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Moving to Mexico: Box & Bring it - or Bag & Donate it?

April 23, 2014

If you are thinking about making your move to Mexico or buying property in the greater Puerto Vallarta area, contact Tropicasa Realty Agent Grace Ramirez at 322-294-1816 or grace(at)

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - What does it take to make the move to Mexico? The subject came up the other day in the office when one of our home buyers asked us, "Along with all the other changes we have experienced - from immigration to capital gains and car importation - what is the procedure, and what can I bring to my new home in Mexico?"

I very quickly jumped and started my research to see what the options are, the regulations that apply and finding the website where the Federal Government states the ordinances pertaining to moving "your stuff."

There was a great deal of uniformity in all I read and this brought on a great sigh of relief. It was great to see that you can do this with a great amount ease, if you follow the regulations, which are very precise and detailed.

There were two major questions and I found that the clearest and best translated answers were from one of the Mexican Embassies in Europe.

First Question: Do we need a license/permit or similar form from the Mexican Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin before shipping your personal household goods? And, if so, how do we go about this?

Official Embassy Reply: Concerning the importation of your household goods, you are indeed required a permit from the Embassy or Consulate so that your goods can be (imported) tax free through customs into Mexico. The requirements to obtain the permit for a Permanent as well a Temporary importation of household goods are: (Please see specifics for each category after general requirements)

General Requirements:

• Packing list (4 copies) containing a detailed description of all items (including serial numbers of electronic devices and receipts to prove items were purchased at least six months before crossing the border into Mexico)
• The address in Mexico where they will be delivered
• Your former address in country of origin
• Duly signed in original (make the copies, then sign each set)

If the importation is PERMANENT:
• Copy of your valid passport and immigration card; (hence, you should obtain the visa before the permit);
• Place where you will live in Mexico (including address);
• Proof of payment of the fee

If the importation is TEMPORARY:
• Copy of valid passport and visa or temporary resident card;
• Place where you will live in Mexico (including address);
• A letter (signed) where you (promise) to the return of the goods abroad and that, in case of changing your address in Mexico, you will notify the custom authorities;
• Proof of payment of the fee.

Second Question: Is there a time limit where I have to enter Mexico after you have issued the permit? Is there a time limit where the goods have to arrive in Mexico after you have issued that permit, and we have arrived in Mexico?

Mexican Embassy Answer: The residence permit expires on the date specified in the permit. There is no time limit for you to enter Mexico during that period, but you have to obtain a resident card in Mexico within the first 30 days of your stay. There is no expiration date on the certificate of household goods importation document.

Now here is the translation of the 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 (in Spanish)

The following used household items can be imported duty-free:
El menaje de casa que se puede importar libre de impuestos al comercio exterior, comprende las siguientes mercancías usadas:

• The furniture and utensils of a home, used exclusively for the proper and regular use of a family, including clothes, books, bookshelves.
El ajuar y utensilios de una casa, que sirvan exclusiva y propiamente para el uso y trato ordinario de una familia, ropa, libros, libreros.

• Works of art or science, which does not constitute complete collections for the purposes of exhibitions within museums and galleries.
Obras de arte o científicas, que no constituyan colecciones completas para la instalación de exposiciones o galerías de arte.

• Scientific instruments for professionals as well as artisans and their craftstools provided they are essential to the development of their profession, trade or occupation.
Los instrumentos científicos de profesionistas, así como las herramientas de obreros y artesanos, siempre que sean indispensables para el desarrollo de la profesión, arte u oficio.

• Scientific instruments and tools that are exemp may not be a part of a complete set of equipment for the installation of laboratories, clinics or workshops.
Los instrumentos científicos y las herramientas que gozarán de la exención, no podrán constituir equipos completos para la instalación de laboratorios, consultorios o talleres.

Foreigners interested in importing household goods duty free, must certify that the household goods were acquired at least six months before the date that you enter Mexico.
Los interesados en realizar el menaje de casa libre de impuestos, deberán acreditar que dicho menaje de casa fue adquirido por lo menos seis meses antes de la fecha en que pretenda ingresarse a México.

Those allowed to imports household goods, without payment of taxes on foreign trade are:
Las personas que podrán efectuar la importación de sus menajes de casa, sin realizar el pago de los impuestos al comercio exterior, son las siguientes:

• Mexican students or researchers
• Residents of the border zone or border region
"Inmigrantes" (FM2) and national repatriated or deported persons
• "No inmigrante" (formerly FM3, now called Residente Temporal), or associated ministers of religion or religious or correspondent, distinguished guests and visitors
• Diplomats

IMPORTANT: The following are NOT considered part of the Duty Free exemption:
Importante: No se consideran parte del menaje las siguientes mercancías:

• Items that have been used abroad for commercial or industrial activities.
Las mercancías que los interesados hayan tenido en el extranjero para actividades comerciales o industriales.

• 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 (in Spanish)

From previous experience: It is very strongly suggested that you take at least 4 copies of the list. Aduana will keep one copy at the border. At 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 for future inspections of the load.

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.

If you are thinking about buying or selling an investment property in Puerto Vallarta or in the greater Banderas Bay area, contact Tropicasa Realty Agent Grace Ramirez at 322-294-1816 or grace(at)

Since 1997, Wayne Franklin and his team at Tropicasa Realty have been a trusted name in Puerto Vallarta real estate. Tropicasa Realty is the region's representative for "The Leading Agents of the World" and with over 100 years of combined experience in real estate, all agents of the company are affiliated with AMPI. Wayne Franklin or any member of his knowledgeable team can be contacted in-person at their Romantic Zone Office - Pulpito 145-A at Olas Altas or in their San Marino Office - San Marino Hotel at Rodolfo Gomez 111-4. While in PV they can be reached at (322) 222-6505 or by calling 866-978-5539 (Toll-Free) from the U.S.

Click HERE to learn more about Tropicasa Realty, or visit