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Surrounded by crystal clear seas and picturesque mountains of the Valley, Mexico City is known for its vibrant culture, cuisine and history.

Mexico City

Once home to the Mayans and Aztecs, Mexico City now represents the largest metropolitan area in the Western hemisphere. With so much to see and do, we’ve put together some top tips to help you make the most of the city.

Embark on a food tour of the city

Mexico is the homeland of tortilla chips and burritos. Although you can venture to a Mexican restaurant on the British high street, nothing compares to the real deal. By exploring the city you will come across a variety of street vendors and local food markets, which will send your taste buds into a frenzy.

If you need a little helping hand on where to eat, book a popular food tour which will take you to all the best restaurants. The restaurants of Mexico City have a fantastic selection of food on offer, and you can always wash it down with a margarita or two.

Swot up on your Spanish

Spanish is the most common language used in Mexico City, although most fine-dining restaurants and other similar places will speak English or have a bilingual representative. It may be confusing, but many residents speak ‘Spanglish’: a hybrid of Spanish and English.

It’s common courtesy to be polite, and important to say “por favor" (please) and "gracias" (thanks) during your conversations. It’s also essential to address people by their correct titles, such as “Señor”, “Señora” and “Señorita”.

When you meet a local for the first time, don’t be alarmed if you are greeted with a hug. This is a way of welcoming you. It’s also important to note that Mexican men are warm and friendly – which is nothing to be worried about.

Picking up pesos

The currency in Mexico is the peso. With many of the various coin denominations appearing very similar, it’s worth checking very closely before you hand them over.

All commercial banks will exchange foreign currencies for a nominal fee, but for a longer stay opening a bank account is advisable. You must present your immigration paperwork and a photo ID for a regular account, and FM3 immigration form for a checking account.

Keeping abreast of your FM2/3 forms is vital – you’ll find you’ll need these for larger purchases, from houses to cars, or any other item with requires a credit check.

Visas are vital

To obtain a Mexican visa of any kind, you are required to contact the embassy of Mexico in your origin country. A visitor visa is granted for a maximum of 180 days if the visitor does not have a restricted nationality. Those with a restricted nationality have 90 days.

If you’re considering a longer move to Mexico, you must have a Temporary Resident visa. This visa can’t be issued in Mexico, unless you are exchanging an existing FM3 visa. There are two exceptions to this - if you have close family in Mexico or if you apply for residency on humanitarian grounds.

If your spouse wants to work too, a Temporary Resident visa and a work permit is needed, along with support from the hiring company.

Has the thought of Mexico left you with burritos on the brain? Take a look at our settling in tips for info on making Mexico your new home.

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