Mexico Digital Nomad Visa Alternative: The Temporary Resident Visa

Mexico Digital Nomad Visa Alternative: The Temporary Resident Visa

Given Mexico’s beautiful climate, rich history, delicious food, and lower cost of living, it’s no wonder that so many remote workers want to know if there’s a Mexico digital nomad visa. While the Mexican government hasn’t launched an official digital nomad visa, there is a great alternative: the temporary resident visa.

Below, we’ll go over what digital nomads need to know about this visa, including how to apply for the temporary resident visa, what the cost of living in Mexico is like, where to consider living, and more.

Snapshot of Expat Life in Mexico

Population: 129.9 million

Capital city: Mexico City

Currency: Mexican peso

Primary language(s): Spanish

Approximate number of American expats: 1.6 million

Obtaining the Mexico Temporary Resident Visa

While Mexico’s temporary resident visa isn’t necessarily the most difficult digital nomad visa to get, it does require some time and effort. It also has a higher minimum income requirement than several countries in Latin America, such as Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador.

That being said, its proximity to the US and adherence to US time zones make Mexico an attractive option for American expats with close ties to their home country.

Application eligibility and visa duration

Mexico’s temporary resident visa is for those who want to stay in Mexico on a long-term basis. You can apply under several different categories:

  • Economic solvency
  • Scientific research
  • Invitation from an organization or institution
  • Under the auspices of an international legal instrument governing the mobility of people
  • Family unity
  • Real estate
  • Investor

The most common application category for digital nomads is “economic solvency,” which requires them to meet one of the following criteria:

  • A monthly income of $3,275 USD per month over the last 6-12 months, depending on the consulate
  • Qualifying savings/investments worth at least $54,600 USD over the last 12 months

*Specific requirements vary from consulate to consulate. Bringing dependents requires additional income.

It’s important to note that Mexico’s temporary resident visa in itself only allows you to stay in the country for six months.

However, holders of the temporary resident visa are allowed to apply for a temporary resident card, which allows them to stay in the country for up to four years. After that point, they can apply for permanent residence.

Permitted activities and work restrictions

Mexico’s temporary resident permit allows you and your dependents to live, access public healthcare, and work in Mexico, although you may only work for employers located outside of Mexico (unless you apply for a separate work permit).

Pro tip:

While Mexico’s temporary resident permit grants you access to the country’s public healthcare system, a private insurance plan will generally allow you to access quicker, higher-quality healthcare. As such, it’s generally recommended that expats purchase a policy from a trusted international, local, or digital nomad health insurance company.

Mexico Digital Nomad Visa Application Process

To apply for Mexico’s temporary resident visa, you must:

  • Gather the required documents
    • Completed visa application form
    • Valid passport & copy
    • Color passport photo (3.9 cm x 3.1 cm)
    • Proof of legal residency if not a US citizen (e.g., Form I-797, I-20 advance parole)
    • Proof of income (e.g., bank statements, financial documents)
  • Make an appointment at your designated Mexican embassy or consulate in your home country.
  • Submit your documents in person
  • Pay the $51 USD visa application fee
  • Receive approval
    • Often, you can receive your temporary resident visa on the same day as your application — in some cases, however, you may need to wait up to ten business days
  • Travel to Mexico 
  • Within 30 days, apply for a temporary residence permit at your nearest Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) or National Institute of Migration office.
  • Receive your permit (typically within two to three weeks)

Where to Live in Mexico


Located in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida consistently ranks among Mexico’s best places to live thanks to its safety, tropical climate, rich culture, and low cost of living. The influence of both indigenous and Spanish cultures is palpable in this city, with indigenous art, music, food, and dance blending seamlessly with colonial-style buildings and plazas. And despite its jungle setting, Mérida is only about a 40-minute drive to the beach.

Mexico City

The thriving cosmopolitan capital of Mexico City draws in everyone from entrepreneurs to artists to families. It’s become a worldwide digital nomad hub in recent years, with co-working spaces and trendy cafés on just about every corner. Expats in CDMX appreciate the world-renowned cuisine, arts and cultural scene, and sprawling parks. Some of the best neighborhoods in Mexico City for expats include Condesa, Roma, and Polanco.  


Sayulita is an up-and-coming beach town just about 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. Known for its pristine beaches and excellent surfing, it offers a laid-back, bohemian atmosphere. Among the palm tree-lined streets, you’ll find vibrant murals, artisan shops, and delicious street food. And with a population of just a few thousand people, there’s a true feeling of community.


Oaxaca, a mid-size city in Southern Mexico, exudes old-world charm around every corner, from its cobblestone streets to its colorful buildings to its bustling street markets filled with indigenous crafts. Even in a country known for its cuisine, Oaxaca stands out as a gastronomic superstar, with tamales, mole, and mezcal among its most lauded offerings. Its mountain setting, meanwhile, gives the city a mild year-round climate, a tranquil vibe, and easy access to nature.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has long attracted Americans to its sandy shores, but its status as an expat hotspot has been even further cemented in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While its white-sand beaches offer a peaceful retreat, the city still has plenty to do. Walk along the main pedestrian thoroughfare of Quinta Avenida for shopping, dining, and dancing, or head to a beach club for live performances and all-night parties.

