Many Americans like Mexico, but the numbers have declined Many Americans like Mexico, but the numbers have declined. banderas news

For many Americans, MX their second home

But the number of residents' permits issued declined sharply last year

Many United States citizens are opting for longer and even permanent stays in Mexico, evidence of which can be seen in the more than 72,000 residency permits granted between 2014 and 2016 by the federal government.


But the numbers have been declining: permits issued in 2016 were one-third fewer than two years before.

And figures published by various Mexican media outlets suggest that a huge majority of American expats in Mexico live here illegally.

Be it for business, leisure or retirement, Americans have made their homes in beach paradises, colonial towns or the cities. The chief destinations — those chosen by 60% of expats to reside in temporarily or permanently — were in the states of Jalisco, Mexico City, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo and Guanajuato during those years.

Close to one-third of applicants had decided to extend their stay for over a year, indicating that their residency is basically permanent. In 2014, 42% of applications in Baja California Sur were in that category.

But the number of applicants has declined. In 2014 there were 29,286 residents’ permits granted. Last year, that number plummeted to 19,617.

On the other hand, more states joined the list of those where applicants wished to have permanent resident status. There were only three states — Zacatecas, Nayarit and Baja California — where more than half the permits issued were of the permanent kind in 2014.


By 2016, the list was eight states long, having grown to include Durango, Colima, Baja California Sur, Michoacán, Sonora and Guerrero, while Zacatecas dropped off.

Meanwhile, various recent reports have indicated that between 739,000 and 1 million Americans live in Mexico, the majority illegally.

Reports have quoted U.S. State Department estimates that 1 million U.S. expats live in Mexico and that 934,698 do so without documentation. Another report said Mexico’s statistics agency, in its between-census estimates of 2015, said there were 739,168 Americans living in Mexico, but only 65,302 of them had the required documentation from the National Immigration Institute.

The vice-president of the Executive Council of Global Enterprises, an association representing the interests of multinational companies with a presence in Mexico, estimates that more than half of American expats in Mexico are living here illegally.

They are people who arrived with a tourist card and stayed, said Andrés Rozental.

According to International Living, a web portal that specializes in retirement destinations and information, says “One million Americans can’t be wrong,” estimating that that is the number of American expats in Mexico.

It says the most popular destinations are Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, Baja California Sur (Todos Santos, Loreto and La Paz), Mazatlán, Huatulco, Puerto Escondido, Mérida and the Mayan Riviera.

Source: El Informador (sp), Excélsior (sp), Imagen Radio (sp)

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  • jdwfinger

    I think that because of all the red tape in getting a longer stay visa, it is easier to just keep getting a tourist visa every six months

    • cooncats

      Good point. I know more than a few people who do this. But I don’t know anyone who is here illegally at least I don’t think I do.

      Compared to what Mexicans go through to get Tourist Visas, Mexico is downright inviting. Our “red tape” involved a visit to the Mexican Consul in Dallas followed with a short visit to the local INM office.

      On the other hand, in 9 years no one has ever checked my visa status (Permanente). The local police aren’t authorized to do this so it isn’t done when being stopped for traffic violations and in any case my experience is that these stops are mainly about soliciting mordida anyway.

      • 46patrick46

        According to the article there are approximately one million gringos living in Mexico. All are on pension, Social Security etc. Americans living in Mexico are not a financial burden to Mexicans , on the contrary , we are a financial blessing to Mexico.

        The reverse is that there are 15-20 Million illegal aliens living in the USA at American tax payer expense. Over 100 Billion dollars spent annually on supporting illegal aliens. Americans do not bring unvaccinated children with them to Mexico and insert them into the Mexican school system at Mexican expense. Americans enter Mexico LEGALLY and undergo criminal background checks , whether you know it or not , and health screenings. Most Americans have been vaccinated against diseases prior to entry into Mexico.

        When Mexicans illegally enter the USA it is without a health screening which leads to virus contagion in the USA and other bacterial outbreaks in areas with illegals. Mexican illegals do not submit to a criminal background check causing 33% of violent crime in America being caused by Latinos , mostly the illegals.

