1 What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules – The Article

Sept 12, 2019 Update:
Mercado Libre has published a DANDY list of what specific items are prohibited to bring into Mexico, and a sub-list of items that can be brought in with modest restrictions.

Click to access Restricted_products.pdf

July 27, 2017 Update

Details on filing the appropriate paperwork for importing medical supplies:
Shipping drugs, medications, medical equipment etc require an import permit from COFEPRIS (Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks). A copy of the COFEPRIS approved permit must be in the package with the device when it arrives at Aduana. This is true for any device that arrives by itself, not in the company of its owner or someone else when entering Mexico. In the past COFEPRIS has taken 6-8 weeks to process import permit applications .

We start at the COFEPRIS link  “Permiso sanitario de importación de dispositivos médicos para uso personal ”  (“Medical Import Permit for Medical Devices for Personal Use”)



COFEPRIS uses a Red List, Yellow List, & Green List convention … and there are other twists~details worth reading about at:

Requirements for Bringing Medical Supplies, Drugs or Medical Equipment into Mexico

Dec. 4, 2014 Update
We have added a section on ~ RULES FOR SALESPEOPLE doing business as VISITORS to Mexico:.

Oct. 4, 2014 Update
We have added information on bringing in additional quantities of restricted items like cigarettes or alcohol, by paying extra duties.   See the comments at the end of the list of “What Can I Bring In Duty Free” for details.  We also added a section on items that are prohibited for importation by shipping by common carriers like Estafeta, UPS, DHL, and FedEx in a subsection called: Prohibited Items for Importation by Shipping into Mexico

Feb, 2013:  SAT has issued new rules for importing things. Customs brokers are no longer required for private individuals when bringing personal items in by land.

Dec. 7, 2013
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.

Please note that as of Dec. 5, 2013, SAT/Aduana has issued new Duty Free limits for people entering Mexico by air and by land. The new year round limits are $500 US dollars per person entering Mexico by air, and $300 US dollars per person by land. Note that these are the year round limits. There are also special holiday $500 USA per Mexican citizen Paisano program limits between Nov. 1, 2013 and Jan. 8, 2014.

Here’s a List of the Contents of this Article:
Click on any of the following topics to go to that Section.

What can I bring in duty free?

~ Which items may be included in my personal luggage exempt from duty?

~ In which cases should I pay taxes?

~ Which other items must be declared?

~ Which goods are restricted?

~ Which goods are prohibited?

~ How much should I pay for those additional goods that are not part of my luggage or the $500 flight or $300 auto exemption?

~ Are you planning on driving into Mexico with your household goods? ~ Menaje de Casa Rules (English) ~

~ Aduana: Menaje de Casa ~ (Spanish)

~ Map of Aduanas del Pais

~ SAT – Directory of BANJERCITO Offices that Handle Vehicle Imports

~ Official Map of Aduana offices

~ RULES FOR SALESPEOPLE doing business as VISITORS to Mexico:

~ Prohibited Items for Importation by Shipping into Mexico

Back to the article:

Aduana’s current webpage for passengers arriving by Land and Aduana’s current webpage for import rules for passengers arriving by Plane says:

What can I bring in duty free?
° The items allowed in your personal luggage, according to the length of the trip
° As of Dec. 5, 2013: Up to US$500 per person in permitted goods, or its equivalent in other currencies when flying into Mexico. Passengers arriving by land are allowed only $300 of goods per person. Passengers traveling with family members (spouse and children) may combine their personal exemptions only when arriving together. In order to claim this additional exemption passengers must have the corresponding commercial invoices or receipts available
° Beer, alcoholic beverages and manufactured tobacco may not be included in this additional exemption.   New Duty Free Limits for Entering Mexico – Dec. 2013.

Desk-top computers are allowed, with 16% duties, as long as the total value of the computer is less than $4,000 USD.  Alternately, bringing in more than $3,000 USD of goods, no longer requires using a Customs Broker – Menaje de Casa style lists are accepted and encouraged. ~ Are you planning on driving into Mexico with your household goods? ~ Menaje de Casa Rules (English) ~

Which items may be included in my personal luggage exempt from duty when flying?

° Suitcases, trunks, and the necessary bags to carry your belongings.

  1. Goods for personal use, such as clothing, footwear and personal toiletries and beauty products, as long as they are appropriate for the duration of the trip, including wedding party items. Baby travel accesories, such as strollers and baby-walkers.
  2. Two photographic cameras or video recorders, 12 rolls of film or videocassettes; photographic material; three portable cell phone or other wireless networks; global positioning equipment (GPS); a portatil typewriter; an electronic calendar; a portable computer (laptop), notebook, omnibook or similar items; a copier or portable printer; a portable projector, and their accessories.
  3. Two sports equipment, four rods, three speedboats with or without sails and their accessories, trophies or recognitions, provided that they can be transported normally and commonly by the passenger, one stair climber and bicycle
  4. A portable radio for the recording or reproduction of sound or mixed tapes; or a digital sound reproducer or portable reproducer of compact discs and a portable reproducer of DVD’s, such as a pair of portable speakers, and their accessories.
  5. Five laser disks, 10 DVD disks, 30 compact disks (CD) or magnetic tapes (audiocassettes), for the reproduction of sound, three software packages and five storage devices or memory cards for any electronic equipments.
  6. Books, magazines and printed documents.
  7. Five toys, —included those that are collectible— and a video game console and five videogames.
  8. One device that permits measurement of arterial pressure and one for glucose, as well as medications of personal use; in the case of psychotropics the medical prescription should be shown.
  9. One set of binoculars and a telescope.
  10. Valises, trunks and suitcases necessary for the movement of goods.
  11. Passengers over 18 years of age, may bring in a maximum of up to 10 packs of cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco and up to three liters of alcoholic beverages, and six liters of wine.    Items in excess of the above cannot be imported without complying with applicable regulations and restrictions.*
  12. Two musical instruments and its accessories.
  13. A camping tent and camping equipment, as well as their accessories.
  14. A set of tools including its case, it might have a hand drill, wire cutters, wrenches, dices, screwdrivers, current cables, among others.
  15. Up to two dogs or cats, maybe introduced as well as their accessories, provided that the corresponding  zoo/sanitary  import certificate issued by (SAGARPA) is presented to the customs officials.**

Readers who doubt these official SAT rules (who are reading the out-of-date Aduana websites),  can check the current Mexican Customs Form from SAT (Aduana’s PARENT organization) at:  http://www.sat.gob.mx/sala_prensa/boletin_tecnico/Documents/Boletin2014_P084_Anexo1.pdf

*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 cartons (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%.”

http://www.aduanas.sat.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2008/pasajeros/139_10953.html and http://www.sat.gob.mx/BienvenidoaMexico/Paginas/opcion02.htm

** Note:  SAT’s website (parent agency of Mexican Customs) Item #16 describes 3 pets allowed per person. ~ ~ Equipaje personal~~ plus descriptions of the veterinary certification you need to complete before traveling: el certificado zoosanitario para su importación, expedido por la Secretaría de Agricultura,

~ Additional details (in English) on importing pets are listed at an SRE website: ” When traveling to Mexico with your pet. “ including explanations about the veterinary exam requirements.


° New or used goods for personal use, such as clothing, footwear and personal hygienic products, in reasonable quantities, according to the length of your trip and that they may not be subject to commercialization

° Medications for personal use. In the case of psychotropic substances you must present the corresponding medical prescription ***

° Persons with disabilities may include those items for personal use that due to their characteristics may replace or reduce their disability.

http://www.aduanas.sat.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2008/pasajeros/139_10210.html and
New Duty Free Limits for Entering Mexico – Dec. 2013

In which cases should I pay taxes?

– Remember that you are entitled to bring in up to US$500 worth of goods in addition to the personal items included in your personal luggage, and that you are allowed to combine this amount with family members (except for alcohol and tobacco not allowed for minors).

– If you exceed this exemption, or if your family’s combined amount exceeds the combined exemption, you must pay duties and taxes. There is a flat 16% rate of duties and taxes, which is applied only to the amount exceeding the exemption (individual or combined). You must fill out a payment form, which is available at the Customs counter

– If the value of the goods surpasses one thousand dollars (per family member) after subtracting the US$500 exemption, or if any of the goods is subject to non-tariff regulations or restrictions, you must hire the services of a customs broker. Private brokerage services are always available at the airport

– If you bring a desktop computer, you may pay duties and taxes by filling out a payment form as long as the value of the computer and its peripherals and accessories do not exceed US$4,000. If the total value of the computer and its peripherals and accessories exceeds US$4,000 you no longer are required to hire the services of a customs broker.


Which other items must be declared?

– Animals, agricultural products and medications

– If you are carrying more than US$10,000, or its equivalent in other currencies, in cash, checks, money orders or any other monetary instrument, or a combination of them, you must declare the amount exceeding US$10,000. You will not have to pay duties or taxes, but you must declare it on the Customs Declaration form. Failing to declare it is a violation of Mexican Law and such violation is sanctioned with administrative and even criminal penalties.


Which goods are restricted?

• Firearms and ammunition. In order to import firearms and cartridges you must secure an import permit from the Ministry of Economy and from the Ministry of National Defense. For further information please visit the following websites: http://www.economia.gob.mx and http://www.sedena.gob.mx.

• Hams and Cheeses, well sealed in their original packages, with all labeling intact are allowed:  SAGARPA: Ingreso de jamones y quesos ,Firehttp://senasica.gob.mx/?id=3694

***Aduana de Mexico offers a specific list of medications for which Mexican Custom’s has special rules.  See these 2 sites to get a sense of what is allowed, and what is required:

Click to access Medicamentos.pdf

~ Aduana de Progreso has confiscated incoming shipments of grease products, including small tubes of water-proof fishing reel grease. The person who ordered the grease was sent an official notice by Aduana asking him to come to the Administrative Offices at the Progreso Muelle. The Aduana supervisor told him that all grease products were forbidden for import by private individuals.

Other reliable posters have described that (like grease) Aduana also confiscates candles and soap in packages mailed into Mexico.


Which goods are prohibited?

– Narcotics, insecticides and live predator fish of any size. Stamps, stickers, drawings, illustrations or printed materials representing children in a denigrated or ridiculous way, or inciting violence. For further information please visit the Mexico Customs website http://www.aduanas.gob.mx
– The Ministry of Agriculture prohibits the following goods since they represent a great risk for the introduction of plagues and diseases: earth, straw, padded containers of hay, straw decorations without processing; homemade foods; flours of animal origin; fresh, dry, canned or frozen meat and meat products, such as smoky, salted and mature sausages that have been elaborated in countries under absolute quarantine (Europe, Africa, Asia and South America).

~ The Port of Progreso Aduana office also says that all grease products are not allowed, including fishing reel lubricants. ???

For additional information please visit the website http://www.sagarpa.gob.mx .


How much should I pay for those additional goods that are not part of my luggage or the $500 flight exemption or$ 300 driving exemption?

If you exceed the $500 flight exemption, or$ driving exemption (per person), you must pay duties and taxes. There is a flat 15% rate of duties and taxes and you must fill out the payment form intended for it, which is available at the Customs counter.

For travel in 2014,  we are not required to use Customs Brokers.

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Are you planning on driving into Mexico with your household goods?
Here is our crude translation of Aduana’s current official rules for bringing in household goods using a “Menaje de Casa”.

The following used household items can be imported duty-free:
~    The furniture and utensils of a house, used exclusively for the use and proper and regular treatment of a family, clothes, books, booksellers.
~    Works of art or science, they do not constitute complete collections for installing exhibitions and art galleries.
~    Scientific instruments for professionals as well as workers and craftsmen tools, provided they are essential to the development of the profession, trade or occupation.
~    Scientific instruments and tools that enjoy the exemption may not be a complete set of equipment for the installation of laboratories, clinics or workshops.

Foreigners interested in importing household goods duty free, must certify that the household goods were acquired at least six months before the date you enter Mexico.

People who are allowed to imports household goods, without payment of taxes on foreign trade are:

No utensils are considered part of the following commodities:
~    Goods which the persons concerned have been abroad for commercial or industrial activities.
~    Vehicles.

Legal basis: Article 61 Section VII and 142 of the Customs Act, Articles 90, 91 and 94 of the Customs Act Regulation, Rule 3.3.3. of the General Rules on Foreign Trade for 2012. Aduana: Menaje de Casa ~ (Spanish)

Yucalandia Note:
We suggest taking at least 3 copies of the list, because Aduana will keep one copy at the border, and then when you cross the 25 km Aduana checkpoint, they might keep a copy of the list. As you cross state borders and go through military or police checkpoints, they can ask to see the list. In the bustle of traveling, a single list might get lost – leaving you with no list (a.k.a. in the dog-house) for future inspections of the load.

Note that we cannot and do not give legal advice, but we do note that there have been 100’s of people’s personal internet reports over the past 5 years that most people with a modest truckload or trailer-load of HOUSEHOLD goods are waved through Customs paying no duties. The key thing people describe is having a good Menaje de Casa style list that describes every numbered box (and its contents) and the un-boxed items in your load – along with items named in Spanish – along with serial numbers on electronics. Note that people who bring in commercial quantities of items, or who bring in lots of tools (enough to start a small shop), or people with lots of electronics or lots of computers or lots of computer gear are often asked to pay modest duties. Also note that these same 100’s of people say they did not have a Consulate approved Menaje de Casa – and the ones who did have Consulate-approved lists (like my wife and I) found that the Aduana people gave no importance to the fact that the list had been pre-approved. If you are using a professional mover, or a Customs Broker, then they do need a Consulate approved formal Menaje de Casa list. Again this is NOT advice, but just an observation of our experience and the experiences listed in 100’s of internet posts.

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Official Map of Aduana offices
If you are entering by land or sea, you can check the following official map of Aduana offices, along with their contact information, hours of operation, and addresses:  Map of Aduanas del Pais

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Prohibited Items for Importation by Shipping into Mexico

Estafeta, a good common carrier in Mexico, lists the following items prohibited for shipping by common carrier into Mexico, and a separate list of items prohibited for shipping within Mexico:
“Artículos prohibidos para importación

Armas en general y accesorios, productos inflamables, tóxicos o peligrosos. Todo tipo de alimentos frescos, semillas, medicamentos, suplementos alimenticios, vitaminas. Instrumentos médicos de cualquier tipo como: medidores de presión, masajeadores, material pornográfico. Algunos artículos cosméticos con ingredientes farmacológicos. Ropa y calzado usado, artículos de piel en general. Algunos accesorios para bebé como biberones, pañales, mordederas. Llantas usadas y nuevas. Artículos de madera en general, tintas y tóners líquidos, velas, ceras, globos, cigarros electrónicos y accesorios. Equipo para gotcha o paint ball y accesorios. CD´s o DVD no grabados (vírgenes), etc.

Si tu artículo no se encuentra en esta lista parcial o tienes alguna duda, contacta al área de informes merkalink.com para aclarar tus dudas o preguntas. informes@merkalink.com

Restricciones en la Transportación de Productos en México
Artículos Prohibidos: Bebidas alcohólicas, artículos perecederos y de fácil descomposición, pieles y cueros de animales, mercancía falsificada denominada como “pirata”. Armas de fuego, muestras para laboratorio (tóxicas, peligrosas o de manejo especial), animales (vivos o muertos), refacciones con residuos líquidos, artículos de valor extraordinario y piedras preciosas, dinero o monedas, metales, títulos de crédito negociables, plantas (naturales), líquidos, material pornográfico, cualquier tipo de armas blancas, vidrio (en cualquiera de sus presentaciones) y sustancias psicotrópicas (precursores químicos y químicos básicos), artículos con lasser, CD´s o DVD no grabados (vírgenes).

Están excluidos también los materiales restringidos por la IATA: Explosivos, gases comprimidos, líquidos inflamables, sólidos inflamables, objetos magnéticos, materiales oxidantes, objetos radioactivos, artículos tóxicos, materiales irritantes, sustancias infecciosas y/o artículos que puedan dañar la estructura de la aeronave y aquellos que posean otras características inherentes a las arriba enlistadas.

Las llantas nuevas requieren cumplir con Normas Oficiales que incluyen análisis de laboratorio.

Recuerda que ésta es una lista parcial, para más información enviar un correo electrónico a:  informes@merkalink.com con el link del producto específico que deseas importar.


RULES FOR SALESPEOPLE doing business as VISITORS to Mexico:

NAFTA has special rules for salespeople doing business as visitors to Mexico:
A business traveler may temporarily import certain goods duty-free. Goods which qualify are professional equipment (tools of the trade), equipment for the press or for sound or television broadcasting, cinematographic equipment, goods for sports purposes,   and goods for display or demonstration.

As a condition of duty-free entry, a NAFTA country may require that these goods:
– not be sold or leased while in its territory;
– be accompanied by a bond if they are not originating goods as defined in Chapter 4 of the NAFTA;
– only remain in the importing country until the departure of the person or within a reasonable time established by each country;

  • be capable of being identified when exported;
  • be imported in no greater quantity than is reasonable for its intended use;
  • be imported by a national or resident of another NAFTA country that seeks temporary entry;
  • be used solely by or under the personal supervision of the person importing the good in the exercise of the business activity, trade or profession;
  • be accompanied by a bond (or other security) no greater than 110% of the charges that would otherwise be owed on final importation. (A bond for customs duties will not be required for an “originating” good.) …”

This next info is from a Canadian govt. website, so it describes the NAFTA member rules for entering Mexico or the USA:
2. Business Visitors
Business Visitors can enter the United States or Mexico on a temporary basis to perform work as follows:

Market researchers and analysts conducting independent research or analysis for an enterprise located in Canada.

Trade fair and promotional personnel attending a trade convention.

Sales representatives and agents taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services for an enterprise located in Canada, but not delivering or providing the goods or services.
Buyers purchasing for an enterprise located in Canada.

Transportation operators moving goods or passengers to the U.S. or Mexico, or loading goods or passengers and transporting them back to Canada, with no unloading within the U.S. or Mexico. Purely domestic service or solicitation, in competition with American or Mexican operators, is not permitted. …

“9. I have a commercial sample I need to ship to Mexico. What do I need to do?

Commercial Samples of Negligible Value: Commercial samples of negligible value can be permanently imported into Mexico duty-free. However, such goods must be truly valueless — meaning cut, marked, torn, or otherwise made unsalable. All other commercial samples must be imported into Mexico on a temporary basis. Contact a Mexican Customs broker for additional information.”

THIS IS FROM AN 2007 NAFTA FACTS Document 8409… Is it still valid? I understand that it is still valid…

“8. How do I find a Mexican Customs broker?
Typically, it is the Mexican importer who hires the import broker. However, if you need to hire a Mexican import broker, the best way is to obtain a recommendation from business associates, clients or customers. If you are unable to find a broker through a recommendation, you may contact the Confederacion de Asociaciones de Agentes Aduanales de la Republica Mexicana (Confederation of Mexican Customs Brokers) at 011-525-533-0075, 011-525-533-0076, 011-525-533-0077, 011-525-533-0683 or 011-525-533-0684; Fax: 011-525-525-8070.”


Corresponde al impuesto que pagas dependiendo la categoría del producto a importar.

Categoría del Producto Impuestos
Libros y documentación 0%
Electrónicos, ropa, calzado y demás mercancías 16%
Revistas y catálogos 16%

Cuando los artículos no tienen el país de origen, se toma automáticamente como hecho o fabricado en China. ”


We (Yucalandia) note that Aduana also includes greases as being prohibited for importation.

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Happy Trails !

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Disclaimer: Note that all of this information is for educational and entertainment purposes only, it is not meant as legal advice. Please see the governing authorities and their information for all important shipping and importing questions, and contact Aduana to find out their current policies.

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .

645 Responses to 1 What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules – The Article

  1. Pingback: What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules | Surviving Yucatan

  2. norm says:

    What kind of number do they put on things like used cement mixers and power planners? I tend to fix things myself, my big tools are something that I would want to mule down if I bought in Yucatan. Who sets the value on a 50 year old cement mixer? It’s not pretty but it works great, I’d hate to pay $100 USD for the old beast just to cross the border. What kind of import taxes do regular folk have to pay?

    • yucalandia says:

      whew…. The last friend I know who brought down a bunch of that kind of stuff (a gasoline powered welder, and 1/3 of a bus of tools and household goods etc) wound up in a standoff with Aduana for a while – and Aduana ultimately caved and charged him an arbitrary $300 or $400 for the whole lot.

      On another trip, we hauled in a 16 ft totally enclosed trailer that was about 1/3 full of household goods – and they waved us through – they were only concerned about a bag of prescription medicines. We also brought in a pickup load stuffed full of household goods and a 4′ x 6′ trailer loaded 6 feet deep: $300. easy-peasy – But the key to easy-peasy was having a printed spreadsheet list including every item and estimated prices.

      If they just give your load a visual once-over, and it’s clear that you aren’t hauling drugs, guns, bales of cash, lead batteries, food, or supplies to run a business, you will likely be waved through with no $$$ – which is the experience of 100’s of people reporting going through Laredo/Nuevo Laredo early in the day. Matamoros Aduanas has a stiffer reputation for charging arbitrary fees.
      All the best and safe travels. Stop by and stay a while at our home in Merida if you like…

      • norm says:

        Thanks Steve. Hope to be in Yucatan next November. I have my eye on the Reo Bec/Calakmul area for some off the beaten trac ruins. Mid January is a trip into Yaxchilan viva Palenque. My plans are a remote highland Guatemalan ruin called Mixco Viejo for the 12/21/12 winter solstice.(I’ve seen clear evidence of local Mayan use there in the past) I plan on driving my van down, doing a ruin trip with you and your buds would be very cool if we can line up our ducks.

      • John says:

        We are wanting to come to MX possibly to retire. We have several animals; however, and no one seems to know how we can get them through. I’ve called every possible number from embassy to customs and no one knows anything. But I bet if we came to the border with the animals all of a sudden everyone would know all the rules! We aren’t up for surprises; however, and would just like to know in advance what we need. Also, we wanted to bring a gun or two just for protection for traveling through the country. No one seems to know anything about that either. Do you have information on either of these? I would really appreciate it if you could give us some definitive answers. Thanks! John

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi John,
        As it says above in the article under “restricted items” (above) ~ ~ <a href="https://yucalandia.com/answers-to-common-questions/what-can-i-bring-into-mexico-mexican-customs-rules-the-article/#Which%20goods%20are%20restricted&quot; ~ ~: no guns allowed, no ammo, no munitions.

        For pets: As listed above in the article: ~ ~ Additional details (in English) on importing pets are listed at an SRE website: ” When traveling to Mexico with your pet. “ including explanations about the veterinary exam requirements. ~ ~

        While the SAT (parent of Aduana) website listed above in the article expands on the SRE description:
        Hasta tres mascotas o animales de compañía: gatos, perros, canarios, hámsteres, cuyos, periquitos australianos, ninfas, hurones, pericos, tortugas, aves silvestres de tamaño pequeño (excepto rapaces), así como los accesorios que requieran para su traslado y aseo, siempre que presenten ante el personal de la aduana el certificado zoosanitario para su importación, expedido por la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación; para animales de vida silvestre además debe presentarse el Registro de Verificación expedido por la Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Medio Ambiente, que compruebe el cumplimiento de la regulación o restricción no arancelaria a que se encuentren sujetos.

        Fortunately, all the things you were looking for are in the article,

    • Maricela says:

      Can I take school supplies in bulk from USA to Mexico? And if so is there restrictions (amounts I can take)

      • yucalandia says:

        Commercial quantities of anything you bring in are possibly subject to 16% duties ~ depending on the decision of the Aduana agent who you deal with.

        If you are bringing in school supplies that are all a donation for poor kids, if you can, get a letter from donors describing the donation, and certifying to whom the supplies will be given, including a copy that Aduana can keep in their files.

        The letter is not necessary, but it helps if Aduana decides that they may want to charge duties. … We have brought in $10,000’s of dollars of lab supplies to be donated to a public health lab, and 4 different sets of friends have brought in 1,000’s of toothbrushes & back-to-school stuff, and even toys for donations … and Aduana agents each time paused, asked the purpose of the items, then carefully considered the printed letters each of us had (documenting the donations), and ultimately waved things through with no duties.

        If there is a Mexican group receiving the donations, a letter from them (on their letterhead) acknowledging the donation … cements the case for no duties.

        Happy trails,

  3. Barker says:

    What if you arrive on your own sailboat?

  4. Barker says:

    I really can’t bring canned smoked fish from Germany? That is our main protein backup on our boat, very surprised about that detail. We have over 200 cans that are good till 2017.

    • yucalandia says:

      We don’t know import rules for arrival on your private boat. Do they inspect the contents of personal boats when you arrive?
      Can you leave the cans of fish on the boat? I will ask some friends who sailed the Caribbean for roughly 12 years, using Mexican ports what they know.

      • Barker says:

        Hi Steve, thanks for the quick reply. I can absolutely leave the canned fish on the boat. I’ve only arrived in Mexico via sail boat once and that was a friends boat. No officials ever came on board but that doesn’t mean they wont and ignorance is never an excuse. Thank you for the offer of asking your friends. I’m enjoying the other great information you have posted. Glad I found your blog. Cheers.

  5. Claire says:

    Hi there. I’m driving to Merida in July with two 12-yr olds. Does the personal exemption apply to them as well as individual exemptions – as to laptops, CD’s and the like. The way I read it, we, as a family, have a combined exemption of $900US above the personal luggage exemption. Am I correct? Does the $300US exemption apply before receipt of FM2/3? Thanks for your advice, and your blog.

    • yucalandia says:

      Claire, correct. The exemption has nothing to do with your INM permit application.

      • aspen says:

        Can you not bring a laptop and ipad into Mexico?

      • yucalandia says:

        One person can bring in both as an airline or bus passenger.
        Aduana might charge you 15% duty on one of them. – or they might not. If you are traveling with a companion, have them carry one of your 2 computers. Or, carry a print-out from Ebay showing a low price on one of the computers, so that any duty charged is low.

        e.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-iPad-16GB-Wifi-3G-Case-Bundle-w-Square-Trade-Warranty-/220966591308?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item3372a29b4c shows a price of $160 – which would get only a $24 duty if Aduana chose to assess duty on your 2 computers.

      • Claire says:

        Thanks for your reply. I’m somewhat confused as to the 300USD exemption. http://www.aduanas.gob.mx indicates up to 75USD exemption above the personal luggage when driving in, but allows 300USD exemption when flying in. Also, ‘…in order to claim exemption…passengers must have the corresponding commercial invoices or receipts available’. The items I’d like to bring in above the personal luggage exemption is mostly kitchen stuff, bedding, school supplies for 2 children,(and family pics/portraits) have been used for several years and, of course, no receipts. How do I get around this? Do I list an approx cost from way back for each item?

        Many thanks again for your help. Methinks I worry too much.

      • yucalandia says:

        You’re welcome.

        A friend regularly makes 3-4 trips a year here to Merida with household goods. She makes an Excel spreadsheet naming each item in Spanish, serial numbers for electronics etc, and prices – with multiple copies, so Aduana can keep one in their records, and you can keep yours with you for showing at various checkpoints throughout Mexico.

        She goes onto Ebay to find images and prices for used items – and prints out copies as supporting documentation for her estimated prices on the spreadsheet. Aduana has accepted her spreadsheets every time with no hassles. No drugs, no firearms, no meats or produce, medications only with prescriptions…

        Are you still confused about the differing limits for land entry vs. airline passengers? The rules have describe charges for different services, but the amounts and requirements seem clear. Government requirements around the world often do not make sense to the rest of us. *grin*

        You’re right not to worry. Most people cross the border with either no duties or small payments. Many people are just waved through after cursory load checks.

  6. Kathryn says:

    Does anyone know if you can bring white unbleached flour into Mexico? We are planning a trip tp Merida soon and would like to be able to bring flour with us if possible.

    Thanks in advance

    • yucalandia says:

      Our friends have brought us bleached bread flour on their last 2 flights with no problems: King Arthurs’s in new unopened commercial packaging. I mention the commercial packaging, because sometimes Aduana confiscates food products that are in baggies, bulk, etc – while passing/approving commercial food products in their original unopened packages. Is this their official policy ???

