How to Import Your Personal Goods to Mexico


When you move to Mexico to live part-time, full-time or for a fixed period, you may want to bring personal goods to furnish your home and/or items which hold sentimental value to you.

Under international trade agreements, there are strict limits on goods that individuals can move across borders (usually restricted to a few hundred dollars’ worth of items per crossing) and anything over this limit requires import duty and sales tax to be paid on the value of the goods.

One-time tax-free import of personal goods

To help individuals, couples or families who have legal residency in Mexico, a special process exists to move their personal things here.

This article describes the rules and procedures, what’s allowed and disallowed in your shipment, how to begin the process, and what you’ll need for Mexican Customs to release your shipment once it arrives in Mexico.

The application process

You must have legal residency in Mexico (or be a Mexican who has lived abroad for at least six months) to bring your personal goods to Mexico under this tax-free arrangement.

If you need to apply for a formal Menaje de Casa (inventory of goods) this must be requested via a Mexican Consulate abroad.

Types of Menaje de Casa

There are different categories of Menaje de Casa, depending on the type of legal residency you have in Mexico, or if you’re a Mexican national:

Temporary Residents in Mexico

If you’re a foreign resident with a temporary residency permit and intend to stay in Mexico for between 1-4 years, you can bring your personal goods to Mexico while you hold temporary residency.

When you hold a temporary residency permit (Residente Temporal), you don’t need to apply for a formal Menaje de Casa at a Mexican consulate abroad and instead you must present Mexican Customs with:

  • A copy of your passport.
  • A copy of your temporary residency card (not the visa sticker).
  • A signed letter declaring that the goods you are bringing are your personal property, more than six months old, and none of which are in the list of prohibited items (see list below of prohibited items).
  • If your temporary residency visa was issued by way of a formal job offer, the company sponsoring your residency permit also needs to complete a letter for Customs.

Permanent Residents in Mexico

If you hold permanent residency in Mexico, you must apply for a formal Menaje de Casa at a Mexican consulate abroad before you can import your household goods.  Items imported under this regime are deemed a “definitive import” and do not need to be returned to their point of origin.

If you hold a permanent residency permit (Residente Permanente) and want to import your goods to Mexico you must present Mexican Customs with:

  • A copy of your passport.
  • A copy of your permanent residency card (not the visa sticker).
  • The originalCertificado de Lista de Menaje de Casa” that is applied for and issued by the Mexican consulate abroad.
  • A signed letter declaring that the goods you are bringing are your personal property, more than six months old, and none of which are in the list of prohibited items (see list below of prohibited items).

Mexican Nationals

A special category of Menaje de Casa exists for Mexican nationals living abroad who wish to bring back their goods and any work tools to Mexico.  The Mexican national applying for this must have been living outside of Mexico for at least six months, and the Menaje de Casa must be requested at a Mexican consulate abroad.  Items imported under this regime are deemed a “definitive import” and do not need to be returned to their point of origin.

Other types of Menaje de Casa

If you are working in the clergy, for a national government, or in the diplomatic service, other types of Menaje de Casa might apply to your circumstances.  Other specialized classifications also exist.  You should seek advice from the Mexican Consulate, or your removal company—experienced removal companies are well-versed in the rules and provide practical help to facilitate the smooth crossing of your personal goods into Mexico.

Your shipment to Mexico must be commensurate with “household goods”

You cannot ship one, two, or even a small handful of items by themselves.  The consignment must be commensurate with a shipment “personal household goods” and comprise at least 12-15 boxes, or a combination of boxes and furniture.

You cannot use your personal household goods exemption to ship, for example, a couple of paintings, or one or two heirlooms.  These must combined with other personal goods to create a “household consignment.”

Documentation required for your Menaje de Casa

If you need a Menaje de Casa from a Mexican consulate abroad (see notes above) you will need to complete some documentation.  If you are using the services of a professional removals company, they can assist with some of this.

Here are the documents you’ll be asked for:

  • An application form, available from the Mexican consulate, duly completed and signed.
  • Original of your current passport and four copies of the information page.
  • A typed letter, addressed to the Consulate General of Mexico, requesting the Certificado de Lista de Menaje de Casa (Household Goods Import Certificate).  The letter must include the date of travel, the intended port of entry in Mexico, and must also include the current address where the goods are located and the address where you will be living in Mexico.  It must be signed by the applicant.
  • Your current Permanent Residency card (not the visa sticker) and four copies of this.
  • Mexican nationals will need to show their Mexican passport and may be asked for copies of their INE card.

Your household inventory

You will need to present the Mexican consulate with a detailed inventory of all the goods you want to ship to Mexico.  The inventory needs to be presented in Spanish in a specific format. (Ask the Mexican Consulate or your removal company about the format required for the inventory.)

Each item must be numbered sequentially, and include a description, the quantity of each item, a marque (brand), model, and serial number if relevant.  All electronic goods must have their corresponding serial number on the list.

Some items may be grouped together, but we recommend you get advice from a removal company about this, as grouping the ‘wrong’ things together can cause problems with the import process.  See also the green and red boxes below about allowed and prohibited items.

Other documentation

The consulate and/or the removals company if you use one (recommended) may ask you for additional documentation to be completed to facilitate the shipment of your consignment of goods to Mexico.

Application fee

The Mexican consulate will charge you a fee of about US$150 (or local currency equivalent).  Removal companies may charge additional fees for paperwork preparation—ask your chosen removal company for details.

