Moving to Mexico
Movers & Agents

Making the move to Mexico

As with a move across town or across your home country, a move to Mexico can be undertaken successfully and with minimum stress if you know what you're doing and pay attention to the details. The following points apply to the majority of people making the move to Mexico, but there may be some aspects of your individual situation that require modifications to the standard process. If in doubt, consult the specialists and find out exactly what you should do in your specific situation.


Tourists are allowed to bring in their personal effects duty-free. Failure to declare personal effects will result in their confiscation and a fine. Mexican customs provides information in English regarding entry into Mexico by air or land. Travellers carrying more than $10,000 U.S., or its equivalent in other currencies, cash, checks, money orders or any other monetary instrument, must declare the amount exceeding $10,000 U.S. Failure to declare it is a criminal offense under Mexican law, often resulting in detention and/or confiscation of the funds.

New Residents

Once you have decided to move to beautiful Mexico, you may feel as though the worst is ahead of you. Even if you have done your research, you may still be confused or frightened by conflicting stories on websites and internet web boards as to the paper work necessary to enter Mexico, or to have your household goods shipped into the country. Lakeside is fortunate to have several highly regarded moving companies available to make the process as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Mexico wants you here. Moving to Mexico is like moving across town. The only difference is that you'll need an FM3 and a simple inventory.

There are several options available to new residents – full service moves, do-it-yourself packing with professional shipping, do-it-yourself packing and hauling, selling/giving away everything and bringing just your toothbrush.

Full-service Movers

Work with the movers. It is your responsibility to be on hand when the packers/movers arrive. If you are not able to be present while the packers and movers are there, you will have to designate a person who will be authorized to take your place. Let the van line agent know to whom you have given the authority. Be sure that your chosen representative knows exactly what to do.

Do-it-Yourself Movers

You should decide to do your own packing, there are some basic facts to remember: Use a marker pen and label each box with the box number, description of contents, and, for easy identification of all electronics, include the make, model and serial number. Keep the description to a minimum for other household articles.

It is always best to use boxes specifically made for moving household goods, these are available from moving companies. Make sure your treasured belongings are packed for an international move. If you have treasured china, crystal, and antiques, it is your responsibility to see that they are wrapped and packed well. Dispose of all flammable, corrosive or explosive items.

Ensure you have rented a truck or trailer that is permitted to enter Mexico. Many rental companies do not allow their vehicles or trailers to cross the border. If you are hauling a trailer, ensure your vehicle is properly equipped. Just because it has a trailer hitch does not mean the transmission and/or engine are adequate for hauling a trailer a long distance.

Your shipment must not contain any of the following:

The Process Your Shipment Goes Through Crossing The Border (Full Service Moves).

If you are shipping Door-To-Door, your shipment will remain on the same trailer from origin all the way through to its destination. It is not trans-loaded. The first stop for your shipment will be at a Customs Broker's terminal. The Customs Broker will schedule your trailer for border crossing and will notify a drayage company that your trailer is ready to be picked up for crossing into Mexico. The trailer will now wait in line for crossing. The moving company and broker have no control over how long your shipment will take to cross from this point forward. When dealing with Mexican customs agents, it is important to remember that they cannot be hurried. When your trailer arrives at the gate, it will get a random Red or Green light. The probability of getting a RED light is about 90%. A GREEN light will allow your trailer to go straight through the two-light system.

If your trailer get a RED light it will be directed to a loading dock. The broker will be notified. In order to break the seal on the trailer for inspection, the broker or his agent must be present. Once the seal has been broken, the Customs officials are in complete charge. If the boxes opened comply with the inventory, your shipment will be able to go through the second set of lights. Customs does not open every box, just a few at random. During this investigation, no one is present but a Mexican National Customs Broker and Mexican National Customs Agents. Outsiders are not permitted in this highly secure government area. If your shipment does not check out properly at the first light, then it is a certainty the second light will be Red and your shipment will get an extensive search. If anything is found new, less than six months old and not used, they will impose fines and your shipment will be confiscated until the fines are paid. If there are illegal items in the shipment, you will face legal problems. After passing this inspection, a new seal will be placed on the trailer and recorded by the Customs Broker.