        I no longer travel to Mexico because too many of them fear or hate Americans. Last time there some of them threatened to kill me. My crime ? I was a gringo. Fortunately for me , I am a tall gringo and my accosters were bajitos. I destroyed them. Ja ja ja.

        Ever since then I’ve discovered other venues in Latin America where Americans are welcome, not feared and most importantly , not hated.

        • cooncats

          The only hate I’ve encountered here is from leftist expat sore losers who can’t seem to understand how their own Constitution works, have no respect for the First Amendment, and love to pander to Mexicans who are looking for every alibi to cover the failure of their own country to create opportunity and keep its people home where they want to be.

          Our many Mexican friends appreciate that Mexico is not automatically entitled to a double standard for either immigration or trade. We all also understand just how the U.S. created this problem for allowing that double standard to exist for decades. We know where the blame lies and it is with these political pigs who have hijacked both countries.

          The two real questions that both countries should be addressing are why their political systems are so broken that the electoral choices have become downright disastrous, and secondly why both governments are so damaging to their respective economies that there aren’t enough jobs to go around now on either side of the border.

          In the case of Mexico, these corrupt and stupid politicians are playing the scapegoat game to avoid confronting the very obvious question of why they have screwed things up here so badly that millions of Mexicans had to leave to find work and survive.

          Basically, the political system here and the few wealthy families behind it have committed a great crime against the people of this nation. And now they are trying to cover it up by their constant whining and playing the victim.

          North of the border, decades of equally bad governance have turned a budget surplus into 10 trillion dollars more in debt, started a totally criminal war in the Middle East that destabilized the entire region into the indefinite future, laden the population with job killing regulations and taxes that resulted in drying up the American Dream for the young and now can’t seem to control the shooting off of the mouth that has given said Mexican political hack counterparts a great excuse to run at the mouth too.

          Perhaps it is time for the people on both sides of the border to clean house in their respective national capitals and state houses. I have no confidence that the “leadership” of either of these countries will do anything other than make matters worse and themselves rich in the process.

        • richardgrabman

          That one million US citizens includes a good number of minor children of Mexicans, who were born in the United States, as well as working people with dual nationality, and in the Baja, commuters looking for less expensive housing than around San Diego. By no means are they all retirees, and by no means do those retirees all have proper documentation.

          Considering vaccination is mandatory in Mexico, not in the US (and the vaccination rates are close to 99% here), your nonsense about communicable diseases coming from here is BS.

          No study in the last 40 years has shown that immigrants, legal or otherwise, have higher crime rates than the general population. In fact, it has shown the opposite. As to “Latinos” committing more crimes than other USAnians, maybe it has something to do with being generally less well-off and more likely to come to the attention of authorities than the whitey-white anglos?

          Since you neither live here, nor travel here, why are you even commenting?

    • richardgrabman

      What red tape? Compared to the absolutely byzantine process of a none-USAnian getting a “green card”, it’s no big deal to get your “gringo card”. USAnians are just lazy, and think they’re entitled (and tend to ignore any Mexican legal nicety that conflicts with their own misunderstanding of the way the world works).

      • jdwfinger

        I agree it is easy to get the tourista card, fill out a simple form pay 500 pesos and you are good for 6 months. The others require income proof from banks and other notary items, plus of course you have to pay bribes.. I do not care what anyone has to do to get a green card,, to me just follow the rules and fill papers and pay without bribes

        • jdwfinger

          why are you so filled with hate, you seem to be someone that everyone likes to avoid

        • Finger, I’ve lived in Mexico full-time for 17 years. Nobody has ever asked for a bribe. Never. And the sole time I offered one, early on, it was refused! All the Mexican immigration folks I’ve dealt with are very professional.

        • cooncats

          Never encountered anything about paying bribes at INM. Our local office is competent, helpful and friendly. When I contrast what our Mexican friends go through with INS versus our treatment, it is like night and day difference.

          Bear in mind, though, that it is a good bet few if any U.S. expat are a burden on social services here simply because those are very few and one does have to show proof of legal visa status and a passport in order to access anything. Which is as it should be.

          • Eugene Nero

            We’re forgetting that we come here with US incomes & don’t look for other people’s jobs. Not true north of the line. The green card gives you the right to work and it shouldn’t. As it is in Mexico, the right to work should be a process above and beyond simple residency.

