Country Guide: Mexico

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

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Updated: August 29, 2016

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

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


Specific Information

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

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

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


Specific Information

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


Documents Required

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


Specific Information

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

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Toilet paper
  • Diapers
  • Tissue paper
  • Blank white paper

Prohibited Items

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

Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.



Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook

Wikipedia Entry for Mexico

IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.