What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules

Feb. 22, 2012
Yucalandia offers the following update to Aduana’s policies on what is allowed for visitors to Mexico as a part of an ongoing series of articles on common issues. We welcome you to propose your own questions or issues for additional articles.

Full article at: “What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules – The Article”

Aduana’s current webpage for passengers and Aduana’s current webpage for import rules for passengers says:

What can I bring in duty free?
° The items allowed in your personal luggage, according to the length of the trip
° Up to US$300 per person in permitted goods, or its equivalent in other currencies. Passengers traveling with family members (spouse and children) may …

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Full article at: “What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules – The Article”
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .

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20 Responses to What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules

  1. Carol says:

    As far as bringing items into Mexico. What about if you’re flying in and not driving.. What can I bring in my ice chest? Can we bring meats, cheeses, beef jerky, wine, alcoholic beverages? I’ve contacted the airlines and never get a straight answer. I don’t want to go through customs in Mexico and have my goods taken away.
    Please advise, thanks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Carol,
      Wine or alcohol within the limits of liters. Beef jerky etc only if it is in its original unopened commercial packaging. Sausages and sliced deli meats may be confiscated as fresh meat products, regardless of packaging.
      steve

  2. levialmuina says:

    Do you have any links or specific info available on rules for expatriates returning to mexico regarding personal items and vehicles? I am an expat and will be moving back in less than a month. The information I’ve gathered before was very limited and the Mexican consulate folks in my city are not helpful enough, they seem to love leaving you in the dark. I’ve learned more through your articles and links than any person or other website so far including the aduana site. I’ve found out about the “Menaje de casa” but the fee is 98 just for a stamp on the list that does not guarantee the aduana agent will accept it. Any advice you have or a nod in the right direction would be extremely helpful as I prepare to return. Thank you.

    • yucalandia says:

      levialmuina,
      Did you read our article on this: https://yucalandia.wordpress.com/answers-to-common-questions/what-can-i-bring-into-mexico-mexican-customs-rules-the-article/ ?

      Did you read the questions and comments?

      I think most of your questions & requests are answered there.

      If you are importing a load of household goods under your 1 time exemption under an FM3, within the 6 month window, then in theory you need a menaje de casa. In all other cases, a good Excel spreadsheet with a list of items, and estimated prices based on real values (print out E-bay page prices as documentation) have been widely accepted by Aduana officers along the US-Mexico border. When we entered Mexico with 2 vehicles and a trailer-load of goods at Matamoros – Aduana completely waved-off our Menaje de Casa. Many other internet posters report the same thing, that their efforts to make a menaje de casa went unused.

      If you are using a Custom’s Broker and/or professional mover to take your goods across the border, or importing things by sea, then you definitely need the menaje de casa. Otherwise…???

  3. Johnny says:

    I know that you can bring in 25 cigars to Mexico. If I bring in 50 can I pay taxes on 25 extra?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi johnny,
      You are allowed to bring 25 cigars into Mexico by plane. Like Liquor, I understand that yes, you can pay the import duties on an additional 25 puros – but contact Aduana/SAT to check on their current requirements.
      Happy Trails,
      steve

      • johnny says:

        What would the taxes be on that.

      • yucalandia says:

        Import duties range from 3% – 35%, depending on the item. Typical duties are 16%. You need a receipt to prove the purchase price of the cigars, or Aduana will arbitrarily choose a value.

        I would call Aduana in Mexico to find out what duties are assessed on an additional 25 cigars (puros). The help-line phone numbers for Aduana/SAT are: From Mexico: 01 800 46 36 728, and From the United States or Canadá: 1 877 44 88 728.

        The CURRENT actual wording of the Aduana regs are actually a bit vague, saying you must comply “with applicable regulations and restrictions” when bringing in extra alcohol or tobacco products.
        steve

  4. flagamik says:

    I will be travelling through Cancun on my way to Cuba (spending the night, so will need to go through Mexican Customs). I will be carrying 10 kg of medications (non-narcotic, non-psychotropic) for donation in Cuba, as allowed by American and Cuban law. Will there be a problem getting these medications through Mexican Customs? Do they need to be declared? Valued? Are they likely to be confiscated? This is the biggest wrinkle in an otherwise trouble-free trip. Thanks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi flagamilk,
      Wow, that’s a tough one.

