The People's Guide To Mexico

Other Articles by Bill Masterson

Working In Mexico

Working In Mexico as a Medical or Legal Transcriptionist

by Bill Masterson

Published: April 2002

Is it possible to work as a medical or legal transcriptionist via the net? Can I work from Mexico? How much will I earn?

Do you have any information on this ?

Thank you for your time.


Lorena Replies,

Thanks for writing. However, we don't have any information on specific jobs in Mexico.

The basic situation working down here, is that you will be competing with Mexicans, at Mexican wages (quite low). The main exception is if you find work with a North American company in Mexico.

To work legally, you will need an FM3 visa and an additional work permit. These take some time and will cost several hundred dollars. You must also demonstrate that you are doing work that can't easily be done by local people, i.e., that you aren't taking a job away from Mexicans.

As for working via the internet, that's really an entirely different thing. Especially if you work for US companies while living in Mexico.

I am CCing this message to Bill Masterson, our "Working In Mexico" expert, to see if he has more information

Bill Masterson Replies

In your question, you don't make it clear as to whether you're considering the possibility of living in Mexico and looking for legal transcriptionist (court reporter?) work from U.S. companies/firms, or if you're considering a move to Mexico with the intention of seeking work with Mexican law firms. The answers to the question are different depending upon the scenario you're considering.

You can live in Mexico and work for a company/firm not doing business in Mexico and do so without Mexican government approval and without having to pay any income taxes to Mexico. However, if you are a U.S. resident/citizen, you will be required to report the income and pay tax on any income earned from the work you'd do for the U.S. companies, even if you're living in Mexico.

[If you're a national of another country, you'll need to consult the taxing body in that country to confirm your income reporting obligations] If you intend to become a resident of Mexico, then you will need to apply for an FM-3 visa. The visa eligibility requirements are available from the Mexican embassy/consulate nearest to where you now live.

If you are contemplating moving to Mexico with the intent of soliciting work from Mexican companies, the challenge will be greater. You don't indicate your level of fluency in Spanish. If you can't speak, write and communicate in Spanish as well as a Mexican national, your chances of finding work in legal transcription will be virtually impossible. If you are fluent, finding work on an independent basis will be very difficult, unless you already have strong business contacts with Mexican companies/firms.

Prior to soliciting work in Mexico, you are required by Mexican law to apply for, and be granted permission, to work [either as an independent contractor, or employee of a company/firm]. You'll need to apply for a FM-3 visa, with a work endorsement added. Because the immigration rules/requirements change often, it's best to locate a reputable attorney experienced in immigration matters to advise you and to file the visa application on your behalf.

Things in Mexico move a lot slower than elsewhere in North America, and things often take twice the time to accomplish than originally planned. There are also costs involved in moving to Mexico that many people just don't plan for. It is important that you arrive in-country with sufficient funds to support yourself for at least six months without earning any income. The FM-3 visa with work permission can easily run from between $US1,000 to $2,000 [including filing fees, attorney costs, and document translation fees].

If you do decide to move to Mexico, I encourage you to conduct as much independent research on the country, its culture, and issues involving living in the country before you move. The WWWeb and your local public library are great resources to consult.

Living in Mexico isn't for everyone, and most foreigners I've met in-country are quick to list the things they don't like about it. Many foreigners also leave within the first six months after arrival, because they just can't make the adjustment. Prepare yourself to be frustrated and disappointed, until you settle-in.

If you don't now have a good command of Spanish, I'd suggest that you enroll in a good language program, and further suggest that you consider coming to Mexico to enroll in a ‘total immersion’ learning program. The ability to communicate with Mexicans in their own language will permit you to live a better life, and it will also help you to save a lot of money.

Keep us posted on your decision, and how things progress. Good luck!

©1972-2007 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens