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Moving to mexico after becoming established in the UK
Thread poster: xxxSilverthorne
xxxSilverthorne
Sep 2, 2009

Hello!

This is my first post so please be kind hehe!

I have some general questions that I was hoping someone here may be able to help me with.

Next year, I will be studying for an MA in Technical and Specialised Translation in French, German and Spanish. This course will take about a year. After completing the course, I plan to spend a couple of years establishing myself as a translator in the UK, buidling up clients in Europe, North America etc. After constructing a solid client base, I would like to move to Mexico to join my partner.

My question is whether I would be able to continue working for these same clients at the identical rate I was charging in the UK. My goal is to continue to earn a 'European' translator's salary while living in Mexico. Is this at all possible or is it just pie in the sky?

I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone here may be able to offer.

Many thanks!


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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 06:36
English to Spanish
Yes Sep 2, 2009

While your European clients remain with you, and you work for them at the same rates you earn now or in the future, you'll continue to earn a 'European' translator's salary while living in Mexico.

Why wouldn't you? No matter where you live, the important thing is what kind of clients you have.

Yeap!



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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Additional questions Sep 2, 2009

I'm so glad this topic was raised. This is something I've wondered about as well, as I am contemplating the possibility of living in a Latin American Country for some period of time.

And what about clients that are not already established? If an agency sees that someone is living in Mexico (or Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, etc.) is it not plausible that they would offer rates geared toward that market, irrespective of the translator's native tongue and nationality?

Another question: Does this mean that Silverthorne can simply use his Mexican address, or would it make sense for him to continue to use his UK address, and to channel his business through that address?

Thank you.


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xxxSilverthorne
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Sep 2, 2009

That's an excellent point Robert! I meant to include that in my post.

I too was wondering whether agencies/clients would gear the rates they offered towards the local market. Would it be advisable to continue using my UK address for business transactions?

Thanks!


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:36
Italian to English
+ ...
Time zone Sep 2, 2009

I don't know but wouldn't you be out of synch timewise with your European clients? I'm sure someone else has commented on this before. I make an earlier start than I'd like as I work mainly with Italy, one hour ahead of the UK.
You'll need to find out about taxes too obviously.
I can't believe how far ahead you've planned.......I don't even know what I'm making for dinner........but better decide soon!


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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 06:36
English to Spanish
In my opinion Sep 2, 2009

If you are a UK or USA citizen, you'll always be native of those countries, no matter where you live.

Some years ago, I lived for eight months abroad, but I kept my Proz.com profile the same; my clients were the same; and my PayPal account was the same. No need to change since I used my (Mexican) Visa credit and debit cards wherever I went. Money was always in place and I could withdraw at any ATM in the world. (Withdrawals are more expensive.)

Regarding your bank account, in case you want to open a new one in the new country, it can be registered on PayPal (this is the one company I rely on), and they will be the only ones who know where your bank account is located.

Anyhow, if you want to inform your clients/friends/colleagues that you're living now in another country, well, that's up to you. I have a fellow colleague-client here at Proz who is always traveling around the world, but he still receives a lot of work anywhere he goes at his email address!

Hope I've explained myself.



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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:36
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Your place of work is not UK or Mexico Sep 2, 2009

Your place of work is NOT Mexico or the UK. Your place of work is the internet.

"And what about clients that are not already established? If an agency sees that someone is living in Mexico (or Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, etc.) is it not plausible that they would offer rates geared toward that market"

Solution: Do not change your address at proz. There's no reason to change your address unless you are advertising to local clients.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you, Tadzio (now what about taxes?) Sep 2, 2009

Valuable information. You and Eleftherios have generally confirmed my suspicion that it seems best to retain the UK or US (or Canadian, etc.) address for business purposes.

That still leaves the question as to how to handle taxes. Is someone in these circumstances obliged to pay taxes to his/her country of citizenship, or rather to the tax authority of the country where he/she resides?



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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 06:36
English to Spanish
Taxes... Sep 2, 2009

I think you should remain the same as you are now.

With regards to Mexico, if you don't work for Mexican clients, you don't need to register at the Mexican IRS ("Hacienda"). Anyhow, as a foreigner, you cannot work unless you spend five years in here. (I really don't understand this kind of regulations, because, how is a person suppossed to earn his/her living if he/she doesn't work??)

But blessed Internet. As Eleftherios Kritikakis puts it: "Your place of work is the internet!"

Yeap!


