Visas, Currency, Money and Banking
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 http://www.sre.gob.mx/delegaciones/dire.htm
for the address and contact information on the Mexican Consular Services
Exchange 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.
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
Living Costs and Money
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 exchange 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. Exchange students can usually
share an apartment with other exchange 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
- 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
- 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
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 2012: $12.50 pesos per US dollar or about $16.50 pesos per euro).