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  8. Dawn says:

    If I’m driving in and bring a used tv that’s value would be less than 400.00 do I have to stop to declare


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dawn,
      Outside of your personal (exempt) items, each person is allowed to import $300 in household goods per person. Check Ebay and find a reasonable price for your TV. Many travelers find that if you give Aduana an excel spreadsheet listing the ebay prices of you goods is enough for them to wave people through after inspecting the list. They may ask for printouts of the ebay webpage for items.

      If they do decide to charge a duty, it would be just 15% of the total amount OVER the $300 per per person limit. If you have 2 people in the car, the total exemption is $600.
      Happy Trails,

  9. Hi! I am coming back home after almost 2 years outside of Mexico. Last time I arrived with my really old laptop to give to my mom and my new one. Both were bought in Mexico and the customs people gave me some problems. This time I am traveling with my Lap Top and I would like to bring my ipad also. Does anyone know if I could have a problem again?

    • yucalandia says:

      Welcome home!
      There are several issues here. Aduana’s import rules on computers are very specific: only 1 computer per person as personal itmes exempt from duties. They do simple and effective X-ray scans on all bags that clearly show computers as unique items. Further, the Aduana agents are very familiar with what computers look like on X-ray.**

      If you want to bring in 2 computers, why not follow the rules, and be ready to pay any duty?
      Is following a clearly stated and fair law “having a problem”?

      Do we like it when foreigners try to get around laws in our home country?
      e.g. Do we like it when foreigners intentionally dodge paying taxes, get paid illegally, just so they can save a little money?

      Bring printed receipts to show what each computer costs, and have enough cash ready to pay a 15% duty.

      They may not charge you the legal duty, but you will stay legal and have your bases covered in either case.
      Happy trails,

      **We have seen Aduana handle it either/both ways. Some people are charged a small duty on the second computer, other people are just waved through.

  10. Molly Schroeder-Fisse says:

    My husband, daughter and I are traveling into Mexico for an extended stay (around five months) and would like to bring our dog and two kittens. What is required to bring them into the country? Is this even allowed?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Molly,
      You can bring in the animals as long as you have the appropriate veterinarian’s certificate of good health. There are good discussions on this topic on Yolisto and Mexconnect. Gringodog also has very good current information on this.

  11. Andrew says:

    My wife and I are traveling into Cancun airport on Thursday. We both are on diets and require special diet food to eat during the day. They are all in commercial packaging and include powder drink mixes, cereal, and protein bars. Can we bring these items into Mexico? Do we have to report anything for these?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Andrew,
      This is an area where the letter of the law and the enforcement/practice of the law (regulations) diverge.

      Fortunately, the practice of almost all Aduana agents for the past 25 years has been that they allow all packaged, non-meat or non-fruit . products. If your foods are in commercial, new, unopened packages, in quantities appropriate for personal usage, then you will likely sail through Customs (Aduana). Your stuff should not look like you are opening a health food or supplement business – where case loads of stuff looks like “mercancia” (commercial goods).

      In practice, you cannot bring in meat products – even if they are cured/cooked in new commercial packaging – e.g. DO NOT try to bring in SAUSAGES or DrIED MEATS – unless you are willing to possibly have them confiscated as you enter Mexico. Sometimes processed meats slide through, and other times not. No FRESH FRUITS ! NO DRIED FRUITS ! (these may slide by) NO FRESH VEGETABLES ! All of these things are considered Agricultural Products.

      If you need to bring in a bunch of protein bars or packets of mixes, I would pack them loose – not in a sealed box or original box- but instead either in a crude grocery sack or loose in your suitcase. If they are in their original box, they may be considered “mercancia” and you will have to beg and explain and plead that they are only for personal use. If you have a friendly physician who will write you a note explaining your special diet as a medical condition, then it may all go even smoooooother.

      Don’t worry, don’t fuss, follow the advice given above … and if Aduana fusses at you: Be patient, stay very calm, but be helpful and persistent. Many many many times, Mexican officials appear to be bringing down the hammer, starting to deny foreigners something, … but if the foreigner stays calm, does NOT get pushy, ASks for help, and listens respectfully to all the scolding and warnings by the Mexican official, then… many many times the Mexican officials take pity on us, and allow us to break the rules, and they wave us through, especially after we promise to be good good doggies, next time ….

      Good Dog! Take your biscuit and go… … vs … BAD DOG ! ~ NO BONE ~

      So, even if it looks like things are going badly, and they are reading the rules to you, chapter and verse, stay hopeful. Many times they will relent, scold you, instruct you, and then wave you through. The people who get frustrated, get angry, get pushy, growl or get barky … often do not get what they want (flaunting authority here often backfires??).

      Happy Trails!

  12. Amy says:

    I’m flying into Puerto Vallarta and am bringing a small used synthesizer as a gift. Is this allowed? Will I be charged an import tax? I bought it on ebay for $270. Thank you!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Amy,
      If you show Aduana employees your receipt for $270, and they accept this value, then because it is less than the $300 USD personal exemption, you would owe no duties. Aduana is not required to accept the values we present, especially because many gringos make up their own fake receipts. Aduana personnel may choose to reject your $270 valuation, especially because their regulations call out electronics as special items.

      If you have more than $30 in other goods in your bags or possession, that are not personal clothes or personal toiletries, then they can charge you import duties on any combinations of items valuations that exceed the $300 USD per person per flight personal exemption limit.
      Happy Trails,

  13. rachel says:

    Hi! I flying in to visit friends and am planning on bringing them a wooden sculpture. Do you know the regulations surrounding obviously dead or treated wood?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi rachel,
      If it is wood in a natural form, like worm-hole-ridden untreated drift-wood sculpture, then it could be an issue. If it is a well finished, highly polished piece of carved sculpture, like an African ironwood or ebony figurine, then likely no problem.

      What airport are you flying into? Cancun is back to using their red-light / green-light system, so, if you get a green-light, they wave you through. We just came through Cancun on Saturday with 4 suitcases loaded with things (including 2 laptops and a desktop computer and electronics gear and 6 big kitchen knives etc) that would generally trigger the X-Ray tech to flag us for an Aduana agent to examine our goods and receipts, but the X-ray tech said nothing, and we got a green light. Ironically, even with the green-light for our family, they did ask to check my wife’s little back-pack/purse, as I rolled through with my 4 big bags loaded with suspect items.

      Conversations with 3 different Aduana managers and supervisors all confirm that IT IS ALL UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL AGENT… The individual agents are given broad discretion in deciding what items to confiscate, what items to allow to go through duty-free, and what items are charged a duty…
      Happy Trails,

      • Roxana says:

        So, this is in response to a message left in 2013 (it is now 2020!), but I would say – not only that times may have changed, but the comment that it all depends on the individual aduana agent may give one ‘hope’ and a sense of maybe being able to ‘get away with it,’ but it also means there is no accountability, lots of room for corruption and fraud. It would be much better if there were clear rules and were all adhered to, even if it meant that a US visitor would have to pay a require duty on all applicable items.

      • yucalandia says:

        Yeah … Consistency would be nice.

        Is it possible … that the biggest part of the problems is lawless Americans ??

        Consider how it’s ingrained across the USA to casually break laws … as US laws are broken by 10’s of millions of USA-nians every day … and the US police, sadly, choose to not enforce the laws.

        33 US States have a seatbelt enforcement law, which the police do not enforce, as roughly 90 Americans die every day, NOT wearing a seatbelt.

        Consider that all 50 States have Speed Limit “Laws” … that the US police do not enforce… as 10’s of millions speed along, every day…

        Just over 6 million Americans admit to cheating on their taxes … every year … yet the IRS audits less than 0.5% of the returns.

        Many States across the USA have laws prohibiting gambling in private homes… Yet millions of Americans illegally play poker at least once a month…

        Sharing medication … Both federal and state laws make possessing or using medication not prescribed to you illegal. But people get nearly 60% of prescription drugs used non-medically from family and friends, according to the American College of Preventative Medicine.

        Maybe … the problems is lawless Americans ??

  14. jessica says:

    Hi I had a family friend take some items (clothes, shoes, personal items) in 2 boxes to my husband in Jalisco. Most of it new but without the tags. It seems as he has an issue at inspection with his truck and for being over the limit in goods, he had other boxes as well and they took away his truck. They told him he can pay the taxes for the goods that went over the limit but he didn’t want to. Is there any way that I can get my items back from the Aduanas? is there a time limit to claim the items. This is in Tijuuana B.C. I’m loosing about $300 worth of merchandise. Please help as I have researched all day and can’t seem to get an answer. Thank you in advance

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jessica,
      Have you called Aduana in Tijuana?

      Aduana offers a nice map of all their locations, where you click on a city, and the contact information and address pop up:
      Map of Aduana del Pais

      I suspect that the formal thing that happened with your friend who tried to import too much is that he got tagged for attempting to bring in what Aduana considered commercial quantities of items. If he did not pay the duties, then I think the legal process he completed was: He formally surrendered the good inside Mexico, rather than taking them back out of Mexico.

      Since he likely surrendered the goods, then they likely cannot be recovered. This is equivalent to you going into US airport security with a knife and large scissors. TSA Security gives you a choice, surrender the knife & scissors, … or leave security with your things, mail/ship your knife and scissors to someone, and then return to try again to get through TSA security.

      Alternately, if your friend did not formally declare that he was bringing in more than $75 of items for import (trying to illegally bring in multiple boxes of goods as personal items), then Aduana likely seized the goods as undeclared imports of goods that were clearly not his personal items. If the goods were seized as undeclared items being brought in with bad faith, then they definitely are not available.

      Did your friend get his truck back? Was he stopped at the Aduana checkpoint about 25 km into Mexico? This part of the story is very unusual ~ implying that Aduana was convinced of some bad faith or attempts to smuggle things?

      This is one of those cases where it would have been much cheaper to pay the 15% duty, than to try to slide-by without getting caught.

      Come back and tell us what happened,

  15. Steph says:

    Hello, I am flying into Cancun and bringing wedding decorations and gifts. Do you think I will have to pay duty for these items because they are over $300. Any advice?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Steph,
      Cancun has returned to using the red-light / green-light system. If you get the green light (like most people), then they wave you through, so, you are most likely not going to trigger the 15% duties, unless their X-Rays show you bringing in commercial quantities of things. Since Aduana can assign ANY value they want to each item, you may want to bring an Excel spread sheet printout of the prices of each non-personal item, and RECEIPTS for every non-personal item. e.g. Let’s say there are some electronics gifts in the haul: They love to charge excessive duties on electronics, and I have had them assess $200 duties on a $75 receiver (which I ultimately argued them down to $15).

      Best Wishes !

  16. Chad says:

    I promise… my last question on all these threads of yours. You have been so informative and I’m sure you are more worried about the new immigration and Aduana car threads than this one.

    As I begin to pack things up and prepare paperwork to come down, my next concern is prescriptions. On many sites there is talk of Americans being jailed for having legitimate prescriptions. I will be attempting to bring my script of Alprazolam (xanax), which according to aduana is a psychotropic substance that must be declared. many sites have said don’t bring them even if they are legitimate. I will have about 20 pills, in the original labeled bottle. I also scanned a color copy of the prescription before taking it to the pharmacy and then today I went ahead and had a doctor note written up (of course in English, however). But, after reading some posts elsewhere… my next stop is Yolisto where a member has talked about being questioned about their scripts at a checkpoint. Do you have any opinions on how risky it is to bring this into Mexico? Thanks for any insight.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chad,
      This is beyond our ken.

      On the surface of things, if you declare that you have them, and have a legitimate legible prescription for them, and they are in the original container, and you have only personal use quantities (not commercial quantities), then it all sounds good. They might confiscate them???

      Re Yolisto and the person questioned at a checkpoint:
      For the one incident I know that was reported on Yolisto, I was present for the whole thing. The couple had a 16 ft enclosed trailer, about 20% full. Aduana had the owner open the back trailer door to inspect the load. They had us tell them the contents of a few boxes, and then had us open those few boxes to confirm the contents. On the top of one of the containers they inspected, there was a zip lock bag with about 10 different bottles of clearly-used prescription meds, all in their original pharmacy bottles with their labels.

      Since there was more than 1 or 2 bottles, and because the couple did not have written prescriptions for the bottles, the Aduana agents argued that they should confiscate the bottles. I served as the couple’s facilitator and translator, because they did not speak Spanish. The discussion went back and forth with the Aduana agents for between 5 and 10 minutes, discussing that the pills were legitimate, and that the official labels on the bottles were accurate/unaltered and served as documentation of them being officially prescribed by a legitimate doctor, and that these were personal quantities… Aduana agents were adamant that they must confiscate the bag due to the lack of written prescriptions. The wife then pointed at a withered, sunken section of her elderly husband’s leg (exposed below his shorts), and she said that he needed the pills for his bad leg.

      The Aduana agents were clearly touched by her appeal, and they softened. They half-heartedly tried to say (again) that they had to confiscate the bag of prescriptions, and she persisted her sad story saying that he was pitiful and he needed the medicamentos… They surrendered, and let us go, with the pills.

      What should you do? Contact Aduana yourself.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chad,
      Sometimes a bit of research can help. Xanax drug name is…. Alprazolam .

      Did you search the Aduana website for Alprazolam?

      What articles can a passenger introduce as part of his/her personal luggage?

      Each passenger (even if he/she is minor) can introduce articles that are mentioned next, new or used, like part of his personal luggage, without the payment of taxes:

      8. Devices that permit measurement of arterial pressure and glucose, as well as medications of personal use; in the case of psychotropics the medical prescription should be shown.

      Explanatory notes: Psychotropic substances are considered such as:
      Alobarbital aminofenazona

      Looks like you are fine, especially if you make a copy of the Aduana webpage listing the requirements for Alprazolam / Xanax.
      Happy Trails,

  17. Chad says:

    🙂 You and I are referring to the same person and she and I have actually been PMing each other for a while now about the drive and such. I sent her a msg. earlier about the situation. I am a worry-wart and over analyze things.

    I guess the big question is… Did this occur at an aduana checkpoint (the one just outside of Nuevo Laredo)? Or a state/local/federal checkpoint? I didn’t get that in her post.

    I guess I could see the concern with 10 bottles, whereas my number won’t be as high. I just don’t want to do be behind bars for LEGALLY importing something. That’s what gets me. It is not illegal to bring prescriptions in, but there are reports of issues. I always thought that the actual label on the bottle served as a prescription since pharmacies will take the original.

    I guess, the good news is that they were just going to confiscate the bag and not haul them into jail.

    Please let me know (in case the mentioned person doesn’t… I know that they are heading north again soon) if this was the 25km checkpoint or a random stop. Thanks again for everything.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chad,
      It was at the border in Nuevo Laredo.

      As she wrote on Yolisto, she now hides things inside compartments in her truck. After leaving the Aduana checkpoint at the border, she hid anything she thought might be a problem.

      Hiding things? Not good.

      If Aduana finds even one cached item, they can tear your vehicles apart – taking off the door panels, interior cabin panels, taking the seats apart, etc.
      Happy Trails,

  18. Pamela Mayhew says:

    We fly our private plane to Loreto Baja CA Sur at least once a month to a rental we have secured. We are always needing to bring with us foods that we can not find in the town of Loreto. We have heard ALL KINDS of comments and rumors from our ex-pat friends regarding custom restrictions on food, however, I have searched the Internet and have not found ANY legal information. Could you please tell me the restrictions for foods into Mexico (cooked, cured American meats, poultry, pork, fish), eggs, dairy, juice, fruit, vegetables, cereal, bread. Is there a web site that I can print a document from?
    Two Fun Junkies Flying to Loreto!

  19. Karen says:

    We will be bringing a 20′ trailer with all our worldly goods into Mexico through the Laredo border crossing this fall using our one-time household goods exemption. We will have a menaje de casa approved by our local Consulate. My question is: Do we need a customs broker to clear the goods across the border or can we simply do it ourselves? I cannot find a definitive answer with a reference to the applicable Mexican law anywhere. In fact I have found contradictory answers on various Forums. If we do need a customs broker, can you recommend one in Laredo, TX? Thank you.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Karen,
      In the past, you needed a broker for anything over $3,000 total while driving in. Aduana changed the rules, and you can now bring in a load of household goods. This explains why some sites say “yes” and others say “no”. Some people make an effort to keep their information both current and accurate. Others, not so much. (especially many typical lawyers, many “facilitators”, and many Notarios)

      • Karen says:

        Thanks, Steve, for your response. Do you by chance have a reference to the applicable law that I could print out to hand to any Aduana official at the border who may not be current (or accurate) either? With my luck I’ll get the one guy/gal who hasn’t kept up to date and still thinks I need a customs broker. Thanks.

      • yucalandia says:

        I would print out the Aduana webpage on Menaje de Casa listed above.
        Youn can find the Ley Aduanera at http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/12.pdf , but the menaje de casa info is scattered through the law.

  20. Roxana Hart says:

    What constitutes a ‘load’ of household goods? Also, if I decide to live permanently in Mexico but need to order through the mail certain vitamins or other health supplements, what are the regulations regarding mail orders (or is this beyond your ken, too)?

    Thanks, Roxana

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Roxana,
      You asked: “What constitutes a ‘load’ of household goods?
      Did you read the English language section in the article above https://yucalandia.com/answers-to-common-questions/what-can-i-bring-into-mexico-mexican-customs-rules-the-article/#Are%20you%20planning%20on%20driving%20into%20Mexico%20with%20you%20household%20goods on Are you planning on driving into Mexico with you household goods? ~ Menaje de Casa Rules (English) ~ ?

      This section says you can bring in one load of:
      The following used household items can be imported duty-free:
      ~ The furniture and utensils of a house, used exclusively for the use and proper and regular treatment of a family, clothes, books, booksellers.
      ~ Works of art or science, they do not constitute complete collections for installing exhibitions and art galleries.
      ~ Scientific instruments for professionals as well as workers and craftsmen tools, provided they are essential to the development of the profession, trade or occupation.
      ~ Scientific instruments and tools that enjoy the exemption may not be a complete set of equipment for the installation of laboratories, clinics or workshops.

      Foreigners interested in importing household goods duty free, must certify that the household goods were acquired at least six months before the date you enter Mexico.”

      You are allowed to mail in vitamins – just not commercial quantities of them.

      Natural barbituates and natural hallucinogens are not allowed.

      Re beyond my ken: If you read my second response to Chad, I did some research, and found that there was a written exemption buried in Aduana law allowing Chad to import his Xanax for personal use. I guess I could go back and delete my first answer, but it seems more honest to leave both answers, as it took extra work to find the ultimate answer?
      Happy Trails,

  21. Linda White says:

    where can I find these instructions in Spanish so I would have the $300.00 per individual at the border for the agents to read for themselves. Sometimes the agents try to go around the rules and collect under the counter

  22. Terri says:

    Hi there, reading all these comments has been so interesting. I and 3 other ladies will be flying into Mexico as missionaries…will be working at an orphanage. We’ve been going for years. However, I haven’t been the past 2 years. I always (for 10 yrs) bring canned tuna (the snack pack with crackers), cans of potted meat, flat bread, etc. and it has never been questioned or taken. I also bring many meds (due to being a heart patient). Have things changed, do I have reason to leave the food and need to be concerned about the meds? We eat our food we bring for the first day, then they take us to buy food (we buy lots of food, we feed the kids 3 meals a day while we’re there). Anxious to hear from you. Thanks, Terri

  23. Bob Caskey says:

    I have a very big problem or not a problem at all. I have no idea. I did all the research and engaged customs broker and immigration atty. early on. I have in hand the paperwork for the permanent visa done in the consulate in chicago. I have the visa in my passport. I know I have to complete the process in Merida. But I also packed up all my stuff, inventoried it and completed a menaje de casa which was also processed and stamped in chicago. All of a sudden my customs broker says that I must have the FINAL permanent visa in hand before Aduana will release my goods. ANd now other folks are coming out of the woodwork saying that only temporary visa applicants/holders can bring in the menaje tax free (for used goods over 6 months old). I thought I knew the procedure. And the kicker is we sold the NOB house, packing the truck tomorrow and driving down to FLA with our goods on Sunday morning.

    Please help!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bob,
      Good news and bad news…

      You do qualify to bring in one load of household goods – without paying duties – under a Menaje de Casa as a resident of Mexico.

      Since you are not officially a Mexican Resident until you have your card in hand, you might have to store your goods, until you get your Residency card.

      • Ingrid says:

        Yikes Steve! We have our permanente visas and will be retiring at the end of the year. We have already rented a house in Chapala. Do you mean to tell me that we won’t be able to take anything listed in our menaje de casa? I heard sometimes it has taken months to get the cards from IMN. Tell me this isn’t true, how can it be?

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Ingrid,
        In theory, you must have some sort of approved residency to bring in household goods with a menaje de case and no duty. That means having Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente cards. I can take as little as 10 days and as much as 2 – 3 months for the INM office to get you cards, depending on which INM office you are using.

        In practicality, many visitors bring in a trailer load of household goods with no problems, or paying small duties like $300 – $400.

    • Albert says:

      Hi Bob, Im very curious how this situation was resolved. Did you need to store your household goods before entering? Was there a difference between a Temp res visa holder and a Perm resident visa holder? Thanks!

  24. Elizabeth says:

    HI, Steve I have a question for you.. I will be traveling into mexico in July with my husband and two kids. I plan on taking used clothes to give away to my relatives, would I have to pay taxes on that?
    Thank you

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Elizabeth,
      As long as you are not bringing in big bales of clothing, (commercial quantities), you can simply say that the clothes are for personal use.

  25. Sergio Venegas says:

    I am wanting to drive 6 computers with monitors and keyboards to support a ministry in Ensenada, BC. All of the equipment is donated and the business has depreciated all of the equipment. Is E-bay still the way to value? Also, can you take care of this in the States, say at a Mexican Consulate before arriving at the boarder?

    • Katie says:

      I have a question. I am coming in February for my wedding and plan on bringing all the wedding favors and wedding party gifts! Will I encounter a problem? Also what do they consider a commercial amount. I will have about 65 people coming for the wedding and everything from my place card holders will be in quantities of 65! Help please!

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Katie,
        What a dandy question.

        We use the “commercial quantities” comment as standard boilerplate, to mean “more than for personal use”.

        I think you can make a fine explanation that you are getting married – a personal event for friends and family. None of it is to be sold. Mexicans know how many invitations, party favors, etc are needed for a wedding, and if you get a reasonable Aduana agent, they should smile, and congratulate you.

        Along those lines, it is OK to chat with the Aduana folks as you go through. You could happily ask them if they see your wedding gear, if they X-ray your bags. Have fun with it!

        If you get a grumpy agent, keep things light, and if they really do want to charge the 15%, then ask if you could please talk with one of the gerencia or un jeffe about how they handle novios and wedding parties.

        You should do fine.


  26. Rita Ross says:

    I am traveling on a bus going through Nuevo Larado Aug 5th. Was hoping to bring a small torch of mapp gas and oxygen to a friend as a gift. It is in its original packaging and I have no receipt as it was given to me. I have a smaller torch as well that I would bring in its place that has no gas in it.Is it permissible? Thanks. Learning a lot from the posts.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Rita,
      While no one can perfectly predict what Aduana will permit: In theory and in practice, you should be fine bringing this into Mexico by bus. If your plans change, and you fly here, know that IATA rules would prohibit it – and TSA would likely take it.

      Good plan,

  27. Kaye says:

    Hi Steve…coming to Mexico in a couple of weeks.
    Status…I am currently with one year on the old FM-3…issued 10-11-12 and will be renewing under the new system now. ( I am currently trying to decide whether or not I can qualify for the permanent residency. I will be sending a question re this issue under the appropriate forum here after this.) My fiance and I are coming by air under separate visas…he will be entering on a tourist visa. We are staying Aug 15-Nov 24. I will be bringing some household items in my luggage.

    Here are my questions:

    Question #1: He wants to bring some of his older and some new woodworking tools in his luggage to help me work on my house. They won’t be returning with him this trip because we have more to do than we can get done in one trip.
    a) 12″ Craftsman compound mitre saw…label says Made in Taiwan
    b) 71/4″ Craftsman circular saw…label says Made in China
    c) Ryobi battery operated sawzall…label says Made in China
    d) Craftsmen variable speed router…label says Made in USA
    e) Ryobi battery operated impact driver…to be purchased…origin TBD
    f) Ryobit battery operated jigsaw…to be purchased…origin TBD
    g) Box of 24 drill bits
    h) One Ryobi battery charging unit.and 4 rechargeable batteries…to be purchased…origin TBD ( Are there any restrictions on type of batteries you can now put in checked baggage?)
    i) Several replacement blades for the mitre saw, sawzall, and jig saw
    j) Misc chisels, etc

    Should we do the list with serial numbers and/or eBay printouts for all? Any Nafta issues here with the Taiwan/China thing? He plans on using the new tools a little before bringing down so they will be slightly used at that point.

    Question #2: Should I have to stay with Residente Temporal for 3 more years and have not used my one time household goods importation, would I still be eligible to use it withing 6 mos of being issued my renewal? I am not sure as it is considered a renewal and everything I have seen says within 6 mos of issuance…nothing about renewals being eligible if you’ve never used it before.

    Sorry for such a lengthy entry…but wanted to give you as much info as possible for you to be able to answer. Any advice is much appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kaye,
      about 2(?) years ago, Mexico agreed to lower the previously high duties on Chinese goods – so, IF Aduana decides to charge you duties, they are likely at the normal rate (16%). You may get the green-light coming in – and not be checked at all. If they notice the tools on X-Ray, they have the option of saying “go on through” or … send you to the secondary check tables. At the secondary check tables, an agent looks at things and tries to decide if you are over $300 per person (air travel).

      This step is where a pre-printed spreadsheet is helpful, naming everything that is NOT a personal item, and identifying a price.

      When they can take your dated, signed spread-sheet and give it to their boss, to put in a file, it gives them a fig leaf that shows every item along with supposed “used” prices – which is where the E-bay pricing and printouts are key – as official-looking proofs of prices.

      If they do decide to charge you duties, feel free to push back (not aggressively, not angrily) – like a negotiation. e.g. I brought in an old model obviously used Dish Network receiver, that I had previously imported and paid duties on (but did not have the prior Aduana receipt)… They wanted $75 USD in duties on it… we went back and forth for about 10 minutes, haggling over the real value, and settled on $15 USD of duties- which was an level acceptable to both of us. We smiled, shook hands, and the Aduana agent went his way and we went ours.

      Happy Travels,

    • Nancy says:

      Hello Kaye,

      Just wondering how your trip went- going through the border with all the tools? We are planning on doing the same this fall. Any help would be appreciated.


  28. Soph says:

    Hi! I will be traveling to Mexico, next summer, as a minor and I am trying to plan out my airport experience. As pitiful as that sounds, this will be my first time going through customs without my parents. Needless to say, I am stressed out. Because I will be going as a student (I will be doing a Spanish Immersion class) I will need both my laptop and iPad in Mexico. There is no way either of these items will be going into my checked bag; I don’t want them broken or stolen. These will be for my personal use only, do I have to pay for either? I am very nervous about all of this hullabaloo with customs/Aduanas, please give me some piece of mind!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Soph,
      I pad and laptop, eh. Aduana policy does not affect how you handle having 2 of them on the airplane – as checked or carry on baggage.

      You go through Aduana with all your baggage in one shot. You push a button to play baggage roulette: Green light? Put the bags onto the X-ray machine, and if they see nothing – you go through without any inspection.

      Red Light? or they see something on X-ray… Then you get screened by an Aduana agent, who asks you to open your bags.

      In that system, after leaving the airplane and getting your checked baggage, I would pack the laptop and Ipad into separate bags – so they are not seen on Xray in a single bag. and then hope you get the green light (which seems to happen about 80% of the time).

      If they do pull you over for an Aduana inspection, be polite, say nothing. You are allowed personal items duty free, plus $300 of other things. They could waive you through with no problems with 2 computers, or they could say that you need to pay duties. Since you want to keep your total non-personal item $$ total low, some people pull up and print Ebay auction price pages to document used $$ prices on imported items (like your personal computer and Ipad)… Make a spreadsheet describing each item, the manufacturer, the model, and the serial number (on computers and electronics) – and be prepared to prepared to pay 15% tax on the total ( – $300 USD) of non-personal items you are bringing in.

      Many many people come in unscathed with a laptop and Ipad/Ipod.
      Hope for the best, be happy, and confident,

  29. Daria says:

    Bummer. I really wanted to bring some piranhas over.

  30. Jon says:

    Flying into Cancun then onto Merida for 6 months. Was thinking of bringing my PC but in parts. Motherboard, HDD, power supply etc then re-assembling it. Will this be a problem even if I declare it? Value etc?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jon,
      When you write “PC”, do you mean desk top – with a separate monitor ?

      You are allowed $300 of goods to import, in addition to your personal items. Can you show that the PC and you imported items are worth less than $300 – or pay the 15% duties ? Realize that because Mexico has not signed the Information Technology Agreement, they can reject used or refurbished computer hardware: http://web.ita.doc.gov/ITI/itiHome.nsf/a9d7cf5852b7c32385256ce70062ee2a/67560a8e8075bb9085256d0b007188fa?OpenDocument

      My wife and I flew into Cancun last fall, and I had an old 40 gig hard drive, and we got an Aduana agent who insisted that the HDD was a computer. He insisted that it was the “alma de la computadora”. We spent a full 30 minutes hassling over it… We finally gave up and told them to take it, and I started repacking my bags. They relented (3 Aduana personnel had come over), and let me bring it in.

      So, realize that because Mexico builds desktop PCs, under NAFTA, they have the legal right to prohibit them, while laptops sail in. ??? If you get a “green light” – you likely cruise in with no problems. Red light – or if they notice it while x-raying your bags: they may confiscate the PC or the parts.

      • Jon says:

        Yes, sorry. I did mean desktop. I was planning on just bringing the basic componets and sourcing the case, monitor when I’m there if that would be at all possible. Perhaps it may be better to bring a laptop in. Appreciate the reply.


  31. Stephen Cupp says:

    I went to Cancun last year and the agents made me pay the 16% duty for my camera equipment. I will be going back this year. Do I have to pay again or do I just show them the receipt that I paid last time?

  32. Rob says:

    Wow, Thanks for all your research. We have been searching for information on what we can bring in our house hold good. You have made it very easy for me and my wife. Thank you and God Bless

  33. Rosie Alanis says:

    Please inform me what is the best way to mail (Federal Express, DHL or UPS) prescription medications to my parents in Toluca, Mexico? Permits, letter from prescribing doctor,) Please advise many thanks!

    Rosie Alanis

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Rosie,
      Fed Ex has had the better results for the past 6 months with out lab’s shipments to and from the USA.

      In theory, we are not allowed to ship medications between USA-Mexico using the mail. If the Customs department of either country finds your shipment of medications, they will confiscate it.
      Hope that helps you avoid losing the meds,

  34. watts says:

    I want take clothing made in Thailand shipped to me in the US and then take it to Mexico and sell it. Is it possible for you to give me enough information so I can at least figure out where to start to figure out the laws and taxes?

  35. Cheri says:

    I am a little confused, maybe someone can help me here. My husband and I are thinking of relocating to Mexico, we are currently in Costa Rica and had no problems with customs here. We brought a lot of stuff with us from the States. I have a Nintendo Wii, I use it for my exercises; I have back problems. We also have a bunch of DVDs that we don’t want to leave behind. I know the printer is OK and the two lap tops. But what about the Wii and the DVDs? Thanks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Cheri,
      Did you read the section above on Menaje de Casa exemptions for household goods? Are you planning on driving into Mexico with your household goods? ~ Menaje de Casa Rules (English) ~

      What route/method are you planning to use to get to Mexico?

      When driving in:
      Each border crossing has broad latitude in how they enforce the regulations. Some border crossings like Nuevo Laredo allow honest-looking Americans and Canadians to enter with entire trailer loads of goods, checking 1 or 2 boxes, and charging either no duty or small duties (like $300). At these “liberal” crossings, it helps to offer the Aduana agents a menaje de casa style spreadsheed (not approved by any Consulate), documenting the contents of each box – along with estimated garage sale prices. Bring several copies – one for the border-crossing Aduana folks, and another to show or give to the Aduana agents at the 25 km checkpoints.

      Alternately, some border crossings, like Mexico-Guatemala, have added lots of restrictions not published in the law. We have not heard any reports from people driving in from Guatemala with a load of household goods in the past year, so, we have no basis to say what you will face if driving from Costa Rica. e.g. Americans/Canadians going to the Belize border or US Border to cancel a automobile Temporary Import Permit (TIP) are allowed to cancel the TIP and then get a fresh one re-issued immediately – without leaving Mexico, while the Guatemala-Mexico Aduana officials have told some Americans doing the same thing that they have to go into Guatemala for 3 days….

      Are you air freighting in things? If so, then the airport Aduana officials likely stick to the letter of the law – and they might even ask you to use a Custom’s Broker.

      If driving, are you driving yourself or using a professional moving company/Custom’s Broker? If you use a Custom’s Broker, then they likely stick to the letter of the law, and you pay 15% duties on non-exempt items.

      Do your qualify under Menaje de Casa rules – being allowed to bring in a load of household items duty free?

      That’s about all I can offer without more details.
      Happy Trails,

  36. Raul says:

    How about bringing a tv 42 ” to Mexico? Is it alow as a personal possession ?

  37. Mike Cummings says:

    My wife and I are currently living in Mexico with 1 year Temporary visas. We have purchased a property in Chelem. As yet we have not brought or shipped any household goods. There is approx. $3,000.00 worth of goods in Canada, everything over 6 months old. In April we are planning to return to Canada until November 2014 for family reasons. During this time our visas will expire in July. Because of this, we were going to return to Mexico for 5 months using a tourist visa. Would we be allowed to drive through Mexico bringing our household goods in a utility trailer, using the Menaje de Casa exemptions?


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Mike,
      Unfortunately, the formal rules say: “no”. The actual informal practice for Canadians entering on tourist visas is one where they check your list, give your load a quick “once-over” inspection, ask to look in a box or 2 (to confirm that the box contents match the list’s box numbered items), and then either wave you through or charge modest duties (like $300 – $500). We came through with a truck and trailerload, and paid nothing in duties. A friend with a busload of things paid $400. … Still, none of us know what will be the informal policies in Nov 2014. Could you hire a representative to make your application with INM to renew your Residente Temporal – and make a short trip when the papers are ready to sign and get fingerprinted? or, possibly you could apply for multi-year Residente Temporal permits (not to exceed 4 years total), applying before you leave in April? I would check out those possibilities??
      Happy Trails,

  38. Bruce Pumphrey says:

    My wife and I will be crossing the border in May and heading to Akumal to take possession of our condo we have purchased. I am retired, my wife is not. We will be traveling under the new equivalent of FM3 visas and have a temporary permit for our car. We will be hauling household goods in an enclosed trailer valued at $3,000 to $5,000 US. We will have a detailed spreadsheet that has all of the household items we are transporting with the name (English and Spanish) valuation of each item. Since we are likely to be over the $3,000 limit, will we need to obtain a customs broker? I presume that they duty could be as high as $150 US per $1000 in value over the limit but we are unsure exactly what the limit is for the allowed value of household goods for person (there will be 3 of us) traveling as Temporary Residents (FM3) versus traveling as Tourists (FMT). Could you clarify the exempt value that would not be subject to for those traveling with Household Goods on a Temporary Resident Visa?

  39. Bruce Pumphrey says:

    Thanks so much Steve.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bruce,
      I think the article was missing one detail on making the household/Menaje de Casa move easier: Make at least 3 copies of the list, because Aduana will keep one copy at the border, and then when you cross the 25 km Aduana checkpoint, they might keep a copy of the list. As you cross state borders and go through military or police checkpoints, they can ask to see the list. In the bustle of traveling, a single list might get lost – leaving you with no list (a.k.a. in the dog-house) for future inspections of the load.

      Did you check out our article on driving to Yucatan from the USA at: http://www.yucatanliving.com/destinations/driving-through-mexico-to-yucatan.htm ?
      Happy Trails,

  40. Bruce Pumphrey says:

    Thanks Steve. We plan on having multiple copies with one signed by a representative from the Mexican consulate here in Washington, DC. We will cross reference the list with numbered clear storage boxes. My wife and I are pretty OC that way. Driving through Mexico is a new adventure or us so making sure we are organized will eliminate any delays at the border. We also have pets traveling with us which will complicate things a bit more. For that we have a vet here to do all the paperwork before we leave and will identify one in Laredo to contact on short notice should issues arise. Your info has been very helpful.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bruce,
      Please come back and write about how the process goes with the Consulate/Embassy(?) in D.C. approving your list. The Mexican Consulate in Denver had us make the 3 hr (round trip) drive 3 times – (12 hrs total spent) and the Aduana agents at Matamoros said that they did not care at all about Consular approval – (which meant it was a waste of time for us) ???

  41. Liz Ruben says:

    Do you think a Leatherman Tool would be allowed into Mexico in a checked bag on a commercial airline going into Merida? Would a customs fee would be charged?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Liz,
      IATA regs allow it. If Mexican Customs does not see it on their X-ray, you are fine. If they find it, since knives are forbidden but knives that are tools are allowed, you can argue/convince Mexican that the Leatherman is a tool… e.g. Machetes and kitchen butcher knives are allowed in Mexico, but pocket knives are NOT. It is all up to the on-the-spot judgment of the aduana official who may (or may not) find it.

  42. Dick Smith says:

    What about bringing in a lazer gun. A friend put one in her checked luggage and all was fine?

  43. Pingback: New Duty Free Limits for Entering Mexico – Dec. 2013 | Surviving Yucatan

  44. Pete Capetillo says:

    I’m a musician and own my own PA system and all the musical instruments to form a music group , a value of about $ 40,000.00, if I decide to move to San Luis Mexico to form a band and play music there for a living, can I take all my stuff in my enclosed trailer and cross the Laredo border?

  45. Pingback: Mexican Import Duties Changed for Chinese Goods – 2013 Update | Surviving Yucatan

  46. watts says:

    I want to bring clothing into Mexico and sell them to boutiques and possibly even on the beach. What kind of visa do I need and what percentage will the tariff or taxes be. They are not be made in The USA…where I am a citizen but have my labels and not say where they were made. I have heard that the Mexican government makes a big stink about this stuff. Any suggestions? The total cost of the product will not exceed $500USD.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Watts,
      You are allowed up to $300 of non-personal items now when driving in. The Duty on clothing is 30% on non personal amounts more than $300 by car or $500 by air.

  47. JMC says:

    So, I am willing to buy a Charcoal Grill and Smoker and travel with it to Mexico, is there any restriction to those type of products? This is from the USA. I haven’t find this products in Mexico. It is below $500 USD and is for personal use. Regards.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi JMC,
      As you can see in the lists of prohibited or exempted items, grills are not mentioned in either category. You are allowed $500 Duty Free per person in non-personal items when driving in, so the grill fits as part of household goods. If it is a big beautiful grill that Customs/Aduana officials might think is worth over $500, bring the receipt showing your grill cost less than $500.

  48. Shayne says:

    My sister-in-law is asking that I bring her some prescription drugs from the US to her in Mexico. They are hormone replacement drugs and non-narcotic. The are not for MY personal use. Can I legally bring them?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Shayne,
      The letter of the law says you can bring in prescription medications for personal use, including the requirement to bring written prescriptions to accompany every medication (bottle/tube) in your name. I have seen times when Aduana officials check the names and bottle labels versus the written prescriptions, and other times when they did not check.

      • Shayne says:

        Thanks Steve.
        When they do check, do they just toss the stuff or would they conceivably detain me? I don’t mind them tossing her meds. Just holding up my vacation is my worry.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Shayne,
        That is an excellent question.

        In theory, they can apply nasty penalties to people who try to bring things in without declaring them. In practice, as long as you are not trying to bring in bullets or arms or explosives or other contraband or stacks of cash, then Aduana historically just confiscates the (minor) item(s) and scolds the passenger – especially when we are sincerely humble.
        Happy trails,

  49. Mike says:

    We have our residente permanente visas and are flying to Cancun on January 2. Our household goods are following overland with a moving company. My wife will be carrying her jewelry with her on the plane. Is there a limit on the value allowed for the jewelry and do we have to declare the value? Also, the consulate and moving company assured us that we could import our HHGs (menage de casa) on the strength of our visa alone and not have to wait for the resident card. Sometimes i hear that customs requires the residency card but we were very clear in asking about this with both the consulate in Toronto and the moving company at specializes in Mexico. What is the truth? Im a little nervous now.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Mike,
      If your Mexican moving company is well-experienced at importing household goods, (at this point) I would trust the advice of your moving company and their (in-house) customs broker, since that customs broker is responsible-for and should know the Aduana policies at the border crossing your moving company is using. Re your wife’s jewelry: As long as she does not try to bring in what looks like commercial quantities of jewelery – then you can claim them as personal items. If it looks like you are bringing in things for sale, then they can and do charge duties.

      I only know of one report where Aduana did not approve the goods being brought in by a moving company and their customs broker. The goods were held for roughly a month, until the family got their visas completed, and then released. This happened 7 years ago. We have read no reports in the meantime about this kind of problem.

    • Albert says:

      Hi Mike, I would love to know how this worked out for you. Not having your actual cards in hand… did that matter?

  50. Mike says:

    Many thanks.

  51. gary says:

    Hi Mike,
    I am wondering about brining in my cigarillos. they are smaller then “normal” cigars and I smoke then like some smoke cigarettes. For a stay of two weeks I should probably take 20 eight packs, or 160 total. Do you think they would be considered cigarettes or should I declare them or check at the airport on arrival?
    Are you allowed more then the “limit” and what is the duty on smokes?
    Thanks in advance, Gary

  52. Dan says:

    HI…. I’m somewhat confused by what I’m reading here… conflicting info… so I’m looking for clarity! My wife and I plan on moving to the yucatan from Canada in September. We plan on driving our minivan and pulling a cargo trailer with our household goods. We’ve decided just to rent a house for a year before buying a home and living there permanently. Therefore, our plan is to drive in with 6 month tourist visas and renew them for another 6 months. Can we do this with tourist cards or do we need temporary resident cards? thanks so much. Dan

  53. Bruce Pumphrey says:

    This is still a bit confusing but apparently under new regulations/laws you cannot enter Mexico with a foreign tagged vehicle (with a Temporary Importation of Property a TIP permit) on a Residente Temporal Visa. Some have indicated that there is an exception if your visa is non-lucrative (no work allowed) for students and retirees. But if your visa allows for work, you cannot bring a foreign tagged car if your temporary resident visa allows for work. Anyone else have info on this?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bruce,
      I have not read the entire 2014 Ley Aduanera, but “residente temporal” is only mentioned two times in the Law, and both are in Article 106. Article 106 describes the conditions that foreigners must meet to temporarily import a car and who can drive that car. The section clearly allows visitors and “residente temporal” permit holders to get TIPs – NOT as just some exception. The proposal that it is just an exception seems to misrepresent the law – making the other proposal (about lucrativos) equally suspect.

      Read Article 106, Section IV here for yourself:
      IV. Por el plazo que dure su condición de estancia, incluyendo sus renovaciones, en los términos y condiciones que establezca el Servicio de Administración Tributaria mediante reglas, en los siguientes casos:

      a) Las de vehículos propiedad de extranjeros que se internen al país, con la condición de estancia de visitante y residente temporal, siempre que se trate de un solo vehículo.

      Los vehículos podrán ser conducidos en territorio nacional por el importador, su cónyuge, sus ascendientes, descendientes o hermanos, aun cuando éstos no sean extranjeros, por un extranjero que tenga alguna de las condiciones de estancia a que se refiere este inciso, o por un nacional, siempre que en este último caso, viaje a bordo del mismo cualquiera de las personas autorizadas para conducir el vehículo y podrán efectuar entradas y salidas múltiples.

      Los vehículos a que se refiere este inciso, deberán cumplir con los requisitos que señale el Reglamento.

      b) Los menajes de casa de mercancía usada propiedad de residente temporal y residente temporal estudiante, siempre y cuando cumplan con los requisitos que establezca el Reglamento y el Servicio de Administración Tributaria mediante reglas.”

      Google Translate offers:
      IV. For the duration of their term residence status , including renewals , in the terms and conditions established by the Internal Revenue Service by rules , in the following cases :

      a) vehicles owned by foreigners who enter the country provided temporary stay of visitor and resident, provided that they are of a single vehicle.

      Vehicles may be driven on by the importing country , your spouse, your parents, children or siblings , even if they are not aliens, an alien who has a residence conditions referred to in this subsection, or by a national, provided that in the latter case , the same trip aboard any of the persons authorized to drive the vehicle and may make multiple entries and exits.

      The vehicles referred to in this subsection shall comply with the requirements specified in the Regulations.

      b ) The household goods of used merchandise owned by a “residente temporal” (or) ” residente temporal estudiante”, provided they meet the requirements established by el Reglamento y el Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT) mediante reglas.
      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

      Careful reading could be stretched to imply that since Residente Temporal wording does not specifically call out “con permiso de trabajo” descriptions, it could mean that working RT’s continue to NOT be allowed to have TIP vehicles – but I think that interpretation is a stretch. I will discuss this with an attorney to see if that is how Aduana is interpreting the new law.

      Aduana officials had described last fall that they only wanted one class of Residente Temporal – with equal treatment – regardless of permission to work.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Bruce,
        Continuing the theme, see Article 61, section VII:
        VII. Los menajes de casa pertenecientes a residentes permanentes y a nacionales repatriados o deportados, que los mismos hayan usado durante su residencia en el extranjero, así como los instrumentos científicos y las herramientas cuando sean de profesionales y las herramientas de obreros y artesanos, siempre que se cumpla con los plazos y las formalidades que señale el Reglamento. No quedan comprendidos en la presente exención las mercancías que los interesados hayan tenido en el extranjero para actividades comerciales o industriales, ni los vehículos.

        Note that the Ley Aduanera calls out only Residente Permanente as NOT being allowed to temporarily import vehicles.

  54. Bruce Pumphrey says:

    Thanks so much Steve. This very helpful. We don’t plan on working while there but may want to keep that option open down the road. Hopefully by then they will clarify this or we will have a vehicle tagged in Mexico.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bruce,
      Nothing to clarify. I think you just heard/read a rumor – or someone mis-read the new law.

      The current official Aduana policy is that there is no distinction in the law against lucrativas. (All Residente Temporales are the same according to the attorney we consulted.)

  55. Shayne says:

    This is all really good. Can you put me in touch with your sailing contact. My wife and I are considering an extended run around Mexico and need to know how to manage our boat contents. Specifically, some defensive weapons we keep on board for pirates in the US VI and cannot dispose of.

  56. playaright says:

    Hello Steve and gang. Need to ask this question, as no one seems to have addressed this exactly. So, we are moving to Mexico on a residente permanente (hopefully, need to apply here in Canada) and then drive the ‘household goods’ down in a 16 ft cargo trailer. How do we deal with the truck and trailer? We would like to import them- obviously, but I have heard all kinds of things, for example, ” you can’t import your truck, because it will be full of stuff”, or “you can’t import the truck because you only have the ‘pre residente perm. doc and not the real thing”. How do we do this- in 2 steps, or 3 or 100’s… Has anyone done with recently? I truck and trailer are not new and are Nafta, so it’s just the HOW that we need to know. I know we need a broker for the truck/trailer ,,, but with it full? With the ‘pre doc’s”? thanks for any help that comes our way.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Playa,
      The Aduana rules on brokers changed on Jan 1, 2014. You no longer need to use a licensed customs broker – but you still need to prepare a Menaje de Casa style list of the contents of each numbered box.

      The Mexican Consulate will give you a special visa that gives you 30 days in Mexico. That means that if you do a Temporary Import Permit on the truck and trailer, then it is good for just 30 days. You could use those 30 days to drop off your load, get your Residente Pemanente and then return to the border to do your permanent import.

      Really, each border crossing tweaks their policies, so it is often best to do it in 2 trips. 1 trip to get the Residente Permanentes and a second (leisurely?) trip with your goods.

      The “truck full of stuff” issue is a MIS-application of seaport customs rules versus your plan to drive in. When you have your Resident Permanente, you can certainly/definitely drive in with a truck load of stuff and also permanently import the truck at the same time. If you choose to use a commercial SHIP/boat to move/import your truck at some seaport, then the vehicle must be empty.

  57. hasanchez says:

    Hi Steve,
    I was wondering if you have any idea where I could find information regarding what items would be allowed to import as a Mexican National? We will be moving to Mexico towards the end of this year (Chiapas), I am a US citizen and my husband a Mexican national. We will be driving, and the vehicle is registered in both of our names. I want to make sure I have everything in order ahead of time so hopefully we have an uneventful trip. There will be 3 of us. if you could point me in the right direction that would be great! Thanks for your help and I love your blog!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Heather,
      Other than the Menaje de Casa household goods exemption for foreign residents moving to Mexico, Mexican citizens have the same restrictions that we foreigners do (except for the Paisano Program benefits for Mexicans).

  58. irene says:

    is there any special visa required to visit in Vallarta on holiday from Jan. 31 to March 13 and staying at two different resorts. We own two time shares there.


  59. irene says:

    By visitor’s visa, do u mean the one they give you on the plane? Can we bring any kind of meat in our checked luggage ie salami sausage or frozen steaks etc.?


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Irene,
      Yes, the FMM you fill out on the plane can serve as an application for a visitor’s visa.

      FMM = Multiple Format – which means Residente Temporales also use it to log their comings-and-goings in-and-out of Mexico. – It also means Residente Permanentes also use it to log their comings-and-goings in-and-out of Mexico.

      Tourists bringing in meat? Dicey.
      Sometimes Aduana allows salami-sausages or other dry and cured meats ~ intact / un-opened ~ sealed in the ORIGINAL shrink-wrap packages. Other times, the Aduana agent says “No” and confiscates them. It really is up to the individual entry point’s policies and the individual Aduana agent’s discretion. Our friend’s last attempt to bring in a dry salami when flying ~ failed ~ while her previous attempts succeeded. ???

      Formally, importing meat is not allowed. The same goes for dried fruits…

  60. Dan says:

    hola! My wife and I are planning on moving the the Progreso area in September 2014, We will be driving from Calgary, Canada. We were planning to haul our household stuff in a cargo trailer, probably a 5×8, but now we’re thinking that it might just be way easier, not to mention a nicer drive, to hire a moving company to take our stuff there for us. However, my wife has contacted a number of moving companies already, and she’s not having much luck getting anyone to even call her back! Very frustrating!… Do you by any chance know of a reputable moving company that could take our stuff from Calgary to the progreso area? THanks so much! Dan

  61. Dan says:

    thank you so much Steve!…. you are a wealth of info… and very helpful! Muchas Gracias!

  62. I see that the regs. have changed to $500 duty-free to bring in by airline; can you point me to a place I can print this out in case the aduanas does not have it current? I’m leaving on Feb. 1 to GDL, and the aduanas website still has the $300 limit. Thanks!

  63. irene says:

    Is there any restriction to the amount of $ you can bring in for 6 weeks vacation in Vallarta, Mexico


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Irene,
      If you bring more than $10,000 USD in currency, you have to declare it.

      If you plan to bring in enough to buy a home, (more than $10,000 USD), we strongly advise using bank to bank wire transfers instead (to not carry so much cash).

      • sdibaja says:

        I thought the rule was $10,000 in any form, not just cash… such as cashier’s check, etc.
        And I thought you needed to report to the US that you were taking it out, as well as report to Mexico that it is coming in.
        did that rule change?
        thanks (too lazy to look it up)

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi sdi,
        My best memory of the text incudes “financial instruments” – which includes gold, cash, bearer bonds, yada yada yada.

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  65. Jackie says:

    Hi Steve,
    My family of 5 is planning on driving through Mexico onwards to belize permanently. Does the Meneja de casa still apply if we are just driving through? We will be driving a 17ft box truck and our personal vehicle as well. Any words of advice? I have been making an inventory of all our boxes like you said in your previous writings. We have three small children and need this move to go as smooth as possible.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi jackie,
      There is a separate special permit for transiting Mexico – but I would still prepare the Menaje de Casa list, because it generally saves you from having to unpack your load at the US/Mexico border from either the US Border Patrol or from Mexico Aduana – just give them a copy of the list – and they are happy. There are also stops at some of the state-to-state crossings inside Mexico – and military checkpoints – and these guys are equally happy to see a good accurate Menaje de Casa list of what’s in your load – so bring as many as 4 copies (to pass some out).

      Basically, the US Border Patrol can and does have some of us totally unpack our loads if they suspect hanky-panky. Same goes across Mexico and when entering Belize. The list puts govt. agents at ease and shows you have nothing to hide.
      Happy Trails,

      **Have you read our companion article that documents much of the route you can travel? see: http://www.yucatanliving.com/destinations/driving-through-mexico-to-yucatan.htm

  66. Sherry says:

    We are traveling to Cancun on the 8th and I’m wondering what we are allowed for cigarettes each?I found on one site, all persons over 18 are allowed 20 packs each…so much cigars etc. I’m asking this as my parents just returned from Puerta Vallarta where they had taken 4 cartons (32 packs) in when they arrived and were charged $75 USD for 2 cartons being told they were only allowed one each? If I could get a reply in English as well as Spanish to take along with us, it would be greatly appreciated.


  67. Ruth says:

    I am travelling to Cancun Mexico on Feb 4, I will be bringing my 2 piece pool cue with travel bag inside my checked luggage, which is OK with TSA in Canada. I’m wondering if I will have any trouble with Mexican security officers going in or out of Cancun via airport. Should I state that this cue and bag is in my luggage before hand or am I worrying for nothing? I’m bringing it because I play better with my own cue and there are pool tables at the resort. Also have 2 aersol sunscreens 60 SPF 222ml each in luggage any problem with these?
    Thank you,
    Ruthie 😀

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ruth,
      I believe that IATA regs govern what aerosols you can bring onto the airplane.
      IATA Regs USG-05 on Aerosol Containers ( http://www.jafa.or.jp/temp_file/001359504715_0001001.pdf )
      Except as provided in 49 CFR 173.306, aerosol containers larger than 120 mL capacity (4 fl oz) must be non-refillable metal receptacles or plastic aerosols. Aerosols must consist of a gas compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure, with the sole purpose of expelling a non-toxic (other than a Division 6.1 Packing Group III material) liquid, paste or powder and fitted with a self-closing release device allowing contents to be ejected by the gas.

      So, I believe your sunscreens fit this description for checked bags on an airline.

      The pool cue: The US TSA started allowing pool cues in checked bags as of June 3, 2013 http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items – In the past Mexico’s airport security has followed US TSA guidelines for flights headed north, so a pool cue should be fine in checked luggage.

  68. Catherine sherred says:

    I would like to bring a suitcase full of wedding decorations. In the past people were charged duty on these items. It looks like that isn’t the case anymore? Or is it subject to $500. And does my wedding dress count. Please explain who wedding decor works in the cancun airport.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Catherine,
      The wedding decorations would be subject to the $500 limit. I don’t know how they classify wedding dresses – whether they are normal personal items or as dutiable.

  69. Gail says:

    We are having a wedding in Cancun. We would like to bring a dried starfish for part of the wedding ceremony. Is this allowed?

  70. Catherine sherred says:

    So why does the article say that you can bring all personal items including those for a wedding party?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Catherine,
      One basic principle described to us by an Aduana Supervisor: “We know what is allowed when we see it.

      This means they reserve the right to waive anything through, or to assess duties, on the whim of each individual agent. This means that our article describes the official policy, but reality (for each time you enter Mexico) says they may or may not allow it.

      Hope it all works well – plan to be firm (not aggressive) if they pull some BS, be patient, be persistent – and work politely but firmly to get them to not charge inappropriate duties. Ask for a supervisor to help if needed, but be prepared to offer to pay some duties (regardless of what the rules officially say).

  71. Terri says:

    Catherine and Gail, the bottom line is this … it all depends on the mood of the person checking your luggage. I go to Mexico every summer to work in an orphanage. Most of the time we (4 – 5 of us) are blessed and they question nothing (50 lb suitcases of new clothes/shoes, bug spray, lots of meds/vitamins, syringes, school supplies, 100+ eyeglasses, tools, lots of food, etc). Last summer they let us bring in a large set of kitchen knives…not a question. However, I have had batteries taken. When I asked how many were too many/how many can I keep…he laughed and said, “This is too many, I keep.” He kept them all. My rule to follow is “Don’t take anything that you don’t mind giving up…and it doesn’t really matter what the article/rules/guidelines say. You can question but don’t/shouldn’t argue with them there. We have even landed at the wrong airport late at night and forced off the plane at gunpoint. They wouldn’t tell us where we were or why we were there. We’ve had the police block us in and insist on money before they would let us out of the airport parking lot. I love the Mexican people and would love to bring the children home with me… that’s why I keep returning. Wishing you the best of luck and pray for your safety.

