Every official document is important in Mexico. There is a lot of red tape involved to acquire them, and even more red tape if you lose them. It is imperative that you keep all your documents and documentation organized and current. You must keep copies of ALL the documents that you carry with you in your purse, wallet or vehicle. Even if you keep these documents in a safe until you are ready to use them, it is good practice to have a copy. When traveling in Mexico you must have proof that you are in the Country legally at all times! I am afraid of losing my originals so I make a color copy of my resident card, license and senior card, cut to size, front and back faced and glued and laminated. I carry my copies and leave my originals at home in the safe. Have copies of your Passport, CURP, Plan Locale, INAPAN, Driver’s License, FPMC, RFC, Mexican Social Security, AND your Immigration Card.
At home in a safe place you MUST keep the following documents:
– Official Certified Birth Certificate & Certified Translation
– Official Marriage License & Certified Translation
– Last Will & Testament from your Country of Citizenship & Mexican Last Will & Testament
– Power of Attorney (Officially translated if not filed in Mexico)
– Living Will Officially Translated
– Burial / Cremation Preferences Officially translated & notarized.
– Keep Receipts of Paid Taxes and Utilities for 5 years
– Homeowners: Deeds & Land Trust documents & Insurance
– Renters: Rental Contract & Receipts of payments
– Vehicles: Permits, Ownership, taxes, & Insurance
– Business Owners: Ownership Documents, Paperwork, receipts, taxes & Insurance
– Business Owners instructions for termination of employees in the event of your death.
– Banking: Documents & an authorized backup person you can entrust to withdraw your funds to pay your expenses should you be incapacitated, hospitalized, or for your burial expenses in the event of your death.
There are Nine important Mexican Documents that you will need to apply for, some mandatory and some that will give you discounted services.
What these credentials are for: A CURP number is now being assigned by immigration to new applicants for temporary and permanent residents, a copy of the card will be required for a number of things. A MEXICAN DRIVERS LICENSE is mandatory to drive in Mexico if you have a Permanent Resident status. The INAPAM (Senior Card), PLAN LOCALE (Ferry Discount also frequently used for proof of residency), and FUNDACIÓN DE PARQUES Y MUSEO DE COZUMEL cards are equally important because they will enable you to receive discounts only available to residents on the island. You will need a MEXICAN SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER to apply for IMSS Insurance and an RFC number if you want to receive and give out Facturas, or in other words, file taxes, ask for tax exemption or lower the amount of taxes when you are earning an income or selling property.
The Cozumel Sun Step by Step Instructions:
The CURP (Clave Unica de Poblacion) is needed to apply for a Mexican driver’s license, employment, collecting pensions, enrolling a child in school, registering your cellular telephone, and certain bank transactions. The CURP number is now assigned to you as part of the immigration process. Once you receive your CURP number, you can go on-line and print out your CURP card. Here’s the link to the page http://consultas.curp.gob.mx/CurpSP/ .
The RFC is your Tax Identification Number, needed if you are selling or providing services that create revenues. It is issued by SAT, Secretary of Hacienda and Public Credit, the Mexican version of the IRS or Revenue Canada. As of September 2014, it is needed in order to sell or purchase Mexican Property. It is my understanding that you can start the process by applying on line at www.sat.gob.mx using your CURP number. I applied at the SAT office on 30th. I took along all my copies of: CURP, Immigration Credential, Utility Bill, and Copy of my Passport front Page. In no time I was issued a tax ID number, (RFC) and handed a how to disk with instructions and informational pamphlets. You can make an appointment with their accountant who can assist you on a one to one basis if you run across any problems. I am able to issue and receive Facturas for my work with The Cozumel Sun. I am able to do it all on-line including filing my taxes every two months. An RFC number will enable you to receive facturas for your home improvements and repairs to offset your capital gains tax in time of sales. The document is letter size. The above illustration is what the very top of the document looks like.
There is a Car Ferry Discount Program for Mexican plated Vehicles called Plan Cozumel. You must also have a Mexican driver’s license to qualify. It is vehicle and owner specific, in other words, if you have multiple vehicles, you must get a discount card for each. While you need not be driving, you must be in the vehicle to receive the discount.
At the time that I obtained this information, there was a big demand for the discount, so they were only processing about 85 per day. The guard on duty handed out numbers starting at 7 in the morning. One number is only good for one vehicle; ask for more if you have multiple vehicles.I was told foreigners should present their car registration card (Mexican) their Driver’s license (Mexican) and their Immigration Credentials. The discount card is free of charge, but replacement cards for damaged or lost cards will be 100 pesos. They are located on Calle 6 North #14 between 10 and 15th Avenues. They are open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from nine a.m. to two p.m. The cost for an economy car not exceeding 5.5 metros will be $723.98 pesos. The discount will lower that rate to $380 pesos. This includes the driver; extra passengers will be $60 pesos each.
The Plan Locale card serves both as a discount card at both passenger ferry companies and as proof of residence for local businesses that give discounts to the residents. I applied at the “Modulo De Plan Locale” located outside the offices of Mexican Waterjets on Avenida 6 Norte between 10th and 15th. The process was fast and easy. You need your original Immigration card, your proof of residence (current cable, light, or water bill) and present your senior card (INAPAM) if you have one (50% Ferry discount for seniors). The cost is $100 pesos. They take your picture and issue your card right on the spot. The card is renewed annually and coincides with your immigration renewal date if applicable.
I met with an official of Mexican Waterjets on behalf of the many residents that live on the island six months per year and hold no Visa. I am sorry to report at this time that they will not make an exception.
