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International Moving From USA to Any Destination

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Why Are More Americans Moving to Mexico?

Is it true that more Americans are deciding to move to Mexico? Yes. According to the State Department, over a million and a half U.S. citizens are now living in Mexico. Many are opting to retire there. What’s behind this growing trend? Nice weather, affordable housing, and cheaper cost of living are all the way at the top of most people’s lists! This is especially attractive to retirees.

So, how simple, or how difficult is it really to pull the trigger to make this happen? What do the logistics look like? What steps need to be taken to make this possible?

When moving your household goods and personal effects from the United States to Mexico, it’s important to only work with an experienced, knowledgeable, responsive, and honest shipping company… and one with a proven track record (reviews matter)

Puerto Vallarta

Puetro Vallarta

What to Look For in a Quality Moving Company:

Expertise and Experience-

This is obvious.  The company you work with should be very experienced and have all the expertise necessary to navigate all of the elements that come along with completing a trouble-free shipment from the USA to Mexico.  Failure to work with a company that is truly knowledgeable and experienced can result in rather unpleasant, negative outcomes.  SDC has been moving household goods and personal effects to Mexico for our clients for over 20 years.

Paperwork and Legal-

Shipping household goods and personal effects to Mexico from the USA is often confused as being “simple”.   If all your T’s are crossed, I’s dotted and you are working with a very experienced shipping company, it can be.  But, that does not mean that there are potential hazards along the way which must be avoided.   First, crossing the border, whether it be at an ocean port or land border requires the shipper to present to the border customs agent an approved inventory list.  This is a document called a Menaje de Casa.  This inventory list is required to be completed in Spanish.  Each inventory item or box must be listed, line by line.   Furniture and items not in a box would be listed as to what they are (e.g., “3-cushion sofa, green)   ßremember, this must actually be in Spanish.     For boxed items, the line would read something like “Box #1-  Books”.  Each box would have a # and corresponding contents (again, in Spanish).   For boxes, there is no need to list every little individual item in the box, just generally what the contents are.    However, for electronic goods (anything that runs on electricity), the MAKE, MODEL, and SERIAL # must be listed.  This is very important.

SDC International Shipping specialists can and will help, every step of the way in the process.  Please ask your SDC Mexico Relocation Specialist for more information.

Online Reviews-

Online reviews are an important and effective way to better understand the sort of company with whom you are considering working.   It is our advice to only work with companies who have 4+ star ratings.

Dedicated and Personalized, Internal Support Team

It is important to work with a company that has a dedicated, internal relocation specialists who are always available to answer questions, provide updated information, and anything else that is helpful and/or needed.  At SDC Intl. Shipping, we do not disappear after the booking.   We are 100% engaged and available at all times from booking to completion of the job.

 

Visual Surveys (meet your shipping partner)-

In order to correctly quote the client in terms of costing, it is critical for any international moving company to thoroughly understand both the volume of items being shipped, as well as any other important considerations such as-

  • Delicate items  (glass, marble, art, etc.)
  • Heavy/overweight items (floor safes, etc.)
  • Specialty items such as pianos, grand pianos, pool tables, fine art, pinball machines, etc.

 

Merida

Merida

Volume or Weight?  (Caution)

Volume is what matters when a professional mover is working on your quote.  How much room is being occupied in the truck is one of the most important factors.  Beware anyone who keeps referring to weight/lbs/kgs.  This is often a giveaway that they may not be a true moving company.   Commercial shippers (think tires, lumber, or fertilizer) will often revert to weight.   You will need a professional mover/relocation company specializing in household goods in order to be confident in a successful household goods shipment to Mexico.

Proper Moving Company vs. Broker (Caution)

Unfortunately, there are too many companies out there who represent themselves as an actual moving company, perhaps even specializing in moves to Mexico.   Is this always the case?  Often it is not.  They may gain your trust and booking, only to hire a 3rd party for the lowest possible cost.

Bait and Switch (Caution)

Just as it sounds, beware of the very low quote.  We have been doing this for a long time; and, we know that too often the low price will end up being the highest price.   It may be a red flag when a shipping company quickly provides a quote, often a lower quote than others, but didn’t actually take time to understand all of the inventory, let alone other elements of them move.   Beware of the bait-and-switch surprise.

