When many people begin to look at moving to a new country, they may begin to start researching residency and citizenship programs. However, this is often unnecessary, especially in Latin America where tourist visas are often easy to obtain and offer a generous duration for US citizens. LATAM Capitalist recommends starting with a tourist visa to get your feet wet before diving into all of the bureaucracy that are residency and citizenship programs. This gives you a chance to experience what life is like in your new country before making a large and often time consuming and even costly decision.
There are a few Latin American countries with less than generous tourist visas, however let's begin with Mexico, probably the most generous of all Latin American tourist visas with regard to US citizens. Mexico offers a six month tourist visa on entry to US citizens. This is usually given automatically, but you may want to confirm the length of your tourist visa before passing through immigration just in case.
Now you may be wondering how you can live year round in Mexico on a six month tourist visa. You can get a new six month visa by simply leaving and reentering the country. There is no limit to how many days you can stay in Mexico per calendar year. Depending on where you are located in the country, this may mean a quick border hop to Belize or Guatemala, a vacation to any Caribbean (or any other country), or a quick flight back home to the states to see family. You could theoretically use this strategy indefinitely and continue living in Mexico, or you may one day decide that residency or citizenship is the best path forward.
Each country has different laws regarding tourist visas and not all countries are easy as Mexico. For example, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia do not offer visas on arrival to US citizens. Peru on other hand offers a 183 day (roughly 6 months) visa on arrival, however they also cap the amount of days per calendar year at those 183 days. Thus, you cannot use the border hopping strategy to renew. For more information on other Latin American countries, my friend Vance over at My Latin Life has a great post here.
Need a Place to Stay in Mexico?
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Need Some More Help With Your Move Abroad?
If you are interested in moving to Latin America, but still have some reservations or questions about life down there, I highly recommend using Vance's services from My Latin Life. Vance has spent over 7 years living and traveling throughout Latin America (with more than a few of those years being in Mexico). He can help you with your move abroad by answering common questions such as how to find an apartment, start a business, meet people, and stay safe. He can also answer any questions more specific to your personal situation. This guy has done it all down there, if you have any doubts or reservations, Vance can definitely help you out! If you'd like to learn more about Vance's services, click here to check out his consulting page.