Moving Household Items Overseas to Mexico

How to Move Possessions Overseas

Woman running her business from home preparing shipments
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So you have decided that Mexico is the place for you for the next while. A move to another country is obviously a huge step, and some planning would not be out of order. Here is some help for you if you are thinking of moving your belongings across the border into Mexico. To move your household items to Mexico, there are certain steps you need to follow:

The Paperwork

First, there is the paperwork.

You will need to satisfy the visa requirements for staying long term in Mexico. The immigration laws are undergoing change, but as of now (June 2011), it still stands that you require to hold an FM3 or an FM2 in order to move your household items across the border to Mexico, if the total cost of the items exceed US$3000.

If you intend to import your own vehicle into Mexico, you will also need to obtain the documentation for importing your own vehicle into Mexico.

The "Menaje de Casa"

The next step is to obtain a "menaje de casa" (a document that allows you to bring into the country your household items free of duty) from the Mexican Consulate in your area. Check with your Consulate, as the new laws have affected this step, and it is at this time uncertain as to the time frame, or as to whether the "menaje de casa" is still a requirement. It used to be that the "menaje de casa" had to be obtained within 6 months of receiving your FM3 or FM2.

List of Items You're Bringing

Now you will need to make a list of the items you will be taking in with you. It is better to have this list in Spanish to facilitate things at the border, but this is not a requirement. Also, have the cost of each item listed - NOT the cost of the item purchased brand new, but an estimation of its worth after depreciation.

My sister and her husband had a list made out, and translated it using an online translator. But they weren't even asked for this list. But that is rare, so have the list handy.

What Items are Allowed

A good guide to what items you may bring is to stick to household goods and personal effects. Article 90 of the Mexican Customs Law states that the items you take across must be used personal items and furniture of a house, i.e. clothes, books, furniture, appliances, computers, entertainment electronics.
Tools and implements are also allowed if these are required for your profession, or if they are used in a hobby. Medical equipment such as a wheelchair, blood pressure or sugar monitors, and oxygen generators are allowed duty free. And medication in reasonable quantities brought over in pharmacy packaging may also be included. You may not bring in guns or ammunition, of course, and no fresh or frozen food, plants, spices, or seeds are allowed.

If the items total less than US $3000 (as was the case of my sister) you will not even require an FM2 or FM3. An FMM is all you will require to hold, and chances are that you will pay no duty (my sister didn't).

Using an International Moving Company

An option is to use an international moving company, especially if the total of your goods exceed the $3000 limit. Just make sure you investigate the moving company before you hire them. I recommend you check into at least 10 companies before going with one. A good company will help you resolve all the issues surrounding taking goods across borders. That way, you will not be losing precious sleep, as you dream away of your new life in Mexico.