Are you a US citizen looking to work and play in Mexico?
If you’re toying with the idea, it’s high time you consider your work goals. Being a digital nomad is no longer just a dream, as many remote workers around the world are making the leap to foreign shores.
This is illustrated by the growth of Mexico as a digital nomad haven, especially for Americans. With its proximity to the US, ease of travel, similar time zones and low cost of living, a US citizen working in Mexico will find a smooth transition waiting for them.
But where does one begin to plan a move to work in Mexico as a digital nomad?
What lifestyle will you have and is there a community of digital nomads?
Do you need a special visa as a US citizen working in Mexico?
One new digital nomad from Silicon Valley found answers to those questions as she ventured south to begin a new life. Meet Arianna, a young tech worker who recently moved to Mexico City.
Table of contents
- Expat Profile: Working Remotely from Mexico City as a US Citizen
- Remote Workers and Digital Nomads in Mexico City
- Temporary Residence Visa Mexico
- How Can Contractor Taxation Help You as a Digital Nomad in Mexico?
- What Other American Digital Nomads Are Asking About Working in Mexico
- Other Readings about Working and Contracting in Mexico
Expat Profile: Working Remotely from Mexico City as a US Citizen
Americans like Arianna are uniquely positioned to enjoy the digital nomad life in Mexico, especially in the capital of Mexico City.
Arianna was a software engineer who had been working for a prominent tech company in Silicon Valley for several years. Despite having a successful career and enjoying the vibrant tech scene she wanted a new start. Arianna began to feel burnt out by the high cost of living, intense competition, and the fast-paced lifestyle.
Seeking a change of pace and a better work-life balance, she decided to become a digital nomad and explore new opportunities in Mexico City. She would be freelancing for her former employer, but in a similar role that was mutually agreed upon.
Arianna settled into an apartment in one of Mexico City’s hip neighbourhoods. It was a safe area surrounded by cafes, coworking spaces, and fellow digital nomads from around the world.
The cost of living was significantly lower than in Silicon Valley, allowing her to stretch her income further and enjoy a higher quality of life. Arianna found what she was looking for in Mexico City.
Remote Workers and Digital Nomads in Mexico City
But why would Arianna choose Mexico City, when there are so many beaches and natural areas to live and work in? What is the appeal of Mexico City with digital nomads?
Digital Nomad Community
The local community quickly embraced Arianna, and networking events provided opportunities to connect with entrepreneurs, creatives, and tech enthusiasts. She had been used to a network of co-workers, so this really helped to fill the void socially and professionally. She wasn’t really a party oriented person, so the serious attitude of her fellow nomads was perfect for her compared to some of the beach locations.
Mexico City Culture
The flexibility of being a digital nomad allowed Arianna to explore Mexico City’s hidden gems during the day. She ended up visiting world-class museums, exploring colourful markets, and savouring delicious street food. Arianna started to gain an appreciation of Mexican culture which made her feel even more at home.
Ease of Travel from Mexico City
The digital nomad lifestyle also enabled Arianna to travel to other parts of Mexico on weekends or during longer breaks. From the picturesque beaches of Tulum to the cultural wonders of Oaxaca, each destination offered new experiences and fresh perspectives. There are many inexpensive transportation options in and out of Mexico City, making it an ideal travel hub.
Cost of Living
Arianna found that apartment rentals, food and transport were all very economical, considering she was in an urban setting. Although there are more digital nomads moving to Mexico City, its sheer size means that there is enough housing supply to keep prices reasonable.
Temporary Residence Visa Mexico
The primary hurdle for a US citizen working in Mexico is obtaining a visa. Because Americans are given up to six months on a tourist visa, it might be tempting to just make biannual visa runs back home. But Mexican authorities are on to this strategy, and might have questions for you at some point.
There is no digital nomad visa to work in Mexico as with many countries, but the Temporary Residence Visa is similar:
- You must have a monthly income of around $2500 for the past six months
- Or, a bank balance of $43,000
- Must be applied for outside of Mexico at a consulate
- Valid for 6 months up to 4 years
- Mexican companies cannot be included in your client list or income
- This is not actually a Mexico residency visa, but a temporary permission to stay
These requirements are not too onerous, and far better than working on a tourist visa. But what if during your stay in Mexico you come across potential clients and income opportunities? This is where Contractor Taxation can help you with a traditional work permit, tax calculation and assured compliance with Mexican law.
How Can Contractor Taxation Help You as a Digital Nomad in Mexico?
After spending some time in Mexico, you may find opportunities with local companies that need skilled contractors. There is work in Mexico for foreigners if the role is specialised. This can be a great income supplement or lead to long term roles. But if you earn more than 50% of your revenue from Mexican sources, you will become a tax resident and liable for payments.
You will also no longer be eligible for the Temporary Residence Visa, meaning that you will need a traditional work visa in Mexico. Contractor Taxation can help you with both of these issues, using one of our vetted umbrella companies in Mexico. The umbrella company will calculate and withhold taxes for you, as well as sponsor and secure your work permit. This will ensure that you are in compliance with all Mexico work visa requirements.
Other benefits of umbrella companies include:
- Manages all client payments, tax withholding and any social contributions
- Issues you a payslip each month, to a local or foreign account
- Sponsors work permits
- Helps set up the contract with the client
- Moderates any disputes with your client
- Advises on access to totalization and double taxation treaties
If you have questions about how an umbrella company can help you as an international contractor, please contact us!
What Other American Digital Nomads Are Asking About Working in Mexico
Yes a US citizen can work in Mexico as a remote worker or as a contractor/employee for a Mexican company. There are different visa requirements for each situation.
If you plan on working for Mexican companies you will need to secure a work visa. That is easily done through an umbrella company for contractors and freelancers. If you are a remote worker, you don’t need a work visa, but will have to apply for a temporary residence visa.
There are numerous co-working spaces, expat cafes and bars where you can easily meet other Americans that are remote working. There are also Facebook groups and other online communities where you can set up contacts before you arrive.
You would have to get permission from the US company, but it is becoming rather common for remote workers to move to Mexico. You just have to be able to handle the distant work relationship and any time zone differences. A stable internet connection will be key.