A Word on Up-Front Deposits (Caution)

Beware of any company that requires an up-front deposit.  A credit card authorization (as security) is fine, but an actual deposit could be a red flag.  SDC Intl. Shipping does not require up-front deposits, nor do we charge a credit card up-front, for 99+% of our jobs.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

What Can I Ship?

Attempting to ship a prohibiting item into Mexico can derail your plans, or worse.   The topic is too large of a topic to cover thoroughly here.    Some of the items which are prohibited from your household goods shipment include:

  • Anything not part of your household goods and personal effects for your new home in Mexico
  • Anything newer than 6 months (subject to duty)
  • Firearms
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Currency and Marketable Securities
  • Pornographic Material
  • Prescription Medications (must send separately)
  • Food including Canned Goods
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Spices
  • Beverages (including beer, wine, and spirits)
  • Toiletries
  • Consumable items (such as paper towels, napkins, diapers, etc. may incur a duty)
  • Cosmetics
  • Batteries
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Hunting trophies
  • Taxidermy items
  • Flammable or Toxic
  • Cars, Motorcycles, and Boats
  • Car, Motorcycle, and Boat parts

Packing and Protecting Your Household Goods

Because the majority of household goods relocation to Mexico is done by truck, over the road, it is important to make sure all breakable items are packed professionally.   This can be both items in boxes, and also items like furniture, statues, art, etc.   At SDC Intl. Shipping, our teams are experts at making sure everything is packed and protected appropriately.  Everything from fine art, to delicate statues and china, to glass and wood furniture, we understand exactly how to make sure items get to Mexico in the same condition in which they left.

If you plan on packing your boxed household goods yourself (packed by the owner),  you will need to keep in mind 2 things.

  1. Labeling boxes- Make sure that all boxes are clearly labeled in both Spanish and English.  Example:  “Box 1- Shoes”   (“Caja 1- Zapatos”).   Do not use vague words such as “miscellaneous”.  Be specific.
  2. Inventory list- This is covered in the Paperwork section; but, you will need to create a complete inventory list.  There is no need to go to a granular level such as “8 plates, 4 coffee mugs”, etc.; but each inventory line should indicate the box # and generally what contents are inside (e.g., “shoes” or “pillows” or “dishes”, etc.).
  3. Insurance- Keep in mind for boxed items, full coverage insurance is only an option for boxes that have been packed by SDC Intl. Shipping.  This is not our rule, it is an insurance underwriter rule.

Shipping Your Household Goods to Mexico by Truck (most common)

For the shipping via truck (over-the-road) to Mexico, only proper moving trucks, with the appropriate suspension and security should be used.  At SDC Intl. Shipping, we only use full air-ride trailers for transport.   This may seem like a small thing,  but you do not want to transport your goods in a basic commercial truck, or worse!   Most relocations from the US or Canada to Mexico are completed via land and moving trucks.  This is due to cost and efficiency.  That said, there are circumstances where we will opt for ocean transport.  SDC Intl. Shipping has been completing both methods of shipment to Mexico for over 20 years.  We know and utilize ALL of the best practices in order to deliver flawlessly.

Shipping Your Household Goods to Mexico by Ocean

Though not as common as shipping via truck to Mexico, sometimes it is more cost-effective to ship via ocean and shipping container.   SDC Intl. Shipping is highly experienced in all aspects of ocean shipping, customs clearing, and final delivery.

Shipping Your Household Goods to Mexico by Air

SDC Intl. Shipping is ready and able to ship your household goods via air to Mexico.  Please engage with an SDC Mexico Relocations Specialist for details and a quote.

Shipping Vehicles to Mexico-

For non-diplomats, shipping your vehicle to Mexico is only an option for temporary residents.  For anyone other than diplomats and temporary residents, the paperwork, fees, taxes and time just makes it a bad choice, in most cases.   If you are a diplomat or have some other special consideration, then we at SDC are ready and able to help.   Keep in mind that Americans can (provided their vehicle is unencumbered with title in hand, and insured for use in Mexico) drive their vehicle in Mexico on a Visitor’s Visa.  Typically, this is for a temporary 6-month period.  After 6 months, the Visitor’s Visa would need to be renewed.  However, fully titling and registering an imported vehicle in Mexico can be challenging.