          • richardgrabman

            Not quite true, Eugene. Plenty of gringos here seeking work… or claiming to be working “off-site” while evading taxes in both countries. Heck, I did for a time when I first moved here (not by my own deviousness, but was paid as a “consultant” by a company headquartered in the US, while on what was then a tourist visa). With returnees now, the market for people with nothing particular to sell but being able to speak English may dry up,

            But, why shouldn’t a US “green card” give you the right to work? ..That’s what it was designed for.

          • sam_brit10

            I agree with richardgrabman. I know MANY gringos who are working and making money on the side and not paying taxes on it. Many others who own businesses here, but at least they provide jobs for the locals. Others who are renting out their houses here and not paying taxes on the rental income. Also I know many who have enrolled in the FREE medical services provided by Seguro Popular, or who have a seniors card that gives them discounts for many things. Plus our presence here hikes up the cost of everything for the locals. Our presence here does have an impact and it’s not always positive.

      • 46patrick46

        Yeah , but gringos bring money with them to Mexico.
        Conversely , Mexicans bring nothing to the USA … They arrive with their hands out and open…
        They should be sent back… with their hands up ! Ja ja ja

        • Richard

          The Gringos visit Mexico for the same reason Mexicanos visit The US
          to get sun, I see the Gringos getting sun in Vallarta, Cancun etc, and I see Los Mexicanos in the sun in the fields of The San Joaquin Valley of CA, in the orange groves of Florida, #FUCK tRump
          Viva Zapata Cabrones

          • DeplorableVI

            Viva Trump.

        • reporter

          That is such bullshit! If it weren’t for Mexicans the entire economy of the US would collapse. They do the tough jobs that no else wants to do, open small businesses and transform dull, crack-ridden neighborhoods into funky, lively social enclaves. Most Mexicans leave the country out of fear—the fact that there is 99 impunity for violent crimes and the country is awash in arms supplied by the US. The way on drugs is no more than an excuse to quell civil discontent. . . if there were more Mexicans in the US who could actually vote, your country wouldn’t be saddled with your insane showboat of a president.

        • IHeartSD

          What the hell are you talking about? You clearly know nothing about the lives of everyday Mexican immigrants in this country, documented or not. They work their asses off, sometimes at two or three back-breaking jobs that native-born Americans would never consider working. Pay a visit to any farm or field tended to by migrant workers. Go into any restaurant or hotel, or check out your local landscapers, or your maintenance crew. Oh, and by the way, if you’re undocumented, you can’t get federal handouts, so STFU. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re acting like a stereotypical ugly American.

  • cooncats

    Throw the illegals out. Americans shouldn’t be expecting Mexicans to respect their immigration laws if they aren’t doing the same. It is pretty easy to get a Temporal Residente if you have the income.

    Also, review the income requirements. They seem far higher than required to live comfortably in Mexico and have been raised significantly in recent years. Perhaps that has something to do with people not getting Temporals or Permanentes.

    • gaymex1

      I agree with you that the income requirements need a second look, but I think the number of illegal residents is inaccurate. Admittedly my evidence is anecdotal, so take that for what it’s worth.

      • cooncats

        Agree. I’m very skeptical of those numbers and wonder how many of the alleged illegals are simply renewing tourist permits rather than going Temporal because of the high income requirement.

        In any case it is their country and they get to set the rules. However as is often the case Mexico may have shot themselves in the foot and created this problem with unreasonably high income requirements.

        • 46patrick46

          Gee, when Mexicans illegally enter the USA there is no income requirement. They just come to the USA and jump on welfare , section 8 subsidized housing , food stamps , Medicaid and place their unvaccinated children in American public schools and have the American tax payer pay for all their needs.

          But should an American move to Mexico the American must support himself with a pension or other revenue sources , 401, savings , investment income , etc. You see the fairness in all of this ?
          We pay… Mexicans play. Que pena.

    • Mark Schneider

      As to the income requirements … Mexico is a very large country and some areas have a lower COL than others. Considering that the current monthly income requirement (as of 2015) is about $1,500, it doesn’t seem too high to me … at least not in Puerto Vallarta.

      • cooncats

        PV is a pretty expensive place. Current requirement is north of $21K U.S. and must be in the form of pension or social security income.