      Formally, you are only allowed to bring in enough meds for personal use WITH CURRENT WRITTEN PRESCRIPTIONS for … up to 6 months of personal usage. You are bringing in commercial quantities, which is not allowed under the ordinary rules for airline passengers with private personal items in their luggage.

      On the other side, we have personally brought in 3 huge suitcases of medical lab supplies on 3 different occasions through Cancun. Each time we were personally inspected (as the 10,000’s of specialized sterile plastic vials, containers, pipette tips etc.) and I carried a letter each time documenting what I was carrying – on University letterhead, documenting that the plastic goods were DONATED and were certified for official Dengue public health programs – with official letters from the donor and the recipient, printed on their university letter heads.

      Still, the prescription drugs you plan to bring in are more highly regulated than plastic lab-ware – and I have real difficulty imagining that they would let you into Mexico with 10 kilos of drugs.

      If you do not declare them, and they find them, you could be expelled… You could be given heavy fines. You could be detained…

      You really need to contact Aduana and get their prior approval, which may also mean hiring a licensed Customs Broker here in Mexico. I mention this last item because 2 different times, we have brought in (imported) big rolls of pesticide treated curtains as a part of an official Dengue program. It took roughly a year each time to get all the appropriate Aduana approvals in place, documentation approved, weights of each of the amounts of controlled substance (pesticide) applied, etc.

      If you had prior Aduana approval documenting all/each item, then it might work.
      Contact Aduana,
      steve

  5. flagamik says:

    Thank you for responding so quickly to my question re: meds. I’d hoped for a legal loophole, and contacting Aduana isn’t an option at this point. What Customs issues might arise with a moderately large quantity (many dozens) of toothbrushes and reading glasses, also for donation purposes outside of Mexico? Need to declare? Show receipts for value? So many barriers to simple acts of kindness…

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Flagamilk,
      You can certainly bring in the glasses and toothbrushes. Again, as listed in our main article:https://yucalandia.com/answers-to-common-questions/what-can-i-bring-into-mexico-mexican-customs-rules-the-article/#What%20can%20I%20bring%20in%20duty%20free
      your exemption is for personal items or up to $500 per person of allowed goods. Show receipts or printed ebay page etc to prove the value.

      Commercial quantities of goods can trigger the 16% duty/tax. It could help to bring a letter on official letterhead from the donor or recipient that verifies that you are not planning to sell the “many dozens” of glasses or toothbrushes. Since you are entering Mexico only briefly, they may wave you through. or… maybe you get a green light and there are no issues.

      Best of luck,
      steve

      • flagamik says:

        Quick update: Meds, toothbrushes, and eyeglasses all made it to Cuba, thanks to Cancun “green light”. I just recommend that others contemplating passing through Mexico with medicines for Cuba avoid all the angst by either: 1) taking a direct flight from Canada and bypassing Mexico or 2) arranging flights to ensure connecting flight in Cancun and thereby avoiding MX customs. Such an unnecessary roadblock, when both US and Cuban powers-that-be allow this.

        Love your site and your politics. Thanks!

      • yucalandia says:

        WELL DONE !

        It’s GREAT that, with some planning, you were able to bring excellent help to needy folks,
        steve

      • flagamik says:

        A quick tip for readers with similar interests who might stumble on this blog site, as I did:

        Meds most welcomed in Cuba include:
        *pediatric meds of all types, including Tylenol or other fever-reducers (hard-to-believe but true)
        *antibiotics (esp. “4th generation”, which won “ooh’s and aah’s” when I delivered them)
        *asthma meds and inhalers for all ages (I met a woman who has been w/o an inhaler for 10 months)
        *almost any other OTC or Rx med that we would consider to be routinely accessible in the US but that is likely in very limited supply in Cuba.

        Many US docs have samples and are able to give quite a generous supply, as they can be replenished so easily.

        In order to be formally “accepted” by a recipient clinic in Cuba (and its hastily-convened “committee” to agree to accept the gift), it helps to have an itemized list of meds with name, dosage, and expiration dates at least 6 months out.

