What is IMSS?
It is the Mexican social medical healthcare system. If you are on a tourist visa you cannot use it, otherwise you can. You will need to pay an annual subscription (non refundable) in advance before you undergo a very basic medical checkup. You will need to declare any pre-existing conditions – they accept SOME.
Once you are accepted you can see their Doctor and receive prescription medications free from their clinic – except they don’t always have yours in stock on that day. Living in Bucerias your nearest clinic is in Mezcales, it’s a sizeable building on the southbound lateral just after the lights. Ability to speak and understand Spanish is a great idea! If you require specialist consultations, they are generally all in PV, which is Jalisco. You will need to get a permit “traslado” to see them as it is a different State. Getting the permit at Mezcales and then making the appointment in PV can all take time. Quite a bit of time, and be very frustrating. Again, you should be able to speak Spanish – or have a friend who does. If you unfortunately need to have treatment necessary for cancer, you will go to Guadalajara. The transportation, accommodation, food etc expenses are not covered.
If you only have a minor medical problem you are best advised to see the local doctors in Bucerias – no appointment necessary, just sit and wait your turn, of course you will be seen on the day. Fees are very reasonable, in the region of 250 pesos per consultation. If they don’t know your ailment problem, they will refer you to a fee paying specialist – and again you will see that person “immediately.” Seeing anyone “privately” is a lot less cheaper than USA or Canada – on average an initial consultation is 500 pesos. If you are in a car crash or suddenly, seriously ill, then the IMSS swings into action.
To start or renew your IMSS (National Health care) as a single person you will need your original birth certificate and an Apostille of it, and as a married couple you also need to produce your original marriage certificate and an Apostille of it. This is not a new requirement but is now being enforced.
Fees as at February 2015:
0 to 19 years old $1,900 pesos
20 to 29 years old $2,250 pesos
30 to 39 years old $2,400 pesos
40 to 49 years old $3,400 pesos
50 to 59 years old $3,600 pesos
60 to 69 years old $5,200 pesos
70 to 79 years old $5,450 pesos
80 and older $5,500 pesos
What is an APOSTILLE?
An Apostille means “witness” – like Apostles in the Bible – and is proof of the authenticity of the original certificate. This requirement is made by all countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention. The requirements have existed since 1961 . This can apply to marriage or birth certificates and can only be acquired from the place where your birth or marriage was registered. The Apostille will have an imprinted seal and a piece of paper attached to the back of it – do not separate them!
Go online to your respective American State Government offices or other countries offices to see what they require in order for you to get an Apostille – and how much it will cost. Some will not issue an Apostille if the certificate was issued more than 2 years ago. They are not referring to the original certificate (you could have been born 70 years ago!) but a subsequent issue of the original that you needed for whatever reason.
Canada did not sign the Hague Convention, so you have to consult with your Mexican Consulate in Canada as to their requirements for a validating document that is equivalent to this. And please use Contact Us to let us know so that we can share this information with everyone!
As regards the IMSS, the Apostille does not expire. But regarding citizenship it has to be less than 2 years old. The marriage certificate Apostille never has to be presented again to IMSS; one time is all that is required. The Apostille and the birth certificate/marriage certificate (whichever applies to you) – both have to be translated by an official document translator, this is only in the region of 300 pesos. In Bucerias there are 2 such translators, one is “Rosie”: Rosa Alva Matinez Curiel, the daughter at the Famar Restaurant, and the other is Andrea Troeglen Steinke, tel: 298 2546. The original certificate, Apostille and translation need to be presented with copies of each – the originals are returned and the copies are kept by IMSS.
If you are down here and have a willing person to deal with all of this “up there” – whatever paperwork you need to arrange with whichever department – do not use the Mexican postal system! Pay the money and entrust it to UPS/FedEx/DHL.
By the way: The total fee for one year IMSS renewal for a married couple in 2013 was : 7,466.60 pesos, a slight increase over last year’s total of 7,209.
This information correct as of January 2015. If you encountert differently, please: Contact Us
Disclaimer: This information is not meant as legal advice. It is for educational and informational purposes only. Government policies vary between States and offices, and Mexican Government officials have broad discretion in how they individually enforce policies, so, your personal experiences may vary. See a professional for advice on important issues.