  72. Megan says:

    My husband is leqving the us voluntary for immigration court so we are all goingto mexico myself my husband and our two children is there a limit on how much clothes and shoes we bring with us can we bring toys and can we bring a tv

  73. Lanortenadelsur says:

    HOLA!!!!my Husband and I him U.S.Citizen me a Mexican national but Im also a U.S.legal resident are planning to relocate to Tijuana, Mexico cannot make it in California I have my Family over there and We want to cross the border to work everyday like a million of people do ,can we crossed our household goods little by little without paying the duties I know how Aduanas are and do we have to get Permits to live there!!!!

  74. Lanortenadelsur says:

    Hi Steve: until now I did not know that such procedures exist all I know is that were married 15 years ago living in California since then,we got married in Vegas, were visiting my Family in Tijuana all these years and were really tired of paying these ridiculous charges of rent and utilities, and we want it to do it or die in Tijuana close to my Family and Friends hes an orphan pobrecito!my Family loves him, I have my Parents alive and all my siblings well almost all of them in Tijuana I miss them terrible!!.we are planning you know to get across our appliances, our bed set,, and old sofa bed,can we get them across in the menaje de casa without any trouble an I understand that our desktop has to be declared and it cost us $839.00, we live 2 hrs.away from the Border with San Ysidro thats why I said that we want to cross our small stuff little by little like books, picture frames, our clothing,etc.thank you so much for your information its been really eye openning wish us luck well keep you post it of our adventure it can help somebody else!!!!

  75. Judy Dishaw says:

    Is there any legal way to get used clothing and other donations across the border for food banks and orphanages. I go to Baja once a month with food donations for a small community with around 40 families that we help out. There is a small school with 22 children and we also take school supplies. I tried to take used clothing for the children and got escorted back across the border. I don’t speak fluent Spanish, so I am not sure how to go about getting items to them legally. Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Judy,
      I would get an official letter from the food banks and orphanages and school – on their letterhead – signed by an appropriate manager at each organization – describing both who that manager/person is (their title and role), who you are, and what you bring in, and what they use it for. Have them promise that any and all donations will be used exclusively for charitable purposes (to ease concerns about scams or misdirection of resources).

      Be firm and persistent (but friendly) with any Aduana personnel. Have a complete Menaje de Casa style list of every box, bale, or bag and it’s contents – and have 3 copies – to give and or show to Aduana, police, military, and state boundary checkpoints (if you go outside of Baja). We have had Aduana challenge some of our imports of $10,000’s of medical supplies that are used exclusively for Public Health programs, and when we give them a copy of the letter on the receiver’s letterhead – Aduana has ultimately allowed the imports every time.
      Best of luck,


  76. Nicholas Knutsen says:

    I’m a Norwegian planning to apply for a temporary resident permit. I’ve read everything I can find about the menaje de casa, and I’m still not clear about it. You mention here a couple of places that we don’t need a custom’s broker now. That’s apparently new as of Jan 1, 2014. You also say that we can refer to the Aduana web page to confirm this. I’m not sure if it’s the page “Inmigrantes y nacionales repatriados o deportados” or “No inmigrantes con características de ministros de culto o asociados religiosos o de corresponsal, visitantes y visitantes distinguidos” (seems to apply to religious leaders only?). In any case, both pages say you need an Agente Aduanal, isn’t that the customs broker?

    According to my consulate (in Denmark), you *don’t* need a customs broker with the menaje. But my girlfriend (a Mexican who I hope to join in Guadalajara soon) called Aduana and they said that you *do* need a customs broker.

    What can I expect to pay for a custom’s broker? I heard it’s like $2000 or more.

    As I have no furniture to move, just lots of boxes, I was thinking about either using UPS or bringing it with me on the plane as baggage. Have you heard about anybody using a menaje de casa bringing their items that way?? It seems nobody can tell me if this would even be possible. Thanks for any help!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Nicholas,
      Are you driving into Mexico?
      The advice about not needing a customs broker using a Menaje de Casa is based on driving in from the USA.

      If you are shipping things into a sea port, then yes, you likely need to use a licensed broker. I have never heard of anyone using a Menaje de Casa for arriving by plane.

      • Nicholas Knutsen says:

        Thanks for you reply.

        No, I’m in Norway, so driving in would be pretty difficult. 🙂 It’d be either using the Menaje by ship, or using it by air or by parcel service (if possible). The Danish consulate, talking about Danes and Norwegians, had only heard of people using it by ship, and said that you didn’t need a broker. So lots of contradictory information.

        Yeah, it seems nobody has heard of using a Menaje in any other way than by sea or by road. But does it say anywhere that those are the only options? I mean, if it’s not specified by law that you can only use a Menaje by sea or by road, the airport terminal Aduana should in theory accept it. Of course theory and practice are not the same thing…

  77. Igor Oliveira says:


    I will be flying from the United States to Brazil, with a connecting flight in Mexico. I might go over the five hundred dollar limit. In that case, would I be subject to import taxes?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Igor,
      When you calculate the $500 of items, did exclude your personal items (exempt) or other exempt things?

      Everything I have researched does not include additional exemptions for people who are staying in the airport – because as you leave Aduana/Customs, you have the opportunity to leave the airport…

      Unless you are carrying commercial quantities of things, or carrying multiple computers, or electronics (like stereo receivers), Aduana usually does not charge the 15% IVA tax – waving people through. Aduana Mexico also has customers push a button to get either a red light or green light. If you get a green light, your luggage is subject to only a cursory X-ray scan. Red light => inspection by an agent. If you do have to go through that secondary screening, and they want duties, then try to explain that you will not leave the airport, and that you will be leaving Mexico – showing them your continuing flight boarding pass. (Individual agents have broad discretion to decide whether to charge, and they often just allow overages – except for electronics and computers.)
      Happy Trails,

  78. MLT says:

    I’m a 3rd year Residente Temporal in Mulege and to head up to San Diego’s Trader Joe’s for some 2.5 Buck Chuck. What duties would I have to pay for bringing down 10 cases?

  79. MLT says:

    PS, If I use my regular broker to bring them down, he charges me $1 per bottle PLUS 31% (which includes the IVA)

  80. Dan says:

    HI… my wife and I and our 2 dogs will be driving from Canada to Mexico at the end of August. We are relocating in the Chelem area. We plan on towing a uhaul trailer to Houston and putting our household goods on a ship (linea peninsular) to Progreso. We’ve now contacted two different customs brokers, asking for a quote on what their fees might be, and what this might cost us. however, even tho they say they’ll get back to us, they don’t!. We are more than likely going in with tourist visas and will have roughly 3k to 5k worth of stuff, including a few thousand dollars worth of musical instruments (I am a musician). Can you tell us what or how Custom’s brokers charge for their services? we are aware that we’ll pay duties and taxes of 16% on whatever exceeds the current exemptions… thanks so much!

  81. New To Mexico says:

    I plan on moving to Mexico as a TR or a PR and to have my son drive me down with a truck for my household goods. What do we need as paperwork for him and for the the – we will rent it – is that allowed. He will come as a tourist for 2 weeks. I am aware of the spreadsheet of items in my boxes. It is more about the truck – is a rental OK or do we need to own the truck for this purpose?

  82. Jeanette koehler says:

    I will be flying into Mexico from my recent visit in the us, can I bring coffe, popcorn, and various spices in my suitcase?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jeanette,
      Mexican Customs (Aduana) agents usually allow these things as long as they are in their original, sealed, un-opened, commercial packages. Opened items, privately produced items that are not in sealed new commercial packaging are often confiscated.

  83. Carol Warnes says:

    Hi, I am visiting my son and family in Mexico from UK and want to take his favourite home made cake. Will this be allowed.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Carol,
      Depends on the luck of the draw – (red light or green light) and if a red light, then the opinion of the Aduana agent who looks through your bags. Commercial food products in their original sealed packages are generally allowed (except for some meat products). A home-made cake… ???

  84. Dawn says:

    We are marrying in Cancun. We like others want to bring wedding decoration, such as 14 metal lanterns in for our ceremony. These lanterns were bought in the US but manufactured in China. Also, the bouquet is made from silk artificial flowers so would this be allowed ? Is the wedding dress considered a personal item?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dawn,
      Silk flowers are fine.
      The wedding dress is fine as a personal item.
      Goods manufactured in China are fine.
      Do the 14 lanterns put you over the $500 per airline passenger limit for non-personal items?

  85. Amanda says:

    We are planning a wedding in Cancun in June 2015. I have a niece that has a genetic disorder that requires her to be on a very strict specific diet. Her parents have to have exact brands and such for her foods. The foods include prepackaged meat, fruits, cheese, crackers, canned veggies, whole cream, and butter. Will they be allowed to bring the food into Mexico if they provide a doctors letter stating that she has to have these foods in order to maintain her health?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Amanda,
      Maybe so, maybe not. It all depends on whether she gets a green light or red light, and it then depends on the Customs agent she gets. As written above, some allow food in unopened commercial packaging, others not. Some allow meats still in the original factory packaging, while others stick strictly to the rules (no meats).

      A formal letter from a doctor, on the clinic’s letterhead, describing her conditions and special needs, explaining specifically what foods she needs and why would certainly help. Notarize the letter for it to be given even more respect here. A good Spanish translation of that letter, and copies of both for Aduana to put in their files would also help, along with a complete inventory (spread sheet) with Spanish translations of all the foods she is bringing is a big help.

      BTW, the USA has been far more strict with us trying to bring foods into the USA than Mexico, so she might lose anything left-over when she returns to the USA.
      Good Luck,

  86. maria hero says:

    I went to mexico @ Laredo had to pay did not have items that were not suppose to be only 2 suitcases(reg) very rude people had to pay 231.oo pesos what happen to duty free

  87. Ricky says:


    I am planning on brining magnification glasses for precise work and they cost around $30. Can i pack 10 of them and bring them with me or will i be charged duty as they are many pieces. Thank in advance for you help.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ricky,
      I think you can make a good case that they are personal items for personal use: different styles, different powers, used in different rooms (reading in the living room, pair by the bedside, pair in the bodega, pair for watching TV). The Aduana people are used to us gringos telling bizarre stories (what normal person needs 10 pairs of glasses???)….

      Do not even breathe the words “for work” or “para trabajo” – as that sets-off alarms/waves-flags that you are working or that the glasses are for commercial purposes (work).

      Most likely, they will not even say anything, so I would not even bring it up, unless asked.
      Happy Travels,

  88. perfectdon says:

    I will be coming to Merida with some photo prints and photo canvases of my own work, as well as some towels and bed linens. These are for a home a recently purchased. My concern is for the photos and photo canvases. How is a price determined, should I just document the cost of the printing ? The bed linens, towels, as well as some small kitchen gadgets ( can opener, cheese grater, corkscrew, etc ) also have no documentation. How would I place a value on the items.
    Thanks in advance

    • yucalandia says:

      You could check on E-bay for small kitchen gadget prices. Make good faith estimates of the values on the art. Foto printing costs are a good start. It sounds odd, but a computer printed spreadsheet list in “menaje de casa” format (spanish name of the item, serial number of electronics/tv/computer items, & value – all totaled neatly) can make all the difference. They love having the formal/official looking list, that you date and sign. It gives them a full listing of all non-personal items that gives them protection – and something they can show the boss and then file.
      Happy Trails,

  89. martimu says:

    Forgive me if this has been answered – I tried to carefully skim to see if it had and didn’t find anything – so here goes:

    The hubby and I are moving into the home we purchased outside San Miguel next month and with our resident permits will be driving down through Nuevo Laredo. We’re ready to start preparing our Menaje de Casa and my question is how detailed should we be? We’re clear about electronics and things with serial numbers – but what about things like books, articles of clothing, art supplies, et al.
    Does EACH item need to be listed (Poetry book, Doolittle Publisher, 1978); 1 tube cadmium red paint, 1 tube pale yellow paint, etc.)
    Or is it possible to say:
    12 Books (Total value $50)
    64 tubes of paint (Value $100)
    3 sketchbooks various sizes (Value $20)
    7 pairs of shoes
    handmade kitchen dishes (4 plates, 7 cups, 3 pitchers)
    3 pans, various sizes

    Because if I have to itemize every single individual thing (the paints alone for example) my list is going to be HUGE!


  90. martimu says:

    Forgive me if this has been answered, I tried scanning to see the answer I’m looking for. When preparing the menaje de casa just how specific should you be?

    Can you say:
    12 books valued at $50 total
    64 tubes of paint valued at $100/set
    12 shirts $2.50/each
    Set of kitchen dishes $100
    3 paintings – $25/each

    should I list each tube of paint, every single book and each individual dish?

    I’m good with the things that have serial numbers and such – but these personal items have me flummoxed! I just haven’t been able to find where folks have solved this issue. I’m dreading the couple boxes I have of personal talismans and such…..listing each of those is going to make me look like a nut!

    Thanks in advance!! And for all the insights above.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Marti,
      Great question! We created our list in the second (general) manner you propose:
      64 tubes of paint for pictures — Box #29 — $100 USD

      They were very pleased with our list. Aduana agents did not care at all whether it was approved by a Mexican Consulate. They just want each numbered BOX’s contents to match the list ~ and ~ they also want a copy for their files – so bring 3 or 4 copies, to offer to various Aduana checkpoints, at interstate-border crossing check points, to curious police officers, and to military checkpoint officers. Generally, they just look at the list, and then maybe ask to scan the load, and maybe look in one or 2 boxes, to see if your list matches the box’s actual contents.
      Happy Trails,

      • martimu says:

        Thank you so much, Steve. I truly appreciate it! It’s really nice to get reinforcement from someone who’s done it already. 🙂

  91. Bruce says:

    There seems to be a lot of conflicting information on this and I am not going to help matters any but just share our experience thus far. My wife and I are moving to Akumal in mid May and just obtained our Residente Visas and had our Menaje de Casa stamped and sealed by the consulate here in DC. We brought a copy in with extensive details on the unit and total costs in $US and $MX(Pesos) and were specifically asked to return the next day with a copy with the estimated values of each item removed (I just hid those columns in the spreadsheet). So now we have this very official version that has no cost/value information. We will present this initially to Aduana when we enter Mexico at Nueva Laredo in May but plan on also having with us copies of the more detailed version with references to what is in each labeled box and it’s associated value. We will present the more detailed version on request. I think this is the best we can do and roll the dice. The rules are in flux and very confusing. To add additional confusion, although this is the first time as a non tourist in Mexico, because I am officially retired and we are entering based on my retirement income, I was issued a Residente Permanente Visa. But because my wife is self employed they would not consider her income (much larger than mine) her income based on a Company Profit and Loss Statement or from joint tax returns. She only pays herself a small salary and would not qualify based on he W-2 wages. As such, she was issued a Residente Temporal Visa. We were told that neither expires but that each of our resident ID cards issued in country by immigration have to be reissued annually. Sorry for the long winded message. And this even omits the story about the Mexican Cowboy Tamale guy outside the Mexican Conslate in DC.

    • martimu says:

      Your recap is very helpful, Bruce. Thank you so much for taking the time to share it. You and your wife’s situation sounds remarkably similar to that of my husband and I. Good idea have both versions of your spreadsheet available. Covers the bases! We will definitely do the same.
      But what about that Mexican cowboy tamale dude, lol?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Remember that your Mexican Consulate is a part of SRE (the equivalent of the US State Department and Embassies) while Aduana is a part of SAT (the equivalent of the IRS and Customs & Border Patrol). Just like the US State Department in an Embassy really has NO jurisdiction over what a US Customs and Border Patrol officer does with you at the border, Your Mexican Consulate has NO jurisdiction over what happens at the border with individual Aduana agents.

      Since your formal Menaje de Casa exempts a load of duty-free household goods, valuations are not strictly needed. Will every single Aduana agent know this? Will all police know this? Will all soldiers at checkpoints know this? Will all state officials at interstate border crossings know this?

      More Important: Will your individual Aduana officer inspecting your load decide that every single item in the load is a personal household item – and not a commercial item or group of things in commercial quantities? Your advice from a Consulate clerk is no help in this situation.

      For these very real (and routine) reasons, I would print and bring copies of each list, both with prices and without prices, because => logical & legal ways of doing things are not always practical or workable. I know the list works when you list prices.

      You are personally using the special case of the Menaje de Casa list as a LEGAL document proving your load should be duty-free – but legal REALITY says that any Aduana agent can personally decide that something on your list is NOT a household or personal item, and charge you duty on that item. e.g. Any Aduana agent could decide you are bringing in enough tools to start a workshop or mechanic business, and they can legally charge you whatever $$ they want by arbitrarily assessing your tools at extremely high values.

      I have had this happen on electronics and tools, where they have assigned up to 10X too high values based on their personal opinion on the spot.

      If you have an existing proposed value, (and documentation for unusual or expensive items), Aduana generally accepts your proposed value.

      There can be big differences between what some State Department / SRE / Consular clerk (with NO authority over Customs matters) tells you far from the border versus the reality of what happens with the Aduana/Customs agents at the border. This explains why there is differing advice given on various websites:
      Theory vs. Reality.
      Happy Trails,

  92. Bruce says:

    Thanks Steve, we are definitely taking a belt and suspenders approach and will have actual receipts where we have them. My tools are so beat up, I am not sure they would assign any value to them. Haha. But at one thing people can keep in mind is that if they decide to assign a huge inflated value, look the item up on your phone or tablet and show them at least what the current suggested retail price is.

    We are a little worried as we are taking in flat packed RTA kitchen cabinets as wee have not found high quality cabinets in Qintana Roo unless they are custom made tropical wood. We know tropical wood is good but concerned about the environmental impacts of its harvesting. As such, we are prepared to pay the 15% duty on the $4,000 worth of cabinets we are bringing in. Let’s hope not but we included the duty in the budget.

  93. Bruce says:

    Oh and on the Cowboy Tamale guy, he camps out with his tamales in front of the DC Mexican consulate on 16th and Euclid NW in front of All Souls Unitarian Church. His tamales 3 for $7 are the best I have EVER had. Tamales con mojo rojo o verde (cerda o pollo) and Tamales de rajas (pollo y queso). A little bit of street food heaven in DC.

  94. Bruce says:

    Oh he’s only there from 11 to 1. He also does large batches for catering.

  95. Latifah says:

    Steve, I’m going to a conference in Mexico and many people coming want to bring art and/or crafts that they’ve created to sell at the conference. Do they have to pay taxes on what they sell? Can they ship things to the conference organizers ahead of time? Do you know where I can find this information? LT.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Latifa,
      This area of tax law is beyond our ken.

      They likely legally cannot sell things without RFCs…? needing accounts with Hacienda/SAT?

      Maybe they can use an existing business to be their tax paying surrogate… paying the Mexican business the taxes, plus a fee to handle the extra work…?

      In theory, Mexican-USA tax treaty law allows US artists to make up to $3000 USD of art-sales income a year in Mexico – exempt from taxes… Read our tax article on the US-Mexico tax treaty (for Americans) at: https://yucalandia.com/living-in-yucatan-mexico/tax-issues-for-americans-living-and-working-in-mexico-a-redux-for-2012/

      and go to the subsection:
      ~ $3000 Income exemption for artists, performers, athletes et al. and see the links from our main tax article for the official sites: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/mexico.pdf and http://www.irs.gov/publications/p901/ar02.html – Table 2, scroll down to “Mexico”…

      which we wrote specifically on this issue….

      Hint: Google searches on “Yucalandia US Mexico taxes” offers this as the first Google entry… *grin*

      But they still may need to document it… and report it to Mexico? requiring individual RFCs from Hacienda/SAT – to qualify for the $3000 exemption ???

      If each of them proves that they are paying income taxes in to the US IRS on this income, and prove their total annual Mexican sales are less than $3,000, and they show the specific section of the US-Mexico tax treaty to anyone who asks, then they MAY be in the clear…

      A Mexican tax official may point out a catch in that legal approach: If the American makes Trip #1 early in the year, and sells $2,500 (less than $3000) of art, without reporting it to the Mexican Hacienda – claiming the $3,000 exemption for that trip’s income, and then the American makes Trip #2 to Mexico later that same tax year, selling another $2,000 of art without reporting it to Hacienda -but saying “I sold less than $3000 in art on this time in Mexico.“, then the American has illegally avoided paying taxes in both the USA and Mexico, by ~ breaking the individual sales into enough small parts ~ and ~ spreading the sales across international borders ~ …

      This means to stay legal, your artist friends really need to bring things in through approved channels (no more than $500 duty free per person by plane), and sell it under the auspices/account of a Mexican business with a RFC account – where they ….

      Hint #2: Lawyers charge $150 an hour for these types of legal, international, treaty-driven subtleties of Mexican and US tax laws…. (buy me dinner? or offer me a choice of chatzkies/art? *grin*)

      I don’t know the specific details – just the principles of the law – so contact a Mexican tax attorney or Mexican accountant,

  96. Dave Allison says:

    Steve: I am travelling to Seattle, maybe Juneau, from my residence in Merida (two year temporal). I would very much like to bring back a couple of cleaned, dressed Yukon King Salmon in a wet box as baggage when I return by air to either Cancun or Merida. Will my fish and or cooked and chilled king crab be allowed into Mexico? I understand all of the restrictions on meat but could find nothing prohibiting the entry of fresh chilled or frozen fish.

    Thanks for the help.

  97. nancy edenburn says:

    I an flying to san jose mx and want to bring in bedding and bath towels for my condo. Also small kitchen items, knives dishes, coffee grinder and juicer. All are used items and have no receipt.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Nancy,
      Put the stuff in checked luggage. Document (using E-bay prices) that there is less than $500 total. Make a little spreadsheet listing the items, spanish names, and prices – including serial numbers where they exist on the electrical/electronic items – plus make a copy to give to Aduana.

      It should all be fine – but they may charge you 16% IVA (duty/tax) on any amount over $500 per passenger,
      Happy Trails,

  98. JMC says:

    Hi, I bought a TV in September 2013 and it cost me around USD$1,100 (I still have the ticket). I am planning to move to Mexico next August to live there. It is an used article and for personal use. Is the $500 cap applicable for this item? or Is it true that because I buy it more than 6 months ago I don’t need to pay any tax? I am not sure if it should be 12 or 6 months to avoid paying taxes.
    Thank you!
    Your page is incredible!!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi JMC,
      Yeah the caps are still the same. Try to find an ebay auction page selling the same item, and print out the current price, to document a current value. You then pay 16% tax on any amount over the limit.

      If you are a resident (Temporal or Permanente), you are allowed to bring in a load of household goods duty-free and tax-free. See the Menaje de Casa subsection above.

  99. susan says:

    Hi there
    I’m going to Cancun on the 6th of June. I live in the maritimes and would like to take some Dulse as a gift. Would I be able to do this without it being confiscated ?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Susan,
      In theory, foods are not allowed.

      In reality, if the food is NOT a meat or fresh fruit, and IF the food is still in the original commercial packaging, then Aduana almost universally allows it.

      We just brought back 8 chocolate bars, and 4 packages of Turron from Spain – all unopened/unwrapped – with no problems.
      Happy Trails,

      • susan says:

        Thank you for responding so quickly.will try to remember to let you know if they allowed my dulse or not..lol..

  100. nancy edenburn says:

    Hi, I purchased a condo in Cabo San Lucas. I plan on purchasing furniture at the Las Vegas furniture market and shipping it down. Since I can buy at cost will the customs accept this invoice?

  101. Barbara says:

    Oh my gosh Steve – this site is so awesome (not to mention a God send) I can’t begin to tell you or thank you enough!

    I am moving to San Miguel and will have a mover take my things down. At the time of my move I will either be a residente temporal or residente permanente. I read somewhere that if you have things that are new – unused – you must pay duty on them if they are less than six months old. To avoid paying duty you must have a receipt showing you purchased them more than six months prior to the goods crossing the border. I read your answer a few comments above but am unclear as to whether or not the no tax/no duty applies to any amount of goods – new or used – brought in by a moving company for a person who is a resident. I will be buying things such as good pots and pans, a flat screen TV, kitchen items, a large Craftsman tool chest, etc. to take down. I will purchase everything eight months to a year prior to moving, but will use none of it (some I’ll keep in original boxes). If I have the receipts will that be sufficient to avoid having to pay duty/tax? And if I need them should I attach them to my Menaje de Casa? Originals or copies?

    Also do you know the best way to bring in jewelry? I will carry my good jewelry on the plane (I won’t be making a trip down by car with goods) and I have too much costume to carry, and no way would I check it in luggage. Do you think it’s fine to put in a moving box?

    Thank you SO much for your site. It’s invaluable to folks like me.

    P.S. I’m sure you get tired of answering the same question (I did read all of them and learned a ton, but am still going Huh? as to my own dilemma) and if I’ve caused you angst in that regard please accept my apology!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Barbara,
      Good questions.
      Read the section above on Menaje de Casa.
      In that section you find that Residente Permanente AND Residente Temporal are allowed to bring in a load of household goods for personal use, using a Menaje de Casa list. You simply make a spreadsheet of: each numbered box, the contents of each box in English and Spanish, serial numbers of electronics TVs etc, estimated values of each item (or group of items). You do pay 16.5% IVA taxes on new items or items purchased in the last 6 months. Identify the new items on the Menaje de Casa list. Keep the receipts in a separate folder, to show if asked.

      I would really hesitate to ship either jewelery or tools by a common carrier, as they have a history of disappearing during transit. Some shippers insurance policies have fine print that they do not pay for lost items – paying insurance claims only if the whole load is lost. Costume jewelry… it should be fine in ground shipment, but…. no guarantees. Note that some US airports baggage handlers have (decades of) the bad habit of seeing jewelry in their X-ray scans, and having an “associate” quickly raid the luggage while it is being stacked-up-into the airplane holds (no security cameras in earlier airplane holds).

      Happy Trails,

  102. Dean says:

    Hi Steve –

    A question for you I’ve not seen here. I will be moving to Mexico as a resident next year and would very much like to take things I’ve inherited from my grandmother’s house. There are about 13 chandeliers (ceiling fixtures, only one that’s large), and her wall and standing crucifixes – probably close to 50 in all. They are all old. I’ve read you can’t take “collections” but what constitutes a collection? Having been hers I have no intention of ever selling them, though of course could not prove that.

    I know people that build or buy homes there ship in fixtures etc. to install, I’m just not sure if I can go ahead and pack these things, do my spreadsheets on boxes, and not be questioned. I’d hate to lose it all at the border but have no one to pass these things on to.

    Any insight on this? Thank you for your help.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dean,
      What a very interesting set of problems.
      There are paths through this thicket – some expensive – some free.

      If you use a shipper, they must use a Customs Broker to bring things across the border, and you would definitely pay 16.5% taxes (IVA – which some people mistakenly call Duties – but Duties are even higher and are applied to special categories of items). Aduana would look at the list of items from the shipper – and possibly/likely decide that you are bringing in commercial quantities of the fixtures – and charge more(?) – unless you can convince them these are household items for personal use in your own home.

      A second path that could have only small taxes or be free, is to haul them yourself in a trailer. Residents of Mexico (Residente Temporal y Residente Permanente) are allowed to bring in a “load of household goods” for personal use, duty-free and tax-free. If you brought in all the chandeliers in a single load, packed-in with a bunch of other allowed household goods (nothing new), and label grandma’s lights as: lamps => “lamparas” then Aduana likely looks at your Menaje de Casa list and legitimately waves you through with no $$ and no hassles. Often, Aduana will look in the back of your load – ask you to open a (numbered) box or 2, and they check the contents of the #’d box versus the Menaje de Casa listed items for that box#. If your box contents match the Menaje de Casa listed contents for that box – BINGO – you’re golden. Many times, Aduana just looks at our personal trailers, inspects the list – keeps a copy of the list for their files, and waves us through.

      If you intend to sell any of the ceiling light fixtures, then you need to declare them as commercial items.

      Re collections: “Collections” generally means: stamps, coins, guns, and other groups of items that can be sold or traded. I really don’t imagine that grandma’s ceiling lights constitute a collection by Aduana rules.