Digital Nomad Life in Mexico

5 things that should be on your Mexico bucket list

Mexico is an enormous country, offering more than a lifetime’s worth of things to do and places to go. But whatever you do, make sure to prioritize these five activities:

  • Tour the ancient ruins of Chichén Itzá for a glimpse into life during Mayan rule
  • Visit Oaxaca during Día de los Muertos to marvel at the processions, marigold petal-laden streets, ofrendas honoring deceased loved ones, and colorful calaveras (decorated skulls)
  • Explore the world-class museums of Mexico City, including La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former home, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropological Museum), which contains the world’s largest collection of Mexican art
  • Take a refreshing dip in the turquoise blue cenotes — or water-filled sinkholes — of Quintana Roo
  • Head to the town of Tequila to tour distilleries that brew the city’s namesake spirit

Expat community in Mexico – how to find your people

Moving to a new country is a big step, and it can be nerve-racking — especially when you don’t know anybody there. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to meet new people in Mexico. Here are a few ideas:

  • Work from a co-working space
  • Move into a co-living space
  • Stay in a social hostel when you first move there
  • Sign up for a class (e.g. Spanish, pottery, cooking, etc.)
  • Attend events on Meetup & Couchsurfing
  • Join local expat groups on Facebook
  • Attend a language exchange or use a language exchange app
  • Volunteer in your community

Moving to Mexico

Before you arrive in Mexico, make sure you tie up loose ends in the US: 

  • Round up your most critical documents (passport, copy of medical record, etc.)
  • Go to the doctor to get any vaccines you might need and pick up three months’ worth of prescriptions.
  • Book your travel to Mexico
  • Make arrangements for short-term accommodations
  • Look up what to bring to Mexico, create a list, and pack your bags
  • Store, donate, or sell your remaining belongings
  • Cancel any remaining subscriptions or services you won’t use (e.g., streaming services, utility bills, etc.)
  • Alert your bank to your move so they don’t flag foreign transactions as fraudulent.
  • Consider having your mail forwarded to a family member or trusted friend’s house.
  • Connect with other digital nomads in Mexico on sites like Reddit or Facebook.
  • Arrange care for your pets while you’re gone, or look into how to bring them with you.

Taxes for Mexico-Based Digital Nomads

The Mexican government defines those who establish a home in Mexico as tax residents unless they also have a home and maintain their “vital interests” in another country. If you a) earn more than 50% of your income from Mexican sources or b) conduct the majority of your professional activities (including remote work) in Mexico, Mexico will be considered the center of your vital interests.

Mexican tax residents are subject to taxation on their worldwide income. Tax rates vary from 1.92% in the lowest tax bracket to 35% in the highest. Non-tax residents, on the other hand, pay taxes only on their Mexican-sourced income — which includes income earned from working remotely in Mexico — at a rate of either 0%, 15%, or 30%, depending on their income band.

US Taxes for Digital Nomads in Mexico

Even if you’re living in Mexico, you’ll still have to file a US tax return, provided that you meet the minimum income reporting threshold. That’s because the US uses a tax system called citizenship-based taxation, in which all citizens and permanent residents — regardless of where they live — are subject to income taxes.

If you also have to pay Mexican taxes, this puts you at risk of double taxation. Fortunately, there are several tax breaks you can leverage that often greatly reduce your US tax liability or even completely eliminate it.

Expat tax provisions for Americans filing US taxes in Mexico

Some of the key US tax breaks to be aware of as a digital nomad are:

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE)

The FEIE lets you exclude a certain amount of foreign-earned income from taxation (up to $120,000 USD for tax year 2023). To be eligible, you need to pass either the physical presence test or the bona fide residence test. Doing so will also allow you to qualify for the Foreign Housing Exclusion/Deduction, which lets you write off certain housing expenses (e.g., rent, utilities, etc.).

Foreign Tax Credit (FTC)

The FTC gives you dollar-for-dollar US tax credits for the income taxes you pay to a foreign government. Many expats pay higher tax rates in Mexico than they do in the US, so by leveraging the FTC, they can typically eliminate their US tax bill entirely.

Child Tax Credit (CTC)

If you have qualifying dependents living with you in Mexico, you can file the CTC just as you would in the US to get as much as $2,000 USD in partially refundable credits.

Living abroad can also alter your reporting obligations, however. Some of the more common reports US expats must file include the following:

Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR)

If you possess foreign financial accounts whose contents exceed $10,000 USD at any point in the year, you’ll need to report them to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) via FinCEN Report 114.

Read more about the FBAR here.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Possessing over $200,000 USD in foreign assets by the last day of the tax year, or over $300,000 USD in foreign assets at any point during the tax year, triggers a requirement to file Form 8938. (Thresholds for those residing in the US are quite a bit lower).

We Ensure Digital Nomads in Mexico Are US Tax Compliant and Strategic

Taxes are hard enough — add an international move to them, and they become even more challenging. At Bright!Tax, however, we specialize in US expat tax services. Partner with us, and we’ll help you file optimally, accurately, and on time.

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  1. Population Clock: World – Mexico
  2. Americans Move to Mexico at Record Pace as Remote Work Beckons
  3. Temporary Resident Visa
  4. Financial Criteria for Legal Residency in Mexico 2023 (2024)
  5. Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
  6. Temporary Resident
  7. Obtaining Temporary Residency in Mexico
  8. Time Scales for Obtaining Mexico Residency Visas and Cards
  9. Mexico – Individual – Residence

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