The INAPAM card is the official senior credential in Mexico. In February of 2010 I turned 60 and was finally able to apply for the INAPAM card. The card enables you to receive the local senior discount which includes bus and ferry transportation, property taxes (50%), non-Simi drug stores,movies and more! Where: The DIF Park on 50th between Calle 3 & 5. They are open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. They often do not have cards available, but they are good at posting when to expect them. Bring: (As of December 2016) 2 copies of birth certificate 2 copies of CURP card
2 copies of proof of residence (CFE or CAPA Bill)
2 copies of IFE (Instituto Federal Electoral) This would not apply to foreign nationals as we can’t vote Substitute with your Visa or Permanent Resident Card Copies
3 infantile color photographs without glasses
Name and telephone number of a person to contact in case of an accident The Mexico Social Security Number: You need a Mexican Social Security Number in order to apply for the Mexican Social Security Medical Insurance. Apply on line at: http://www.imss.gob.mx/tramites/imss02008 . All you need to have handy is your CURP number, an Email address and a printer. Follow the step by step instructions and you can print out this valuable document in minutes.The document is letter size the above illustration is what the very top of the document looks like.
Mexico Driver’s License
Where: The Police station adjacent to the Municipal building. As you enter take an immediately left to office at end of the hall.
Other Requirement: They will give you an appointment for a 2 hour class, Exam and driving test. The course and exam are 100% in Spanish. 2 hour course first, then a 4 page written exam. Exam can be oral if necessary and translators are allowed.
Cost: Cost was $383 pesos for the license $20 pesos for the exam, $80-$100 pesos for Blood Test.
Renewable: Every Two Years
The Fundacion De Parques Y Museos De Cozumel Card is what I call the Park Card for short. This card is a must have to get the local discounts at all the Municipal Parks and the Museum. It is issued by the Fundacion De Parques Y Museos located next to Oxxo on 30th Avenida near Juarez and at their office in Chankanaab Park. (On 30th it is the white building with red trim with huge letters “FPMC”, you can’t miss it). Their hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You will need a copy of your immigration credentials, your Plan Locale Card, a copy of your INAPAM card (if applicable), and a copy of a current utility invoice for proof of residence. There is a minimal charge for each card ($30 pesos in 2014).. Just like the Plan Locale, they have a machine that takes your picture and transfers it to their computer. They show you the picture and then print it on a hard plastic card with your data in a matter of minutes. It is well worth the effort as the discount is 50% at Chankanaab Park alone!
Now, this is totally different than the arrangements that you make in your will in the event of your death. The arrangements that you make in case of your death is to make things easier for your loved ones, and to make certain that your assets are distributed per your instructions. This is more important, what happens if you are ill and incapacitated, can affect the quality of the rest of your life.
This person or persons should live here on the island. There should be more than one, in the event you have an emergency while your first choice is on vacation, or was with you in the same car accident. (This will typically be the case if your emergency Contact is your spouse or significant other that lives with you in Cozumel).
An” In Case Of Emergency Card” should be in YOUR CAR, MOTO, WALLET / PURSE, and taped next to the telephone in your HOME in the event the emergency happens at home. Do not forget allergies, blood type and medical conditions!
Add your hospital preference! Remember, in Cozumel we are having the ambulance drivers compete to get patients to designated hospitals. You do not want to have coverage at IMSS or General Hospital and wake up with a huge bill at CMC! This in-case-of-emergency card should be typed in SPANISH & English with the names and contact information of your emergency Contacts.
The EMERGENCY CONTACT should have the knowledge and ability to:
- Contact your family back home, & your Power of Attorney, etc.
- Schedule themselves and others to remain by your side until your family arrives from abroad. Family members and friends are expected to be with the loved ones in most Mexican Hospital to assist with the care of the patient. This is toileting, bathing, feeding, and changing diapers, etc. It is also important if there is a language barrier.
- Have knowledge and access to the whereabouts of all your documents.
- Have access to your home to care for or arrange for the care for your pets.
- Have knowledge of your home in case it needs to be locked up indefinitely or prepared for severe weather.
If this person happens to also be your Power of Attorney, they should have a means of accessing funds through a debit card. If you have not designated a friend or Family member back home to be your POA , with the legal document translated Officially and Notarized in Mexico, you better find someone you trust here to be your POA. Here are some reasons why:
It is not uncommon in Mexico to have a patient’s family purchase medication not in-stock or have laboratory or other test done by another institution that requires pre-payment.
There are some insurance policies that do not cover all procedures. Those not covered will require payment.
In addition to hospital expenses, are there household employees (maid, gardener, pool guy) that will need to be paid? Will your pet or pets need money on hand for food or care?
If you are single and/or living alone:
Do you wish to stop all housekeeping, pool service, laundry service? These people will need to receive their final payment, or have someone in-charge of continuing to pay them in your absence.
What do you want to happen in your Contracted Services if you will be in the hospital long term or returned to your home country for treatment?
If instructed, the POA will be able to turn off your cable service, telephone service, and internet service. These services will only close the account once they receive payment in full for what is owed to them.
Now, these are things that I have come up with based on a household only. If you have a business here in Mexico, you will need to think through and make arrangements to have all your bases covered within the business.
PLEASE HELP KEEP THIS INFORMATION CURRENT. MEXICAN LAWS AND PROCEDURES ARE CONSTANTLY CHANGING. PLEASE BRING ANY CHANGES YOU MIGHT ENCOUNTER TO OUR ATTENTION SO THAT WE MAY KEEP THIS INFORMATION CURRENT AT ALL TIMES. THANK YOU!