Moving Specialty Items as Part (or all) of Your Shipment-

At SDC, we commonly move more than standard household goods and personal effects.   We are experienced experts, door to door, in shipping-

  • Artwork and Sculptures
  • Pianos and all types of Musical Instruments
  • Billiard Tables
  • Pinball Machines
  • Exercise Equipment / Home Gyms

 

Paperwork, Customs, and Beyond

In order for goods to cross the border and be exempted from duties/taxes, everything must be in order.  Failure to have everything buttoned-up, I’s dotted and T’s crossed can cause significant problems, including delays, additional charges, or even rejection of the importation across the border.   One very important document, which is always required,  is the Menaje de Casa.  This is essentially a detailed inventory list of the items being shipped.   ALL electronic items must be listed individually, including make/model/serial number.  SDC Intl. Shipping can help you prepare and file the required paperwork, from start to finish.   Link to Mexican Consulate instructions for Menaje de Casa .   SDC International shipping can help with all aspects of the required paperwork for your shipment.

Visas

To move to Mexico, you have 3 Visa possibilities.

  • Visitor Visa– 180 days  (can be renewed)
  • Temporary Resident Visa– Must prove you are able to support yourself and are financially solvent.   A Temporary Resident Visa is usually issued for a period of 1 year.  Renewals are for 1, 2, or 3 years.  Border crossings with a Temporary Resident Visa are unlimited.   But keep in mind that the overall time spent in the US vs. Mexico may have a bearing on taxes that may be due.    Some of the basic requirements for the Temporary Resident Visa:
    • Financial Solvency– A bank account with approximately $41,000 USD during the previous 12 months.
    • A job, pension, or other documented income stream of approximately $2,100 USD during the past 6 months.
  • Permanent Resident Visa– Okay, so you have fallen in love with Mexico and you’re ready to make it permanent!  After four years in Mexico with a Temporary Resident Visa, you may apply to become a Permanent Resident.  To do so, you will work directly with the Mexican Consulate.
  • Returning Citizens– Same as Permanent Resident, for all intents and purposes.

 

Banking in Mexico

Required Documents for Opening a Bank Account as a Non-resident

  1. One form of photo identification, generally your passport;
  2. A letter with proof of residence, such as a utility bill (dated within the last 3 months);
  3. Proof of legal entry into Mexico (e.g. residency card or your FMM visa).

 

Taxes

The bottom line is to check with your trusted tax accountant.  Generally speaking,  American citizens living in Mexico are still required to file and pay taxes in the USA.  However, there are exemptions and credits which can make a big difference.   Also, there are other variables and factors to keep in mind.  One of them being your Visa type/status and time spent in Mexico vs. the USA.

 

What About Healthcare in Mexico?

The Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS) provides healthcare services for both Mexican citizens and expats legally residing in the country. People enrolled in the IMSS program receive full coverage, including prescriptions. To find out if you will qualify for the program, check the IMSS site.

The funds for this program come from the Federal government, employer payroll taxes, employee payroll taxes, and individual contributions from people who are not in formal employment.

Below are two enrollment paths.

  • Any person (Mexican national or foreign resident) who is formally employed in the country pays their employee IMSS contributions. It is possible to have other private health insurance to complement it.
  • There is an option to voluntarily enroll, which is open to people who are not in formal employment and others who want to enroll on a voluntary basis. Expats who hold either Temporary or Permanent residency status and are not formally employed (e.g. retirees) may apply. Please note that people who are enrolled in the IMSS via an employer get priority over those who enroll voluntarily.

Expats who wish to enroll voluntarily must have legal residency status. In order to qualify, you must either be a Residente Temporal (temporary resident) or Residente Permanente (permanent resident). Foreigners with FMM visitor permits (Forma Migratoria Múltiple) do not qualify.

The ISSSTE (Mexican Civil Service Social Security and Services Institute) is a federal government organization, which partly administers Mexico’s healthcare and social security systems. It assists federal workers in cases of disability, old age, high-risk jobs, and death. The IMSS and ISSSTE provide health care for 55-60% of Mexico’s population. The INSABI covers people who do not qualify for either the ISSSTE or IMSS programs.

Healthcare Costs in Mexico

For the IMSS, the costs depend on your age and there are some restrictions and limitations. You can check tables with rates at the Mexican government site. Just to give you an idea, a person in their forties currently pays around 7,000 MXN per year (320 USD), a person in their fifties pays about 8,500  MXM (385 USD); a person in their sixties around 12,300 MXN (560 USD).