        10 KG IS 22 LBS PER PERSON, ALLOWED BY BOTH CUBA AND US TREASURY DEPARTMENT (and can, in fact, create a legal justification for an otherwise extralegal trip). Don’t be afraid, just go for it. Think about it – a group of 10 people could take in 220 lbs of medicines, plus whatever else you can carry. That’s a real gift to good people.

        Large quantities of reading glasses and toothbrushes very easy to find on Ebay; used Rx glasses would be even more welcome, as they cost approx. the same in Cuba as the US, but salary there averages $15-$20/month, which makes them prohibitively expensive. Try connecting with a Lions Club, which collects these for donation.

        Lisa

  6. Lisa says:

    Hi. Sorry if this has been asked and answered already but I couldn’t find it. I know each person over 18 is allowed 200 cigarettes per person duty free. Do you know what we could expect to pay in duties if we brought 400 each? Thanks in advance.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Lisa,
      If you go to our main article on “What can I bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules” – and go to this section, it answers your questions:
      ~ https://yucalandia.com/answers-to-common-questions/what-can-i-bring-into-mexico-mexican-customs-rules-the-article/#Which%20items%20may%20be%20included%20in%20my%20personal%20luggage%20exempt%20from%20duty ~ Which items may be included in my personal luggage exempt from duty when flying?

      As described there, the current rules only allow ” a maximum of up to 10 packs of cigarettes *”
      and
      *BRINGING IN MORE STUFF THAN ALLOWED for Duty Free: If you want to bring in more than the allowed $$ of goods, or bring in ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES of restricted items like more than 3 liters of alcoholic beverages or more than 1 carton (10 packs) of cigarettes, here are the current SAT rules as of Oct, 2014:

      “¿Qué puede importarse bajo el procedimiento simplificado de pasajeros?
      Una o varias mercancías que tengan un valor total no mayor a 3,000 dólares, que no estén prohibidas ni estén sujetas a permisos.

      Cuando entre las mercancías se incluya un equipo de cómputo el valor total de las mercancías no debe exceder de 4,000 dólares. El porcentaje de impuestos que se debe pagar en este caso es de 16% del valor de la mercancía, restando el importe de la franquicia.

      Mediante este procedimiento se puede importar:

      Hasta seis litros de bebidas alcohólicas o vino, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 90% de impuestos sobre el valor de la mercancía.
      Hasta 40 cajetillas de cigarros, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 573.48%.”

      Happy Holidays,
      steve

      • john says:

        If I want to take more that 25 cigars to Cabo, how much would the tax rate be or can we even bring more in

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi John,
        If you go to our main article on “What can I bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules” – and go to this section, it answers your question:
        ~ https://yucalandia.com/answers-to-common-questions/what-can-i-bring-into-mexico-mexican-customs-rules-the-article/#Which%20items%20may%20be%20included%20in%20my%20personal%20luggage%20exempt%20from%20duty ~ Which items may be included in my personal luggage exempt from duty when flying?

        As described there, the current rules only allow ” a maximum of up to 10 packs of cigarettes *”
        and
        ” *BRINGING IN MORE STUFF THAN ALLOWED for Duty Free: If you want to bring in more than the allowed $$ of goods, or bring in ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES of restricted items like more than 3 liters of alcoholic beverages or more than 1 carton (10 packs) of cigarettes, here are the current SAT rules as of Oct, 2014:

        “¿Qué puede importarse bajo el procedimiento simplificado de pasajeros?
        Una o varias mercancías que tengan un valor total no mayor a 3,000 dólares, que no estén prohibidas ni estén sujetas a permisos.

        Cuando entre las mercancías se incluya un equipo de cómputo el valor total de las mercancías no debe exceder de 4,000 dólares. El porcentaje de impuestos que se debe pagar en este caso es de 16% del valor de la mercancía, restando el importe de la franquicia.

        Mediante este procedimiento se puede importar:

        – Hasta seis litros de bebidas alcohólicas o vino, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 90% de impuestos sobre el valor de la mercancía.
        – Hasta 40 cajetillas de cigarros, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 573.48%,
        – Hasta 50 puros, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 373.56%.”.”

        Enjoy,
        steve

      • john says:

        What tax would we have to pay to bring more than 25 cigar

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