      The 50 crucifixes maybe, would be construed by US Customs as a collection, but Mexicans really would not see anything unusual about 50 crucifixes in our household goods. Crucifixes festoon Mexican homes – at least one-per-room – and we also have groups of them in various nooks… (one from Jerusalen, one from the Vatican, one from our grandmother, one from the other grandmother, one from our boda, one as a house-warming present, una de rama from a previous Domingo de Ramas, one of tin, one of wood, … get the picture?

      If they ask about the crucifixes: Quickly bow your head & cross yourself, say a little bendiga, and tell the Aduana agent that “we need all of these”. If they push it, mumble something about “brujos” … mumble mumble mumble “heciceros” .. mumble mumble…. Really, a subtle word about los malevolos quickly shifts the whole dynamic into … “yes, go now in peace”. w/lots of signs of the cross by anyone listening. Maybe even offer to sprinkle a little holy water from your silver pocket-flask.


  103. dean says:

    Thank you so much – I suppose now I have to take a crack at estimating whether the cost of driving my enclosed truck (I’d not need to pull a trailer) with the chandeliers, crucifixes (I’d take them too – why not?), and a few other things I’d worry about if given to a mover – would be less expensive driving from Seattle to San Miguel than paying the 16.5% taxes. I’d never considered driving – although doing one trip and hauling the “precious cargo” might be a worthwhile adventure. Costly, but then the whole move via mover will most likely be as well.

    I’m narrowing the culling/packing down to needs (must haves), then the “Teddy Bears” (what one can’t bear to part with), and finally wants (what I hope to be able to afford to ship). Even before the “wants” there’s a surprising amount of stuff!

    Loved your answer re the crucifixes! I’ll have to brush up on my Spanish pronunciation! : ) Maybe Grandma was Mexican in another life.

    Thank you again!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey dean,
      I can make no promises, but 1,000’s of gringos (or more) cross the border into Mexico with the trailers and after the Aduana and Military give cursory looks at the inside of the load – and after looking at your unofficial Menaje de Casa list of goods, the officials wave the gringo drivers through with no duties. They do occasionally look inside one or 2 boxes, matching the contents of that box# to match the contents with the items listed on the Menaje de Casa for that box#.

      I would expect to cross with no duties, unless you bring items that trigger Aduana interest: e.g Lots of new, or clearly commercial items, or lots of electronics or computers, or lots of tools.

  104. Dan says:

    Hi there…. I’ve read so much confusing and conflicting information on moving to mexico with household goods and importing a vehicle that my head’s spinning more than the exorcist!!
    I have several questions… I don’t even know where to start… but here goes

    1-visas… my wife and I will soon be going to the Mexican consulate in Calgary to apply for our temporary resident cards… problem is, assuming we’re accepted, we only get the first part here in Calgary and we have to finish the process and get the actual card (the second part) once we arrive in Mexico. Problem with this is that we’re being told by a customs broker at the port of Progreso that Mexican customs is not accepting so called “visas” issued by Mexican consulates abroad because they are considered “temporary documents”. They say you definitely need the cards before the household goods can enter Mexico. Does this mean that our stuff will just have to sit in the sun at the Progreso pier for who knows how long until we can get the actual cards??
    2- Also, if for some reason we don’t qualify for temporary resident cards…this same customs broker also says that you can only import household goods if we have either temporary or permanent resident cards… that we can’t import household goods on 180 day tourist visas. Is this true???
    3-Right now we’re planning on driving with our household goods, our 2 dogs and 1 cat to Houston, shipping the goods and our minivan via Linea Peninsula to Progreso, and flying to Merida with our pets. But the logistics and costs involved (from my research so far) is telling me to find another way to get there. Problem is, the only reason we’re thinking of going this route is to avoid having to drive through Mexico… we’ve heard just too many horror stories about car-jackings, hijackings, kidnapping, illegal roadblocks, crooked cops asking you to pay traffic fines for non-existent traffic violations and who knows what else…
    Sorry for the rant, but we are overwhelmed and becoming more frustrated by the day… we are really anxious to start our new lives in Chelem as retirees…. if only we could get there alive and not broke or worse…
    Any advice would be much appreciated… we’re really trying hard not to give up.
    thanks… Dan & Brenda

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dan and Brenda,
      First, if you move yourselves, the rules and requirements are much more easy and far more lenient than using a seaport shipper. Bringing in goods by sea have the most difficulties and the strictest requirements.

      Second, please remember that the Canadian press and Canadian media have very badly distorted the realities of safety in Mexico for the past 10 years, especially when you know the reality of safe traveling through central Mexico. Canadian media have been almost rabid in creating false excesssively-negative lurid portrayals about Mexico.

      If you want to know reality, read this article: http://www.banderasnews.com/1308/to-amar-how-safe-is-mexico.htm

      Really, your risks of violent crime are much higher by staying in Canada than traveling across Mexico.

      Would you drive through the worst parts of Detroit? or the worst parts of New Orleans?
      Similarly for Mexico, DONT’T drive through Tampico or Vera Cruz.

      Just as happens in Canada, if you are involved in gang activity, organized crime, or the drug trade, then Mexico can be very risky. A decade of reality shows that if you act like a tourist in Mexico – and don’t try to buy or sell drugs or gunss, then the real world results show you ARE SAFER in Mexico than the USA or Canada.

      The route through Nuevo Laredo is a very safe route, used safely by 10,000’s of Americans and Canadians with no problems – just arrive early in the morning, clear customs with your load of DUTY FREE household goods with your Menaje de Casa (see above), and drive south to Queretaro – an easy 10 hour drive…. Don’t take the coast road through Matamoros/Tampico/Vera Cruz.

      I personally have only been coming here since 1985: I have had only 1 encounter with bad cop, who simply wanted a little bribe based on his bogus claim we were speeding. The police and military have been polite and professional the other 200 or so stops at retenes (routine checkpoints) where they simply ask where you are going, and where you are coming from.

      Really, if you stay out of the bad areas of Tampico and Vera Cruz, IT’S VERY SAFE. If you stay sober, and don’t go on drinking binges, it’s VERY SAFE. If you don’t try to bring in guns or drugs or try to buy guns or drugs, IT’s VERY SAFE…

      The lurid stories that Canadians tell each other come out of Tamaulipas State (Tampico) and Juarez and places with drug violence – like the bad areas of Vancouver… Rational people have known for years to NOT drive through Tamaulipas or Juarez. Some people continue to ignore the good advice, and they choose the bad routes, and then they tell lurid stories.

      Read about the safe FASTER route through the center of Mexico at: http://www.yucatanliving.com/destinations/driving-through-mexico-to-yucatan.htm

      Bring a load of household goods. If you want the official approval, with the RT CANJE approval from the Mexican Consulate in Canada, you can also have them approve your Menaje de Casa list – but 1,000’s of Canadians and Americans have found that at the Reynosa, or Nuevo Laredo, or Columbia Bridge, or Piedras Negras crossing points, the Aduana agents WAVE US THROUGH with NO duties or taxes – as long as we give them a nicely printed spreadsheet Menaje de Casa-style list of every numbered box in our load, identifying the contents of every box.

      Reality: Sometimes the Aduana agents look in one or 2 of your numbered boxes at the back of the load, check those box’s contents vs, your Menaje de Casa list – and if the box contents match the list, BINGO – they wave you through. Don’t bring commercial goods, or commercial quantities of things, and don’t bring a bunch of new stuff, and you will be fine – like the 1,000’s of other people who bring in trailerloads of their household goods every year – paying no duties.

      I’ve personally made the drive 4 times, with trailerloads of stuff, and dozens of our friends have made the drive with trailerloads of stuff – and your REAL RISKS are unexpected road construction and pot holes…. so pay attention, don’t drive too fast, and try to NOT drive at night in unfamiliar areas – because they don’t always have good signage for road construction – where paved roads shift to gravel – which is easy to see in the daytime – but can be surprising in the dark.

      Plan to stop and enjoy the local food and local sights in places like Queretaro…
      … or Villahemosa .. or drop down to Palenque, Tonala, or San Cristobal de las Casas….

      Stay in motels that have big parking lots with high walls and heavy locked metal doors and a guard that watches your trailer all night, (there are these “love motels” outside almost every city, where you drive in, they lock up your load, and you enjoy a nice room, hot shower, comfortable bed – but pay for the whole night – not by the hour… *grin* since these hotels rely on security and discretion to keep the local’s trysts secret… you literally drive in, and they quickly close and lock the gate behind you to keep anyone from seeing who’s getting a little nooky-on-the-side… just don’t turn on the TV and channel surf, because you might see something surprising (sex videos))

      Stay calm,
      Listen to reality,
      Do what has worked for 1,000’s of other similar Canadians and Americans every year,
      Get your RT CANJE approvals from the Consulate,
      Drive down – calmly and confidently
      (because the drive through the USA is actually riskier than driving the central route through Mexico),
      Enjoy the beautiful scenery through Mexico,

      Relax…. and Enjoy,

  105. Dan says:

    thank you Steve… your reasoned response has made us confident once again that we can do this drive safely and enjoyably, so that’s what we’re going to do. Some of the horror stories I was referring to came from responses to Dr. Fry’s article on Yucatan Living. Check out “Brice’s” horror story if you like… and also “Kelly’s” story right above it… they are both 8 or 9 stories up from the bottom. … scary stuff but common sense tells me these are fairly rare and isolated incidents. One thing I keep wondering about is how recent is Dr. Fry’s article??
    Oh and one more question… I am a musician, and I plan on bringing my gear with me (amplifier, speakers, and 2 or 3 expensive bass guitars). How would I list these items on the Menaje de Casa list? Will I get hit for tax and duties? By the way, I love the security these “love motels” offer… can you tell me how to recognize them? Do they have a name or are they part of a chain?
    thanks so much for all your advice… truly invaluable! Dan

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dan,
      Good questions!

      The article was written 2 years ago (which means road construction items and road condition items may have changed – for better or for the worse), but the big keys are: ~ Has safety changed? and ~Does the advice still apply?

      We keep close tabs on regular reports from multiple sources, but the best has continued to be an American living in Laredo Nuevo – a guy who drives the border area and knows it well, first-hand, focusing on the safety of tourists, travelers and visitors. He continues to say that crossing in the morning at Nuevo Laredo is still the safest and most convenient route – staying on the major route into Nuevo Laredo and out of Nuevo Laredo (don’t cruise Nuevo Laredo – just drive through) – using the downtown Laredo border crossing point that is about 6 blocks upriver (west) of the interstate crossing.

      Re guitars and musical equipment, list them as personal items, “guitarra eléctrica bajo personal“, and they will likely be waved through along with your other items. Bring 3 or 4 copies of your informal Maneje de Casa style list, because the border Aduana will keep one, and the 20 km pt Aduana may keep one, and the various police and military retenes and some state border crossings may possibly want to keep one…

      “Love motels” tend to be located on the edges/outskirts of town – for example, driving on the “interstate” through Queretaro, as you are leaving Queretaro, you pass an Oxxo as you climb a hill – and there’s a 4 story(?) hotel on your right -with a walled-in complex just to its right. You check-in in the main building – the entrance for enclosed parking for trailers is a ½ block up the hill – and that one even has a decent restaurant on-site that used to serve dinner until 11:00 pm.

      You can always ask people ” ¿Dónde está el motel de amor?
      People will laugh or smile … and you could glance at your wife, and start whistling ” Amorcito Corazón ” … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ8dEb-yOuw

      Happy Trails,

  106. Dan says:

    thanks again Steve…. the info makes us feel much more comfortable… love that singer by the way…. I spent a few months in Guadalajara playing with my band back in the 80’s… playing at thr Camino Real… loved the city… and while I was there I discovered another Mexican great… Jorge Negrete… hope that’s spelled right… great mexican cowboy music!

    • Dan says:

      Hi Steve…. we made it to Chelem!… and yes, we have some road stories… 11 days on the road… Anyway, was wondering if I could email with you directly? I’m looking for some advice if you have a minute… much appreciated. thanks

  107. Diana Rollison says:

    Can you please tell me if you can bring oxygen tanks and how many? We will also be traveling with a small oxygen concentrator. Also I willbe bringing my truck which I still owe money on. Do I need a letter from the credit union to cross the border? Thank you

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Diana,
      Yes, you can drive in with your personal oxygen tanks. In theory, you can bring in enough medicines for your planned time in Mexico. This rule typically applies for 6 month tourist/visitor visas.

      I believe you could make a case that your oxygen is a medical item, but you may be required to show a doctor’s written prescription for the oxygen and tanks.

  108. Under the menaje de casa rules, I understand it’s just a one-time thing. But if I drive my car down separately from the movers’ truck, will both loads quality under the menaje de casa, because now the load will be divided between the truck and my car?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gabriel,
      What you are describing is the difference between the law that Customs Brokers and private carriers MUST follow versus what happens with you and I in our personal vehicles. Customs Brokers and private carriers MUST use an Menaje de Casa official list – or pay duties. … Versus us, where we are allowed to come into Mexico freely with our trailers with no official Menaje de Casa list.

      When you enter, it is very helpful for you to have your entire load inventoried in a menaje de casa style list to hand to Aduana. Aduana officers very much like our printed spreadsheets of each numbered box’s contents – so that they generally skim over our list (looking for obvious contraband or commercial quantities of things). Sometimes the officers ask to look in one or 2 boxes, to confirm that the ersatz unapproved menaje de casa style listed items match the numbered box’s actual contents. Generally, if you only have one computer per person and limited electronics and limited tools, Aduana officials wave us through with no duties. If you have a lot of electronics, tools, and/or computers in your personal load, they may want to charge duties.

      Show them your Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente card and explain that this is your “menaje de casa cargado de comestibles de casa“. As you pass through Mexico, various Aduana checks (like at the 20 km – 25 km point) and various police and military checkpoints LOVE to see our ersatz menaje de casa style lists, and some may want to keep a copy, so bring 3 or 4 copies of the spreadsheet for “show & tell”.

      In this system, the carrier/Customs Broker has your actual official (Consulate-approved) Menaje de Casa listed goods – and what you have in your car/trailer is on a separate list.

      You should do just fine,

  109. Thanks! So I take it that the contents of my car that I am bringing across the border are NOT listed on the official menaje de casa? In other words, it is separate and in addition to, the official menaje and not approved by the Mexican consulate here?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gabriel,
      Things in your car would be on a different list.

      What are you bringing in your car? Just personal items like clothes? or are you bringing tools? electronics? computers? books?

      If the car is loaded with non-personal items, then make a list of them.

  110. Bringing a couple of guitars, a laptop, maybe also a PC, two expensive speakers ($3,000 a pair), expensive microphones (total value $2,500 or so), and the rest will be a suitcase of clothes, and some household items. Oh, and two cats! I’m a musician and all the equipment is for my personal use in my home studio.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gabriel,
      As mentioned below, electronics (amps, receivers, microphones) sometimes draw Aduana attention – so your combination of musical and audio gear may get assessed the 15% duty – depending on the mood/attitude of the inspector at that moment. Oddly, pets are routinely a plus in aiding a smooth uneventful entry into Mexico – as Aduana agents seem to see people with pets as definitely not people schlepping commercial or business goods. Be prepared to explain that your gear is only for personal use. The last time I paid duties was for a single modestly high-end microphone – on which I wound up paying the 15% duty. … meaning your imports could go either way – but lean towards paying duty on the electronics/stereo gear. I’d have some pre-printed documentation of actual values of the items to show Aduana, in case Aduana comes in with wildly-high valuations.

  111. Carol Lemky says:

    My husband and I are retiring in September and leaving Canada to winter in LaVentana Baja California Sur for 5 months (November 2014 – March 2015). We will be driving down with our van and pulling a cargo trailer. My husband kite boards so will have his gear with him and be have 2 standup paddle boards, a double kayak and 2 bicycles in the way of sporting goods. I love to sew, especially now I will have the time and am planning on bringing my very old sewing machine and serger as well as a newer (bought more than 6 months ago) embroidery machine. I was thinking of purchasing a heavy duty industrial machine for sewing jeans and heavy stuff to make my daughters and grand daughters purses and girly things. The machine would be a used one but both the embroidery machine and the industrial one would be closer to or over the $1000 mark. Most of our other stuff would be some fabric I have bought over the years, clothing, our camping and light household stuff but no real furniture as we are renting a furnished house.
    Will I have a problem bringing my sewing machines into Mexico, especially since I have yet to purchase the one? I plan to inventory all with approximate purchase dates for the older items with current worth in $

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Carol,
      Interesting list of stuff. Really, bringing this variety of personal items into Mexico is a dice-roll, but 10,000’s of past visitor’s experiences say the odds are heavily in your favor for entering while paying little or no duties. Have good lists of your load’s contents to offer for Aduana to inspect & keep, including reasonable valuations. Best to enter as a resident of Mexico, bringing an exempt load of “household goods” – under your Residente Temporal or Resident Permanente exemption. If you do get unlucky, and happen to get a nasty customs agent who wants more than say … $300 USD … you can always turn around, wait for a shift change of new employees – or go to a different crossing point – and try again.

      If you bring multiple sewing machines, they may say you are trying to start a sewing business – and want duties (15%) or 16.5% taxes on one of the machines??

      Really, most people with RTs or RPs come into Mexico easily with their trailer loads of personal stuff – explaining that their stuff is for personal household use – as a Menaje de Casa list exempted items, without getting a Mexican Consulate to approve your list. Being novices back in 2006, I made 3 long trips to our Denver Mexican Consulate to get our Menaje de Casa list formally approved, while the Matamoros Customs officials just laughed and waved-off our Consulate-approved list…
      It would have been funny, but I spent over 20 hours on Consular trips and time making the list…

  112. DuPatience says:

    I read that antiques are not allowed into Mexico. I have old pieces I’d like to take. What’s considered antique there?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Du,
      There are no restrictions for bringing antiques that are your “personal household goods”. If you are bringing in commercial quantities of antiques, Aduana may want you to pay duty – just as they ask for duty on commercial quantities of anything. What are “commercial quantities”: Enough goods to start a Mexican shop.
      Happy Trails,

  113. Janet Levin says:

    Hi Steve,

    What about transporting household goods within Mexico? My friend’s leaving Sinaloa for Jalisco. The first border checkpoint is Sinaloa/Nayarit where fruit is confiscated (that’s a known via experience), but what about (house and garden) plants?

    Thanks so much,

  114. Kathy says:

    Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m
    thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to
    everything. Do you have any recommendations for inexperienced blog writers?

    I’d really appreciate it.

  115. jess says:

    Your blog is awesome. I had researched and researched and your blog is even better than the SAT website (which is all over the place). You’re doing an awesome job because it was one of the top search results I got when I started looking this up online! I found a great document from the SAT on the Paisano program (finally!) so I didn’t have to cite a blog (hehe), but thanks so much for the direction.

  116. Johnd577 says:

    Awesome article post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

  117. I appreciate, lead to I found exactly what I was looking
    for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great
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  118. Jeff Grant says:

    Hello Steve,
    I have been traveling to Baja for 22 years to our house in Bahia de los Angeles.I have always taken a cooler of frozen meats and chicken , on dry ice, and have never had a problem. I am now reading that all meats are prohibited, but up to three turkeys are okay. Where does frozen chicken fit into this story? If I declare any wine over and above the personal limits, will it be confiscated or just taxed at the going rate? Thanks for your insight.


  119. Pingback: Cigg tax when arriving in Mexico - Page 2 - Playa del Carmen, Mexico forum

  120. After obtaining the official stamps on my Menaje de Casa at the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta, with every electronic item accurately described with serial numbers, etc., aduana in Nuevo Laredo has now decided that the items don’t pass the “smell test” (“they look new and smell new, so they must BE new!”) and have declared them to be “new” and therefore subject to the 16% import tax! My mover told me that it’s in the discretion of the agent(s) and there’s little he can do.

    I fail to see how “discretion” allows an aduana agent to ignore my receipts (and insurance schedules going back several years, clearly showing these items with serial numbers included) and nonetheless tax the items as new. The mover was forced to pull back all the electronics to his Laredo warehouse to avoid fines, penalties, and confiscation of my stuff! He says he will try again this week and simply pay what they say is due on the electronic items.

    Seems to me that I should have legal recourse for a reimbursement if they ignore the receipts and simply tax whatever they feel like as “new.” Apparently my turning a few of the original boxes inside out (which I did at the suggestion of an online post–and mainly did to affirm I had no intention of selling the items as new) aroused their suspicion that I was trying to sneak something in and it went downhill from there. But since every single item was right there on the Menaje de Casa, that just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Any thoughts on this mess?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gabriel,
      Sorry you’ve run into the cross-border issues.

      Ironically, you’re paying the price for the past decade of bad behaviors by other gringos.

      Gringos have regularly explained to other gringos on internet webboards about exactly how to cheat the Mexican Govt. out of the import taxes. The gringos regularly post about how gringos coming to Mexico should take every new thing out of its packaging. They explain how and where to buy software that makes fake receipts – with whatever date the gringo wants. The gringos go on to explain how to take low low not-final auction prices off of Ebay, and print the Ebay pages for their exact items with an artificially low low price. The numbers of gyrations and levels of cheating on their taxes by past American and Canadians entering Mexico has been staggering.

      This is why Aduana reserves the right to assess the duties they believe appropriate, because of years of past cheating by our countrymen.

      Unfortunately, you are getting penalized for the illegal and unethical behaviors of other Americans.

  121. Chris says:

    Wow, this is the most thorough and easy to understand explanation of this topic I’ve found, and I’ve been searching for days! I’ll be driving down for a 5 month stay. Do I need the original car title or are copies and/or the registration enough? I’m bringing my dog. Must he be in a crate or is a leash OK? (He is fairly small and cute but will bark a couple times until I shush him.) I’d like to bring dry food for him and canned tuna US-made for myself, all unopened. Are these allowed? I also want to bring my sewing machine, which cost $900 five years ago. I don’t mind paying a fee if necessary, but should I go through the declaration line or the regular one? I’ve read you can get in trouble if something is found in the non-declare line, but what if you say I;m not sure what it is worth now, or something like that? Is one usually faster than the other? Thank you so much for your website. I asked these questions at a consulate and no one knew the answers! They promised to email me several days ago but so far have not.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chris,
      Your plan sounds fine. Bring the title and registration.

      Aduana guys love to see dogs loose in our cars entering Mexico, and they seem to pretty much ignore inspecting our loads – except for quick cursory looks.

      You can confidently enter the “Nothing to declare lane”, and expect no problems, unless you have commercial quantities of things (enough to start a small business). If you are worried, you can create & print out several copies of your own “menaje de casa” style lists – entering garage sale prices on the items in your load. Aduana gives our lists a quick read, and happily show the boss, and put the copy in their files.

      Happy Travels,

  122. John says:

    Driving to Mazaltlan, paper work all in order. First time down driving. Staying for 5 months. Can I take down home made dill pickles? Baked breakfast cereal granola full of seeds and oatmeal? Also 20-30 pairs of shoes, and numerous used clothing items which I want to donate to a church
    We are allowed $500 US, worth of goods duty free when crossing the border correct? Want to pick up some electronics and clothing items in the US prior to Mexico

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi John,
      The electronics and baked granola may attract attention. Big boxes of used clothing may also get Aduana’s attention.

      Since there are special import rules for commercial quantities of non-personal-use used clothing, and vendors regularly import bales of US used clothing to sell here, you may be best-off getting a letter from the church group, on their letterhead, explaining that you are donating them and they will not be sold. Hoepfully, Aduana will just wave you through, like they do for most of us.

      Importing food can be dicey. If the food is in a sealed commercial package, it tends to go through OK. The pickles may be fine if they are in sealed jars – but Aduana has the right to say: “No”. Aduana can be real sticklers with meat products and things with lots of obvious seeds.

      We have seen it go either way – so know that if you do try to bring in the food, Aduana may confiscate it, because the things you describe are not formally allowed for import into Mexico.

  123. I am loving all the info LOL. My Wife just retired and we all ready own a condo in Cancun. We don’t want to be permanent residents but we want to get a Visa status that will allow us to go in and out of Mexico several times a year. We may not stay more than five or six months at a time. We currently travel in and out of Mexico as tourist. We want to be able to do a little business. More like helping our Mexican friends make some money with our ideas. We definitely need to know what the best way to do this. We such have to problem with the money requirements. We just need to get the right status for our needs. In Nov we will be staying for one month for the first time. Any help out there?.
    God Bless
    Charles & Dorothy

  124. David A. says:

    We go to Mexico at least twice a year and have alway’s been allowed two carton’s of cigarette’s each. Last year we had to pay extra for the second carton. We were told at Custom’s that the amount had changed earlier last year. Now we keep seeing that we can take 200 per person, which is correct and did it ever change or change back ?
    Please advise as we are leaving in less than two week’s.
    Thank You.
    David A.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi David,
      The Aduana web-programmers do a truly lousy job of updating their websites to match current law => The current Aduana websites have incorrect information.

      The SAT websites (Aduana’s parent organization) are much better maintained. One SAT website (more current than the out-of-date Aduana sites) does say that you are allowed 200 cigarettes per person.**

      Has every Aduana agent at the border and in airports gotten that memo?
      lo no se…

      **Your question is answered above in a section near the top ” Which items may be included in my personal luggage exempt from duty when flying? ” at 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

      “Passengers over 18 years of age, may bring in a maximum of up to 20 packs of cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco and up to three liters of alcoholic beverages, and six liters of wine. Items in excess of the above cannot be imported without complying with applicable regulations and restrictions.* ”

      Readers who doubt these official SAT rules (who are reading the out-of-date Aduana websites), can check the current Mexican Customs Form from SAT (Aduana’s PARENT organization) at: http://www.aduanas.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2010/Descargas/DECLARACION_ADUANAS_INGLES_18102010.pdf

      *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 2 cartons (20 packs) of cigarettes, here are the current SAT rules as of Oct, 2014: . . . ”

  125. Cheryl says:

    Hi there-
    All these questions seem to be for physically arriving people. Is the 16% fee for clothing above also for packages being sent from the U.S.? I want to order from Amazon (sandals made in VN), but can’t find info on how much Customs will charge me (if they do). Also, do I pay the money when it arrives, or will I get a notice saying to go the post office to pay and pick it up? I’m located in DF. Thanks for any info!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      By using Amazon and a common carrier to deliver your sandals to Mexico, they handle the estimation for Aduana charges, and include it in the bill you pay.

      If they accidentally have you overpay on the Customs fees, the credit card companies issue you a refund later. We have a friend who orders lots of things, and he gets regular refunds when Aduana ends up charging nothing on some packages,

  126. Paul G. says:

    Hi just quick question i am trying to order some dog clothes from China for my friends and family that it might be around 300 dollars, i think they normally send it on a regular mail, which it will take 4 t 5 weeks to get to my sister address in Cancun Mexico do you know if i have to pay tax and if i do where i need to do this payment and if it is a easy proses?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Paul,
      Fed Ex and other shippers charge the shipping and duties up front when determining your bill. Yes, there should be duties on dog clothes of 16%.

      If there are additional duties charged by Aduana, then the shipper asks you to pay them before they will deliver you the goods.

  127. Paul Garcia says:

    Thank you so much for the info!

  128. EVER B. TEJEDA says:


    • yucalandia says:

      As far as I know, you are allowed multiple personal cell phones – but not in commercial quantities.

      Re ebay forms, it depends on the Aduana agent. They can choose to accept them or reject them depending on their personal preference of the moment.

  129. Jon says:

    I am traveling to Mexico to visit friends who own an auto parts store. I have various auto parts that are cut in half to demonstrate how they are made. He would like me to bring them to show at this grand opening. would this be items that I would need to declare? can we bring various give away items with us to help him promote his business. like t shirts and hats?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jon,
      As long as you are not personally doing this as a part of your business, the car parts are simply “personal items” – that I would describe as unusable chatarra (junk metal). Are you doing business in Mexico – and are these “samples? Sales samples fall under different rules.