The IMSS does not cover some pre-existing conditions, such as malignant tumors, congenital diseases, chronic degenerative diseases, addictions, mental illness, and HIV. If you have any of these conditions, you will not be able to enroll in the IMSS insurance program. The IMSS covers other specific pre-existing conditions on deferment, which means that you will be subjected to specific waiting periods before you can seek healthcare services within the program.

 

What About US Medicare in Mexico?

Medicare does not cover expat healthcare in Mexico.  Medicare is only for permanent American citizens residing in the USA.

Owning Property or a Home in Mexico

Yes!  As an expat you can purchase and own property in Mexico.   There are some restrictions on direct ownership, however.

  • Direct Ownership– American citizens may directly purchase and be titled for property in Mexico, provided the property is not in a “restricted” zone.   Restricted zones include
  • Restricted zones– The restricted zone, according to Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, is all land located within 100 kilometers of any national border and within 50 kilometers of any ocean. Article 27 of the Constitution states that no foreigner will be allowed to acquire direct title to land within the restricted zone. However, Mexico’s Foreign Investment Law allows foreigners to acquire indirect title to land in the restricted zone by one of two methods; through a Mexican corporation or through a bank trust (fideicomiso).  Ownership is still possible, even in most restricted zones.  However, it generally must be done using a trust or corporation.   Contact the appropriate real estate law professional for precise guidance.

Conclusion

Moving your household goods and personal effects from the United States to Mexico can be trouble-free and smooth, door to door.  To make this a reality, and because there really are many moving parts,  it is important to understand the details; and most importantly to work with an international shipping company that specializes in USA-to-Mexico relocations.  Shipping tires, lumber, or fertilizer is NOT the same as moving your valued household goods and personal effects.

 


The Moving to Mexico Interview

The following is an interview with expat, Kim D. Kim and her husband moved to Mexico a year ago. Kim was kind enough to sit with us and share the details of her moving to Mexico adventure. We hope you enjoy this interview!

SDC International Shipping
A lot of people think about what it would be like to move to another country, to leave the United States, and go somewhere else. But most people never actually take that step of faith and do it. So, what was it that enabled you to take it from a concept to actually going ahead and doing it?

Kim D.
Well, that’s a really good question. I’ve done that a few times in my life where you just make the decision to do it based on, I wouldn’t say minimal information. But gather your information first about a particular place that you might be interested in going to First, just make the decision to do it. And that’s what we did. Moving here to Mexico from Texas is our making the decision to do it. And then you just start. It’s like driving from Lake Tahoe to Sacramento. How are you going to get there? It seems really confusing going down the roads and whatnot. But, when you just make the decision to go, then you get in your car and you do the steps along the way. It’s kind of the same thing when you actually do make a decision to go to a different country. You make the decision to do it first and foremost. That’s the most important thing. And the other financial things have to line up too, right?

Kim D.
Obviously, you can’t leave a job that you have to be there for. But, if those things are all lined up for you, then we both quit our jobs. We took an early retirement out. You just start. Okay, where we’re going to go first? We weren’t sure if Puerto Vallarta was going to be the place where we would end up, but we knew it was going to be south of the border because we weren’t really happy with what was going on in the States at the time. And so you make the decision, then you book your plane ticket, and then you just look for the first place where you’re going to stay. You then get to that place with your two suitcases. These aren’t things that you plan on staying for six months with. These are just things that you need for like a vacation.

SDC International Shipping
Yes, that makes sense. You’re seeing the area for yourself for the first time.

Kim D.
And then on the back side of that, because I don’t want to go off-topic, we had to sell our house and put some things in storage. We rented a U-Haul to drive the stuff over to where my daughter lives in northern Nevada and stored it in her garage. That’s the back kind of side of it. And then you have the front side of moving down here. So when we came down here, we wanted to make sure that this was the area that we wanted to stay in, obviously, so we went to a couple of different Airbnbs. One was two or three weeks, one was a month. Three or four were a couple of weeks to a month. We kind of went all the way up and down the bay. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Puerto Vallarta, but it’s like a big crescent moon shape. We went from the south end of the bay all the way up to the north end and then up and beyond because we didn’t know if we wanted to be in a small-town village-type situation or a larger city. So we ended up just kind of finding a place that we liked, and that was Marina Vallarta.

Kim D.
That’s where we’re at now. And then you just decide if you want to rent or if you want to buy something, and then you go back to collect everything that’s in storage. Now, what’s going to fit into that lifestyle? What do I want to keep for the long term to pass down? Okay, well, that gets smaller and smaller with each move, right? And then what do I need to bring with me into this new environment? And then, what am I going to keep just in case we come back to the States and want to have a residence here?

