Moving to Los Cabos
Should I ship my personal goods to Mexico?
If you are considering purchasing or renting a home in Mexico, the one question you every ex-pat considers is whether it is best to pack up and ship all or some of your possessions or buy new ones when you get to your new home.
One very important detail is to import household goods, you must hold either a Permanent or Temporary Resident permit. If you are a Temporary Resident, you must leave the country with anything you imported when the card expires.
Do it yourself or hire a shipping company?
Whether to import goods yourself or hire a shipping company, there is no easy answer as both options have as many benefits as drawbacks. The one thing you need to know, however, is shipping your furniture and household goods is not as simple as just locating a truck or filling your vehicle up with goods and driving to your new home in Mexico.
Although many people transport their goods in their own vehicles as they drive down the Baja, there are still rules and regulations around importing those goods into Mexico. Also, you must be sure to secure your goods overnight or stay somewhere with 24-hour security. No one likes to wake up to find someone made off with your possessions in the night.
If you plan on bringing more than would fit in a car, you need a shipping company to transport your possessions. Although there are a lot of shipping companies that import to Mexico, do your homework. Ask for reference checks and speak with people who have shipped their goods. Insurance is essential, as well as proper packaging for the long journey ahead. Your shipping company should provide moving materials such as boxes, bubble wrapping, and protective carpets.
There are also several items that are commonly restricted items and are prohibited from entering the country, including two that can cause significant problems under Mexican law:
- Illegal Drugs
In addition to firearms and illegal drugs, Mexico also prohibits the import of:
- Money and securities
- Pornographic items
- Explosives and other dangerous goods
- New items purchased within six months (make sure EVERYTHING new is taken out if it’s original packaging).
- All medicines, including first aid kits
- Consumable items such as paper towels, tissue, white paper, and diapers, which may be subject to customs duties
- Food, including spices, tinned products, canned goods, supplements, and pet food
- Beverages, including wine, beer, and spirits
- Toiletries, sanitary goods, and cosmetics
- Hunting trophies and taxidermy items
- Cleaning chemicals, including detergents and soaps
- Collectible items, such as pens and coins
- Blank CDs, DVDs, and tapes
- Large quantities of similar items, which may be perceived as items intended for sale in Mexico
- Automobiles, boats, motorcycles
- Parts for automobiles, boats, and motorcycles
The Application Process
Whether you are using a shipping company or transporting items into Mexico yourself, importing your furniture and household goods requires a Household Goods Certificate. This document lists all furniture, linen, books, clothes, artwork, and anything else you plan to move to your new home. The Household import Certificate must be presented at your point of entry into Mexico. This certificate is only available in advance from the Consulate closest to your home.
You must apply for your Certificate at a Mexican Consulate. The applicant must attend the consulate in person. You cannot hire a third party to petition the application on your behalf.
To obtain the Certificate, you will need to present to the Consulate the following:
- Resident Visa permit
- Valid passport
- A typed letter addressed to your Mexican Consulate Office, providing the current address of your home as well as the complete address of your new residence in Mexico
- A typed list, in Spanish of ALL household goods being imported, including the quantity and description of each item as well as the brand, model, and serial numbers of electronic appliances
- Four original sets of each document signed
- Cash payment of the Consular fee
Your Household Goods Import Certificates allow up to six months from the time you first enter Mexico in which to import your possessions. You are only permitted one Household Goods Import Certificate, so make sure to get everything moved within that six-month period.
You will also require the service of a customs broker at your port of entry. Customs brokers are licensed experts on importing and are familiar with all Mexican customs and tariff laws.
The right custom broker will work for you to ensure you have met all the requirements to import your goods.
Moving to Mexico is stressful enough. If you plan to import your furniture and household goods, consult experts before you go. You will be glad that you did!