The drayage company will now deliver your trailer to a freight terminal on the Mexican side of the border. At this point the Customs Broker will notify your Lakeside moving agent that your shipment has cleared, and make arrangements for your trailer to be dispatched to a freight terminal in Guadalajara. Upon arrival of the trailer in Guadalajara, the Lakeside agent will be notified that your shipment has arrived. You will be contacted and arrangements made for delivery.

The Time it Takes

Movers need a minimum of fourteen working days to schedule your move. PackPro do-it-yourself shipments can take up to seven working days to reach Laredo or other border crossing.

About your Paperwork

It is a requirement that your inventory be in both English and Spanish. If you are doing your inventory for a full service move, your Lakeside moving agent will do the Spanish translation for you. Please provide sufficient time for them to complete this task. It is important to make sure that all boxes are labeled with a list of the contents. You can check this sample:

1 - 11 books
12 books, papers
13 plates, bowls
14 cups, bowls
15 glasses
16 pots, frying pans, knives, forks, spoons, waste baskets, towels.
17 knives, forks, spoons, spatula, tongs, strainer.
18 - 20 serving bowls, yard lamp globes.
21 photographs and legal papers.
22 photographs and books.
23 - 24 knick - knacks
25 cassettes, CD's, books
26 hanging lamps, small lamps, clocks.
27 Couch pillows, bed pillows, sheets, covers, glass shelf.
beds and mattress (3)
chest of drawers (2)
sofas (2)
1 - 11 libros
12 libros, papeles
13 platos, tazones
14 tazas, tazones
15 vasos
16 ollas, sartenes, tenedores, cucharas, cesto de basura, toallas.
17 cuchillos, tenedores, cucharas, espátula, tenazas, coladeras.
18 - 20 platos hondos, lámparas de patio.
21 fotografías y documentos
22 fotografías y libros.
23 - 24 adornos, decoraciones.
25 cassettes, discos, libros.
26 lámpara de techos, lámparas pequeñas, relojes.
27 cojines para sillón, almohadas, sábanas, colchas, anaquel de vidrio.
camas y colchones(3)
cómodas (2)
sofas (2)
28 crock pot rival 3526 987321456
29 rice maker hitachi rd-4025 301235
30 can opener can opener 02543 none
31 coffee grinder salton gc-908 95386
32 electric skillet presto 357-689 15-263
33 television LG cmt-357241 951847;
34 VCR JVC gv-35724 362951847
refrigerator LG hor-2000 xc-951623
28 olla de hervir rival 3526 987321456
29 olla para arroz hitachi rd-4025 301235
30 abrelatas can opener 02543 none
31 moledor de cafér salton gc-908 95386
32 asador eléctrico presto 357-689 15-263
33 television LG cmt-357241 951847;
34 videocasetera JVC gv-35724 362951847
refrigerador LG hor-2000 xc-951623

Documents required:

Insurance on your belongings

Transit Insurance through Mexico is very important. First, check with your homeowner's insurance agent to see if you are insured through them. Many policies have coverage specifically for household moves, but some do not include international moves. If you do not have coverage, your agent will have various insurance plans available. It is a requirement that your shipment be insured..

Moving Personal Properties

Moving your Stuff to Mexico

Among the still unanswered questions is ¿Do these immigration changes affect how I move my belongings to my new home? So far, the answer seems to be mostly NO. The old "menaje de casa" seems to be a thing of the past except for returning Mexican nationals. The menaje de casa was/is paperwork issued by your area Mexican consulate that allows you to bring your household belonging without paying an import duty.

What canI bring?
Basically it's your household goods and personal effects. As stated in Article 90 of the Mexican Customs Law, all items must be used personal items and furniture of a house, such as clothes, books, furniture, appliances, computers, entertainment electronics, musical instruments, and artwork. The artwork must not constitute complete collections for the installation of expositions or an art gallery. You may also include scientific instruments and tools that are needed for your profession or hobby. The scientific instruments and tools that you bring cannot form complete equipment for the installation of laboratories, clinics or workshops.

