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Ex-media spokesman Mexico Tourism. Deemed expert: NY Times, Wall Street Journal, TX Monthly, Guardian (UK), MX City News, Contenido, Atención San Miguel

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Working in Mexico - Self Employment

Can You Work in Mexico?

Revised and modernized from my old book.

Self-Employment In Mexico is easier today than ten years ago.

You will find plenty of expats who move there in their 50's expecting to make a living. Many do. Some don't. Today the roadblocks to getting working visas are tiny compared to a few years ago. The details change but you can find out the rules de jour from or the local Mexican consulate. I am not about the small stuff. This is about the big picture.

Businesses that Could Fly

Self-employment businesses that could work in Mexico include Internet-based businesses (provided you can work out the shipping details if you sell products—that’s not easy). There are shipping services in Laredo, TX that seem reliable. There is one in McAllen, TX that sucks.

If you have a partner in the States or Canada to do the actual shipping, that would be best.); consulting; working with Mexican companies that want to expand into U.S. or Canadian markets; engineering consulting (While you are unlikely to be hired as an engineer for a firm, you could provide consulting expertise.); import-export (obviously).

Intellectual Property

If you put on seminars in the USA, you can set things up from Mexico and drive up to do the actual seminars. If this option had been available when I criss-crossed the USA giving seminars, I would have stayed in Mexico.

If you do webinars, then you never have to leave home.

Medical Professionals

This is new information since I wrote Live Better South of the Border. Things change and I learn. Doctors and chiropractors actually could work in Mexico, though they have to be certified and take tests in Spanish. It will be a lot of work but it can be done. I have met a handful of U.S. doctors and one chiropractor who have done it. I know of a psychologist illegally working with gringo clientele in (well, I won't blow her cover), but she is running a risk. So if you are going to work there, find out the requirements from the AMA or the Mexican Chiropractic Assn., in Mexico City.

More Businesses that could work

Tourist-based businesses are a natural - provided you employ mainly Mexicans. I know of a guy who started a yacht cruise company. I told him his chances were slim, which goes to show that I don’t know everything, he said sheepishly); manufacturing (I know a fellow who built a plant to extract shark cartilage and bottle it.); computer technicians (This is harder, as there are plenty of Mexican technicians. Your best bet is to form a corporation and hire Mexican techies. The pay scale is about a fifth of U.S. and Canadian standards, but a lot higher than places such as India.); realtors (This should be difficult, as you are supposed to be able to interpret Mexican real estate law, but in gringo areas, there are plenty of gringo real estate salespeople who don't know anything more than how to sell.); time-share sales (You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish, know a darn thing, or do anything but be able to sell. Expect prejudice from your Mexican competitors, er, coworkers.).

Other Ways To Work Or Be Self-Employed

Advertising executives are in demand. While there is competition from Mexican advertising agencies, gringos are believed to be good at this.). Copywriters (While this field is dwindling, it’s a little easier to get into in Mexico than in the States or Canada.); artists (There is lots of competition from Mexican graphic artists, but you could bull your way into a position.);

Journalists or article writers.

The breed is dwindling, as you know. But if you are lucky to have an offer of being a full-fledged wire service reporter, grab it!

Failing that, you could, of course, blog your way to obscurity or fame. You might even be able to monetize it. Unfortunately everyone and his sister is an expert on Mexico these days, so you'll have to find a way to put yourself above the madding crowd. But hey, if I could do it, the bar can't be too high, right? If you think journalists in your country are underpaid, wait till you get to Mexico.); and English teachers.


You don’t need to be certified as anything to teach English in many private schools. All you need is to be able to speak English—American, Canadian, or British varieties. A high-school degree is about all you need. (Yes, I know a web site that vehemently disputes this, but then again, they are selling their services.

If you have some teaching experience or a couple of years of college, it’s a plus. But having an ESL degree is not going to mean much, unless you are teaching at a high-end school.

The field is open to English-speaking Europeans as well. Pay is just enough for you to survive, and, in some cases, enough to live comfortably, but not large. It ranges from about 6,000 to 12,000 pesos a month. You make extra money tutoring. If you are applying at a school that specializes in teaching executives and their families, you’ll probably need some experience. There are a lot of scam companies that promise to get you jobs. I no longer recommend any so do your due diligence.

Starting Your Own Business

It is possible to get a Residente Temporal with the permission to start a business. Check with the consulates for the current standards. Another way to work here is to marry a Mexican citizen and then put the business in his or her name and get him or her to hire you. Another way is to get yourself sponsored by a Mexican business and get hired. Then you can work, but only for that company.


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Save money, have a better trip with these options.

Travel Medical Insurance, Expat Insurance up to Age 75, Medical Air Evac - reasonable price.

Get A Quote


Read your Roadlog on a tablet

GPS Enhances Roadlogs

Save on hotels, seriously. Pet-friendly filter. No credit card needed!