Request submission and acceptance

The Mexican Consulate will process your application and issue you with a certificate.  The original certificate must accompany your shipment.

Items that are allowed and disallowed

There are rules about what constitutes ‘personal household goods’ and you will not be allowed to import any goods which are new, or restricted.

Items Allowed in your shipment to Mexico

According to the rules, items must be six months old or older, and used.

Allowed household items include things like domestic furniture, clothing, bed linens, curtains, decorative items, outdoor garden/patio furniture, mirrors, art and art supplies, musical instruments, books, bicycles (but not motorcycles or scooters—see red box below), children’s toys, domestic tools, computers, electronics equipment, domestic appliances, statues and ornaments, home-office equipment, medical appliances and equipment that supports people with low mobility or disabilities.

Items Prohibited in your shipment to Mexico

New items are prohibited—all items must be used and at least six months old.

Weapons: Firearms and ammunition cannot be brought to Mexico with your Menaje de Casa. All other lethal weapons are also prohibited including swords, hunting knives, cross-bows, bows and arrows, etc.  If in doubt, check with the consulate or your removals company.

Multiple items of the same appliance/electronics: You can only bring one of each domestic appliance or electronics equipment.

Any item that requires gasoline: Any vehicle that runs on gasoline and/or requires a plated registration license including scooters, motorcycles, and cars are not considered household goods.  Any items with a gasoline-fueled engine are also prohibited.

Common items which people try to import but are prohibited include drugs, medications, and alcoholic beverages; liquid propane gas tanks (e.g. for BBQs), caustic acid or solvent-based chemicals or cleaners, detergents and shampoos, clothing with store labels or tags attached, perfumes and toiletries, new electronic equipment, new home appliances, new furniture, and food items.

Other items which are also disallowed as part of a personal consignment include taxidermy, high value antiques and fine artwork, artworks which are destined for a gallery, vehicle tires, as well as any goods which are primarily designed for commercial or industrial use.

Shipping your personal goods to Mexico

You can either self-move and ship your own goods to Mexico, or you can hire a removals company.

Self-move your personal goods to Mexico

If you ship your own goods, you might need to use a Mexican Customs Broker to help you get the shipment across the border, submit the required paperwork including your certificate from the Mexican Consulate, and then onward-transport the shipment yourself.

Some people drive their goods to the border in a self-hire moving truck with the required paperwork and letters.  Some may be allowed in although we have also heard about people being turned back.

If you hire a removals company, they must pack and ship your goods as they co-certify your shipment through customs.  You cannot self-drive your goods to the border and then hire a removals company to take it from there.

If you’re moving using a foreign-plated vehicle, you’ll also need an import permit for that, too, known as a TIP (Temporary Import Permit).

Using a removals company

We highly recommend that you use the services of a removals firm to ship your goods to Mexico. There are specific reasons why using a removals company makes sense:

  • They have professionally trained packing teams who will help to minimize damage to your goods while they’re in-transit.
  • They know the best and most cost-efficient routes to ship based on your point of origin and final destination in Mexico.
  • They know the detailed import rules and procedures for importing goods to Mexico.
  • They’ll ensure that the required paperwork is present and properly completed. and that your consignment of personal goods will clear Mexican Customs as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Beware of packing your own goods if you hire a removals company

Packed-By-Owner (PBO) boxes cannot be co-certified by the shipper or insured by the removals company.  This causes delays at Customs.

If you must pack your own boxes, leave them unsealed so that the packing company can co-certify their contents.

Customs often exercise spot-checks at the Customs Warehouse, opening boxes to see if what is there is what it’s labelled with.  The shipping company will not co-certify your shipment if their own people have not personally seen what is inside your boxes.

Leaving Mexico with your personal goods

If you’re living in Mexico (full time or part time) and decide to leave and take your personal goods with you, you’ll need to check with the country you are traveling back to about the requirements for import of your personal goods.  A removals company can assist with this as they tend to have alliances world-wide.

The documents you will need to export your personal goods from Mexico include:

  • A copy of your passport.
  • A copy of your permanent or temporary residency card (not the visa sticker), or exit permit if you don’t have a residency card anymore.
  • An inventory list for Mexican Customs in a specified format that details all your personal goods being exported from Mexico.
  • Paperwork required for the destination country—this varies depending on where you are going. Contact the country’s Customs agency for details. or hire a removals company for assistance.

Useful resources and contacts

Here is a list of useful contacts and resources related to importing your personal goods to Mexico.

Mexican consulates: Applications for a Menaje de Casa, if you need one, must be made through any Mexican Consulate abroad.  Contact your nearest Mexican consulate to ask for details of their Menaje de Casa procedures.

Removal companies: We recommend you use a professional removals company to help you ship your personal goods to Mexico,  You can begin your search here (Google) and also consider requesting a no-obligation quote from our home removals associate.

Bringing your pets: Read additional information about procedures and paperwork needed to bring your pets to Mexico

Temporary vehicle imports: Useful information if you plan to use your foreign-plated vehicle to move your things to Mexico.

Mexican Customs: If you want further advice, visit the Mexican Customs website

Customs brokers: If you decide to self-ship, you might consider contacting a Customs Broker for advice and help to get your consignment through Customs. You can begin your search here (Google)

Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.

Source link

Leave a Reply