International Students

Visas, Currency, Money and Banking

a) Visas

Visa requirements are often based on bilateral agreements between countries and can change unexpectedly. Students should contact the nearest Mexican embassy for information on the visa requirements needed to study in Mexico. Consult for the address and contact information on the Mexican Consular Services nearest you.

International students should enter Mexico with a student visa. The Academic Exchange Office will issue an acceptance letter to each student admitted and the Mexican Embassy or Consulate in the home country will inform the student of the additional documentation required. Although students from North America and the European Union may be permitted to reside in Mexico with a tourist permit for as long as six months, the student visa is required for transactions such as acquiring a bank or cellular telephone account. Furthermore, quite often the Mexican Immigration Authorities will often not grant the full six month authorization for a tourist upon arrival into the country and students may have to make periodical trips to the Immigration Office while in Mexico. The tourist visa is not renewable and students will not be allowed to extend their stay beyond the six-month period.

All students arriving in Mexico with a student visa are obliged to register in the National Registry of Foreigners (Registro Nacional de Extranjeros) WITHIN 30 DAYS OF ARRIVAL. The cost of the registry is approximately US$50 and each student is responsible for paying his or her own fee. Law students at ITAM offer immigration registry services for a moderate additional fee. Special restrictions apply to citizens from some Asian, Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Latin American citizens and special entry permits must be secured which can take extra time to process.

Mexican laws create many barriers for foreigners to work in Mexico. Companies must obtain special authorizations in order to hire and pay foreign employees.

b) Currency

The official currency is the Mexican peso. Since Mexico is so close to the U.S., many prices tend to stay the same in dollar terms but may fluctuate more if there is a devaluation. The easiest way to keep funds in Mexico is with an international credit card affiliated with an ATM network such as Cirrus or Plus. Students should also bring some U.S. dollar-denominated travelers checks with them as a back-up source of funds. U.S. dollar traveler's checks are easily exchanged at banks or exchange houses located all over Mexico City. It is a bit difficult to establish a bank account in Mexico City but not impossible. Some banks require the student visa, an initial deposit of 5000 pesos, proof of address in Mexico and proof of an account under the students name in his or her own country (banking reference). The STUDENT VISA IS A MUST for opening a bank account.

c) Packages from Home

Remember that any package coming into Mexico is an import – with customs costs and restrictions. Students should bring any needed supplies of medicine or electonic items with them with their luggage. Most imports face unexpected costs. Correspondence, especially to Canada or South America takes three weeks to a month to arrive. Cash, checks or credit cards should not be sent through the mail system or in checked baggage.


Living Costs and Money

a) Housing

We have a good variety of housing options available, even though ITAM does not own or operate any type of residence. Both the Academic Exchange Office and the landlords themselves make considerable efforts to accommodate international students for the shorter time periods they usually attend ITAM--in terms of furnishing the housing and forgoing longer term, more stable commitments. We will do our best to offer comfortable, secure accommodation within a reasonable distance from the our campuses as a service to our exchange students. But the arrangement is ultimately made between the student and the landlord. International students can usually share an apartment with other international students, either close to campus or to the nearest metro stations.

b) Housing Costs

Costs vary in accordance with the level of services required for housing and the lifestyle pursued by the student. Mexico is a land of contrasts--particularly in terms of standard of living. At all price ranges, however, students should be prepared to pay two month's rent upon arrival at their chosen accommodation. One month's rent as a security deposit which will be refunded after all outstanding accounts are settled. Here are some figures for housing we regularly have available

  • One-bedroom apartment, walking distance to metro station. Fully furnished, maid service, full, furnished kitchen, short bus or taxi ride to campus on direct route. US$600 monthly.
  • Two bedroom, 1 bath apartment with studio, fully furnished, maid service and linen change weekly. US$650 per month. Farther from campus but within walking distance to metro station.
  • Private room and bath in house or apartment with limited access to kitchen facilities: US$300-400 per month. Most have security at entrance to subdivision.

Accommodation and lifestyle is a very personal matter and it is difficult for ITAM to know individual preferences and priorities. For those who would rather find their own housing upon arrival, can recommend a very low-priced but safe and clean hostels for approximately US$15 per night, which we can reserve once we know the students' arrival date. We highly recommend the hostel option for exchange students with doubts or concerns about the housing offers.

c) Other Costs

Although relative prices fluctuate, in general, Mexico City is less expensive than large cities in Europe and North America. Transportation is relatively inexpensive. A taxi ride to ITAM from the airport is currently around US$25. A metro ticket, which can take you all over the city costs 2 pesos, a first class round-trip bus ticket to Acapulco: 500 pesos. Hotels in beach areas vary greatly but usually some can be obtained for US$50 per night or less. Meals at ITAM can be obtained for US$4.50 at either campus and there are small restaurants in walking distance of both. Mexico City has a good variety of restaurants for most tastes and budgets. In many you can eat well for as little as 60 pesos. The main meal is at midday. Breakfast and suppers tend to be smaller and therefore less expensive (Exchange rate August 2008: $10.50 pesos per US dollar or about $16.00 pesos per euro).



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