Repat/Expat in Cancun


The famous CANCÚN sign atop Playa Delfines, on the south tip of Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Easy with your panoramic photos, you might cut somebody’s legs off if you’re not careful. Click on the image to enlarge it. 👆🏾

Returning to my country of birth after decades of living abroad has not been a simple process. In my adventure of returning to Mexico after more than 20 years in the United States, I have found that repatriating has required an immense amount of patience.

That’s it, just patience.

And lots of paperwork.



A bird in Playa Delfines, expressing what it feels like to live in Cancun if you take away all the bureaucracy.

First of all, finding a job required an immense amount of patience. And an invaluable recommendation from my friend Pam, who pioneered becoming a successful Mexican Repat in Cancun several years ago.

Luckily, now I work in the tourism industry with a respectable team of supervisors and colleagues, a decent salary (for Mexico), benefits I didn’t have in the United States, and the chance to be in one of the most vibrant places in the world — Cancun.

And I know life requires even more patience — and knowledge — for me to rise through the ranks.

Secondly, patience has been key in obtaining the paperwork required of every Mexican citizen. I’ve had to be in long long lines for national health insurance, tax ID, and voter ID — the key form of identification for Mexican nationals.

The bureaucrats helping me out with these documents have had to look at me very sternly, checking and double checking.

“You sure you don’t have these documents yet?”

“Yes,” I’d answer.

And they’d ask again a couple times, only for me to say, “Haven’t had them. I lived in the United States for 23 years.”

Then they’d smile and help me with the process, politely handing me the documents that reaffirm my Mexican-ness.



If you can’t tell already, I’m enamored with Playa Delfines. As are most Cancun expats and tourists.

For Mexican Repats, you need to have your primary documents in order before you are hired by a company. You will need your IMSS (health), SAT (taxes) and passport or INE (identification) — check that you have all the documents with you before lining up at the crack of dawn at each respective building.

I might need to write a blog entry about my experience with each of these services, so that it can help anybody who feels lost. Thankfully, my experience with IMSS, SAT and INE went surprisingly smoothly, despite the long waits, so I’ll be happy to share my tips.

Once you have your documents in order, your stay in Mexico will be how you decide it to be.

Just remember to be patient with this country, to acknowledge its flaws, and to start noticing its beauty and wonders unfold before you little by little.



  1. […] said it on a previous post: You need to have the right documents with you before you line up for hours to get any bureaucratic […]


  2. […] the 7+ months we’ve lived in Cancun, we’d heard so much about how great Cobá is and how it’s more impressive than Chichén […]


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