      NAFTA has special rules for salespeople doing business as visitors to Mexico:
      A business traveler may temporarily import certain goods duty-free. Goods which qualify are professional equipment (tools of the trade), equipment for the press or for sound or television broadcasting, cinematographic equipment, goods for sports purposes, and goods for display or demonstration. As a condition of duty-free entry, a NAFTA country may require that these goods:

      – not be sold or leased while in its territory;
      – be accompanied by a bond if they are not originating goods as defined in Chapter 4 of the NAFTA;
      – only remain in the importing country until the departure of the person or within a reasonable time established by each country;
      – be capable of being identified when exported;
      – be imported in no greater quantity than is reasonable for its intended use;
      – be imported by a national or resident of another NAFTA country that seeks temporary entry;
      – be used solely by or under the personal supervision of the person importing the good in the exercise of the business activity, trade or profession;
      – be accompanied by a bond (or other security) no greater than 110% of the charges that would otherwise be owed on final importation. (A bond for customs duties will not be required for an “originating” good.) …”


      This is from a Canadian govt. website, so it describes the rules for entering Mexico or the USA:
      2. Business Visitors
      Business Visitors can enter the United States or Mexico on a temporary basis to perform work as follows:

      Market researchers and analysts conducting independent research or analysis for an enterprise located in Canada.

      Trade fair and promotional personnel attending a trade convention.

      Sales representatives and agents taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services for an enterprise located in Canada, but not delivering or providing the goods or services.
      Buyers purchasing for an enterprise located in Canada.

      Transportation operators moving goods or passengers to the U.S. or Mexico, or loading goods or passengers and transporting them back to Canada, with no unloading within the U.S. or Mexico. Purely domestic service or solicitation, in competition with American or Mexican operators, is not permitted. …

      “9. I have a commercial sample I need to ship to Mexico. What do I need to do?

      Commercial Samples of Negligible Value: Commercial samples of negligible value can be permanently imported into Mexico duty-free. However, such goods must be truly valueless — meaning cut, marked, torn, or otherwise made unsalable. All other commercial samples must be imported into Mexico on a temporary basis. Contact a Mexican Customs broker for additional information.”

      THIS IS FROM AN 2007 NAFTA FACTS Document 8409… Is it still valid? I understand that it is still valid…

      “8. How do I find a Mexican Customs broker?
      Typically, it is the Mexican importer who hires the import broker. However, if you need to hire a Mexican import broker, the best way is to obtain a recommendation from business associates, clients or customers. If you are unable to find a broker through a recommendation, you may contact the Confederacion de Asociaciones de Agentes Aduanales de la Republica Mexicana (Confederation of Mexican Customs Brokers) at 011-525-533-0075, 011-525-533-0076, 011-525-533-0077, 011-525-533-0683 or 011-525-533-0684; Fax: 011-525-525-8070.”

      The hats and tees that you describe are either commercial items or gifts – both of which are liable for the 16% IVA tax – and should be declared as non-personal items subject to either the $500 per person air travel entry limit or the $300 per person land-travel-entry limit.

      Each Aduana agent has the personal right to disagree with your assessments, and for them to choose their own valuations – so, you might find yourself at the mercy of the Aduana supervisor/manager, if the agent decides to charge duties/taxes that you don’t believe are fair.

      Good Luck,

  130. Val says:

    I just want to know if I bring a Samsung TV to Mexico from the U.S (New one/55 inches) & it was made in Mx if I will still have to pay duty on it being it was made in Mx.?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Val,
      It does not matter where it was made. Did you purchase it in the USA or Mexico?

      If you purchased it in Mexico- and you have the Mexican receipt, then show Aduana your Mexican receipt.

      Are you flying in or driving in?
      Many times, (almost always), Aduana agents allow us to bring in personal electronics as “household goods” without duties or 16% IVA taxes, as long as they are not new – esp. new in the box.

  131. Val says:

    I want to know if It says Made in Mexico on the TV or Box (driving in) will I have to pay duty & 16% IVA tax on it? I know if I have a M store receipt I can bring it but it would be a U S. receipt with the TV being MADE IN MEXICO>

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Val,
      As I wrote above: “It does not matter where it was made.

      If you do not have a receipt for paying Mexico’s IVA taxes on the TV in the past (buying it in Mexico or previously importing into Mexico), then the TV’s value counts against your $300 or $500 exemption.

      The only ways to avoid having the TV counts as dutiable/taxable goods, is to have a receipt showing that you have previously paid the Mexican IVA taxes on it. For example: We have entered/exited Mexico multiple times in the past with a satellite TV receiver. We paid Aduana the 16% on one re-entry into Mexico, and then had to show them the old Aduana receipt on all subsequent re-entries.
      Happy Trails,

  132. Val says:

    Well, 3 people so far have answered my question differently than you have, All three brought to Mexico new TV’s MADE IN MEXICO that they did not have to pay any taxes on at the border. So as usual it’s a “crap shoot’!!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Val,
      There are a variety of reasons that 3 other people successfully brought in TVs…
      They may have had less than the $500 a person allowed goods.

      They may have been allowed in under the Residente Temporal (and Residente Permanente) exemption for bringing in household goods.

      They may have just been waved through by a complacent Aduana agent.

      I quoted the rules/laws for you – but individual Aduana agents/clerks have full discretion to do whatever they want…

  133. Tamika says:


    I’m getting married in Cancun next year and the resort I am getting married at does not provide a wedding cake for the ceremony(they offer a fake cake made out of Styrofoam covered in frosting) I was planning on giving each guest(about 25-30) a mini wedding cake(about 4″ high and 3.5″ in diameter) and a mini bottle of dessert wine as a wedding favor after the wedding. I wanted to know if I would be able to travel with my own wedding cake?

    I understand there is a limit on the amount of wine you can bring into Mexico(I think 3 bottles) With that said, 4 mini wine bottles equal to a full bottle of wine. Using this logic I figured I could claim 12 mini bottles and my fiance can claim 12 mini bottles thus leaving us with 6 mini bottles left to declare(about a bottle and a half). Will I be able to travel with the mini bottles of wine? and will I be required to pay additional taxes for the wine that is over the 3 bottle limit? I’ve read so many conflicting answers, not sure who to believe.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Tamika,
      Both current SAT and Aduana published regs say 6L of wine per adult traveler (no mention of bottles).

      The cake is a pecular one. In theory, Aduana only allows commercially pre-packaged foods – which means allowing or disallowing cake would be up to the Aduana agent. A kind Aduana agent could say: “Fine!”, a more conservative Aduana agent could legally sayL: “Sorry, no.”

      • Tamika says:

        Thanks you for your prompt response. Doesn’t sound like the wine I am bringing will be a problem. I’ll have to do more research in regards to the cake. I’m working with the resort to see if I can work something out.


      • Tamika says:

        Also, the cakes will be individually wrapped/sealed in cellophane and sealed in a Styrofoam cooler from the baker. Not sure if this will make a difference. Technically I could ship them via fedex directly to the wedding planner at resort. I’m just concerned they may get held up in customs.

  134. Jeff Grant says:

    I just travelled into Baja crossing the border at Tecate. The Aduana allows 8 bottles of wine per person plus 3 litres of other alcohol. I declared an additional 24 bottles of wine and the the tariff was charged at 90% of the value, taken from Trader Joes receipts. It was a hefty fee but still cheaper than buying the equivalent amount of Mexican wine. Hope this helps.

  135. Bob caskey says:

    Wine and wedding cake are very easy to obtain in Mexico – just sayin’ – why try to fly them in

  136. Rich says:


    I want to fly my TV from Colombia to Mexico but I am being told that I need a dian form which I don’t have, and that Mexican customs will likely hold onto my TV until I can produce one. Do you know this to be true?

  137. Iara says:

    Hi, i want to bring around 200 watherproof bags for cell phones in my laggage to my friend in mexico for sale. the price is less than 500usd can i do that without any problems or paying taxes ?

    thank u for answere

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi lara,
      The law says that any time we bring in commercial quantities of anything, we can be charged the 16% IVA, plus any duties (like duties on toys, cigarettes, liquor, etc) – all depending on the spot-judgment of the Aduana agent.

  138. rosalio ortiz says:

    I got a shop for welding, tires, muffler ,generator /welder and tools what do I required to take to cross the border to mexico if I’m getting deported from the country ? If you can help I would be thankful

  139. RD says:

    I am hoping for some advice. I will have 3 days worth of wedding functions in Cancun and would like to know if I can bring my own DJ equipment (2 large speakers, a mixer, 2 wireless microphones). It is more cost effective for me to rent it in Canada for the week then to rent it for 3 days from the hotel. Will I have issues coming in with this or is there anything I can do to better prepare or pre-clear? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi RD,
      Based on 35 years of our personal experiences with the Cancun airport Aduana folks, and based upon the Ley Aduanera, my personal opinion is that I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to fly into Mexico with the speakers, mixer, and mikes.

      Each time we’ve brought in electronics, like simple receivers for satellite TV or stereos, they’ve tried to charge us $75 – $150 in taxes and duties per small receiver. I can’t imagine what they would charge for a mixer and big speakers: What if they charge you an arm and a leg in duties & taxes (?) where they have sole discretion of what they charge. … What if they want $1,000 – $2,000 USD or confiscate the equipment?

      Further: If they think you are a professional sound guy/DJ/singer working in Mexico, they may also hassle you for bringing in “professional equipment” to earn money. “Professional equipment” for starting businesses is not treated the same way as the $500 USD tax and duty exemptions for personal items of private travelers entering Mexico, so they can assess some surprising amounts on electronics and stereo gear.

      On the other hand, *good news?* American artists and performers (and athletes) are allowed to earn $3,000 USD a year, free of Mexican taxes, while in Mexico, under the US-Mexico tax treaty.


  140. BETTE QUEEN says:


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Bette,
      You may have to pay duties/taxes on them, depending on their cost, and on how many other duti-able items you are bringing-into Mexico on that trip, since there are only $300 per person exemptions on duties for driving into Mexico.

  141. BETTE QUEEN says:


    • yucalandia says:

      typically 16%, on the difference between the $300 per person exemption vs total $$ of dutiable goods.

      Some items have special duties, like alcohol and tobacco, or electronics, or commercial sized batches of shoes, bales of clothes, etc. The last published reference I could find said that that new tires are NOT in a special duty class – duties/taxes of just 16% in the past, but please come back and tell us if things have changed.


  142. Angelica says:

    my aunt just came and said she cried she was two hours in line she came from a long road, but why cant she cross clothes? she had bags of clothes and why is that illegal? my mom lives through selling it and know how are we suppose to pay bills and how will we get out through or succeed?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Angelica,
      Mexico is trying to protect their own clothes manufacturers from cheap imports. For this reason the Mex. Gob. decided we have to pay duties on clothes if we bring in commercial quantities that are not part of our personal exemption.

  143. Cynthia says:

    Can I take frozen meat to Mexico by plane??

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Cynthia,
      Aduana rules prohibit private individuals from bringing meat into Mexico.

      Sidelight: Some foreigners have successfully brought in cured meats like sausages in their original unsealed commercial packaging, but the Aduana agents have the rights to confiscate even cured meats, and do confiscate them sometimes.

  144. Karen says:

    Hi I bought a Disney boxed DVD set of 132 movies in English to take to my grandson . Should I just bring the DVDs 10 at a time or can I bring him the whole set. The cost was $239. for the set Thank you

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Karen,
      Good question. Are you flying or driving?

      In theory, yes, you would have to split them up.
      In practice, many/most times Aduana does not inspect our airline luggage – and land-border crossings (driving) rarely involve vehicle content inspections.

      I personally suspect that if Aduana found the DVDs, and … if you explained sweetly that they are for “mi nietecito precioso” or “mi nietecito cariñoso” and say his age, … y “Le gusta mucho las películas de Disney.” … they would likely melt, and wave you through, unless they are feeling really aggressive/grumpy/greedy. ??

      • carlosst11369 says:

        My Wife and i often bring things to Cancun for Cancun Pro Kids. That is the local orphanage. Once we bought a lot of kites for them to sell. I had a invoice for them and a note from the orphanage stating they were donated. I did not declare them because of the low dollar amount. We got a red light and our bags were searched. The agents looked at them but asked no questions. We went thru without showing any paperwork. I was surprised they asked no questions.

         God Bless Charles Stewart High Spirits

  145. Linda says:

    good morning, My husband is currently in the USA and we need to replace our computers. We want to buy 2 Ipads and he has his old computer with him. So on his return next week he will be flying with the old computer and 2 new Ipads. Is this permitted? Do we just declare the 2 new Ipads and pay duty on them? He has temporal residente status (next year permanente) Please help I am confused and my spanish is not so good.
    Gracias Linda Mertens

  146. Dee says:

    Heading to Rocky Point for a week. Is it ok to bring mace/pepper spray into Mexico? How about bug or bee spray?
    Thank you for all the info you provide.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Dee,
      The last thing I read said “No” to pepper spray and mace.

      People we know regularly drive into Mexico with the wasp spray that is designed to hit nests up to 30 feet away. As an insecticide/toxic-chemical, they are likely regulated by Aduana, but Aduana’s routine inspections of friend’s vehicles and loads have NOT included confiscating bug spray.

      Personal perspectives: Other than the scary possibilities of pissing-off members of a group by injuring one or 2 of their members, there’s also the possibility of blinding someone – and getting in trouble with Mexican law enforcement for ruining someone’s sight – as legal precedent with accidents is that the person who causes the harm is held in jail until they can prove they are fiscally able to pay for all damages and related medical treatments. …

      e.g. In Mexico, if a person is killed in a car accident, the other responsible party is held in jail until they can produce $3 million to $5 million pesos to re-imburse the family.

      Have a great vacation in Rocky Point! – no worries –

  147. Carlos says:

    I believe you can not bring any kind of Aerosol spray on the aircraft

  148. carlosst11369 says:

    I believe any kind of Aerosol spray is prohibited on the plane. By land may be another story.

  149. Barry says:

    What would be my best route to bring approximately 384oz (11 liters) of beer from the United States to Cancun? I realize the details above list “three liters of alcoholic beverages, and six liters of wine” . Will I have major issues with this? If I wanted to bring this what would be my fees/outcome? Thank you.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Barry,
      In the section above on What’s Allowed, there’s a quote of the SAT/Aduana regs on this (in Spanish):
      => ” 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. ”

      So beyond 3 liters per person, I understand you pay 16% for the next 3 liters, and then 90% taxes on the additional liters. … If you are flying in, it really still is all up to the Aduana agent who reviews your stuff. If the Cancun Aduana agent assesses way too high of duties, you can stay calm, pleasant and work to negotiate them down to a figure that fits the 90% taxes listed above on the 5 liters above the allowed 6 liters at lower rates

  150. IAN says:

    Just reading regarding duty free allowances from UK into Mexico, 18 yrs of age 10 packets of cigarettes, am I right in saying this is 10 packets of 20? = 200

  151. Nancy says:

    My husband and I will be moving from Vancouver to Merida this summer into our new house. We want to ship a small amount of personal items through using a menaje and are thinking about shipping by air into Cancun. Do you know if we need a customs broker for this or can we just present our menaje and pick up the goods ourselves? If we need a customs broker can you recommend a place where we can find a reputable broker? We have been told by a couple of international shippers that we don’t need a customs broker.

    Thanks so much for your help.

  152. Pingback: Household goods ? - Playa del Carmen, Mexico forum

  153. Susan Staniforth says:

    HI – We are Temporary Residents residing in Nayarit, Mexico as. Our “professional” immigration consultant there, (when we were completing the Mexico-side part of obtaining residency and asking for any and all info we needed to know), failed to inform us that we had to move our household belongings within 6 months of moving to Mexico. We have returned to Canada briefly to sort our stuff for shipping to Mexico, and have just been told by the Toronto Mexican consulate that we’ve missed the boat on that 6 month window (we moved in November 2014). Now we’re trying to determine: what I CAN import; the correct proceedure for our situation; and finding a REPUTABLE customs broker, etc.. Or if I get a professional frieght mover, do they provide the customs broker for us. BUT I cannot find ANY info on importing goods in our situation, ie: importing household goods into Mexico as a Temorary Resident AFTER the 6 month window closes (just minimal stuff, no furniture or l other big stuff, just some kitchen stuff, my art stuff, cookbooks, some of my own artwork – about 20 boxes of used stuff all told). Nor do I know how to determine how to identify a trustworthy broker that I can actually talk to as I finish up packing decisions (Before I make the final list). I’m also running out of time as today is June 14th nd I depart July 4th. Anxiety attack!!! Advice on where to get this info would be REALLY appreciated – I can find NOTHING online and I’ve been researching for 3 DAYS!!! I can’t believe we’re the only ones in this situation. BTW Mxican Consualte in Toronto is NOT helpful – almost like they don’t want to help. Although my spanis isn’t bad – I’ve been learning for 4 years – Aduanas/SAT lanuage and website have defeated me. Thanks for soonest advisement. siusan

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Susan,
      ~ Hire a professional mover, make excellent lists of the contents of every box, pay at least 16.5% duties/taxes on everything when a professional paid broker takes your stuff through Aduana, and pay to have all the hauling.
      ~ Do it yourself with a modest trailer. Make the same list of contents for every numbered/labelled box, translated into Spanish. Have 3 to 5 copies of the list. Don’t bring a ton of brand new stuff. Don’t bring a ton of electronics gear. Don’t bring 10 computers. Don’t bring commercial quantities of anything – because they don’t allow us to bring in enough stuff to set up a work-shop or business – unless we pay.

      When you drive to the US/Mexico border, 1,000’s of Americans and Canadians report that if they get the “green light”, Aduana just waves them and their trailers through without inspection nor payments. If you get stopped, “red light” offer them your list, remain calm, polite and professional (nervous tourists trigger problems). Aduana agents love our detailed spread-sheet lists, with a column of values $$ assigned for each item.

      They’ll like putting a copy of your list into their files, to prove they did their jobs.

      They do sometimes ask you to open the back of the trailer – to see if there’s anything suspicious. They may ask you to open a box or 2 – for them to cross check against your listed items for that box #. Don’t bring a lot of meds or drugs – unless you have written prescriptions for every single pill.

      Enjoy the drive and enjoy the scenery,

      **While 99% or so of Americans/Canadians with Temporary Resident visas are waved through, a very few are asked to pay a modest $200 – $400 duty if they have a whole lot of expensive looking stuff – like enough tools to start a shop.

  154. Susan Staniforth says:

    Thanks for the advice. Driving from Canada to Nayarit is not an option so it’ll be aprofessional mover. Thanks for your advice. S.

  155. Jeff Ong says:

    My families are going to Cancun for destination wedding. I’d like to know if we are allow to bring jewelry (gold, diamonds, pearls) to wear during the wedding. Is there dollar limit?

  156. If I visit the U.S. by plane, buy a guitar, and then bring it with me on the plane trip back to Mexico (where I now live; I have a Residente Temporal), is it duty free? I see the clause about two musical instruments, but didn’t know if it only applied to visitors who will be assumed to be taking back the listed items. Thanks for any insight!

    • yucalandia says:

      It fits under the 2 musical instrument rule for personal items.
      Residente Temporales, Permanentes, and Visitors are treated the same under the personal exemption rules .
      Safe travels, steve

  157. ronnie hodges says:

    going to Cabo san lucas want to bring two filet knives in checked luggage. Any problems there?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ronnie,
      It should not be a problem, though Aduana has the right to challenge/confiscate them.

      If questioned, insist that they are “tools” (herramientos) – permitted for use in the kitchen (cocina), that you never carry them around.


  158. Ronnie hodges says:

    Along with the filet knives I will be bringing fishing line, fishing lures, and hooks.

  159. Kano says:

    I’ve heard of a lot of people, both Americans and Mexicans (with US Citizenship) living in Tijuana and crossing daily to go to work. Is this something that is allowed, overlooked, or blatantly illegal?

  160. Kano says:

    Sorry, what I should have said was that they just simply move there. I know a Mexican with US Citizenship who lives there. Are they treated differently? I asked her if she had some special allowance and she said no. Another is a neighbor who used to stay there and wants to move back again once his wife is all legal here. This is only 2 I met but I am sure there are many. I’m hesitant to tell the border people I am moving there when I drive my stuff through the gate unless this is common and accepted (at least for Tijuana). Thanks for the other links, that was a question that would have popped up later anyway! One other thing, the guy who lived there said he was turned back driving an older car from the 90’s. Both mine are 90’s. He said they assume you are trying to bring it in and leave it, something I guess is no allowed. Thanks for your help, there is scant info on the web for this kind of stuff! You’re doing a great service to a lot of people.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kano,
      Mexican Citizens (with passports) are fully welcome to return to Mexico anytime they want, so I’m having trouble understanding your first comment:
      what I should have said was that they just simply move there. I know a Mexican with US Citizenship who lives there. Are they treated differently?

      Since you appear to be living in the USA, I am going to assume that your “there” is Mexico.

      Next Question:
      As described above, almost all Americans and Canadians are allowed to bring car loads and even personal-trailer loads of personal household items – except for NO big lots of tools, or NO big lots of computer/electronics/stereo stuff, NO bog lots of CDs/DVDs/Books/clothes, NO big lots of toys, and no commercial quantities of anything. If you try to bring in enough of anything to try to start a small business, expect to pay duties & taxes.

      1,000’s of us Americans and Canadians have entered with our household goods, without paying a penny.

      The same thing goes with bringing your US-plated 1990’s vehicles into Mexico – IT’s OK!

      1990’s Vehicle Question:
      We brought in a ’96 Ford Ranger and a ’96 Nissan Sentra without any hassles. You enter on either an 180 day FMM/Visitante visa or Residente Temporal visa, and go to Banjercito/Aduana with your title and valid registration + multiple copies of both, pay your deposit for a Permiso de Importacion Temporal (TIP = Temporary Import Permit) – mount the TIP sticker on your windshield and keep the TIP paper certificate, so you can recover your $$ deposit later when you surrender the TIP (before it expires). The TIP expiration date is tied to the expiration date of your INM permit.

      See our main article on Driving and Importing Cars in Mexico at this link for more details: https://yucalandia.com/driving-in-mexico-issues-fun/importing-driving-a-car-in-mexico/

      If you are only driving in the free border zone, or only within the Mexican California states (Baja and Baja Sur), then you don’t need the TIP – just valid/current Canadian or US registration and plates.

      Finally, You wrote another curious thing about US Permanent Residency:
      a neighbor who used to stay there and wants to move back again once his wife is all legal here.

      Assuming “there” is Mexico, your statement does not make sense to me.
      If your neighbor’s wife gets “legal here” – getting US Permanent Residency – then why would they want to move to Mexico when she has just gotten her first “green card”?

      Almost universally, when US CIS awards a Mexican citizen a US Permanent Residency card, the card comes with restrictions. It is NOT permanent until after an 18 month trial period, when she cannot leave the USA very much, she must meet certain standards,
      they have to file yet more forms with US CIS and pay more $$ after 18 months, to convert her initial temporary “Permanent Residency” status into actual “Permanent Residency” in the USA. My wife got her US “Permanent Resident” card, but could not meet the US govt’s requirements for the following 18 months, and they forced her to surrender her US “Permanent Residency”.

      … because (unlike Mexico’s “Residente Permanente), USA’s Permanent Residency is NEVER really permanent residency.

      In other words, pretty much all the previous advice you’ve been given is either incorrect or very incomplete.

      Happy Trails,

      ps: I wrote these replies to you yesterday – but mysteriously – my long post of replies disappeared last night … ???
      TI thi

      • Kano says:

        OK, a couple of different situations going on. 1. White Americans just MOVE to Tijuana and rent a place, no papers whatsoever. Illegal, overlooked, or totally cool? 2. Former Mexican citizens who became naturalized US Citizens as well as US born Mexicans just rent a place in Tijuana and move there. Both 1 & 2 are crossing either of the 2 gates to the US to go to work and then go back through after work, daily. Illegal, overlooked, or totally cool? I would guess Mexicans have it different than White Americans and may get some type of special treatment, as is the case I know for Filipinos who go to their country to stay but have US Citizenship (White U.S. Citizens get 3 week Visa). Let’s start with this and go from there. Thanks.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Kano,
        I think your questions are answered by the fact that Tijuana is part of the free zone of Baja California and it is in the 25 km free zone of the border.

        As I wrote above, there are special laws/rules permitting many things in the border zone on BOTH sides of the US/Mexico border.

        There are also very special exemptions for foreigners in Baja – allowing them to live there, exit and enter liberally, and drive foreign plated cars their with few restrictions.

        It has nothing to do with “White Americans“.

        Re Mexicans: As Mexicans, why shouldn’t Mexicans be allowed to rent in Mexico (their country)?

        These activities for both foreigners and Mexicans have been permitted by Mexican law for many years, so, I am confused about your proposals that it should not be allowed.

        Have fun reading about the special rules/laws that the Mexican Govt has used for at least 30 years for the states of Quintana Roo, Baja California, Baja California Sur, parts of Sonora, and along the whole US/Mexican border.

        Happy Trails,

      • Kano says:

        Well, so much for being able to drive across the Tijuana border with a few household items with no costs. I had a small freezer, 2 dressers, a desk, a dining table and a few kids toys with a mattress on top. I went through the nothing to declare lane, and was redirected to the declaration lane, and even though I tried to say they were personal household items, they made me write down an estimated number of items, and charged me 400 pesos. It was all old junk, nothing new. I was told all I could bring is things such as luggage. I had earlier gone through using the same trailer with a small old frig, and they only checked my rental papers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking anyone here. I just figure that even as a “foreigner”, a Mexican foreigner with US Citizenship has an advantage over a non-Mexican foreigner (white, which I guess is termed as Gringos). I just chalk it up to experience and understand that it is the price for living there. My neighbor is Mexican who moved there to save money on rent, and he’s been there a year and has had no problems, and I expect I will get good tips from him. We’re already making plans to celebrate our birthdays together, which are 5 days apart, so it’s going well there so far. There’s some getting used to some things, like how to get cable, cell phone, groceries, maybe get some work done on my vehicle, etc. We’ve been buying “grass fed” beef for a number of years, which is damn expensive, and am hoping that the beef there is also 100% grass fed, so it is easy to get and cheap. Regular beef has been getting expensive as it is, and if grass fed went any higher, we’d be switching to chicken. I have been told most beef there is not feed lot raised at all. Looking forward to that if it is true, although I wonder how to tell what is and what isn’t grass fed. Interesting moving to another country, and we’re all excited for it despite not knowing what to expect!

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Kano,
        Fortunately $400 pesos (about $25 USD) is pretty small – especially for 2 trips.

        One other minor item , as it says above: It can help to have a do-it-yourself Menaje de Casa style list – with copies to give to them – made in a spreadsheet that documents every item, every numbered box, and the items in each box – with your $$ estimates.

        Glad you’re safe,

    • Kano says:

      Yeah, guess I should count myself lucky, and it was cheap. I have a couple more trips though. I think it may have been a slow night, might get luckier next time in daylight hours. The smaller items will bring in little by little in our vehicle instead of a trailer. Still it’s all good. Like my neighbor told me, hey, we’re saving like $700/mo, who can complain too much about that? I didn’t need a list, he asked me to just make a guess, and he took at wild guess at what it was worth. He wrote down $150, which was probably pretty close hehehe, it’s old stuff. You don’t go to a place like that bringing expensive belongings, not in my mind anyway. But hey, it’s todo bien!

  161. Chris says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you for all your hard work helping us navigate the rules! My husband and I love a US brand of canned tuna and would like to bring 3-4 cases of twelve 5-oz cans each. I’m confused about whether unsmoked tuna is OK at all (strictly speaking it’s not meat), and how much would seem like we want to sell it. Also, what about unopened canned wet and bagged dry dog food, and unopened jars of peanut butter? Thanks!


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chris,
      In theory, personal quantities of meat (tuna) in unopened commercially manufactured tins should be allowed by Aduana. Still, individual Aduana agents have the discretion to allow it or to confiscate it. If you would be heartbroken or seriously upset by Aduana confiscating the tins of tuna, then I would leave them at home.

      Similarly, I’ve regularly brought in dried beef jerky, still in its unopened original commercial packaging when flying in to Cancun. Alternately, other friends have had their dry-salami sausages in sealed commercial packaging confiscated at the same Cancun Aduana office.

      Personal quantities of dry dog food and peanut butter should be no problem at all,

  162. Chris says:

    I forgot to say we’ll be there six months only.


