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Newbie Rosarito

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happybond
6/5/2020 20:30 EST

Hello Expert Expats!

I've been an infrequent visitor of Mexico since 1980's ... now that I'm seriously thinking to live there due to affordability compared to San Diego, CA. I'm currently looking at Rosarito because I love beaches and still close to San Diego. The only thing that pushes me back is some of my friends/families would say... 'but what about the cartels?' I have some questions answered but still have some remaining questions and thought I could ask them here:

1) Which home internet service provider should I get? Do you order their services via their website or visiting their office? Should I also include mobile phone service as a bundle package? I already have a phone plan from US that covers Mexico.

2) How are the crowds in Rosarito year round?

3) What are best areas in Rosarito for Americans to live?

4) How do we open a Mexican bank account as non-residence? Do they require proof of lease and/or visa?

5) What is the economical way to transfer money between U.S. Bank and Mexican Bank?

6) What is best way to use car as mode of transportation:
a) Use American car with Mexican car insurance
b) Use Mexican car with Mexican car insurance

7) TEMPORARY RESIDENT (MORE THAN 180 DAYS AND LESS THAN 4 YEARS) requires proof of a monthly income of $1946 last 6 months. If we each of us earn less than $1946/month:
a) Can we stay in Mexico up to 6 months and re-enter multiple times to extend the stay beyond 6 months without visa?
b) Can we open a Mexican bank account without a visa?
c) Can we apply for a new lease (rental home) without a visa and live in Mexico with only US passport?

8) Any other gotchas for moving to Rosarito for the first time as an American?

Thanks!

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hrlee7804
6/6/2020 11:19 EST

The things I KNOW about....
1) You cannot have a Mexican bank account without a residency card.
2) Many live here with only a stamped passport. Not legal but done ALL the time.
3) Unless you have a business you don't NEED a Mexican bank account. Just use the ATM's to access pesos from your American bank. They will do the exchange rate for you and it is about as good as you can get.
4) I live in Sonora, still in the free zone as is Baja Norte. and you get Mexican insurance on a USA or Mexican vehicle here in Mexico. As far as I know you cannot get a USA company to sell you Mexican insurance...Maybe International insurance but that is very expensive.
5) You can rent or lease here with only a passport. Purchasing may take a residency card as it takes residency to get a trust I think.
6) Don't worry about your passport much as no one seems to even look at it even coming across the border into Mexico. I have friends with expired passports and it is not a problem. Even an expired passport will get you back into the United States. They can't stop a US citizen from entering the US. I took my expired passport once by mistake and it was no big deal going and coming from US and Mexico. In the freezone they don't check paperwork at the border.

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happybond
6/6/2020 15:53 EST

Very helpful! Thanks...here's my questions and thoughts:

If I get either Ready Lane Pass (Passport card) or Sentri for multiple re-entries between US and Mexico border daily then I guess I do not really need a temporary resident visa (over 180 days stay) since every time I re-enter, the 180 days countdown would be reset. So, I could stay in Rosarito over 180 days without a visa as long as I travel across the border often. Is that correct?

Can you recommend me a good home internet service company for Rosarito?

I would still need a Mexican Bank to play at an international online poker room.

I saw a forum poster that visited several Mexican banks until one of the banks accepted him without a Mexican residency card.

What is the economical way to transfer money between U.S. Bank and Mexican Bank? Use international transfer services such as ofx.com?

How hard is it to purchase a Mexican car registered under your name as a US citizen? I've only done by adding Mexican car insurance to my US car but I do not know how good Mexican car insurance coverage is.

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giershift43
6/6/2020 20:10 EST

Sounds like practical information. I can only speak to my experiences. I wanted to do it all the right way, follow the rules. And I have . I got permanente residency and then opened an account at a Mexican bank. It’s been an enlightening experience. Opening a bank account here gets complicated. Even taking cash to a teller to have change made to smaller bills required a picture Id and a signature. And talk about getting checks , the checks have to be registered and activated. I haven’t tried to use one yet..

