, you can avoid paying Mexican taxes to prevent double taxation.
However, if you make 50% of your income in your host country, you’ll need to pay taxes depending on which tax bracket you belong to.
Why Is Mexico a Great Destination for Digital Nomads?
Mexico is the ideal place to go on a workation as it has much to offer digital nomads regardless of their tastes. Plus points include:
Low Cost of Living
It’s relatively cheaper to live in Mexico compared to the U.S. or even Europe. Digital nomads get access to top-notch facilities and amenities without paying hefty prices.
Remote Worker-Friendly Infrastructure
Mexico has an impressive range of co-working spaces where remote workers can do their work without distractions. Factor in the high-speed internet (35 Mbps and above) and good coffee, and you have a recipe for success.
“Mexico City is the most accessible city in the country to start the nomad lifestyle. There are a wide variety of cafés, coworking spaces, and apartments adapted especially for digital nomads.”
Rocksan O, Remote Year City Coordinator, Mexico City
Mexico's temperatures average 24°C, this is one of the reasons why it is it’s such a hit with digital nomads. The best thing is Mexico has over 9,000 kilometers of coastline.
Rich Culture and Friendly People
Mexico has a rich culture and history that dates back thousands of years — and it has the architecture to back this up. From the bright yellow cathedral in San Cristóbal de las Casas, colonial houses in Guanajuato, the Mayan temples that are scattered throughout the vicinity, and more, you’ll never run out of places to marvel at.
In addition to offering an impressive range of activities, Mexico is well known for providing exquisite gastronomic experiences. While visiting, you can try traditional chilaquiles, pozoles, tostadas, elotes, enchiladas, the list goes on. The country is a haven for foodies.
Best Cities in Mexico for Digital Nomads
If you’re looking for digital nomad hotspots, here are 5 places in Mexico where you can’t go wrong.
Merida, the culture capital of Yucatan, is the safest city in Mexico for digital nomads.
The city offers a big city lifestyle at a relatively low cost of living. It also has great infrastructure, good WiFi, and fantastic networking opportunities.
The city has a rich Mayan history and culture, which you can explore by visiting museums like Gran Museo del Mundo Maya. Additionally, it’s located near beach towns, making it an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys tropical climates.
2. Mexico City
Mexico City has plenty of co-working spaces, great nightlife, late-night taquerias, fast internet, and a cheap cost of living. It has all the amenities you could ever need and sumptuous street food. It’s also a cultural wonderland with 150 or so museums displaying artifacts from indigenous cultures and civilizations.
3. Oaxaca City
Oaxaca City has multiple highly rated co-working spaces, strong WiFi, and a low cost of living. It also has a large expat community and lively festivals.
The city offers an authentic cultural Mexico experience, has colonial-style architecture, and a desert-like climate. It is well-known for mezcal production. Another distinct advantage of settling here is the fantastic food you can binge on. After all, it’s not called the “Foodie Capital of Mexico” for nothing!
Oaxaca, Mexico, also offers a slower pace of life since it has a slightly older population.
4. Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen, a Mexico beach town, was once a sleepy fishing village.
Today, it attracts expats and digital nomads from all over the world thanks to its laid-back environment and impressive white sand beaches. It has a remote worker-friendly infrastructure with excellent internet speeds and lots of coworking spaces.
It also has an abundance of fun activities like snorkeling, jungle-style activities, and sailing.
5. Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a culture-rich hotspot with a history going back hundreds of years. It has plenty of laptop-friendly cafes, coworking spaces, a low cost of living, and strong WiFi in most apartments.
The city offers beautiful beaches, water sports activities, a well-preserved history, an endless array of amazing restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife. Plus, it also boasts a large expat community and friendly locals.
Check out this guide on how to work remotely and travel so you can see the world while remaining employed. Here at Remote Year, we offer some amazing 1-month work and travel programs to help you do just that. We take care of accommodations, logistics, and itineraries so you can have a blast without getting mired in the details of planning an out-of-country trip.
What Is It Actually Like for Digital Nomads in Mexico?
Mexico has a comfortable work environment and a surprisingly low cost of living. To top it off, Mexico also has incredible nightlife, warm and sunny weather, beautiful vistas, diverse landscapes, and a variety of gastronomic experiences.
It’s popular with expats and remote workers, so you’re sure to make new friends.
As long as you do your research and plan ahead, you should be able to avoid the ‘gringo tax’ or being charged higher rates just because you’re a foreigner. For safety reasons, it’s also a good idea to avoid nighttime walks in cities with higher crime rates.
Tips for Digital Nomads in Mexico
Here are 7 of our finest tips for digital nomads in Mexico.
1. Avoid Moving Too Often
Traveling exposes you to new cultures and experiences, but taking on too much in too short a time can put your body through physical and emotional stress, which can impact your creativity and performance at work. Plus, all those trips can get expensive quickly. So, plan your itinerary in advance and give yourself enough time to rest in between trips to avoid burnout.
2. Be Familiar With Time Zone Differences
If you work for a company outside of Mexico, it would be a good idea to notify your teammates about the difference in time zones. This way, everyone can be considerate of each other’s working hours and can schedule meetings accordingly.
3. Get Medical Insurance
Medical procedures and medicines are inexpensive in Mexico. However, we still recommend that you get nomad insurance from SafetyWing. It costs only $40 per month and covers any medical expenses you may have before you travel.
4. Subscribe to Mobile Phone Services for Internet on the Go
Providers like Telcel can hook you up with top-tier coverage, unlimited texts and calls, and enough data to comfortably browse social media sites for as little as $9.50!
5. Start Hunting for Accommodations Through Airbnb
If you’re new to Mexico, we highly recommend that you start with an Airbnb. With this option, you can avail of a considerable discount (20% to 50%) on monthly packages. This can help you get a better feel for the area you want to live in before committing to something that’s more long-term.
6. Take Necessary Safety Precautions When Out and About
Traffic tends to be a hassle in big cities, so if you’re planning on long trips or driving around, be flexible with your schedule. Another downside is some areas (read: Tepito and Doctores) have higher crime rates, so practice the usual precautions before heading to town.
7. Work From Coffee Shops To Add Variety to Your work Environment
If you want to change things up a bit, visit coffee shops and work from there. At coffeehouses, you can enjoy a wide range of caffeinated beverages and snacks while being in the company of other people. There are thus more chances for mingling in between work and the reassuring hum of ambient noise.
Think you need more tips? Check out this guide with tips for working remotely. It has everything you need to have an enjoyable and productive workation.
Thanks to its temporary residence visa, conducive work environment, and endless cultural experiences, Mexico has become a top-tier destination for digital nomads. It’s a country where you can live a more luxurious lifestyle even if you only have an average U.S. salary.
This amazing country also makes it easy to establish residency. So, if you end up loving the country so much that you don’t want to leave, you may not have to.
If this is your first workation and you’re unsure about moving to a new country, consider getting a free six-month tourist visa to give yourself a taste of Mexico. And, if you want an even more hassle-free experience, give us a shout here at Remote Year!
We take care of all the important aspects of traveling, like accommodations, work areas, sightseeing schedules, logistics, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions