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I have a few questions:
1. if a person is willing to live in a modest 1BR apartment within bicycle range to the U.S. border, would they be able to handle rent, groceries and utilities and have anything left over if they ate frugally and didn't use AC?

2. I'd need broadband internet access, and I know it's offered there, but is it common enough to where I won't have to ask if it's possible to set up service before moving in somewhere? Are the highest speed options up to par with what's available in the U.S.? (I'm an avid computer gamer, hehe)

3. I do happen to be in a wheelchair, so I'd be mainly getting around with a handcycle (just as fast as a bike basically) since I assume public transportation there isn't accessible. Therefore I'd be carrying non-lethal self defense items such as tasers/pepper spray. Are those things legal there?
 

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1, Yes. Look into Colonia Federal and the western part of Colonia Libertad. There is almost no air conditioning anywhere in Tijuana other than some office buildings.
2. Yes, You can get 1Mbps from Cablemás but their upload speed is about a tenth of their download speed. Telnor, the phone company, offers DSL.
3. Not really, those are considered to be weapons. You might get special permission from the police department if you asked. Some people carry pepper spray without police permission.

Public transportation here is decidedly not wheelchair-friendly even though recent laws require it to be so. Private taxis will probably be accommodating to you, however.

Check the city out before you make the move. Park at the Border Station parking lot at the last offramp of the freeway and take the Mexicoach into town. From the Mexicoach station you can board that same bus company's City Tour bus, which takes you around the main tourist areas and allows you to get on and off at two-hour intervals. When you're ready to go back home, Mexicoach will return you to the Border Station parking lot.

Your wheelchair will draw attention to you so you will want to have your immigration papers in order. An FMT will allow you to stay here up to six months, but you're better off getting an FM3. If you have no family with Mexican citizenship, you will need to demonstrate that you have a bank account and a reliable income. Check with the Instituto Nacional de Migración. It is not uncommon for ill-behaved gringos whose papers are not in order to be deported summarily ... not that you plan on being ill-behaved, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
3. Not really, those are considered to be weapons. You might get special permission from the police department if you asked. Some people carry pepper spray without police permission.
I'm glad to know that ahead of time, thank you. In Venezuela my gf's family wouldn't let me go outside at alone at all, because they say it's simply a matter of time before someone spots my wheelchair and decides to rob me for it, etc. I just figured it'd be safest to assume Mexico wouldn't be any different and want to protect myself accordingly since I would be staying long term.
Public transportation here is decidedly not wheelchair-friendly even though recent laws require it to be so. Private taxis will probably be accommodating to you, however.
I figured as much, hence wanting the handcycle. I hadn't considered the taxis as a possibly affordable option though, thank you.
Check the city out before you make the move....

Your wheelchair will draw attention to you so you will want to have your immigration papers in order....Check with the Instituto Nacional de Migración. It is not uncommon for ill-behaved gringos whose papers are not in order to be deported summarily ... not that you plan on being ill-behaved, of course.
What I plan to do when I move back to California U.S.A., is to make regular trips
back and forth for at least a few months while I improve my spanish, and immerse myself in the culture over that time, so when I make the move I can function well among the locals and not come off like a tourist, etc. I don't plan on going there and indulging in various vices the way it seems most gringos want to do, either.
 

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There is only one problem that you must figure out how to solve: You can't 'live there' on an FMT and will have to apply for, and maintain, an FM3 Visa. That will require you to prove more than your stated $750 USD income per month and/or sufficient savings or investments to meet the financial requirements.
 

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There is only one problem that you must figure out how to solve: You can't 'live there' on an FMT and will have to apply for, and maintain, an FM3 Visa. That will require you to prove more than your stated $750 USD income per month and/or sufficient savings or investments to meet the financial requirements.
I have been wrong before, but I don't think that one would even need (nor be given) an FMT on entering Tijuana. One could sign a lease and live there forever without any documentation whatsoever. Who would check for what reason and what could they do to you if you had the same thing that all the other tourists from NoB had...which is nothing? All you would need is a passport to cross back across the border to the US. If you stayed 10 years in Tijuana without documentation other than the US (or other) passport, you would have broken no laws. It is a free zone. So the bottom line issue is the cost of living. Can't help you there.
 

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I have been wrong before, but I don't think that one would even need (nor be given) an FMT on entering Tijuana. One could sign a lease and live there forever without any documentation whatsoever. Who would check for what reason and what could they do to you if you had the same thing that all the other tourists from NoB had...which is nothing? All you would need is a passport to cross back across the border to the US. If you stayed 10 years in Tijuana without documentation other than the US (or other) passport, you would have broken no laws. It is a free zone. So the bottom line issue is the cost of living. Can't help you there.
I was thinking that worst case scenario, I could simply ask for the full 6 months on the FMT. I don't think I'd be comfortable signing a lease for longer than that during my first year anyway. of course they wouldn't be obligated to give it to me, but even then it's not like I can't renew whenever I had to, even if for any reason it meant eating 1 month's living expenses and staying with family in CA once or twice a year while waiting on renewals, etc. Ideally, I'd find a half decent job in San Diego eventually anyway and could then apply for the res. visa.
 

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I was thinking that worst case scenario, I could simply ask for the full 6 months on the FMT. I don't think I'd be comfortable signing a lease for longer than that during my first year anyway. of course they wouldn't be obligated to give it to me, but even then it's not like I can't renew whenever I had to, even if for any reason it meant eating 1 month's living expenses and staying with family in CA once or twice a year while waiting on renewals, etc. Ideally, I'd find a half decent job in San Diego eventually anyway and could then apply for the res. visa.
But my whole point is that you don't need a visa to live in Tijuana. It is in the free zone and no documentation is required except a passport to return to the USA. If you ask for an FMT I don't think they will give you one. You would have to drive south of Ensenada to hit INM.
 

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The lack of 'need' for an FMT is probably correct if going back and forth. However, I think the free zone is only free for something like 72 hours.....not sure. There are also a lot of things you can't do without an FM3 in most of Mexico. Tijuana, Sonora and Baja are a different world from what we are accustomed to in the interior.
 

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I have a few questions:
1. if a person is willing to live in a modest 1BR apartment within bicycle range to the U.S. border, would they be able to handle rent, groceries and utilities and have anything left over if they ate frugally and didn't use AC?

2. I'd need broadband internet access, and I know it's offered there, but is it common enough to where I won't have to ask if it's possible to set up service before moving in somewhere? Are the highest speed options up to par with what's available in the U.S.? (I'm an avid computer gamer, hehe)

3. I do happen to be in a wheelchair, so I'd be mainly getting around with a handcycle (just as fast as a bike basically) since I assume public transportation there isn't accessible. Therefore I'd be carrying non-lethal self defense items such as tasers/pepper spray. Are those things legal there?
with that amount i don't think you will get far....
 

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The lack of 'need' for an FMT is probably correct if going back and forth. However, I think the free zone is only free for something like 72 hours.....not sure. There are also a lot of things you can't do without an FM3 in most of Mexico. Tijuana, Sonora and Baja are a different world from what we are accustomed to in the interior.


You are right - no tourist visa is needed for stays of 72 hours or less - over that time something is necessary.
 

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Consider Rosarito

Hola Amigo,

I can't tell how often you "need" to go back and forth between Mexico and the USA, but let me give you some other options.

Consider Rosarito. Rosarito is only 17 miles from the border with regular taxi service available. The likelihood of you finding ground-floor, accessible and inexpensive accommodations, near shopping, etc is probably much better. I am more familiar with Rosarito and have seen some places in the $250 to $300 range.

Rosarito now (for better or worse) has a new WalMart Supercenter, Home Depot, Cineopolis, all in a modern shopping center... the Pavillions. Since it is new, the entire project is very accessible, and would be extremely friendly to your needs. A private taxi can take you just about anywhere in Rosarito in just minutes without hassle for $3.00. The WalMart is absolutely the best place for you in terms of accessibility and a smooth, easy transition to living in Mexico.

We also have a large new Commercial Mexicana which would also serve you very well, although it is stand-alone, not in a center.

Rosarito is a beach community, so no need for AC. Heat in the winter... but not as a daily necessity.