SDC International Shipping
Are you full-time there or part-time?

Kim D.
We’re full-time here. We went back to Nevada, northern Nevada, where Lake Tahoe is. My daughter lives there. We went there for about a month and a half. So, six weeks over summer because it gets really hot and rainy here. And then we came back down here, and we’re going to go back for a week or two over Christmas, and then we’ll be back down here. So, our plan is to kind of live here full-time except for six weeks in the summer.

SDC International Shipping
Do you have dual citizenship?

Kim D.
Correct. It’s called a residency. So you can get either permanent residency or temporary residency, or you can get citizenship as well, but that takes a longer process, so you have to start with residency. So that was another part of the process, is once you’re here, you need to decide if you want to apply for if you don’t apply for a residency, you have to leave within that time frame that the immigration gives you. So when you walk through immigration and they say, what are you here for? Well, we’re here for an extended stay. Okay. We might give you 180 days. They might give you six months. They might give you four months, they might give you two weeks, and you really have to be gone within when that time is up. So they gave us six months the first time, which worked for us. And it took us from about January of this year, (January 2022) until about June to decide what area we wanted to be in. We decided that we wanted to get our residency and buy a place here because the rents were expensive for what we wanted.

Kim D.
You can get something much more affordable, but they’re cheaper than in the United States. I’m not saying that it’s a lot more affordable, but now we’re on more of a stricter budget with not being in the working class anymore.

SDC International Shipping
Right, I see. Yeah.

Kim D.
So you kind of just have to put one foot in front of the other and just do it. You just have to kind of, like, let go of that side of the pool and start swimming to the other side. And then as you go, you find the obstacles and things that you have to work through and overcome. Does that make sense?

SDC International Shipping
Yes. So, in the area that you are currently in, are there a lot of other Americans there?

Kim D.
Yeah, a lot of Americans and a lot of Canadians. I would say 50-50. So, they call them expats, right? We’re among the youngest, which I found was pretty funny. Usually, the expats are more in their late 50s or late 60s.

SDC International Shipping
Yeah, I can imagine. They have more income, usually, to work with.

Kim D.
Yeah, there are quite a few. The local people that I say “serve,” for lack of a better word… the local people that work in the area that serves the community are all Mexican, so they all live here. It’s very hard to work in their service industry, being a gringo or somebody from another country.

SDC International Shipping
I see.

Kim D.
I would have to have citizenship if I wanted to, and even if I wanted to, then it would be very difficult to be a server or a bartender or something like that, not being Mexican.

SDC International Shipping
Is there a language barrier? Do you or your husband speak fluent Spanish yet?

Kim D.
No, neither one of us does. We’re learning that as well. And, you know, the older you get, the harder is to learn a second language. Yeah, we’ve been trying. We took a six-week course, which really helped. We just listened to audio tapes that will help you and challenge you. So we’re getting a little bit better. I’d say on a scale of one to ten, I’m probably a three. My husband’s a four. We’re getting there just little by little. You can communicate as long as they know a little bit of English and we know a little bit of Spanish, and then we can kind of communicate. So it’s not been super hard. I think if we were to go further into a community that wasn’t so expat-oriented, yes. If we went to Oaxaca or somewhere further away, there are not very many people that speak English at all. It would be very hard to navigate, but they make it pretty easy if they understand at least a little bit.

SDC International Shipping
Now, in Mexico, just like in some other countries, people might be a little fearful who are considering moving. They’re wondering if it’s safe there. Of course, when you’re here in the United States, you know that depending on where you live, you may live a mile away from a very, very dangerous area and you stay out of that area. Is it similar where you are?

Kim D.
It is, yeah, it is. I have heard from many friends just over this past year about this journey that we’ve been on. They ask, “Wow, are you feel safe down there? Aren’t you scared?” And there was a little bit of apprehension, in the beginning, me being a woman. If my husband wasn’t around all the time, I might feel a little bit fearful of maybe walking by myself. And that’s why looking for a particular area within the community was important. The particular area that we’re in is very safe. You can go probably about two miles east up more towards the mountain and it becomes a little bit more of the local people. But we still go there as well. We don’t go at midnight and we’re not drinking when we go. Common sense. It’s not coming down here to be disrespectful to them, be out late at night, drunk, walking the streets alone, etc. We just don’t really go out late at night. We go to sleep by 09:00 p.m. But we would feel fine if we wanted to go have dinner at a local place.