        You can live very well on that here in Chapala. A friend of mine in Oaxaca would find this to be a rich standard of living.

  • Lance Conrad

    They automatically give you 180 days when you enter Mexico.. Many of us just go back before our time expires and re-enter. Perfectly legal.

    • Michael C

      I just completed the process for temporary residency, it was no problem at all, and I am now waiting for my card to be ready for pickup. For me, living in Mexico is a permanent plan, so I wanted to get out of “tourist” status…..and happy I did so!

      • Daniel A Smith

        ownership in a fraqshiemento from a ejiedo reqrriers a fm3 or more the fm from imss has changed to what we call the green card from imss permente resedente. this is requried in all land in the federal zones of the country ie: 50 km from a national border, 100km from any border shore. as always in mexico gringos are in the end casc boxs. please excuse my english.

        • James Evans

          Sorry Daniel but…..We have 9 owners in our Fraccimiento ( condominium) on the beach in Colima, definitely in the coastal zone…… all of them have a tourist visa… it is true that if you want a Mexican bank account, you need to have resident status either temporary or permanent…

        • 46patrick46

          Your Spanish needs to be excused as well. Permente is permanente / resedente is residente …

  • TioDon

    I am a Permanent Resident and it was easy to get….if you follow the rules. A local guy walks you through the process and the paperwork for about $200USD. A trip (one night) to Orlando and the Mexican Consulate and you’re done. I don’t think I’ll go back to the US unless I have a MAJOR medical issue (knock on wood). I have Medicare. All my medical needs so far have been handled locally.

    Immigration should go to all the dive shops; none of those people are legal. It pisses me off when one of them brags that their visa expired two years ago…..

  • David Williams

    I’ve lived in Mexico for over ten years and don’t know anyone who doesn’t have at least temporary residency status, or who isn’t a snow bird who just renews their 180-day tourist visa each time they come down. I got my own permanent residency status when it became almost obligatory a few years back once they made it a requirement to do so after (I believe) four years of temporary residency. I understand that, since then, the income requirements have become such that a lot of folks who were here legally under the old requirements may have become ineligible under the new ones. I suspect that some of those folks’ temporary residencies may have run out and they can’t qualify for permanent residency because of a shortfall in income and therefore have decided to remain illegally. But, again, I don’t know any.

    No way can I believe that 90% of the Americans living here are undocumented.

    • richardgrabman

      Whether the “snowbirds” are legal residents is a question in itself. Many work (itself illegal) or are at least in violoation of the spirit of the law. An TMM is not a residency permit, although these people claim to be residents. They’re merely tourists or temporary migrants.

    • cooncats

      One you have the required number of years as Temporal the transition to Permanente does not require further income check or qualifying under the new rules.

  • K. Chris C.

    Going to be interesting the response of the 180-day “swallows” as the US tyranny further implements Check Point Charlie along the border.

    An American citizen, not US subject.

    • 46patrick46

      Check points are necessary to keep invaders out…

  • 1. I don’t believe for a second that a “huge majority” of Gringos living in Mexico are here illegally.

    2. The U.S. government has nary a clue about how many Gringos live in Mexico. When you move to Mexico you do not have to tell the U.S. government, so how could they know?

    3. The million-Gringos-in-Mexico myth soldiers on.

    This story about illegal Gringos in Mexico sounds like a tit-for-tat piece. Such as, we do it here too. Everybody is the same.

    Well, no matter how many Gringos are in Mexico sans papers, and there are no doubt a good many, I think they should all be arrested, cuffed, and tossed back over the Rio Bravo unceremoniously.

  • Many come just with tourist visa in winter and stay up to 180 days.

  • Viejo Gringo

    the vast, vast majority of US citizens living in Mexico are people of Mexican descent who were born in the US and returned to Mexico for various reasons. For example, children of undocumented Mexicans whose parents returned to Mexico. There are also many people born in Mexico with a US citizen for a parent who could qualify as US citizens. I doubt many of those parents ever thought of getting immigration papers for their children.

    • 46patrick46

      Oye viejo , creo que tiene razón.

  • Lupe Delg!dillo

    We Mexicans just need 6 months work permits.