Customs regulations for your trip to Mexico

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Letter to Customs
  • Contact details
  • Declaration of value
  • Original legalized inventory in Spanish (Mexican citizens / permanent resident visa holders)
  • Express bill of lading (SWB) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Proof of ownership, if applicable (for antiques and artifacts)
  • Permanent resident visa, if applicable (returning citizens)
  • Temporary resident visa, if applicable
  • Copy of RFC / CURP number (returning citizens)
  • Copy of INE/IFE card (both sides)
  • Full inventory list (returning citizens / temporary resident visa holders)
  • List of electronics (returning citizens / permanent resident visa holders / temporary resident visa holders)
  • Letter of guarantee from employer ( temporary resident visa holders)
  • Solidarity and compromise Letter (temporary resident)
  • Import permit (diplomats)
  • Diplomatic franchise from the General Customs Authority (diplomats)
  • Diplomatic carnet (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • The original legalized inventory must be in Spanish, stamped by the Mexican Consulate in the country of origin and the owner of the goods must have lived abroad for a minimum of 6 months.
    • Only required for Mexican citizens and permanent resident visa holders.
  • Letter to Customs, signed, and stating that items in the shipment are used.
  • The contact details of the owner of the goods must include destination address.
  • The list of electronic items must include serial number, model, and make.
  • Mexican Customs require a shipment to be imported within the first 6 months the visa was issued, after this time it will not be imported.
  • New items (less than 6 months) are not considered to be used and must be imported separately from the used household goods items.
    • New goods will be subject to taxes and duties at Customs.
  • The letter to Customs must specify new items with proof of purchase to pay the corresponding duties of 20% plus IVA 16%.
  • The letter of guarantee must state that the company is responsible for duties and taxes should the shipment not be re-exported when the employee leaves the country (temporary resident visa holders).
  • Antiques, artifacts, carpets and paintings may be imported in reasonable quantities and should be declared on the packing list.
  • Returning Mexican citizens and permanent resident visa holders must show proof of having lived abroad for a minimum of 6 months to import household goods and personal effects duty free.
  • All articles must be included in the Consularized Inventory by the Mexican Consulate.
    • Any item not included in the inventory, can be expropriated by Mexican Government.
  • It is not recommended to ship the household goods until all documentation is completed and in order.
  • The airports allow only 30 days to release or return the shipment from the time of its arrival.
    • All other ports hold the shipment until 60 calendar days.
    • If the documentation is not presented by that time the shipment is declared as “abandoned” and it is confiscated by Mexican Government.

The Mexican Police have the authority to ask for proof of legal status in Mexico and, on occasion, have detained British nationals without documents. You should carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport and of the stamped ‘Forma Migratoria Múltiple’ (FMM) given to you on arrival in Mexico at all times. If you’re a resident you may be asked to provide your residency card issued by the Mexican government.

If you’re travelling between states or near international borders, you may be stopped by Mexican immigration authorities for immigration checks. You’ll need to be able to provide your passport and FMM slip. Copies are not accepted. If you’re unable to produce these documents, you may be detained, held at an immigration holding centre, and ultimately deported.

Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for drug offences are severe. Convictions carry sentences of up to 25 years.

Although civil unions between same-sex partners are now legal in Mexico City and the state of Coahuila, homosexuality in Mexico is generally tolerated, rather than accepted. Public displays of affection between same sex couples may be frowned upon. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Mexican law on surrogacy is under development. Assisted human reproduction, including surrogacy, might only be recognised in some Mexican states. If you’re considering a surrogacy arrangement in Mexico, you should familiarise yourself with the relevant laws and regulations and make sure you’ll meet all legal requirements to take the newborn child out of Mexico before you start the process. You should seek independent legal advice before entering into any surrogacy arrangement. For more information see our guidance on surrogacy overseas.

If you require more information on procedures, local laws, development of current events or social services you can contact LOCATEL at 5658 1111. They have English-speaking staff available.