Cable or DSL is available, as it is in Tijuana.

I think it is easier to make friends here in Rosarito. There is an active ex-pat community with many clubs, organizations and activities for you to pick and choose from. Being a smaller community, it is much easier to get to know your neighbors, make friends, and develop associations.

Please consider Rosarito!
 

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I have been wrong before, but I don't think that one would even need (nor be given) an FMT on entering Tijuana.
And, sir, you are wrong now. One may stay in Tijuana for up to seventy-two hours without a visa: after that, you need to apply for something, whether it be an FMT or an FM3 or anything more serious. The Instituto de Migración Nacional is found precisely at the international border, for those who want FMTs, and its primary office is found in the federal building a hundred steps farther south for those who need FM3s, FM2s, and FM1s.

One could sign a lease and live there forever without any documentation whatsoever.
True enough but such contracts would enjoy no force at law. The courts respect contracts that have been entered into by competent parties. If your presence in a country is not lawful, your signature is not competent.

Who would check for what reason and what could they do to you if you had the same thing that all the other tourists from NoB had...which is nothing?
If I understand the statement correctly (and I admit that I could not parse it grammatically if someone were to challenge me to do so), I could only repeat that I have personally witnessed the repatriation of three ****** families here in Colonia Libertad and I have been told of similar repatriations of many other families.

If you stayed 10 years in Tijuana without documentation other than the US (or other) passport, you would have broken no laws. It is a free zone.
This statement is utterly false. If you stay in Tijuana for more than seventy-two hours without a visa, you will be violating federal immigration law. Thankfully, such will not make you a criminal but that is only because criminal law and administrative law are two different animals.

And, yes, Baja California is a free zone -- but that means we are free of customs duties, it does not mean that every Tom, Dick, and Harry can show up here without immigration control!

So the bottom line issue is the cost of living.
Wrong yet again. Tijuana is probably the most expensive place in all Mexico. The bottom line with all expatriate questions is whether the transplant might acculturate or not. NightWanderer, unlike many people who already live here, has demonstrated by his posts that he might actually enjoy living in Mexico.

Estarás bienvenido, NightWanderer.
 

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While not needing immigration documents to live in Tijuana is a possibility, you might not be able to manage it on the budget you mention due to the fact that Tijuana is not that cheap. First, leases in Mexico typically ask for a "guarantor" or someone who will pay for you should you default, this is standard practice. If you don't know anyone there with property, then you'd need to find some type of furnished motel to rent short term. Some people might be willing to rent to you in the more modest areas of town but your being in a wheelchair might be the problem due to access. Public transport is available but not wheelchair friendly so taxis might be your only option. All types of weapons are illegal (everyone has them yet they are "under the radar") and you can be arrested if they see anything at all.
Food is cheaper in the municipal market and supermarkets, so is medical care of all kinds. Rent in a nice area is not but you could be lucky if you know anyone local who could look for you. Language is not a problem either as most people speak some English and there are always a lot of foreigners there so no big deal and they are mostly undocumented, so no problem.
Tijuana is a tough town and not for the faint of heart, lots of people coming and going, lots of business and lots of money circulating, business is hard and most people that can afford it go to San Diego for most things. You might want to try a smaller, kinder city to try out your plan there are many options that would be economical too. You would need to get documents and your income wouldn't satisfy though, but then there are lots of undocumented tourists too. Mexicali is horrible though, hotter / colder than anything, a dust bowl and nothing much there, how about San Felipe or Ensenada?
 