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Paula James  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:36
French to English
+ ...
Taxes Sep 2, 2009

I think the most important thing to do is to look into the legalities of working in Mexico, and where you pay taxes. One thing is to have a short stay in another country while continuing to be legally resident in another, but if you have plans to live there permanently things are likely to be different. Generally, I don't think you can be registered as self-employed in the UK and living permanently elsewhere, it's against tax regulations, and it might be difficult regarding visas etc.
It's not really as simple as the internet being your workplace, you're still required to have legal residence and pay taxes legally. If you're living in a country it's in your favour to be able to prove your income there, for purposes of renting/buying property, healthcare, credit records etc. You also need to provide proper invoices and contact details to your clients, and from the phone number, and time zone differences, it's likely to be obvious.
I don't however think they should pay you any less, especially established clients. I'm sure plenty will try to do so, however, you just have to decide what you're prepared to accept.


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nruddy  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:36
German to English
Of course you can work here. Sep 2, 2009

I don't get the bit about five years, Tadzio. To live (and work) here you need an FM3 visa, which you can get if sponsored by a Mexican company (you can also work "por honorarios" and don't need a contract) or dependent on someone. There are probably lots of other options. You generally have this visa for five years and then go onto an FM2 for another five before being able to apply for permanent residence. You can apply for an FM2 earlier if you buy property, get married, etc.

You will need to get the residency side sorted out first - and obviously this is related to work. Why you shouldn't look for clients elsewhere, I don't know. Obviously having built up a non-Mexican client base beforehand would be an advantage from the financial side but if you decide to move here for more than three months you need to be registered properly. Bureaucracy has a capital B here.



[Edited at 2009-09-02 20:41 GMT]


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Time difference is what you make it Sep 3, 2009

Susanna Garcia wrote:

I don't know but wouldn't you be out of synch timewise with your European clients? I'm sure someone else has commented on this before. I make an earlier start than I'd like as I work mainly with Italy, one hour ahead of the UK.


Good aspect, Susanna. I am facing the same thing at the moment. I am presently 8 hours back to where most of my clients are. It does take quite some self-discipline and you do have to get up quite early in the morning or even in the middle of the night to be part of the European working day, but then again think positive: when you are done with it in the morning, you still have the whole day for yourself with no clients bothering you during that time.

And speaking of Mexico, let's face it: it is too hot to work during midday unless you are in an airconditioned room all day (which is probably not the reason you come to this country for). So do as the locals do: get up early, hold a siesta and get yourself to work in the cooler hours.


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:36
Spanish to English
My two bits Sep 3, 2009

I met an Irishman at a Powwow in Mexico years back who had exclusively European clients and the fact that he wasn't going to work for Mexican clients meant that he had no trouble getting a visa.

My foreign clients do not expect me to earn less just because I am based in Mexico.


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Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:36
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Working in Mexico Sep 3, 2009

I have been working in Mexico for several years, and a special visa is necessary for a foreigner to be able to stay in Mexico legally longer than 90 days.

If you leave your company registration in the UK (or any other country) and pay your tax there, then you can apply for a non-immigration visa called "FM3". This means that you are not allowed to work for any company in Mexico and that you receive your income from an external bank (you'll need to open a local bank account and use the bank statements as evidence every year). After 5 years with FM3, you can apply for FM2 (work permit).

FM3 is the easiest type of visa to apply for. You'll need to have a job already secured in order to get a FM2, or have a degree or certain profession that is wanted in Mexico in order to get an FM2.

For an FM2 visa, you'll need to pay your tax locally in Mexico as you will be considered a permanent resident by the tax authorities, though you won't have to pay any VAT as long as your clients are outside of Mexico. After 5 years with FM2, you can apply for citicenship.

All visa applications are made at the local Mexican embassy.

The rules might have changed, but this is how the rules were still four years ago.

The only problem with leaving the company registration in EU is that you'll then have to do the tax report there each year (and pay a higher tax rate as well). And as far as I know, you also have to name a person as a contact person for the company while you are away.

There is absolutely no reason why you should get paid less for your work while you work in Mexico. It is you who decide your rates.


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xxxSilverthorne
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sep 3, 2009

Thanks everyon for your replies. They have been very encouraging and, looking at the visa and tax side of things, it seems that it is definitely possible to relocate to Mexico.

Obviously, I realise that I am looking very far into the future, but I just like to make sure that something is possible before I dedicate a lot of time and money to it.

One more question, would it be particularly difficult or awkward to acquire an FM3 visa in Mexico? Did you experience any particular difficulties Ulf?

Thanks again!


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