Some U.S. exporters have expressed concerns about the Mexican Tax Administration Service’s (Servicio de Administración Tributaria, or SAT) procedures. These concerns include insufficient prior notification of procedural changes, inconsistent interpretation of regulatory requirements at different border posts, and uneven enforcement of Mexican standards and labeling rules. SAT has made efforts to increase transparency and communication and reduce corruption and fraud.

Agricultural exporters note that Mexican inspection and clearance procedures for some agricultural goods can be long, burdensome, non-transparent and unreliable. Customs procedures for express packages continue to be burdensome, though Mexico has raised the de minimis level to USD 50 from USD 1. However, Mexican regulations still hold the courier 100 percent liable for the contents of shipments.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

Import regulations:

Free import

  • (only for persons over 18 years of age:) 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 200 grams of pipe tobacco;
  • (only for persons over 18 years of age:) 3 liters of wine or liquor (alcoholic beverages);
  • a reasonable quantity of perfume, eau-de-cologne and lotions for personal use;
  • a photo or movie or video camera. One additional camera for passengers residing outside Mexico;
  • 12 rolls of film or video cassettes;
  • goods up to USD 500.-.
  • Toilet paper
  • Diapers
  • Tissue paper
  • Blank white paper

Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican citizen under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child to or from Mexico. This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s). The State Department recommends that the permission should include travel dates, destinations, airlines and a brief summary of the circumstances surrounding the travel. The child must be carrying the original letter – not a facsimile or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate or court document) – and an original custody decree, if applicable. Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy or the nearest Mexican consulate for current information.

Prohibited:

  • any uncanned foodstuff (e.g. pork) and derivatives.Import of canned food is permitted, except for pork and derivatives. For full information contact the nearest representation of Mexico.
  • earth, plants, parts of them, flowers, fruits, seeds or materials of vegetable origin used as containers, packing or in the manufacture of handicrafts.
    It is allowed to import seeds and plants of varieties and species that are beneficial to the nation, having first secured authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Goods imported in addition to the categories above are dutiable, but exempt from import license, if the total value of these additional goods is max. USD 500.- and the value of goods of the same character (e.g. leather goods) included therein is max. USD 100.-. Excluded from these additional goods are articles considered unnecessary luxury goods, e.g. ivory, cutglass, porcelain, electrical appliances etc

Prohibited Items

  • Beverages including but not limited to wine, beer, spirits, etc.
  • Food items including but not limited to spices, tinned products, canned goods, etc.
  • Medicine or drugs
  • Weapons and ammunition
  • Detergents, soaps or similar objects
  • Collectable items such as pens, coins, etc.
  • Blank CDs, DVDs or tapes
  • Large quantities of similar objects because they could be considered items for sale in Mexico
  • Pornographic items
  • Cars, boats, and/or motorcycles (unless the client is a diplomat)

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Copy of original temporary resident visa / card
  • Purchase invoice
  • Vehicle title
  • Express bill of lading
  • Copy of driver’s license
  • Owner of the goods’ personal identification
  • Letter of authorization
  • Diplomatic franchise from Embassy (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • Owner of the goods must be present at port to clear Customs and obtain a temporary import permit, which must be renewed every year.
  • Automobiles must be shipped separately from the household goods and personal effects shipment.
  • Mexican citizens and permanent resident visa holders cannot import a vehicle into Mexico.
  • Only diplomats can import motor vehicles.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Vaccination record
  • Sanitary original bill of lading
  • Copy of the owner of the goods’ passport

Specific Information

  • If the value of the animal exceeds USD 5,000, authorization from the Secretary of Commerce and Industrial Promotion is required.
  • Do not send pets over the weekend.
  • Make sure all documents are with Customs before shipment arrives.

Wild Fauna and Flora:

The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local currency (Mexican Peso-MXN) and foreign currencies: up to USD 10,000.- or equivalent in freely convertible currencies. Higher amounts must be declared on arrival. Exchange into local currency is only allowed at authorized banks.

Currency Export regulations:

Local currency (Mexican Peso-MXN) and foreign currencies: up to USD 10,000.- or equivalent in freely convertible currencies. Higher amounts must have been declared on arrival.

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