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giershift43
6/6/2020 20:10 EST

Sounds like practical information. I can only speak to my experiences. I wanted to do it all the right way, follow the rules. And I have . I got permanente residency and then opened an account at a Mexican bank. It’s been an enlightening experience. Opening a bank account here gets complicated. Even taking cash to a teller to have change made to smaller bills required a picture Id and a signature. And talk about getting checks , the checks have to be registered and activated. I haven’t tried to use one yet..

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Cozumeldeb
6/7/2020 07:41 EST

Mexican Banks are an ongoing Mexican nightmare. We bought our home in 2001, our Mexican attorney told us to never open a Mexican bank acct and we never did. He also told us majority of wealthy Mexicans keep their $$ in America, including him. It has never been a problem..Huge Monex scandal last year opened a lot of people's eyes.
Access to money now is way easier than 2001 for sure.

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Cozumeldeb
6/7/2020 08:00 EST

I'd suggest you search for a local Rosarita online site for accurate info. This site over the years has lost majority of posters..I only check when I get a message. Google the area of interest and you will get loads of sites, check #'s of followers and ask same question on various sites to check accuracy.
As to residency, google MX embassy near you and check the requirements for temporary + permanent residency. We got our permanent residency in 2015, good for 10 yrs. Start there for real-time info. Good Luck and "Welcome to living on the right side of the wall." These signs are everywhere. Try to avoid political discussions in MX. Trump is not popular in MX for obvious reasons.

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hrlee7804
6/7/2020 10:36 EST

I use TransferWise to move money back and forth between Us and Mexico. It is easy and cheap.
Crossing the border at Nogales the Mexican side does not check your identification. That is done some miles further in....If you want to stop and have your passport stamped. So going across the border does not automatically give you another 180 days in Mexico. This is all about the 'FreeZone'
Buying a Mexican car is no problem in Mexico the problem is when you try to register it. You must have residency to register a vehicle. In Mexico you are not suppose to drive a Mexican car without having a Mexican drivers license and for that you need to be a resident. I don't know of anyone here that has a Mexican car unless they are a resident, either permanent or temporary.
Trying to choose an internet company before you know where you will live exactly can't be done. At least here in San Carlos. Different companies have different areas. Work on that when you are looking for a specific place to live.

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happybond
6/10/2020 03:09 EST

Thanks everyone for sharing! I've decided to apply for temp residence visa in case I ever need to open a Mexican bank, register Mexican car or even purchase a home. I've made an appointment with a realtor to show me two properties tomorrow! I spoke with a bright friend of mine this evening and he brought up several things that I should find out about...

1) Mail forwarding from my private mail box to home address in Mexico is done by just contacting US mail box company to request a mail forwarding service? Is that as simple as it gets?

2) Health insurance? I have Kaiser and I believe that's only good for USA...do you get Mexican health insurance? How was the process involved?

3) Car insurance...I did add Mexican car insurance to cover my US car in the past...I'm thinking about doing that in a long term. My friend told me that it is no big deal driving a car with California plate on it...it won't attract unwanted attention...your thoughts?

4) Home rental insurance...should I get one if there's such a thing?

5) Cash access...as poster mentioned above just go to OXOX store to withdraw pesos with your US debit card? However, how do I pay bills online? To avoid opening a Mexican bank, maybe buy a pre-paid visa card at OXOX in order to pay bills online?

6) Lastly, most important of all...what about emergency situations? I know I can reach friends and families in America or even call 911...but in Mexico, I only know very few friends to begin with. What are your emergency plans besides reaching friends and families in Mexico/US?

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nao57
6/13/2020 11:19 EST

Was this because your area (Sonora) is safer to live (re: some of your answers)?

And if you do have a business is it going to be a problem? Or can you juggle bank accounts in the US still open while down in Mexico?

How expensive is housing in Sonora, going cheap?

And to the other person, couldn't you just use your cell phone's internet? Or will that be a problem? (I don't know I'm just asking...)

Is it better to find the small towns to live in (but not too small) compared to bigger towns?

