Mexico Essentials

How to Import Your Personal Goods to Mexico

A special procedure exists for residents to import their personal goods to Mexico free of usual taxes using a "Menaje de Casa" (household items) exemption

Unpacking personal goods and chattels

When you move to Mexico to live part-time, full-time or for a fixed period, you may want to bring personal goods to furnish your home and/or items which hold sentimental value to you.

Under international trade agreements, there are strict limits on goods that individuals can move across borders (usually restricted to a few hundred dollars’ worth of items per crossing) and anything over this limit requires import duty and sales tax to be paid on the value of the goods.

One-time tax-free import of personal goods

To help individuals, couples or families who have legal residency in Mexico, a special process exists to move their personal things here.

The process is subject to certain rules and must normally be completed within six months of your first entry to Mexico as a legal resident, although we know that consulates have issued a menaje de casa after this time frame—contact your nearest Mexican consulate for details.

This article explains the rules and procedures, what’s allowed and disallowed in your shipment, how to begin the process, and what you’ll need for Mexican Customs to release your shipment.

In all cases, you need to apply for a Menaje de Casa (an inventory of household goods) which is applied for and granted through Mexican Consulates abroad.

The application process

You must apply for your Menaje de Casa at a Mexican Consulate abroad.

Types of Menaje de Casa

There are different categories of Menaje de Casa, but the ones which apply to most people moving to Mexico are these:

Temporary Menaje de Casa

For foreign residents who have a temporary residency permit and intend to stay in Mexico for between 1-4 years and allows residents to bring their goods while they are temporarily resident.

Permanent Menaje de Casa

This is issued to foreign residents who are granted permanent legal residency in Mexico.  Items imported under this regime are deemed a definitive import and do not need to be returned to their point of origin.

Mexican Nationals

A special category of Menaje de Casa exists for Mexican nationals living abroad who wish to bring back their goods and any work tools to Mexico.  Items imported under this regime are deemed a definitive import and do not need to be returned to their point of origin.

Other types of Menaje de Casa

If you are working in the clergy, for a national government, or in the diplomatic service, other types of Menaje de Casa might apply to your circumstances.  Other specialized classifications also exist.  You should seek advice from the Mexican Consulate, or your removal company—experienced removal companies are well-versed in the rules and provide practical help to facilitate the smooth crossing of your personal goods into Mexico.

Documentation required for your Menaje de Casa

You will need to complete some documentation.  If you are using the services of a professional removals company, they can assist with some of this:

The application form

An application form, available from the Mexican Consulate, duly completed and signed.

Your current passport

Original of your current passport and 4 copies of the information page.

Letter requesting the service

A typed letter, addressed to the Consulate General of Mexico, requesting the Household Goods Import Certificate.  The letter must include the date of travel, the port of entry, and must also include the current address in U.S. and the address where you will be living in Mexico.  It should be signed by the applicant.

Residency visa or card

Your current Mexican residency card or Mexican visa (sticker in your passport) —Temporary or Permanent— and 4 copies of this.

Resident Visa vs Resident Card

If you present your resident visa (the sticker the consulate places in your passport following a successful residency application) instead of your resident card as a proof of your immigration status when you apply for a Menaje de Casa, then you will need to acquire and present your Mexican resident card before the Customs authorities will release your shipment.

If you fail to complete the visa-sticker-to-residency-card exchange any shipment you have in train will not be released by Mexican Customs.

If your resident card issuance is delayed you might have to pay storage fees while you wait for your paperwork to wend its way through the system.

Your household inventory

You will need to present a detailed inventory of all the goods you want to ship to Mexico.  The inventory needs to be presented in Spanish in a specific format. (Ask the Mexican Consulate or your removal company about the format required for the inventory.)

Each item needs to be numbered sequentially, and include a description, the quantity of each item, a marque (brand), model, and serial number if relevant.

Some items may be grouped together, but we recommend you get advice from a removal company about this, as grouping the ‘wrong’ things together can cause problems with the import process.  See also the green and red boxes below about allowed and disallowed items.

Other documentation

The consulate and/or the removals company if you use one (recommended) may ask you for additional documentation to be completed to facilitate the shipment of your consignment of goods to Mexico.

Application fee

The Mexican consulate will charge you a fee of about US$150 (or local currency equivalent).  Removal companies may charge additional fees for paperwork preparation—ask your chosen removal company for details.

Request submission and acceptance

The Mexican Consulate will process your application and issue you with a certificate.  This certificate must accompany your shipment.

Items that are allowed and disallowed

There are rules about what constitutes ‘personal household goods’ and you will not be allowed to import any goods which are new, or restricted.

Items Allowed in Your Shipment to Mexico

According to the rules, items should be six months of age or older and used.