  163. KDM says:

    Moving in Oct for Nayarit with a pickup and 12 foot utility trailer of household goods. providing a ‘Menaje de Casa’ type list, not “approved” by the consulate. Since I am driving my US plated truck, I just got the Residente Temporal visa at the consulate. (I had wanted the Residente Permanente but the truck issue made that an unreasonable risk driving it w/o the correct visa.) The consulate said that I could not get an approved list prior to getting the visa completed in Mexico. And if I got the Residente Temporal visa, that meant that some point I had to remove everything on my list from Mexico prior to obtaining a permanent visa… because it was temporal.
    I did not want to make another trip NOB so I decided to roll the dice. If I have to pay duty at the border it would still be cheaper than another round trip.
    My question that is still unclear to me is, do I drive thru the ‘declare’ or ‘nothing to declare lane’? Both have the red/green light buttons to push. I am assuming I should drive thru the ‘declare’ lane.

    Right or wrong?

    Thanks for imput, Kirk

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi KDM,
      I would proceed through the Nothing to Declare lane – as a load of allowed personal household goods – nothing commercial, no commercial quantities, 1 computer per person, no drugs, etc.
      All the best,

  164. Dan says:

    yes. When we came a year ago, we crossed at Nuevo Laredo… we didn’t know which lane to get in either, and we had a huge pile of stuff, including two large dogs and a cat. I asked a guy at the crossing and he motioned us to the nothing to declare line. They had a quick look at our passports and told us to go, without ever looking at anything. We drove all the way to the Yucatan and no one ever stopped us to see our menaje de casa or anything.

    • KDM says:

      Dan and Steve,
      Thanks for replies. Good enough opinions for me. I’ll update afterwards how it goes… or went!

  165. Ame says:

    Can I drive into Mexico from Arizona with scuba dive tanks?

    • yucalandia says:

      Rocky Point adverts say you can bring your tanks and have them filled at local scuba shops. Scuba tanks are not listed as exempt or duty free …

      Again, commercial quantities or new equipment is treated differently than allowed used personal equipment,

  166. Carrie says:

    My family and I will be travelling to Cancun in November. My two sons are on medications that are physotropics. (5 different ones). I will bring a letter from their prescribing doctor as well as the original bottles. What can I expect when I declare them for my children? Will they be questioned?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Carrie,
      No one can say whether your sons will be questioned or whether they will be allowed to walk out of the airport.

      If your sons luggage passes the Aduana x-ray screening, and if your sons push the button and get a green light, then they just walk out of the airport.

      Did you read our section above on what items are restricted? “***Aduana de Mexico offers a specific list of medications for which Mexican Custom’s has special rules. See: http://www.aduanas.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2008/pasajeros/139_11149.html Read Section 8.

      Happy Trails,

  167. Sue says:

    I am travelling down to Guadalajara in September to help a friend (mexican) get settled in her new house since separating from her husband. I know she didn’t get to take much in the split so I want to take some things for her kitchen. If I can fit pots, dishtowels, bed sheets, drinking glasses, in my suitcase and I have receipts for them that show I don’t exceed the $500, I wonder if I need to declare? I almost always get the red light in Guadalajara (just my luck, I guess) and it never bothers me to have the bags looked at, but mostly because I try so hard to follow the rules. If I should declare it, then I can but not sure if it necessary? Any direction would be most appreciated.

    • Sue says:

      I wanted to add as well, that I am trying to bring things that I know are way more costly in Mexico than in Canada… so if you can also flag things I should think about bringing… that would be most appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Sue,
      Unless you have some commercial items or lots of electronics, go into the Nothing To Declare lane with your household goods.

      1,000’s of Americans and Canadians report driving into Mexico with their household goods, and paying nothing.

      Flying in, you may get the red light…

      • Sue says:

        I am flying so that is why I want to be prepared. I guess my concern is whether I am better off to wait for the red/green light and then produce receipts if they have questions OR… just declare it and go from there? My experience with customs (not necessarily mexican) is when you think you are just being open and transparent they take this as red flag and really start giving you grief so trying to determine my best strategy. I also want to bring as much as I can for her as the cost for some of these things are almost double in mexico and this way we can save money and go to Chapalla to the factories to buy the rest

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Sue,
        When we fly in, there is no “declare” or “nothing to declare” choice. The Aduana system for airline passengers is not like US Customs.

        You only fill out the Aduana form of your personal information- and give it to them. They sometimes do an x-ray on your bag – and if they decide they see something peculiar, they send you for screening.

        Otherwise: You press a green-light/red-light button – and if you get green – you leave the airport.

        Happy Trails,

      • carlosst11369 says:

        Hi believe it or not you will still get the go or no go light treatment. I have declared things a few times and they still sent me thru the lights. As long as I am under on the value I do not declare. God Bless Charles Stewart High Spirits

  168. Sue says:

    thaks to all for your helpful comments. I went out and had a successfull shopping day for her and hope to bring her some bedding, kitchen ware including pots and pans!!! I made sure I save the receipts and can show that I am well within the $500 limit. Thanks to all. I am really looking forward to visiting Mexico again…. everytime I go it gets harder to leave… someday…

  169. Happyrving says:

    First I want to say thank you for such informative information, this is the first site I have seen that has answered most of my questions. We bought a place near Puerto Vallarta in May and plan on renting it out for 2 years until we apply for our temporary citizen status. So right now we have a small motor home and plan on filling it up with dishes, linens, bedding, pictures, mirrors and small furniture items that we have picked up at auctions. The linens and bedding are new items as well as art work and we have enough for a 3 bedroom condo. We also will bring down one of our used flat screen T.Vs, as well as stereo, DVD player and movies. My question is if we show them the documents that prove that we own property, will they accept an itemized list of items or do we just go through the nothing to declare line. I am just worried that if we do get checked if we haven’t declared any items that they would seize them.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Happy,
      No, they only seize illegal drugs, or contraband like guns, bullets, etc.

      If you want to bring in your household goods under an official permit (Menaje de Casa), you get your Residente Temporal visa, and then within 6 months, you apply for an formal Menaje de Casa (at a Mexican Consulate), and then bring your stuff into Mexico.
      You can do it like most of us: Just plan to bring in a load of only household goods (no commercial quantities of anything nor enough stuff to start a business) and go into the nothing to declare lane. Make sure you have a Menaje de Casa STYLE list (every item listed, every box numbered and listed, and the contents of every box listed by box number, with everything translated into Spanish). Bring 3 copies of the list.

      If Aduana asks, then show them your list. Most people get waved through.

      A few people are asked to open a box or 2 to confirm the contents of the box versus the list.

      A few people are asked to pay some small duties, especially if there is a lot of tools, lot o electronics, especially new stuff, or lots of computer stuff (multiple computers). These few people report paying one to three hundred dollars in duties…

      Happy Trails,

  170. Others may give better answers to most of your questions, BUT I would say this, based on my experience do not be quick to volunteer information of any kind. Things like “we are property owners”. Others please weight in on this.

  171. Barbara says:

    Hi Steve –

    Based on your comments re driving household goods down vs. having a mover do it (and the savings for doing it that way!) I’m now trying to find someone that has an enclosed trailer and vehicle to pull it to make the trip with me. I would be riding with them of course and I would pay all expenses and pay their way home. My question is if I am the one with the residente temporal visa and the list of goods we’re carrying (and the goods are all mine), and they have a tourist visa and are the owner of the vehicle and trailer does that make a difference with them being the one driving/bringing the goods in? I don’t have access myself to that kind of rig, nor would I be comfortable driving it at my age. Thank you again for all your help and information – yours is by far the BEST site ever for those of us needing answers on so many things having to do with traveling/moving to Mexico.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Barbara,
      Your best hope/plan is that you get a green light and get waved through like most people.

      Since you are not planning to get a formal Menaje de Casa, it doesn’t really matter that someone else owns the vehicle and trailer. As long as there is no contraband, and no formal Menaje de Casa permit (only an informal Menaje de Casa style list of the load’s contents), then Aduana considers/treats the load as the property of the family, couple, group etc. They either wave the group through with household goods, or maybe assess modest duties on the whole load – so if there are duties, the group pays a single duty for the load.

      Does that make sense?

  172. Elizabeth says:

    Hello! My husband and I are moving to southern Mexico in a couple of months (he on a permanent resident visa and me on a temporary). We are driving in through Laredo moving our household stuff ourselves in a large van. I would be most grateful if you could answer a question for me. I have been collecting movies for years (we are true movie fanatics) and I have about 300 movies, all removed from the cases, held in large binder. Is it the case that I cannot legally bring these in as part of my household? Will they actually confiscate them? Or can I bring them in if I pay a duty. I am trying to figure this out. I would hate so much to have to leave my movies behind and would happily pay the duty! They are for personal use, definitely not for commercial use. Thank you for any advice you can give.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Note that most people are waved through with no inspection nor duties.

      Some people are given light inspections of scanning the contents of the load, and then inspecting the contents of a box or 2 – to confirm that your do-it-yourself informal Menaje de Casa-style list of contents in the load actually has that box #, and that the box’s contents match the list. Bring 3 copies of the list for Aduana to keep one (if they ask), and the others to show to police, military check points, retenes, etc. Occassionally, Aduana charges modest (token) duties on our loads of $100 – $400.

      In those scenarios, your movies are likely not an issue. I would record them as as an album of computer disks on your Menaje de Casa list, and expect that they will not draw attention. Legally, there is a small chance that they’ll scrutinize your list and see the album listed. There is a tiny combined chance that they will notice it, or find it, or even care about it – as you are correct – under the letter of the law they could charge 15% duties on them – but we’ve read zero reports of this happening – especially since the disks are used, in an album.

      I personally brought in about 100 CDs of music – as a part of a load of what was personal household goods – and we paid nothing…

      Hope that helps,

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thanks so much for your help! I really appreciate knowing about other people’s experiences. If you don’t mind, I have another question I hope you can help with.

        I went to the Banjercito website to scope out how I will apply for my TIP online, but it says I must get a pre-authorization first at an IMN link. (They give you a pre-authorization # which you then enter into your banjercito application for a TIP.). The online pre-authorization form on the INM website gives three options for reason for requesting the TIP: 1) Business 2) Transit (which I assume means traveling through Mexico onto to some place else)and 3) Tourism. It gives no option for applying for a TIP for Residente Temporal. I’m kind of stumped. I understand the law to read that residente temporal can legally bring their cars to Mexico on a TIP, and yet there appears to be no way to do so online.

        Am I just being an idiot and missing the obvious? Or is there no way for me to apply for the TIP? (Honestly, I have never felt more incompetent in my life than going through this process. 🙂 )

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Elizabeth,
        Hang in there… It will all work out.

        When I check the INM/SRE website, I find that it requires that I must enter a “Resident Document” and “Document Number” – which would be your Residente Temporal – using the number on the BACK of the card. I am unable to complete the form personally, because I am already a P.R. …

        Did you successfully enter all of your personal data into the INM/SRE website form?

        In any case, you can always apply for the TIP at the border.

    • Albert says:

      Hi Elizabeth, May I ask you how it is possible that you are on a Temp residence and your husband is on a Perm resident card? I was told by the consulate that the spouse must have the same resident status as the other. Did you apply separately or something?


  173. Barbara says:

    I think it makes sense, Steve. Well yes it does – I just didn’t know if the driver would be allowed to bring household goods in on a tourist visa or if my residente temporal visa would suffice at the border. Even if charged modest duties that would still be much less expensive than having a mover bring it all in – not to mention driving it myself (well, with a driver) I’d never be separated from my goods. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • yucalandia says:

      Comparing the do-it-yourself move costs to paying a professional shipper: The shippers MUST assess/determine and PAY every single penny on every single thing in your load => guaranteed big duty charges.

  174. Elizabeth says:

    Hey Steve, Thanks so much for your answer. If I had read more carefully on this page I would have discovered the answer! One I get my Visa pre-authorization from the Consulate, I will use the number they give me to apply online! Thanks again!

  175. Gloria McDonald says:

    Hello. My husband and I are driving to Tulum later this month and will be staying, on a Tourist Visa, for 5 1/2 months. We are bringing a few household items and some food items. I am a hobby soap maker (not commercial, for personal use/gifts only) and I want to bring some supplies with me as I am not sure if I could find them in Tulum. One of the ingredients is sodium hydroxide (lye) It will be in sealed,unopened, labeled containers. Is there anyplace I can confirm whether this will be an issue. I will also have a couple of pails of soapmaking oils in unopened, labeled containers.



    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gloria,
      As a TSCA substance, we understand that the US/Mexico agreement and Mexican rules say it requires special shipping and special (pre-arranged) permits to legally bring it into Mexico.

      e.g. We brought in a roll of insecticide treated nylon curtain material for a Dengue project (also a TSCA controlled substance), but it took over a year to get final Aduana approval to bring in the roll of curtain material.


      • Dan says:

        My wife wanted to try her hand at making soap as well, and she easily found lye at the local grocery stores in Progreso (Aurora Bodega and Soriana)… should be the same deal in Tulum I would think..

  176. Alex says:

    Hi! I’m going home to Europe from USA and gonna stay in Mexico for a 2 weeks. I’m planing to buy 2 new Iphones. Will I have any problems on the border in Mexico? Thanks!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Alex,
      Generally not.

      If they ask, what would you tell them as a reason for 2 new Iphones?

      • Alex says:

        I will tell then that these are gifts. I’m going to take them out of the boxes and put there my old ones and take new phones in my pocket so they won’t look that new. I just would like to know the borders policy coz I’m going to Mexico first time. Thanks

      • yucalandia says:

        Gifts might get taxed 16.5%.

        A personal phone is untaxed. Traveling with 4 phones total might trigger taxes in any case. *grin*

  177. Alex says:

    So what’s the best option for me?? Just open the boxes and tell them if they ask that these are all my personal phones? Thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Alex,
      Since none of us know the future, and we cannot know with absolute certainty that you will give these away, for now… the phones are truly yours.

      You can truthfully say: “I plan to use them.” “I will NOT sell them.”

      Any thing that we bring into Mexico that is still in it’s original packaging is obviously “new” and can be taxed as such.


  178. Amy ovalle says:

    Can I take plywood or 2×4′ s. We have a home that needs repairs in Taumulipas?

    • yucalandia says:

      Yes, but you have to pay duties/taxes.

    • Kano says:

      I was in line in TJ to pay duties on my personal household items that ought to not have been dutiable and in front of me was a guy with a pallet of roofing materials. They sent him back across because he had “too many” rolls. He was limited to 10 he said. He said on an earlier trip, he was not allowed to take both a ref and a freezer at the same time. He couldn’t convince them that they are two different things. He would have paid for them both, but no. He had to make arrangements to bring them across one at a time, he left one of the items with a friend and came back to get it later on. Don’t they realize that he is going to do something like that and the end result is the same? (other than his hassle and expense). SMH. My question is, what would it cost compared to here if you bought it there? TJ has lots of hardware and I haven’t priced everything but it all seems reasonable. I’m planning to buy some wood to make some shelves

      • yucalandia says:

        Yes, unfortunately, different Aduana agents apply different policies at different times, and different Aduana offices have location-specific policies. e.g. Mexicali used to charge taxes (16.5%) on all wood building supplies, while some Texas crossings allowed smaller loads to be waved through with no charges. ???

        Govt agents around the world apply their own personal variations – personal touches – in deciding what and how to enforce policies.

        A big study of the IRS found that when asked the same questions and presented with the same moderately-complex single tax return … 4 out of 5 gave different advice and different answers, and the IRS auditors each/all determined DIFFERENT final amounts of tax owed, on the same moderately-complex return.


  179. I live in Mexico and will be moving more of my stuff down here soon. I’ll be traveling through Laredo to Mexico with my household items, including a used mattress. Is this something that is aloud or do I risk having my mattress confiscated?

  180. Moving to Mexico, can I take my used mattress into Mexico along with my other household items?

  181. Jim McAdie says:

    Just to confirm. My wife and I are taking a pile of household stuff (clothes, pots, soap etc) and a computer, 3 monitors and a gaming stand (value about $1500), down to our place in San Carlos. We will staying there for 5 months on an FMM. The total value of goods, other than the computer and peripherals, will be less than our allowance.

    We have made a detailed list of everything, by box, as per your recommendations. The question is, should we go to the “Nothing to Declare” line or to the “Declare” line and voluntarily take in our detailed list.


  182. Tara says:

    Please help. I am going to Cancun & staying for a month. I am taking gifts in for my friend who lives there. Do I have to pay any extra money (duty) to do this or if it all falls below the $500 allowable amount , am I good. So far the value is only about $90 Canadian. I don’t want to have any problems when I stop in Mexico City customs before continuing on to Cancun.Please email me at taramw1969@yahoo.ca

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Tara,
      Legal non-prohibited non-personal items of values totalling under $500 per passenger are allowed at airports. (Driving limits are lower.)

      As long as you have only one laptop computer – not a desktop – and do not have lots of toys liquor o tobacco – then you should be fine.

  183. Chris says:

    Our dog has had Lyme disease. He was treated in 2013 and again this summer, but it never goes away. Will this prevent him from entering Mexico? I have read conflicting info about dog food. The latest seems to be that 20Kg unopened is allowed. Dog loves Pupperoni treats and I’ve been told they often get confiscated. Is this a likely problem? Anybody know whether Walmart sells Pupperoni or Pure Balance dog food? Pure Balance is a Walmart store brand in the US.

    I was shocked that the personal items amount was reduced to $50! We’ll have a 6-year-old electronic sewing machine that cost $900 new (not sure if I have the receipt, new ones now sell for ~$1100 and I cannot find a used one for sale anywhere in North America, but I could probably get $500 for it), two new cell phones (~$75 each, have receipts), two obviously much-used older laptops (~$250 new, no receipts), and possibly one older but little-used tablet (~$250 new but now selling for ~$130, no receipt). How much can we expect to pay in taxes? Can we even bring two laptops and a tablet? Should we go through the declare or no-declare line? Just out of curiosity, why is the allowance so much higher for air travelers?

    • yucalandia says:

      Sorry, I have no idea…

      • Chris says:

        I spoke with someone at a USDA vet clinic and apparently the Lyme is no problem (the dog is healthy other than occasional joint pain). I will write again after his exam next week to let you all know for sure. Still wondering about the dog food.

  184. Tara says:

    Steve: Thanks for your comment. Yes I would be taking all legal items. (clothes) and only one laptop into Mexico.

  185. jd says:

    My husband and I are flying into Oaxaca with a transfer and customs in Mexico City, just for a leisure vacation.
    We both have obstructive sleep apnea and have to travel with CPAP machines, which we will be carrying on the plane.
    How do we handle these on declaration forms?
    We also plan on bringing one cell phone and one tablet each. Will the CPAPs affect anything?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

  186. jdreckart says:

    Hi Steve,
    My husband and I are flying from the US into Oaxaca via Mexico City, just for a vacation.
    We both have obstructive sleep apnea and require CPAP machines.
    We will be flying with them as carry on luggage.
    How do we handle these on declarations forms?
    We also each plan to being a phone and a tablet.
    Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.

    • yucalandia says:

      There is no form for declaring things… not like the USA…

      You just fill out the form, and plan to declare nothing, and if you are asked: Explain that they are USED personal medically-necessary personal exempt equipment – as prescribed by a doctor.

  187. Chris says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am driving in for 180 days and planning to bring a suitcase full of fabric to be sewn into clothes by a local seamstress. All the fabric is non-synthetic, bought on sale at reduced price, and at least one year old, but of course I have no receipts. How do they determine the value? Am I likely to have to pay a tax, and if so what percent? From what I can find there is a 16% and a 15% and a .8%, which seem to be added together??

  188. Tara says:

    Hi Steve, first off, wow this site is amazing. I have been reading through the thread and have found out so much. You already helped with my question of bringing gifts into Cancun so thanks again for that. But… I do have one more question. I am bringing in my laptop as I will be in an apartment with wifi access. I will be down for 35 days and would like to bring in movies on DVDs to watch on the laptop. I will be bringing in about 20 of them but I have taken them out of the packages and put them into one of those cloth cd case holders so obviously not for resale. Could you see me possibly having an issue with this?? A lot of the movies are my daughters & really don’t want to risk having them taken at Customs. Thanks in advance😃

  189. Averie says:

    Hello Steve,

    I have a quick question. I work for an event planning company that is for mostly incentive business travel. Currently we are working on a job that may need for us to import some tote bags from China into Mexico. What would the ruling on that be just so we know to budget it in or so that we can start looking in places that Mexico to buy them if we aren’t allowed to have them mailed into Mexico from China. Thank you!

  190. Kim says:

    Hi Steve! I’m so glad I found this site. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to answer questions!
    I bought a tv almost 3 years ago and still have the original receipt. Do I still have to pay the 16% or not since it is 3 years old?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Kim,
      Are you bringing it in by air-flight or by ground?

      If flying, they will assess it at 16%. If you’re driving it – and it is not “new – in the box”, you’ll likely get waved through Aduana with no duties assessed (as long as you’re not traveling with a lot of tools – or commercial quantities of things).

  191. Tara says:

    Hey I need to know if I will have any problem bringing a soft DVD holder case with approximately 15-20 movies ( just discs, no covers) into Cancún. I’m renting an apartment for 5 weeks & want to be able to watch movies on my laptop. Most of them are my daughters, so I am trying to find out how big if any of a risk that they will be taken from me at customs is. Thanks in advance.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Tara,
      In Aduana’s “red light” / “green light” system, you most likely get a green light and it’s no issue.

      In theory, they might charge you small duties.
      Explain that they are for personal use,

  192. Brad Steingraber says:

    I’ll be in Mexico for one week, can I bring , in checked baggage, uncooked pasta, unopened Velveeta cheese, spam, and a few other canned goods ?

  193. Chris says:

    OMG that is the funniest thing I’ve read here. Brad, thanks for the laugh! (Hope you’re joking!) We drove through a few days ago with a dog and a carload of stuff; nobody checked anything other than our passports, drivers licenses, and car title and insurance. We feel bad about not bringing pup’s coveted Pupperoni as we can’t find it here.

  194. Kim Cooper says:

    My wife and I are going on a 2 week vacation to Cancun in January and we are wondering if we can bring a couple of sealed boxes of chocolates in our suitcases? As we would like to give the hotel staff some chocolate from the UK as we know them well and they love chocolate.
    If we can, do we have to declare these as on the declaration form? As it has no mention of chocolate.
    Many thanks,

  195. Tara says:

    Hi there. Okay so I am a Canadian citizen and have plane tickets to arrive in Cancún on May 1 & returning on June 4. My boyfriend & I were thinking of going to Mexico City for a few days so I can meet his family & see his home town. As a foreigner, will this be a complicated task? So basically Vancouver to Cancún, Cancún to Mex City, Mex City back to Cancún and then Cancún back to Vancouver Canada. I would be purchasing the ticket to meet the family in Cancun.Do you know or should I contact Mexican Customs?
    Thanks in advance

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Tara,
      It’s easy, and transparent.

      You just book the tickets, pay for them, and show up on time … and fill out you FMM immigration tourist visa form that they hand you during your flight to Mexico.

      There’s no need to contact Mexican Customs,

      • Tara says:

        Steve: Thanks for your response. I understand that I fill out the form when I come from Canada into Mexico. I just wasn’t sure on the process to travel by air from Cancún to Mexico City if I’m doing it within the time I was already authorized for when I first arrived in the Country itself. So as I understand it, Ino matter what a new form will have to be filled out on that side trip itself.

      • Tara says:

        Just one quick question. I am planning to travel to Cancun with my 23 year old daughter and plan on bringing in a gift for my boyfriend who lives there. I am bringing a brand new guitar in all the original packaging (with paperwork). The total price for it in Canadian dollars will be slightly over $300. In this case can we split the value between the 2 of us? All together the value of ALL of our gifts will be approximately $400 CANADIAN but the one item will be over the $300 allowed.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Tara,
        No, you can’t pool your exemptions to cover 1 expensive item.

        You can give all your non-personal items to other people in your party, and if they assess duties, they would only be 16% of the difference between the $300 exemption for driving in (or $500 per person for flying) and the purchase price.

        Happy Trails,

  196. Lucy says:

    Traveling by car from Texas to mexico for the holidays. Im taking a fiber antenna. That measures maybe 8 ft…..to my dad that leaves over there…
    Any fees or penalties?

  197. Joel R says:

    I wan to take some tablets that cost 50 dollars each. How many can I take? I also carry a personal cell phone with me.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Joel,
      I would take (ingest) as many tablets as your doctor prescribed.

      When entering Mexico, you can typically bring a six month supply of medications – with the written prescription from your doctor – as long as the medications are not prohibited by Mexico.

  198. Tara says:

    Ok, kinda dumb question. I know when you come to Canada you have a limit of $10,000 in cash allowed. What is it going into Mexico? What currency is it in? Even for the allowable amount of $500 for gifts, is it in US dollars? Asking cause $1,000 Canadian will be over 11 thousand pesos. Thank you Tara

  199. Whitney says:

    question re: baby food for 10 month old — do you need to declare formula in cans, sealed pouches of fruit/grain pureed baby food and rice crackers all for the baby while at the resort. We were told just no meat by the travel agent.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Whitney,
      Your travel agent told you good information.

      Fresh meat, sausages, etc get stopped by Aduana, but sealed, never opened baby food (with meat), still in the original commercial jar should be fine.

  200. Jordan says:

    I want to bring a portable spray tan machine and tanning solution (in an unmarked water bottle)in my suit case .. do you think I would have an issue with this when crossing the Mexican border?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Jordan,
      Does the machine look like professional commercial equipment?

      If so, then you may have to pay duties for the non-personal item goods on total value more than $300 (land crossing). Most people driving are just waved through, unless you have commercial quantities of goods or have commercial equipment or substantial amounts of electronics.

  201. Ray says:

    My wife and I will be moving to Puerto Vallarta July 1st. We will be flying and plan on taking a total of 6 suitcases with personal clothing items. We also plan on taking 4 clear plastic storage containers that will contain the following: kitchen cookware, a kitchen aid stand mixer, food processor, a set of kitchen knives of varying types, some small decor items, waterpik, 2 laptops and 2 tablets, blue ray player, apple tv and a small bag of household tools (screwdrivers, pliers, box cutter etc.). Are they any special preparations i need to do? Is the Menaje de Casa necessary?

    On another note, is it legal for expats to carry a swiss army knife on their person while in Mexico? It would not be in plain sight but in a day pack. Thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      A formal Menaje de Casa is for entering by land, but you can do an informal list of what you are bringing in the style of a Menaje de Casa, and expect to pay duties on any non-personal items over your 2 x $500 = $1000 combined exemption.

      Yes, you can carry a Swiss army knife, especially if you emphasize that it is a tool.

      Happy Trails,

      • carlos says:

        What about a hunting knife like this? I use it for picnics (to cut brie, apples and baguettes).
        Can it be shipped within Mexico (UPS, FEDEX, Estafeta)?
        Can it be shipped to USA (UPS, FEDEX, Estafeta)?

      • yucalandia says:

        The only permissible knives are obviously TOOLS …

        Any knife that does not look like a TOOL, may be confiscated.

        Tools? …. Think: Butcher’s tools … Machetes … Coas …

        Happy Trails, Steve

  202. raeernisse94 says:

    My wife and I will be moving to Puerto Vallarta July 1st. We will be flying and plan on taking a total of 6 suitcases with personal clothing items. We also plan on taking 4 clear plastic storage containers that will contain the following: kitchen cookware, a kitchen aid stand mixer, food processor, a set of kitchen knives of varying types, some small decor items, waterpik, 2 laptops and 2 tablets, blue ray player, apple tv and a small bag of household tools (screwdrivers, pliers, box cutter etc.). Are they any special preparations i need to do? Is the Menaje de Casa necessary?

    On another note, is it legal for expats to carry a swiss army knife on their person while in Mexico? It would not be in plain sight but in a day pack. Thanks

    • yucalandia says:

      A formal Menaje de Casa is for entering by land, but you can do an informal list of what you are bringing in the style of a Menaje de Casa, and expect to pay duties on any non-personal items over your 2 x $500 = $1000 combined exemption.

      Yes, you can carry a Swiss army knife, especially if you emphasize that it is a tool.

      Happy Trails,

  203. raeernisse94 says:

    Thanks Steve. A follow-up question: I have been looking at various Menaje de Case examples and none seem to have a column for the value of the item. Should I include the value of each item as part of my list? Thanks again.

    • yucalandia says:

      Yes, I certainly would.

      When you leave valuation of items solely up to Aduana, the agent guesses at a value in that moment, based on their personal perceptions.

