Moving to Sayulita

Are you thinking of bringing a car, retiring, investing in property, starting a business in Sayulita?

Real Estate • Immigration • Vehicles • Business




Do you know what type of visa you need while in Mexico or how to qualify for citizenship?   A short consultation with a qualified attorney will get you in the know and help you understand next steps without making expensive mistakes.  There are many attorneys that  handle your entire immigration process, from the consulate to the green card in hand so that you can relax on the beach or tend to other matters.

Sayulita Immigration questions/answers:

Can I extend my tourist visa?  No.  A tourist visa allows 180 days in Mexico.  There is no way to extend it, however, by crossing an international border you can get a new one, thus another 180 days.

How do I start the residency process?  The process initiates at the Mexican Consulate nearest where you live.  Depending on how you qualify and which consulate you are going to the initial application varies.  Once you enter on the visa that the Consulate issues you, you have 30 days to file the next step in the process with INM here in Mexico.  

Are there time constraints if I am a Temporary or Permanent Resident? Unlike the old FM3 and FM2 visas, there are no time restrictions that require you to be in Mexico a set amount of time in order to maintain your legal residency.  If you are looking at becoming a Mexican citizen there are time constraints applicable to your time as a Resident though.

What if I cannot stay in Mexico the length of time that it takes to complete the residency process?  This process takes approximately 30 days.  If you cannot stay in Mexico the full amount of time it takes for INM to issue you your new visa, you must file for a special permission to leave.  The permission allows you 60 days out of the country to return and continue your INM process.  


If you are thinking of becoming involved in real estate- talk to a professional with years of experience.   Working in the industry for over 20 years years, Rod Rosile is familiar with building, permits and zoning, property management and rentals.  His agency (Sayulita Investmet Realty) is loacted at the bridge in Sayulita and his team is ready to help you find the right property for your needs.

Sayulita real estate questions/answers:

How do real estate agents work in Mexico?  There is no real estate licensing in Mexico.  The closest thing is an association of real estate agents, called AMPI, which has a local chapter.  An AMPI affiliated agent  can guide you through the sale or acquisition process properly.  

Buyer’s and seller’s agents will look out for their client’s best interests for a split of a commission on the sale, however, it is possible that the same agent represents both the buyer and seller for the full commission (usually between 6-10% plus IVA tax).   A seller’s agent will review all legal documents, educate the seller on applicable taxes and closing procedures, review details of the property with the owner to get the property ready for listing, create a listing contract for approximately 6 months, and promote the property to other agents and potential buyers.  

The buyer’s agent will help to identify relevant properties, set up showings, prepare offers, review legal documents and coordinate the closing.  It is not necessary to get counsel from a lay-lawyer if the real estate agent is competent-- the entire real estate process must go through a Public Notary, which is a specific type of lawyer who has authority over all land transactions and takes lead from the agent.  

What does Ejido, titled, and ready for trust (fideicomiso) mean?  These are very important concepts to understand as you look for property in and around Sayulita.   Ejido land is land that does not have title and cannot be legally purchased by a foreigner.  In many cases, it can be titled, but requires an obscure about of time and funds (ready for title is commonly used).  

Titled property is what you want to look for.  It is identified with either a titulo or escritura (which if currently owned by a foreigner, is held in a trust or fideicomiso) and is registered at the public registry.   A fideicomiso is a trust, the only way that a foreigner can own land in the Restricted Zone (near the ocean or international border).  A trust is a very safe and trusted way to hold property, via a Mexican bank, which holds title, but allows the trustee full-rights of use and enjoyment.  As you look through property listings make sure you verify that the property is already titled.  

How expensive are property taxes in Sayulita?  OK.  Are you ready?  Brace yourself.  Property taxes, called predial, are quite cheap, and they are even cheaper if you pay in January or February.  How cheap?  It depends on where it is located, size and construction, but average prices in Sayulita are less than $300USD per year!  More significant taxes are placed on income-- rental properties pay taxes, about 45% on the net income that their property produces.  


There is valuable information and contacts to ensure your vehicles is legal in Mexico.  From permits to importation, purchasing to plates, Audrey will legally take you through these complex and very different processes.  Don’t stress yourself with the details, you are in good hands when you have a good attorney on your side.  

Sayulita vehicles questions/answers:

Do I have to have Temporary or Permanent Residency to purchase a Mexican vehicle?  No.  You can purchase a Mexican vehicle as a Tourist, but you do have to show proof of residency, such as a CFE or TelMex bill.  

Can I sell my car in Mexico? If you imported your vehicle temporarily, you signed an agreement that says you will not sell your vehicle in Mexico with the TIP condition.  If you were to sell it, you would be compromising both parties:  you would never be able to import a vehicle again, and the buyers is going to be driving around a car that is not legally in their name, and thus vulnerable under the eye of the law.  If you want to sell your car in Mexico, you must first permanently import it or drive it out of the country, expunge it from your record and then the buyer can import it temporarily under their name.  Buyer beware!  

Who can drive my car while I am away from Mexico?  If you have Temporary Residency and you plan to take a trip it is not recommended that you allow anyone to drive your vehicle.  If someone is going to drive your car refer to Article 106 of the Aduana law which states that immediate family members can drive the vehicle.  Make sure you have proper documentation to back up the relationship though.   For example, if your spouse drives your car you can prove the marriage with your marriage license and leave a copy of your immigration cards.

How can I get Mexican plates for my car?  Unless your car is permanently imported to Mexico, you cannot get Mexican plates.  Foreign plates are often a target for police officers.  This is a motivating factor for those who are interested in “Mexicanizing” their vehicle, especially if the vehicle stays in Mexico.  Often times the time and pay-off associated with having foreign plates justifies paying for the permanent importation of your vehicle.


Are you thinking of starting a business in Sayulita?  A good attorney helps client’s business needs by listening to their ideas and framing them in the local context.  You are operating in a new land and need to be compliant with local ways of doing business. Benefit from her knowledgeable team and their years of experience.  They do tax registrations and filings, business licenses, contracts and more.

Sayuliuta business questions/answers:

What do I need to have a business in Sayulita?  Sayulita is ripe with opportunity, however, running a business in Sayulita has its challenges- finding reliable, competent workers that you can communicate with, electrical outages, mold, parking, trash- the list goes on.  Successful business owners roll with the punches and are constantly re-addressing the needs of their business plan to fit the changing seasons.  

Every individual who is working with a business must have authorization from INM (immigration authorities) and a tax identification (RFC) which reflects the type of activity you are conducting.  Beyond this point, they can look at what other specific needs your business will have.   If you have employees other considerations must be handled appropriately.

How much will I pay in taxes?  The amount of taxes paid in Mexico depends on the type of activity you are conducting and your clientele.  There are a multitude of ways that you can register with the Hacienda (aka SAT, the tax authorities).  Once they understand your situation and goals, they will make recommendations that will allow you to pay what is legally required.  As a foreigner, taxes in your home country may be applicable as well. 


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