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hrlee7804
6/14/2020 08:04 EST

The only answers you will get on a forum like this is other peoples experiences and opinions. The wheel does not have to be reinvented here in Mexico. There are millions of expats living here and doing everything you are asking about. If you find an area you like come spend some time and ask your questions about that specific area. If there are expats there they have all the answers. It CANNOT all be figured out from afar. Each area is some different but most are livable for you.

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hrlee7804
6/14/2020 08:13 EST

Happybond..If a realtor is showing you properties they will also know many things about adjusting to Mexico. That is what they do down there.

California plates? depends on if you are in a free zone or not. Here is Sonora 50% of the expats have US plates. Legal to drive US vehicles with temporary residency or just stamping your passport every 6 mo.

Mexican insurance companies sell insurance.

Here you pay your US bills online if you have any. Your utilities in Mexico can either be paid at the OXXO or going to the local office....cash or credit card.

In San Carlos there is an emergency medical service with ambulance and emergency room. For an annual fee they will pick you up during an emergency and take you to a hospital. San Carlos does not have a hospital but there is one 10 miles away or a larger one 70 miles away.

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jojoishere
6/16/2020 13:11 EST

I hope these answers (in CAPS below are helpful)

1) Mail forwarding from my private mail box to home address in Mexico is done by just contacting US mail box company to request a mail forwarding service? Is that as simple as it gets? US MAIL WILL NOT FORWARD TO A NON-US ADDRESS. MOST CITIES WITH A LOT OF EXPATS HAVE A BUSINESS (LIKE A UPS STORE) THAT WILL PROVIDE YOU A U.S. MAILING ADDRESS TO USE AND FORWARD MAIL TO YOUR AREA A COUPLE OF TIMES PER WEEK. THERE IS A SERVICE THAT I HAVE HEARD OF THAT PROVIDES A U.S. MAILING ADDRESS AND SCANS YOUR MAIL. YOU REVIEW IT ONLINE AND ONLY HAVE THEM SEND YOU WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO HAVE. YOU CAN GOOGLE TO FIND COMPANIES LIKE THIS

2) Health insurance? I have Kaiser and I believe that's only good for USA...do you get Mexican health insurance? How was the process involved? PUBLIC INSURANCE IS CHEAP, BUT YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. THERE ARE A LOT OF PRIVATE OPTIONS FROM MEXICAN COMPANIES AND INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES. JUST GOOGLE EXPAT INSURANCE.

3) Car insurance...I did add Mexican car insurance to cover my US car in the past...I'm thinking about doing that in a long term. My friend told me that it is no big deal driving a car with California plate on it...it won't attract unwanted attention...your thoughts? CLOSE TO THE BORDER, PEOPLE ARE USED TO SEEING CALIFORNIA PLATES - DON'T WORRY

4) Home rental insurance...should I get one if there's such a thing? FIND A GOOD LOCAL INSURANCE AGENT AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. CONTENT COVERAGE CAN BE TRICKY IN MEXICO. YOU WILL WANT TO KEEP COPIES OF ALL RECEIPTS AND TAKE PHOTOS/VIDEOS OF YOUR BELONGINGS IN CASE OF THEFT.

5) Cash access...as poster mentioned above just go to OXOX store to withdraw pesos with your US debit card? However, how do I pay bills online? To avoid opening a Mexican bank, maybe buy a pre-paid visa card at OXOX in order to pay bills online? OXXO CARDS CANNOT BE USED ONLINE TO PAY BILLS AS IT IS NOT REALLY A BANK. MOST SITES, NOT ALL, WILL TAKE A U.S. CREDIT/DEBIT CARD. LIKE SOME OF THE OTHER POSTERS, I HAVE SURVIVED 12 YEARS WITHOUT A MEXICAN BANK.

Best of luck - enjoy the experience.

6) Lastly, most important of all...what about emergency situations? I know I can reach friends and families in America or even call 911...but in Mexico, I only know very few friends to begin with. What are your emergency plans besides reaching friends and families in Mexico/US?

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