      Once the Aduana agent / clerk’s has announced a value, then you have to argue with them to try to change their personal choice.

      That means the agent-clerk’s ego gets involved, because then you are challenging their personal judgment and challenging their personal expertise.

      When you supply the $$ valuations, it shifts the responsibility off the agent, and the agent will simply often choose to accept your valuations ~ as long as your valuations are reasonable.

      Makes sense?

      • yucalandia says:

        Some people take it a step further, by pre-printing e-bay pages to document / justify their ersatz-Maneja de Casa list $$ valuations.

        This not only gives the Aduana agent a specific $ price on each used item, but gives official-looking printed documentation to support that claimed valuation.

        Clerks around the world love it when they have papers to put into a file… (as your printed pages and a copy of your ersatz-Menaje de Casa list go into their files to document the transaction).

        Happy Trails,

  204. ginny steele says:

    i have a question that i have not been able to see an answer for. If i bring in more than 1 carton of cigarettes and claim it, what would the duty be? how much will it cost me?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Ginny,
      From the article above:
      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 cartons (10 packs) of cigarettes, here are the current SAT rules as of Oct, 2014:

      ¿Qué puede importarse bajo el procedimiento simplificado de pasajeros?

      Mediante este procedimiento se puede importar:

      ~ Hasta 40 cajetillas de cigarros, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 573.48%.

      Happy Trails,

  205. Randy says:

    Steve, thanks for your excellent site. My girlfriend and I bought a condo in Sayulita and will be taking possession March 1st and staying for 2 months. We plan on driving down in my pick up (w/ camper shell) and crossing at Nogales. We will be entering Mexico w/ tourist visas. The bed of the truck will be filled w/ plastic storage containers up to a height of approximately the sides of the truck bed (about 1/2 way full considering the camper shell). No furniture, big appliances, big items or anything looking commercial. The containers will be filled w/ small household items such as pots and pans, sheets, blankets, tools, snorkeling/water sports equipment…small but necessary items. In addition I will have a surf board (used) strapped on the top and a couple of new boogie boards. I will put together “Menaje de casa” type lists, in triplicate.
    Based on the postings I’ve read here it would seem like I’m bringing in a light load…and if I had to guess I would say the value of all this stuff probably won’t exceed $1,500…and I’d think about 75% of it will appear…used. We’re also taking our Labrador who will take up the back seat in the cab.
    So my questions are, do you think this looks “waved on through” load? Should I cross the border in the “nothing to declare” lane? Should I just go to border custom’s office and give them my list and see what happens? Its not that I mind paying duty where appropriate but I prefer not to be hassled or debate customs officials and waste a lot of time. I know you can’t give “legal” advice but you insights and experience certainly will help.
    Cheers, and thanks for your assistance.

    • yucalandia says:

      Since you don’t have construction materials, or lots o tools, or a lot of electronics / computer gear, or commercial quantities of things, I’d go into the ‘nothing to declare’.

      We’d love for you to return and tell the details of how it went.

      Happy Trails,

  206. Randy says:

    I’ll be taking a laptop and my girlfriend is taking her iPad…a couple of smart phones, a GoPro and a GPS on the dash. Does this make your answer different?
    I will let you know how it goes and if we encounter any “issues”
    In matter such as these I’ve always believed its better to beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission…and be denied!
    Thanks again

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Randy,
      Based on our trips across the border with similar things, we had our loads inspected, and were waved through – after taking the Nothing to Declare lane.

  207. Roger Knopf says:

    Every year we bring a large group of high school students and accompanying adults (about 100) to visit churches south of Mexicali (the same ones every year). We do youth programs at the churches and also construction projects for them. We typically bring all the kitchen and other equipment to set up our compound and to use in the programs and tools to do the construction in 3 vans about two days in advance of the rest of the group. We always bring all of it back with us. We also bring toys and clothing to give as gifts to the people in the churches. We had been doing this for about 30 years with no problem with just a letter from our church explaining everything until last year, when the Aduana did not want to let us in unless we inventoried everything and paid duty. We eventually got through but it took nearly 24 hours. How can we make this easier next time?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Roger,
      You were basically lucky the 30 previous years, as our reading of the Aduana law does not specifically call out exemptions for your activities.

      I would guess that you either got lazy/recalcitrant Aduana agents in the previous years, or maybe some were being personally kind.

      Tools, more than 5 toys a person, sufficient quantities of kitchen supplies to run a commercial kitchen, and clearly not “personal household goods” or not “personal items” (clothing, shavers, etc)… set your group up to owe duties.

      Clearly, all the rest of us driving into Mexico are pretty much all required to supply a Menaje de Casa-style list that inventories every stick & brick of our load’s contents, with $$ values and items listed in Spanish.

      So, to make it easier:
      ~ Make the detailed Menaje de Casa list(s). One for each vehicle hauling donation or construction stuff/tools.
      ~ Identify the number of people entering Mexico to be able to claim the $500 USD per person exemption.
      ~ Have 2 separate official letters … on official letterhead … signed by each of the Mexican and US church’s leaders, with their titles clearly identified – where each leader describes the activities planned, and each leader personally certifies what is being done and why.

      Identify the traveling group’s leader in each letter.

      Emphasize benefits to the wider community.

      We have previously successfully used proposed a particular set of contents in the letter for both our charitable importing of dutiable (laboratory supplies) goods … and also for 2 different sets of friends bringing in very large commercial supplies of toothbrushes for charitable donations.

      All of us successfully made our case for no duties, on $1,000’s – $10,000’s worth of equipment by including the following items in the 2 explanation/certification letters:
      ~ Identify the key activities and key goals you will be achieving.
      ~ Identify the exact dates you will be entering and exiting Mexico.
      ~ Make water-tight promises that all materials & supplies and ___, will be used exclusively for _______ charitable activities.
      ~ Make water-tight promises that all materials & supplies and ___, will not be sold.
      ~ Promise that nothing will be used for personal benefits.
      ~ Swear that everything you have written & promised are the truth (use the “Bajo protesta de decir verdad.” statement.
      ~ Identify the addresses and contact information of the leader of each group.

      You could even have the US letter notarized when the pastor signs the letter, as Mex. Gob. officials give some added credence to notarized documents.

      We and others have jumped through all these hoops … and it worked – but it took Aduana supervisor’s oversight/inspections & approvals to get through without paying duties.

      Happy Trails,

      • Roger Knopf says:

        Thanks for the very detailed info. We are following your advice, and we also have made contact with an agent in the Aduana who will help us – we are sending our letters and lists to him ahead of time so when we arrive they will have already looked at them and we will have heard their objections ahead of time. I don’t know whether he is going to help us get whatever form we need approved ahead of time. Last time we went through from what they said it did seem the main thing was we did not arrange it ahead of time.

  208. Steve Ferree says:

    My wife and I will be moving to Mexico soon as temp residents and will have household goods shipped via commercial carrier with formal (consulate approved) Menaje de casa. I have gleaned many do’s and don’ts reading through all the comments here. Thanks Steve!!

    So here is something a bit new perhaps. I do a lot of “do it yourself” things around the house and am an electronics hobbiest. I have a fair amount of tools and equipment. Some fairly new, some old, and some very old. Basic tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and such as well as some precision tools. Battery powered drills, jig saw, circular saw, and recip saw. I also have some specialty electronics tools, soldering iron, wire cutters, wire strippers, etc. and some electronics test equipment, meters, oscilloscope, and such. Nothing really large save one item that is in pieces to be put together after arrival which is a CNC router that I use to make gifts and unique items for the house. It has it’s own compter that controls the machine, and I also have a desktop for normal use.

    The plan was to include all of this in with the household goods, but now am not sure. Should I FEDEX the tools and equipment and pay the tax? Take the tools and saws and such on the plane and pay the tax at Cancun airport as the X-ray will probably flag me to the inspection table?

    I am definately not looking to make money while living there, as we are well enough funded for retirement.


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Stephen,
      I would definitely NOT use FEDEX … as they have a HORRIBLE history of NOT-advocating for getting our odd stuff through Customs.

      The Cancun airport Aduana clerks have regularly flagged our weird stuff that they see on X-ray (which they have been using assiduously for our past 9 months trips). Getting them in through the secondary inspection at Cancun would seem to definitely trigger $$-16.5% taxes on values above the $500 per passenger limit: Is that an issue?

      Including them in a formally approved Menaje de Casa for ground shipment would seem to give you a chance of paying no duties, if they are identified as “personal use only” …

      In any case, you may get nicked for $300 USD (or so) in duties – which would fit our past experiences & friend’s past experiences.

    • sdibaja says:

      I strongly agree DO NOT use FEDEX in Mexico. Ever.
      from personal experience: if for some reason they decide ANYTHING is “undeliverable” it heads for the shredder in 3 days, no exceptions! This would include Valuable Documents. IF you are in their local dispatch warehouse at just the right time, and talk real sweet, you may be able to snag it first. (no, they Do Not return to sender)
      We use DHL frequently within Mexico, never a problem.
      DHL does ship from the US to a local DHL office and they will hold it for you. Notify your local office (and get the Correct delivery address) and you will probably get both a phone call and an email when you have incoming.
      In Mexico there are many resellers of express package services. Some are not really experienced with incoming, ask many questions, if they waffle then they just don’t know. Find the real office… just ask.

  209. moooooer@rogers.com says:

    My son is getting married this October in Mexico. I think that we fly into Cancun. My future daughter in law has asked me to make some decorations for the wedding to go on the chairs consisting of silk flowers, a little raffe for the ribbon and dried star fish. She was planning to ship them ahead to the resort as the resort has a place to keep them safe. Are the starfish an issue to ship?

    Thanks, Lynne

    • yucalandia says:

      There are 2 issues here: the law versus actual practice. Aduana rules prohibit animals and animal products, which allows individual aduana inspectors/agents to confiscate shells, dried starfish, etc – as has happened to friends moving into Mexico (by container through Progreso) …

      Still, in practice, we have seen instances where Aduana officials allow personally carried small amounts of decorative shells etc to move in and out of Mexico.

      Would you be heartbroken or frustrated if they confiscated the starfish?

      If so, since it is far more likely that the starfish would be confiscated by shipping, can someone carry them in their personal luggage?

  210. Randy says:

    I wanted to report back to you about our border crossing. We drove across the border at Nogales in my Chevy pickup with a camper shell. I had us loaded with household goods for our condominium in Sayulita. These things included bedding, kitchen utensils, a few small appliances, some basic hand tools hand and water sports equipment. This filled the back of the truck about three quarters of the way up. We also brought our dog and had all her paperwork. We crossed at Nogales Sunday morning around 8 o’clock…no other south bound traffic… and there wasn’t a single official on the Mexican side of the border as we zigzagged our way through the maze of k rails. Just after crossing we arrived at the red light green light spot where three female official sat off to the side looking totally uninterested and never even looked at us as we continue driving south. We got to kilometer 21 and register the truck and got are tourist visas without any problem. We could have brought down a lot more in retrospect but I didn’t want to chance having to unpack and explain everything to a local official. We were satisfied at being able to bring in the things we did bring in and although I spent a lot of time putting this together inventory lists both in Spanish and English the whole thing proved to be very uneventful and easy. Thank you for your advice and this wonderful site that provides a wealth of information. Randy

    • yucalandia says:

      GREAT !

      Your experiences fit the experiences of 10,000’s of other past Canadians & Americans crossing into Mexico – so your latest story is great news that the systems continue to work.

      Continuing updates of easy crossings (without formal Menaje de Casa lists) hopefully give other readers ~ confidence ~ and internal peace ~ that they too can bring a load of personal household goods into Mexico … with no hassles.

      Happy Trails,

  211. Jim Reed says:

    I want to bring a shaw cable box to Mexico for my friend, can I do that?

  212. betsy says:

    We’re just planning a weekend trip to Rocky point. Can we take some meat, potatoes, salad stuff for a meal at the condo?

  213. Russ Green says:

    I’m flying in from Canada for a week. If I am bringing a $400 lap top computer as a gift for a Mexican citizen, does duty have to be paid on it?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Russ,
      Will you be carrying in just 1 computer for your Mexican citizen gift?

      If you are bringing in more than the allowed 1 computer per passenger, then yes, you would be liable for possibly paying 16.5% tax on the extra computer, or be denied the right to bring in the second computer.

      We even had Aduana argue that bringing in a loose 7 year old 40 gig Hard Disk Drive for a girl’s school donation, was the equivalent of bringing a second computer…

      They would not allow it … as they had seen it on their Xray machine. Once identified, they can say either “no, the additional computer is not allowed” … or they can charge extra duties.

      If they do not notice the extra computer on X-ray, then bag inspection is their responsibility, because airline passengers do not sign forms saying they have things to declare …. the only Aduana form you sign is to confirm how many bags you are bringing in, and that you are not bringing in firearms, prohibited substances, nor disease agents etc… and no meat, fruits etc

      Happy Trails,

  214. C says:

    Can I bring a wedding cake on a plane into mexico?

    • yucalandia says:

      You can bring the cake onto the plane, but it’s up to Aduana at the airport if they allow it in.

      Most likely: yes, no problem.

      Outside possibility: No, an individual agent could say no,

      Be prepared to gently negotiate (and possibly plead & grovel),

  215. james says:

    My goods worth thousands of dollars was seized by the U.S customs. i tried every possible ways to get the goods back. the customs refused to mail or called me for claiming. Over 4 months I suffered and totally lost of hope. On very lucky day I found a spiritual Dr online and I explained my problem with custom to him. Dr olanga assured me after his work they will call me right from the office and release my goods, i was doubting I thought it was not going to work because i has done lot to get my container back. 7 days after the spiritual Dr spoke to me, 11am Monday morning I received a massage from the customs and I went over. when I got there they gave me some documents to sign which I did. after that my goods was released to me without spending money probably I was surprised because it was a big miracle I have never see in my life. Really I have my container back without money or much explanation i am so happy. and I shared Dr olanga email for everyone need spiritual help to have your property back from any custody. drolangaspiritualtemple@gmail.com

    • yucalandia says:


      I especially like the part where US Customs gave you a fine massage…

      I’ve dealt with US Customs for decades, and they never gave me a massage,

      but I never invoked ‘spiritual help‘ when dealing with Customs.

      Happy Trials,

  216. Avdiyel Garza says:

    massage, HAH!

    Hey, what about bumpers, barbells, and power racks. As in 425lbs of plates, 2 barbells, and a 200lb power rack, with (4) 2×6 stall mats? You think I’ll be able to get through without getting wallet-raped?

    • yucalandia says:

      Most people drive in with no problems.

      If you think it might be a problem, be sure to have a printed receipt (or ebay page) demonstrating their real value.

      • Avdiyel Garza says:

        Thanks for the response Steve! But, What I meant was: Do you think they will consider it personal baggage? It is used equipment; plus the rack isn’t commercial size. What do think they will say about the stall mats? They’re something like 100lbs a mat, solid 3/4″ rubber.

        I read something about not exceeding 3000usd on personal bags, but does that mean 6000usd together with my dad? Or 3000 as one family? There are some odd (but good) things they consider personal items. If we pack up a van-sized moving vehicle, we probably will barely be able to fill it up 2/3. We live in a studio. We have dual citizenship, by the way, if that helps. Do you think it’s pretty likely they’ll wave us through? Oh, I also have one personal defense karambit (knife that is specifically a weapon), and a couple pocket knives and hunting folders. You think they’ll give me trouble if I have them labeled on the manaje and in boxes? Thanks again Steve. I hope a good-looking customs agent gives you a massage for all the trouble you go through.

      • yucalandia says:

        Like I wrote… Most people have no problems when driving in.

        As the article above describes, weights & mats are not personal items (not a toothbrush, razor, clothing, shoes, hat nor hair brush, etc).

        As the article, and comments say, It’s computers… electronics … lots of tools, or commercial quantities of things that get their attention.

        If they choose to charge, then youll have to pay … or negotiate … and your printed receipts are your best ally when they try to set valuations on things.

        Knives can be dicey … and can be rejected out of hand.

        As described above, you must be able to show that the knife is a TOOL…

        Obvious kitchen knives are OK … work knives/cutters that a gardener or carpenter would use should be ok…. Other knives may not be allowed in at all.

        All the best,

  217. John Harding says:

    http://www.aduanas.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2008/pasajeros/139_11149.html Is there a new list for prescribed drugs my wife and I take on a daily basis?

  218. Gabriel Heiser says:

    Is there a form one completes for an item that is shipped from Mexico to, say, the U.S., for warranty repair, that will be returned to you in Mexico, on which you have already paid import tax (or which you purchased in Mexico), so you do not have to pay an import tax when it crosses back into Mexico? I know the U.S. has such a procedure. Thanks.–Gabriel Heiser

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Gabriel,
      The last time I tried this in 2007, Aduana said to include the shipping receipt for the Mexico-USA shipment, include a letter to Aduana explaining, and include the receipt for the repair… in the top of the package.

      They gave no assurances that the individual agent would always wave duties/taxes.

      Hope someone else has a better answer.

  219. Robert and Bonnie says:

    Steve, thanks so much for your blog. My wife and I are moving to Ajijic on September first, we just got our temporary residence card in our passport. Can we send boxes of clothing to ourselves? Also I have a stamp album with a wide assortment of stamps, total retail value around $3000.00. Can I import that?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Robert,
      Yes, you can send these things, but know that Aduana can be fickle, especially on peculiar things like a stamp album.

      The items may pass through Customs just fine, but we’ve also experienced (as also reported by others) they can whimsically be pricks.

      In 35 years of shipping things from the USA to Mexico, by Fed Ex, DHL, UPS, and the postal mail: We’ve seen them capriciously decide to hold things and charge outrageous duties. … Imagine a $500 duty on a $22 exotic looking item (a simple aluminum cap for a liq. Nitrogen dewar)….

      So, yes, you can import those things by mail, but know that they may fly through fine… or maybe the stamp album gets stopped and flagged for unusually high duties?? (and possibly returned back to the USA to you)?

      You may be better off handcarrying the stamp album. (??)


  220. Claudia says:

    We are permanent residents of Mexico and will be visiting my Mother in Canada soon. She is moving into a retirement home wants to give us her antique ( 65 year old ) silver flatware set which may have a value of up to $4000. Canadian funds. Would we have to pay duty for it upon our return to Mexico?
    We are returning by air.
    Thank you.

    • yucalandia says:

      Our last inquiry on silver items had Aduana say they would be charged duties.

      which means you need to find out what it’s really worth, if Aduana did decide to charge duties on it.

      In that vein: I would be sure to find out if it actually is silver… or if it is just silver plated.

      I inherited a supposedly ‘silver’ flatware set from my mother, and contacted the manufacturer to inquire about replacing a missing piece…

      It turns out that the family story of it being ‘silver’ … was not true.

      It was inexpensive (but pretty) silver-plated flatware… not worth even $300.

      worth more if I sold it as individual pieces to replace missing items in other people’s set.

      All the best,

  221. Claudia says:

    Thanks for your reply Steve.

  222. Chris says:

    Silver seems to be fairly cheap in Mexico. Would they assess it at Mexican or Canadian value? They wouldn’t care about the aesthetic value, would they? If Claudia sold it at auction, most buyers would only be interested in how much actual silver it contained; no matter how pretty it was, they’d melt it down. Also, would it help if she said it was from her mother or grandmother, since they are held in such high regard in the culture?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Chris,
      None of us can say exactly how things with Aduana would actually work.

      If you drive in … they likely wave you through, unless you have a big TV, electronics, lots of tools, or commercial quantities of things.

      If waved-through or only given a cursory inspection… no duties.

      If you fly in … they may also just do a simple X-Ray screening… and wave you through. … no duties.

      If they do a detailed inspection, then Katy bar the door.

      God only knows what an individual Aduana inspector might decide to assess.

      We’ve had them charge duties on some used electronics (a satellite TV receiver) that were higher than the total value of the receiver.

      We’ve had them insist that an ancient 40Gb used hard-disk drive was “a computer” and wanted $3,000 MXN pesos. (I just gave them the HDD)


      Re emotional approaches including the beloved elderlies:
      One time (traveling with frends) – Aduana insisted that they must confiscate a bag of prescription meds (because the friends did not have individual written prescriptions for every single bottle)… but when we humbly pointed to the old man in the group with a withered knee.. they took pity … and waved us through.

      even though the meds had NOTHING to do with his congenitally withered knee…


  223. Stefan Nowak says:

    I am driving into Mexico via Laredo Texas and would like to know if I can bring in 4 gallons of marble floor sealer for our new condo. The sealer is not available for sale or distribution in Mexico and only sold in the USA and Canada. Value per can is $140

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  227. Cynthia says:

    Quick question. I am entering on a temporary residential visa (religious visa) can I bring in my US tagged vehicle?

  228. Tony says:

    I want to know if I can cross into Mexico my own personal couches and love seat and a refrigerator Iam mexican native but naturalized U.S.Citizen I have a vacation home in TJ
    Please advise accordingly


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Tony,
      As a dual citizen, you are fully liable to Mexican law, rules y reglas when entering Mexico.

      We don’t know how Mexican citizens have been treated recently, but when my Yucatecan wife tried to come in with a small trailerload & pickup load of household goods, we had to go through the Paisano Program to avoid paying big duties + taxes.

      Safe Travels,

  229. Liz Holland says:

    I am driving our truck in and arriving at the Columbia bridge crossing outside of Laredo. We have 2 dogs, 2 kids and the back of our truck is packed full of our used household stuff- boxes and suitcases- no furniture. We are coming in on a preapproved temporary residency (hopefully). I have the paperwork required for the dogs and we made a menaje de casa list of everything we are bringing with used value listed. When we cross, do we go into the declare or nothing to declare lane? What can we expect?

    • lydia says:

      Steve, I am curious how you will reply to Liz because I have a similar situation. Thanks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Unless you have something special (like construction materials, or commercial quantities of things, lots of tools, or lots of electronics/computers), then I would go into the nothing to declare lane.

      I would expect them to look at your ersatz DIY Menaje de Casa list, maybe to look in a box or 2 to confirm that the box # on your list + plus that its contents match your list, smile at the dogs**, and wave you through.

      Happy Trails,

      **Years of reports from people traveling with dogs say that the Aduana guys somehow love our dogs, trust dog owners traveling w/dogs, and wave them through.

      Those same people who get waived through with their dogs, report that when traveling without dogs, Aduana makes more detailed inspections/searches.

  230. Kannah says:

    Our family will be traveling through Mexico to Belize. I am going to take your suggestions on list/spreadsheet for our used household goods..thanks. However there are ten children and three adults traveling together. Does the $300 rule apply to children or just adults? With so many children would we be able to take more household items free? or at a small cost?

  231. Lydia says:

    Steve, I am interested on your reply to liz’s comment on August 16. I have similar questions.

  232. brian says:

    can I bring protein bars in to Mexico

    • yucalandia says:

      Ordinarily, they allow personal quantities* of ordinary commercially prepared foods, if unopened, still in their original individual packages.

      Meats * fruits are verboten,

      *5 – 10 protein bars are likely OK. 2-3 cases might be confiscated.

  233. Brian says:

    Can you mail them to Mexico

  234. Gloria McDonald says:

    Hi. We crossed at Laredo last year in our pickup with a canopy. We were heading down for 5 months and only had personal stuff (clothes, some household items (dishes etc). We headed to the nothing to declare lane and were turned around and told to go through the other lane. They did a very casual inspection and charged us 600 pesos (very arbitrary). They didn’t speak English but an “interpreter” offered to translate for a tip.

  235. Julie says:

    Having a wedding next month in Rocky Point and driving down from Phoenix. Can we take cut calla lilies (about 50) for the Bride and Bridesmaids bouquets with us into Mexico?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Julie,
      As non-personal items, they would count against your $300 per person exemption.

      If your non-personal items total more than $300 per person entering, you would pay 16% duties on the remaining items.

      Enjoy your wedding!

      • Julie says:

        Just to confirm that these are not made into bouquets yet and will be in buckets of water to stay fresh. Is that still ok? Also, should I have anything with me if we get the red light and the border agents have questions? Hate to not have flowers at the wedding.

      • yucalandia says:

        Have receipts showing the values of all things that are not personal items.

        Stay calm,
        Have fun,
        Expect them to wave you through

        Expect warm smiles if they ask,
        and you tell them you’re getting married.

  236. Tara says:

    Thank you kindly.

  237. Barbara Lane says:

    One more for you Steve – when you have a box that’s packed with miscellaneous knickknack type things, what do you put on the menaje de casa? Do you list each item in the box separately? For example a small lamp, a basket, a few small figurines, a few other odds and ends? Too, lamps being electrical but not having a serial number what do you put on the menaje de casa?

    Once again thank you SO much!

    • yucalandia says:

      Good Morning Barbara,
      The Menaje de Casa list has the name of the item in the left hand column. Then the box @, then the value/cost in the right column – so each box gets numbered.

      Groups of things can be listed as a single line item: like 4 towels.

      Jewelry is a tough one. I think moany people hide theirs as valuables that they want to protect from theft. ???

      Some people simply do not bring any nice jewelry.

      In theory, the jewelry’s value counts against our $300 per person exemption.

      Happy Trails,

    • yucalandia says:

      Lamps are electrical items… not ‘electronics’.
      Travel safe.

      • Barbara Lane says:

        So the miscellaneous items in each box must be itemized, yes?

        And towels, etc. must show a count, not simply say “towels”?

        Thank you again – just want to be sure I understand correctly.

      • yucalandia says:

        You are understanding correctly.

        10 figurines, 4 towels, 5 screwdrivers, …

  238. Barbara Lane says:

    Oooops. Forgot to ask one other thing…re driving across with a few household goods….what’s the best way to deal with good jewelry? Declare it? Add it to the menaje de casa? Put it in a suitcase? Purse? Or box it with the miscellaneous?

    Hopefully this (these) will be the last questions I need to ask – not long now and the move will be underway. I’ll report back!

    As always….very grateful for you.

  239. Barbara Lane says:

    Mil gracias.

  240. Stephanie says:

    I have to bring in parts from a junkyard in the USA to Mexico to fix my car that I crashed there. Will I be charged duty?

    • yucalandia says:

      Flying… $500 exemption on non-personal items per traveler (bring friends – *grin*)
      Driving … $300 exemption on non-personal items per traveler (bring even more friends)

      Reality, the Aduana customs agents wave some things through and other times not.
      Carry your receipt(s).

      Good Luck with the Red light … Green light!

  241. Rana Kangas-Kent says:

    Hi Steve. I really enjoy reading your blog and reading this Q&A page. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! My husband and I, and our 2 cats, are moving to PV at the end of this month. We decided to bring very little with us. However, there are some products that I love and I can’t seem to find an online vendor who will ship to Mexico. The products are for skin/hair and are moderately priced. I bought brand new items to bring with me and they will be packed in my suitcase. Do you recommend I take the products out of their packaging? Also, the product containers look the same, except the labels are different. Do you think that will raise questions? I’m happy to type up and print out a detailed list of my products and their price. Do you think that will help? The products last me a long, long time, so one bottle of moisturizer may last me 5 or 6 months.

    Keep your fingers crossed for us and our (fairly) newly rescued cats. It’s gonna be a long, strange trip 😉


    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Rana,
      You’re allowed normal quantities of personal items like shampoo, and when flying in you’re allowed $500 of non-personal items.

      You should be fine … as Aduana almost always is looking for…
      ~ electronics
      ~ toys
      ~ more than one computer
      ~ computer parts
      ~ prohibited food items
      ~ commercial quantities of … anything .. that could be used for selling,
      ~ or contraband.

      Bring the receipts, stay calm, happy, and cordial.

      Happy Trails,

  242. Verlaine says:

    Hi, Steve, We are trying to understand how importation and duty applies to a trip by land to Mexico, and as you know, at best it is confusing. My husband is driving down with an intended stay of 3 months. He wants to take down (and bring back) some very used tools to do some work on our future retirement home. Is there a potential for being charged duty on these? Also, taking down some fishing equipment for personal use, is that exempt? Would the Menaje de Casa be applicable/useful in this case? Thanks in advance!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Verlaine,
      A formal Menaje de Casa must be approved by a Mexican Consulate … which means you must successfully get one approved within 6 months of getting your residency visa approved.

      Fishing poles & tools can be charged a 16% duty, but generally they are waved through. (unless you have commercial quantities… or enough to start a little business)

      Small quantities