Household items include things like domestic furniture, clothing, bed linens, curtains, decorative items, outdoor garden/patio furniture, mirrors, art and art supplies, musical instruments, books, bicycles (but not motorcycles or scooters—see red box below), children’s toys, domestic tools, computers, electronics equipment, domestic appliances, statues and ornaments, home-office equipment, medical appliances and equipment that supports people with low mobility or disabilities.

Items Disallowed in Your Shipment to Mexico

New items are not allowed—all items must be used and at least six months old.

Firearms and ammunition cannot be brought to Mexico with your Menaje de Casa.

You can only bring one of each domestic appliance or electronics equipment.  Any vehicle that requires a plated registration license –including scooters, motorcycles, and cars– are not considered household goods.

Common items which people try to import but are disallowed include liquid propane gas tanks (e.g. for BBQs), caustic acid or solvent-based chemicals or cleaners, clothing with store labels or tags attached, perfumes and toiletries, new electronic equipment, new home appliances, new furniture, and food items.

Other items which are also disallowed as part of a personal consignment include taxidermy, high value antiques and artwork, artworks which are destined for a gallery, vehicle tires, as well as any goods which are primarily designed for commercial or industrial use.

Shipping your personal goods to Mexico

Self-move: If you ship your own goods, you might need to use a Mexican Customs Broker to help you get the shipment across the border, submit the required paperwork including your certificate from the Mexican Consulate, and then onward-transport the shipment yourself.  If you’re moving using a foreign-plated vehicle, you’ll also need an import permit for that, too, known as a TIP (Temporary Import Permit).  Note that Permanent Residents cannot import a foreign-plated vehicle into Mexico.

Using a removals company

We highly recommend that you use the services of a removals firm to ship your goods to Mexico.  They have the packing teams who will help to minimize damage to your goods in-transit, they know the best and most cost-efficient routes to ship based on your final destination in Mexico, and know the detailed import rules and procedures to ensure that your Menaje de Casa is properly formed and that your consignment of personal goods will clear Mexican Customs as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Useful resources and contacts

Here is a list of useful contacts and resources related to importing your personal goods to Mexico.

Mexican consulates: All applications must be made through any Mexican Consulate abroad.  Contact your nearest Mexican consulate to ask for details of their Menaje de Casa procedures.

Removal companies: We recommend you use a professional removals company to help you ship your personal goods to Mexico,  You can begin your search here (Google)

Bringing your pets: Read additional information about procedures and paperwork needed to bring your pets to Mexico

Temporary vehicle imports: Useful information if you plan to use your foreign-plated vehicle to move your things to Mexico.

Mexican Customs: If you want further advice, visit the Mexican Customs website

Customs brokers: If you decide to self-ship, you might consider contacting a Customs Broker for advice and help to get your consignment through Customs. You can begin your search here (Google)

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  1. mm says

    We are moving to Mexico from Panama but it will be done over several years in steps for a variety of reasons. Obviously, first step is find the area we want to stay (been working on this over past year), second is to locate a rental in that area, and third is to ship our belongings. I now have permanent residency but there is no way we will be ready/able to ship inside the 6 month “manaje de casa” window. What other options do I have? I was thinking of loading our 25 yr old “special” Toyota Hilux and belongings in a 20 ft container and shipping it to MX when ready. What would be the process? Has anyone done this and has suggestions?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi M

      You need to contact your nearest Mexican consulate and ask them for guidance. We have heard of cases where someone who applied for the Menaje de Casa after the 6-month window was granted this, but we cannot say if every consulate would oblige. In any event, the Menaje de Casa can only be applied for ONCE and you need to move everything you intend to move tax-free in that single shipment.

  2. Alma says

    I am mexican.. I will be going to live in mexico in a few months.. i will take my blender,coffee maker , electric can opener.. And the rest will be curtains and some blanketss.. Do i need the Menaje de casa form?

  3. Archie Tew says

    My wife and I are moving permanently in June taking all we have with us in a truck and trailer.
    I can’t get a TIP as a permanent Resident so I will become a temporary Resident and apply for full later.
    My wife can become a Permanent resident so we can take our belongings down.
    Is this the way to do it?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Archie,

      You can apply for a ‘Menaje de Casa’ to import your goods whether you have Temporary or Permanent residency. You don’t have to have permanent residency to take your personal belongings to Mexico.

      You are right that only Temporary Residents can import a foreign plated car using a TIP. If (when) you eventually exchange your RT for RP you then have 5 days to drive the car out of Mexico.

      You can read more about the Menaje de Casa here:

      If you need help with the residency application, our associate will be pleased to provide advice and assistance; you can find details of the service here:

      Wishing you well with your plans,

  4. Mary Sitzes says

    I have some friends who are having issues with getting their container unloaded. They are working with a customs broker in Merida MX— Their US Bank did a wire transfer but the Mexico bank is saying they never received the money and are requesting a pdf document of proof. What recourse do they have ? It’s holding up their shipment at the Mexican docks.