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While not needing immigration documents to live in Tijuana is a possibility, you might not be able to manage it on the budget you mention due to the fact that Tijuana is not that cheap. First, leases in Mexico typically ask for a "guarantor" or someone who will pay for you should you default, this is standard practice. If you don't know anyone there with property, then you'd need to find some type of furnished motel to rent short term. Some people might be willing to rent to you in the more modest areas of town but your being in a wheelchair might be the problem due to access. Public transport is available but not wheelchair friendly so taxis might be your only option. All types of weapons are illegal (everyone has them yet they are "under the radar") and you can be arrested if they see anything at all.
Food is cheaper in the municipal market and supermarkets, so is medical care of all kinds. Rent in a nice area is not but you could be lucky if you know anyone local who could look for you. Language is not a problem either as most people speak some English and there are always a lot of foreigners there so no big deal and they are mostly undocumented, so no problem.
Tijuana is a tough town and not for the faint of heart, lots of people coming and going, lots of business and lots of money circulating, business is hard and most people that can afford it go to San Diego for most things. You might want to try a smaller, kinder city to try out your plan there are many options that would be economical too. You would need to get documents and your income wouldn't satisfy though, but then there are lots of undocumented tourists too. Mexicali is horrible though, hotter / colder than anything, a dust bowl and nothing much there, how about San Felipe or Ensenada?
Quinta, it was nice of you to provide all of this information about living in Tijuana, but perhaps you didn't realize that this thread dates back to October 2009.
 

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1. The money should be good, though to get an FM3 you need to show income or account balance of 1200 for a few months... after that it can go down... u might want to save that amount before you come

2. You can get broadband easily at your house for 20-40 dollars per month. the big companies are cablemas and telnor. check their websites

3. You also might be able to hire someone to help you... plenty looking for jobs. or advertise on this site to get someone who speaks english and has a vehicle that would accomodate you
 

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Living in TJ on $750.00/ Mo.

I have a few questions:
1. if a person is willing to live in a modest 1BR apartment within bicycle range to the U.S. border, would they be able to handle rent, groceries and utilities and have anything left over if they ate frugally and didn't use AC?

2. I'd need broadband internet access, and I know it's offered there, but is it common enough to where I won't have to ask if it's possible to set up service before moving in somewhere? Are the highest speed options up to par with what's available in the U.S.? (I'm an avid computer gamer, hehe)

3. I do happen to be in a wheelchair, so I'd be mainly getting around with a handcycle (just as fast as a bike basically) since I assume public transportation there isn't accessible. Therefore I'd be carrying non-lethal self defense items such as tasers/pepper spray. Are those things legal there?
Yes, I suppose you would be able to live on that per month in T.J. I'm sure you can rent some smaller apartment (departmento) for probably $2500.00 pesos per month. Your dollar is going up in value now at 14 pesos/ 1 $USD so it would get easier each month as the $USD appreciates over the next year or so. Then just the reverse. Why confine yourself to live at the border? If you get a disability check, can't you get it direct deposited and just get your money out of any Mexican Bank ATM?

Lifestyle, think of it Tijuana and northern Baja in particular as costing about 25% less to live there than say in San Diego. Border towns are more expensive. You could move way to the south in Real Mexico and can live on half of what it would cost in the USA, say like in San Diego. The exception being some big, expensive cities like D.F. Puebla, etc.

Next, you need to know that Mexico in general is not very pedestrian friendly, and Tijuana in particular definitely is not pedestrian friendly. Actually cars have the right of way over pedestrians in Mexico. Riding a bike or motorcycle in Tijuana could be a death wish, especially at night. Check out San Miguel de Allende in Gueretaro, which is a whole lot more pedestrian friendly town and you can rent a 2 bedroom like new, (I have been told by friends) for like $250.00 USD/ month. A whole lot prettier too. Or, San Blas Nayarit a fisherman's/ surfing small town with paver streets and most residents run around on fat tired Murphy type bicycles. San Blas is cheaper living than San Miguel de Allende but very hot and humid in the summer time. I know of other disabled Gringos living there.

Cuyler Salyer
 

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Might I mention again that NightWanderer posted his inquiry way back in October, 2009, almost three years ago?
 

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Might I mention again that NightWanderer posted his inquiry way back in October, 2009, almost three years ago?
So what we have here are some well thought out answers to a person who may now be in a nursing home or deceased.:) Some people just need to think about things before they make a quick reply!:D

I do know that he has never posted on any other thread since.
 

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So what we have here are some well thought out answers to a person who may now be in a nursing home or deceased.:) Some people just need to think about things before they make a quick reply!:D

I do know that he has never posted on any other thread since.
Yes, I was wondering myself what happened to him?
 
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