Before You Move to Mexico, Eliminate as Much Paper as Possible and Consider a Mail Forwarding Service

Mailing addresses are wonderful in the US and Canada; no one has the same address as you, your address will show up on Google Maps (and in the right place), and when you give your address to Amazon, Amazon accepts it and can deliver to you.
Not so much in Mexico.

Also, even if some NOB (“North of the Border”; the US or Canada) companies mailing to you in Mexico could send to an address where your mail would actually be delivered, many will not.

For these reasons and others, it is a good idea to stop receiving in paper as much as you can while NOB and get everything sent to you digitally, via email or access through the Internet.  In probably 95% of cases, your vendors, banks, brokerage accounts, credit card companies, etc., will welcome you doing this, and you can do it by just logging into your account on their website, clicking some boxes and giving your email address.  If this doesn’t work, you may want to call them and ask for assistance.

Ruthlessly eliminate as many pieces of paper coming to you as possible.  There is no downside to doing this now, even if your move is still several months in the future.  That way, if something doesn’t work properly or gets lost, you’ll have a chance while still NOB to fix it in a serene way.

Next, look at all your important documents, such as:

  • Driver’s license
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Residency visa (when you get it)
  • Passport
  • All credit cards and debit cards and any other cards you have
  • Car registration
  • Tax returns and receipts
  • Your most cherished photographs
  • Medical records, x-rays, and any lists of medications you’re taking
  • All the other pieces of paper you have that you need from time to time or are especially worried about no longer having

Wouldn’t it be a shame if you lost one, two, or all of them?

In many cases, it would be a complete disaster.

Don’t let it happen, at least in digital form.

Create a directory on your computer, create some subdirectories and scan each category of paper into its own directory.  Then, just think of how secure and at ease you will feel that there is no way to lose at least the digital version of these important documents and photos and how superior your will feel when someone needs your birth certificate or passport and you can just send it to them right from your computer, without having first to find it and then scan it.

Regardless of how much paper mail you eliminate, you’ll still have some.  What do you do about that?  You can either use your sister-in-law’s address where she can collect it for you (thank you, Lisa!), use some other trusted friend or relative, or you can use a commercial service.  There are now lots of mailbox companies in the US who will receive your paper mail and either scan it and send you the scan, or even from time to time physically transport it to you in Mexico.  Make sure you have one of these in place well before you move.

  • Look at each piece of paper mail you receive.  For each one, go to the Internet, to that company’s website, and ask for your correspondence to be sent via email.
  • Buy a low-cost scanner or go to Staples, Office Depot or another retailer who can scan for you.
  • Scan each of the paper in the list above into a place on your computer where you can find it.
  • Either ask someone who is stable, you can trust and who will collect your remaining mail for you if they would do it, or contract with a mailbox company who will do it and will provide you with a legal address.