  5. Angela Joy Underwood says

    Does the 6 month requirement of taking household goods to Mexico apply for temporary residency or only permanent residency?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Angela,
      They rules apply to both temporary and permanent residency holders.

      • Luke says

        How strictly do they enforce the six month rule? We bought a house in Mexico. Between finding the house and closing on it, it has been longer than six months since we first entered as legal residents. We’re ready to move our household goods down now. Are we out of luck?

        • Mexperience says

          Hi Luke,
          We’ve heard of cases similar to yours where people were waiting for their house to sell and therefore could not apply within the 6 month window, and the consulate granted the Menaje de Casa after the 6 month ‘window.’ Contact your nearest consulate to explain your situation and ask for guidance.

  6. Mike says

    Can you ship wine or spirits as part of your household items? If so, are there limits. We have a few hundred bottles of wine and spirits.

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Mike,

      A few bottles of wine or spirits might be fine, but any more than that and the shipment is likely to get detained at Customs (or the Mexican Consulate will simply not authorize those when you present them with the homewares list).

      We recommend you contact a Customs Agent and speak to them about the rules for importing large collections of wine and liquor. You might have to pay duty and/or tax on some or all of it. Either way, it’s likely to need special process that a Customs Agent can undertake.

  7. Nico Bellettti says

    With the Menaje de Casa, can I bring motorized vehicles. We have 3 UTV (off-road karts/buggies), and they have no plate or registration, since in Florida they are not Street Legal.
    We are not bringing any cars or motorcycles.

  8. Pat says

    Can I bring a cargo trailer of personal and a few household items with a tourist visa? We cannot get our temporary residency until March of 2022 but are moving in November of 2021. How do I need to list the items that will be in the trailer?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Pat, to get a Menaje de Casa to import your personal goods, you need a residency permit; you cannot acquire the Menaje de Casa with a visitor/tourist permit (FMM)

  9. Mike Schroder says

    The process is subject to certain rules and must be completed within six months of your first entry to Mexico as a legal resident.

    Is the first entry when you enter with the visa sticker or is it the first return to Mexico after getting the residency card from INM in Mexico? We entered Mexico in November 2019 with a residency visa sticker. We received permanent resident cards in June 2020. We have not left Mexico as permanent residents because of the pandemic. If we travel to the U.S. this summer and go through the Menaje de Casa process to ship personal belongings to Mexico, does the 6 month clock start ticking when we return to Mexico as that is our first entry as legal residents?

    • Mexperience says

      Hello Mike,

      In strict legal terms, the six month period begins from the date you first entered Mexico as a resident (temporary or permanent). However, we have heard anecdotal stories of cases about people making applications for a Menaje de Casa after this time-window and it being granted by the consulate, and with no problems from Mexican Customs (who review and must clear each shipment), either. We strongly suggest you use an international removals firm that is familiar with the customs clearance procedures.

      We suggest you contact the Mexican Consulate where you applied for your residency permit in the first instance for more advice.

  10. Kate says

    Moved down to Mexico from the states. Want to sell one of the items on my Household Items Import List. Do I need documentation that I sold it?

    Also, my bike was stolen and was listed on the import doc. Do I need to do anything or contact anyone because it is listed?

  11. Steven Earles says

    We relocated to PV mexico and shipped 3 pallets of personal items through DHL. Its stuck in customs here at wont release without a menja de casa form.
    Do you have any advice as to how can obtain it here in Puerto Vallarata. I have a detailed list that was made by Mexican customs.

    Thank you

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Steven

      The Menaje de Casa needs to be requested and issued at a Mexican Consulate abroad. We suggest you hire a Customs Agent (there’s a search link in the article above) and see if they can assist with the release of your consignment from Customs.

      • Steven Earles says

        I have tried and they are refusing to release it without the Menaje de casa .
        Do you know if I can hire a company or someone to get this for me abroad?

        Thank you

        • Mexperience says

          If the customs agent cannot help you, then try contacting the Mexican Consulate nearest to your home in the US and ask if they can assist you at this stage. Also, check with Customs to ask them how much they charge for storage fees while you work through the import process.

          As a helpful note to others reading this thread: apply for your Menaje de Casa *before* shipping your personal goods to Mexico.

  12. peter hobday says

    “Resident Visa vs Resident Card

    If you present your resident visa (the sticker the consulate places in your passport following a successful residency application) instead of your resident card as a proof of your immigration status when you apply for a Menaje de Casa, then you will need to acquire and present your Mexican resident card before the Customs authorities will release your shipment.”

    Can you tell me where I need to present my Mexican resident card? At customs in Mexico, or at the consulate where I applied for residency?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Peter,

      If you are presenting your residency card AFTER you get your Menaje de Casa from the Consulate, then a copy will need to be shown to Mexican Customs. If you use a Moving Company they will laise for you and take care of the paperwork. If you are doing this yourself, contact Mexican Customs for further help.

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