Moving to Mexico: Mail Forwarding Services

Source: istockphoto

If you’re heading off to start a new life south of the border, you’ll need to develop a plan on how to handle any mail sent to you back in your country of origin.

The simplest solution is to use the address of a close friend or relative who is patient enough to go through your mail and notify you if anything important arrives. Personally, I like this option; however, it still creates some logistical problems when sensitive items such as checks or replacement credit/debit cards are sent to you.

Another option is to use a mail forwarding service.

How They Work

A mail forwarding service provides you with a unique mailing address in your country of origin and they process any mail that is sent to you at that location. The nice thing is that they can even receive packages and certified/registered mail.

Since the quality and selection of services will differ a bit from company to company, I’ve decided to focus the article on the services of a well-known U.S. company: Mailbox Forwarding, Inc.

Online access to mail

The company scans the front of the envelope or package and uploads those images to a database. You can then view and manage your mail via their secure portal.

With each piece of mail, you have three options: 1) give authorization for the mail to be opened and scanned; 2) request that it be shredded; or 3) request that the mail be forwarded to you in Mexico.

Forwarding options

Mail can be forwarded to you all over the world via parcel services like FedEx.

Check deposit

If you receive a check, you can have it deposited into your bank account through your online portal.

I really like this option. After we moved to Mexico, we had some checks mailed to us back in the U.S. and it was a pain getting them deposited.

Free fax number

On the rare occasion that you need to have something faxed to you, you can use the free fax number that comes with your account.

Cost

This type of service starts around $14.95 a month.

Let’s Wrap This Up

If you’re planning on making Mexico your permanent home, I recommend using a service like this for at least the first year. You’d be surprised how many little issues will come up when you cancel all your services and move. Most of them are easy to fix — but only if you receive timely notification.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. In 2016, they started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) sharing their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border. The blog has been viewed over two million times and the articles have been republished in numerous periodicals across Mexico.

18 Comments on "Moving to Mexico: Mail Forwarding Services"

  1. We’ve been using Mailbox Forwarding for the past couple months, and we’re very happy. Easy to use and reasonably priced.

  2. Hello Paul,

    I have a question about your reference to the check deposit (If you receive a check, you can have it deposited into your bank account through your online portal.)

    Wouldn’t they need access to your bank account in order to do this? I ask because this is a very important element in my business, one that I have been struggling to figure out before we move this summer.

  3. Disregard my message as I noticed they elaborate on this on their website…

  4. So happy to hear this option. Thought we were going to have to rent a PO box, and then pay for forwarding all the mail.

  5. Scott Kelley | January 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm |

    Thanks for the post. I was thinking about what I should do on that issue today!

  6. This is great info, thanks for posting about it.

  7. I use a mail forwarding company and it is nice to have a place that can receive your personal mail and packages in the US. The mail forwarding company I use can even combine packages (Amazon for example) into 1 larger box and ship them worldwide via the big 4 couriers: USPS, DHL, UPS, FedEx. However, my experience with FedEx has not been that good as they have messed up 2 international shipments: both I had to go to the FedEx hub to pick up the parcels when they were paid for and supposed to be door delivery. DHL and UPS on the other hand seem to find the international addresses OK though. I have had the best results when I ship overseas using DHL. They are there, they can find the international address quickly within 2-3 days. They’re usually more expensive, but the proof is in the reliability of the delivery.

  8. What about packages? Don’t you have to pay taxes to ship across the borxer?

  9. Why not just have all your mail sent to your Mexican address? We have mail and parcels sent to us here! Takes a bit of time, but so what?

    • The service is useful when listing a U.S address with companies you still do some business with — especially financial institutions.

      I think the service is most useful the first year after you move. You can submit a single address change to the U.S. postal service and keep track of anything that is trying to find you. I was surprised how many things there were that required our attention.

  10. Paul, thank you for this particular blog. We have lived here for four years and have had a family member receiving our mail. While we are very grateful, it is just not the best option for us. So, I have been researching mail forwarding services and trying to decide which one is best. Now, we feel more comfortable making that decision. P.S. We have not had luck with FedEx. They keep saying they don’t deliver here when we see their trucks at clubhouse all the time.

  11. Hola Paul what did it take for you to get Mexican insurance for the vehicle you purchase in Mexico

  12. The Mailbox Forwarding link doesn’t work. Next suggestion, please?

  13. Hi Paul – I love your blog. Keep it coming.

    I searched your blog for the Mexican postage system and wasn’t able to find anything relevant to my question. We have started our retirement strategy with the purchase of a new place in a new complex in Puerto Morelos. The problem I’ve encountered is that after 18 months of construction and sales, and now our occupancy there is no postal address which is reliable from a postal or navigation (GPS) standpoint. Google Maps can find the place because the developer added their sales office to Google Maps. Apple Maps ends up finding a location about 100km SE of D.F.

    The address is:
    Av Timon SM 19 MZ 35 Lote 11, Puerto Morelos, Q.R., CP77580, Mexico. This address is what was on the purchase documents and also what our neighbors have.

    When prefix the address with “Residencial Alborada,” then it comes up in Google Map, but still near Mexico City in other mapping software.

    I’ve submitted a request to Apple to add the community to their map, although what seems to be the problem is a missing street address.

    I parsed the address based on some forms I had, and this is my understanding of how addresses ‘can’ be represented:
    Calle: Av Timon
    Número: None that I can find
    No. Interior: My apartment number
    Colonia: SM 19 – what does this mean? What is an equivalent in the US?
    Municipio/Delegación: Puerto Morelos
    Estado: Quintana Roo
    C.P: 77580
    Manzana: 23 – what does this mean? What is an equivalent in the US?
    Lote: 11-12 – what does this mean? What is an equivalent in the US?
    Edificio: My building Number
    Depto: I guess if this were a business this would be the department.
    Datos adicionales: Residencial Alborada

    I noticed that on many maps the development is not there. Just trees, which is nothing to do with the postal system, but it is interesting how often satellites take photos of specific areas around the world.

    So finally my question, will my address ever get a street number? Is there anything I should add/omit to improve the chances of it coming up in navigation devices? If all else fails, I guess I could start giving my global coordinates (20.863673, -86.902327) to guests.

    • Getting deliveries can be tricky in Mexico because the address might be listed differently depending who you ask. Our address is a little bit different on every single one of our bills.

      I’m sure that your address will eventually get a street number. The safe thing to do is to use the address that the electric company (CFE) uses. You might want to throw in some directions when you order packages too.

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