Kim D.
In even the local area, there are some gringos that go into the area and do their shopping and stuff. I think that they really appreciate it because they want you to support the local people and they cook well. The prices are a lot more affordable than in these more expat areas. So, we kind of try and give them our business. It works both ways because it’s saving us money and it’s helping their culture and community at the same time. But back to what you were saying about feeling safe. I did have a little bit of concern in the beginning. I think we both did, but I’ve seen and experienced nothing bad. Everybody’s just super friendly and super helpful. It’s rude if you walk past somebody in their space, just like if you’re walking on a sidewalk and you’re passing a local person. You always say Hola or Buenas tardes. You give some sort of greeting. Now, if somebody’s on their phone or looking at something, of course, you’re not going to interrupt them and say that. But if you’re walking and you’re making eye contact or you’re passing somebody, it’s polite and very proper to say hello.

Kim D.
And we noticed everybody smiles. You can walk past a group of, say, five guys that have that look. Maybe they’ve got a lot of tattoos. And I know I sound like I’m profiling here but sometimes people look like they might be a little bit of trouble. They might be sitting there with a beer in their hand because you can walk with an open can there. You walk by and you’ll make a little eye contact with them and they’ll say what’s up with a big smile. It’s really nice.

SDC International Shipping
Okay. Let me ask you some quick questions to fill in some more of the pieces. Housing –  are the styles of houses similar, not similar at all, or kind of somewhere in between?

Kim D.
They are built better. That’s one thing that I could say. They’re built better aesthetically. From the outside, they’re different because I’ve lived in Southern California, Lake Tahoe, Northern Nevada, Hawaii, and Texas. Out of all of those places, you still have a nice green yard out front. You still have your little flowers and trees and stuff out front. It’s not really as much like that here. There are a lot of condominiums and the houses are more cement and rebar. They’re just built a lot better. But they’re not for aesthetics, for your looks. So we feel very safe. I mean, we’re in a condominium complex that we bought and I can’t hear anybody on either side or up above me. We’re on the first floor and literally if they have a dog or children or anything like that once you’ve closed your doors you’re in a very protected like a twelve-foot wall. They build the houses a lot different down here and I think it’s a benefit.

SDC International Shipping
Yeah, absolutely. Now with banking, is it difficult to get set up there? Is there a lot of red tape or is it fairly easy?

Kim D.
It’s fairly easy. But you do have to know certain things that they require. They will require you to have your residency card. You need a residency card. You can’t just live in Texas and come down and open a bank account in Mexico. Right? That’s not going to go. But as long as you have your proof of either your rental contract or purchase contract showing you own property, and then a utility bill, your residency card and they even still ask for our passports. You have to bring your passports into every banking exchange. Even if you want to get cash out. You go into the bank, pull a number, and wait to be called. You don’t just walk into a teller line, they’re behind bulletproof glass. But it’s very efficient. It’s so much more efficient than going to one of the big banks in the States where you’re just treated like a no-name. They make you feel it’s run more efficiently in our opinion. And it’s got a lot of safeguards. Your signature has to match perfectly. Any time you take out cash, it has to match your signature perfectly, which is on your passport.

Kim D.
So, if you ever get a passport, or you probably have one, that signature is your signature across the world – which is fascinating. Yes, we didn’t know that because I just signed mine or whatever, and I thought, “Oh no, I don’t even know if I can redo that signature!”

SDC International Shipping
When you go shopping, whether it’s for clothes or food, are the brands basically the same, or is it much different there?

Kim D.
Well, you could say somewhat the same. They have a Costco. They have a Walmart. They have a Sam’s Club. There are some things you give up, definitely. But, I feel the trade-off is well worth it. So we try and shop when we’re shopping for our protein or fruits, vegetables – for things like that we shop at the local markets. They call them mercados. So, they’re like a local market. And these are the local people who are bringing the fresh fruits and vegetables that are locally grown. You try supporting and promoting them. You’re not going to Walmart and buying there. They also have like a butcher, which is called a Un carnicero. It’s a butcher. If you want a kilo of hamburger, which is two pounds, they take a brisket, chop it off right there for you, and put it right through the grinder. It costs 100 pesos, which is $5.

SDC International Shipping
Wow, that’s great. Two pounds for $5.00! Many people here use Amazon Prime for shopping, do they have a setup there, too?

Kim D.
Yes, they do have it set up. However, I’ve found it a little bit challenging because a lot of the things that I might want, which might be a little off the mainstream, are hard to find. And if you find it, then you’re going to pay an extra import tax. So if I wanted, for example, an ice maker, because we were tired of going to the Little Oxo (which is like a 7-11) and getting ice for our drinks. And so I bought an ice maker and it cost an extra $6.99. I bought it through Amazon. I think they ship it in, then they charge that extra import tax on it, and then they deliver it to you. So it took about a week to get it. Not bad, but so things like that, I would probably order something. Maybe if I liked an organic skin lotion or I needed some vitamin C that was just pure, then I would order it in the States, have it shipped to my daughter, and then pick it up and then put it in my suitcase to bring it down here. So there are definitely some things that you can’t find.

Kim D.
For clothes shopping, I think I’ve heard that there are some cute things down here. Cute stores, maybe, for vacation-type wear. But if you want to buy something like the nice shirt you’re wearing right, you may be able to find it at Costco, but you probably might want to get it back in the United States.

SDC International Shipping
I see. That’s great information. Okay, I have two more questions. What would you say was your biggest concern before the move?

Kim D.
About doing it?

SDC International Shipping
Yes, about doing it.

Kim D.
I don’t know that I really had a big concern, to be honest. I don’t know that concern would have been part of my vocabulary because I was just…

SDC International Shipping|
You were trying to tick all the boxes and make sure you had all your ducks in a row to make it as smooth as possible. Nothing was really a concern. Like, some people might be concerned about their safety, but that wasn’t so with you. That’s probably why you made the jump and other people haven’t, because you didn’t have any big concerns.

Kim D.
Yeah, exactly. I guess if I did have a big concern, then that might have been when we got here, we didn’t realize that the style of a home (a costa that we wanted to live in) was a little bit more expensive than we had expected. We had expected it to be around $1,000 a month. Right?

SDC International Shipping
Yeah.

Kim D.
But it was a little bit more than that for what we liked. Yeah, we’re comfortable. Nothing extravagant. We have a little place, a nice place overlooking the golf course. It’s not extravagant. It’s just nice, and comfortable. We decided to buy it instead of renting it because we just thought once we own it, then we’ll just have the HOA fee and the electricity. And electricity is fairly reasonable. Our electricity bill (They do it every two months here instead of every single month), but for a 1500-square-foot condo, it cost us about $100 every two months.

SDC International Shipping
Wow.

Kim D.
Yeah. So it’s very affordable.

SDC International Shipping
Wow. So the pros and cons of citizenship, you would probably say for most people, it’s probably good to have the dual citizenship as opposed to no longer holding an American citizenship.

Kim D.
Yes. And I don’t think you would want to renounce your American citizenship just because then you wouldn’t be able to get your Social Security or, you know, there are certain rules.

SDC International Shipping
Absolutely. Yeah. I was going to just ask that because people would want to get that Social Security. All right, one last question. If you had it to do over again and you were leaving, let’s say in this upcoming January, what would you do differently? Or would you do everything the same to make it easier?

Kim D.
I think I would have done it just the same.

SDC International Shipping
You would have done it just the same?

Kim D.
Yes, I would.

SDC International Shipping
Excellent.

Kim D.
Yeah, I can’t really think of anything. There have definitely been hiccups along the road. Like, right now we’re trying to get our RFC number, which is the equivalent of, like, a taxpayer identification number. You’re legally required to have that. So if you ever go to sell your residence that you’re in, then you get a lower tax burden. And there is that difference between citizenship and residency. But if you’re a permanent resident, there are income qualifications or financial qualifications for both of those. So some people have to get temporary, and then they just renew it every year.

SDC International Shipping
Yeah.

Kim D.
We’re lucky enough to fall in the category. Just made it for permanent residency. And then if we do that, I think for five years, then you can apply for citizenship. However, I would either, yes, get dual citizenship, but I would never renounce citizenship from the United States because we always want the ability to be able to go back there and our families there.

SDC International Shipping
Thank you so much for your time, Kim. I believe the readers will really find this information useful!

Kim D.
Sure, anytime! Thank you!

 


For more information, please contact me.

Best Regards,


Rob Mahon
International Shipping

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