Medical equipment such as a wheelchair, a blood pressure or sugar monitor, oxygen generator, etc, are duty free. Most medicines in reasonable quantities are allowed. The meds should be in the original pharmacy packaging with the doctor's name. Schedule 2 and 3 drugs are much more iffy, and you absolutely must have a doctor's prescription.

Bringing Pets to Mexico

If you are considering bringing you dog or cat into Mexico there are a few things you should consider. According to the Mexican Consulate you must have and carry with you the following documents in order to bring you cat and dog into Mexico and insure a safe return:

Bringing Dogs into Mexico

Pet dogs are subject to inspection at ports of entry for evidence of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans. If a dog appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian might be required. In addition, dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry into the United States. Unvaccinated puppies younger than 4 months of age must be confined by the importer until at least 3 months of age, vaccinated against rabies, and confined for 30 additional days following vaccination.

Bringing Cats into Mexico

Pet cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry for evidence of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans. If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian might be required. There is no rabies vaccination requirement for cats. Following entry into the United States, all cats are subject to state and local vaccination requirements.

Preparation for bringing your pet into Mexico

You should start to prepare documentation and inoculations at least one month before visiting Mexico:.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding current regulations for exporting animals or animal products to Mexico, you should contact the Animal Plant Inspection Service.

Bringing Your Car Into Mexico

So, you want to bring your car into Mexico. Here's How! Every foreigner is allowed to enter Mexico with a vehicle, which is not Mexican plated (e.g. US or Canadian), as long as you have the following:

Remember to turn this registration and sticker into customs when leaving Mexico with your vehicle. If you enter Mexico by vehicle on a Tourist Visa (FMT), you must drive the vehicle that you entered with back out of Mexico. It is illegal to leave the vehicle in Mexico that you entered with unless you obtain an FM2 or FM3 while you're here. According to Mexican custom officials, you are not allowed to have more than one foreign plated car registered in Mexico per person (A husband and wife could bring two cars in for example if the names on the title were in both names or one in his name and one in her name only.) Not everyone follows the rules of course, but your illegal car could be confiscated. Also, it is illegal to sell your foreign plated vehicle in Mexico. The only legal way to do this is to legalize it in Mexico (e.g. get Mexican plates for it), which is a complicated process and may not be possible at all.

Four-star hotels are less luxuriant and more economical although they still offer incredibly high standards of service and good amenities. By comparison, two and three-star hotels only need to adhere to a minimum standard of service. You can rest assured in all cases that your room will be clean and comfortable and in the case of two and three star hotels also reasonably large and airy. Linen will be changed on a daily basis and your bathroom will be cleaned daily. Rooms in three and four-star hotels usually cost between $80 and $200, while rooms in two star hotels go for between $30 and $100 per room per day. When it comes to one-star hotels you can usually pick up a room for $35 per night or less. A good example of a one-star hotel would be the clean and friendly Hotel Carmelina in Isla Mujeres.

If you do sell your vehicle here you will be fined the next time you enter Mexico with another vehicle. Also, if the vehicle you've sold here is in an accident 2 years down the road, and the person you sold it to walks away, you can be held liable for damages caused in that accident. If your car is stolen, and reported to the police, and to your insurance company, and even if you have gotten a return from your insurance company, you may still be fined once you return to Mexico with another vehicle.We recommend you do not mention the stolen vehicle when entering Mexico with a replacement vehicle. If they do notice, you will have to pay the fine if you want to bring the new vehicle in. You can petition the government later for the fine and get your money back, but you will have to put up the money to begin with.

Moving to Mexico Checkist

Once you have decided to relocate to Mexico, there will be a plethora of things to take care of and prepare for your move here. This guide will help you to create your own personalized relocation check-list.

The list in this guide covers many practical aspects of moving to Mexico and will help you to create a personal check-list of tasks for your individual situation

Preparing for Your Move to Mexico

Once you have made your decision to move to Mexico, there will be a substantial amount of planning and organizing to do before you leave your home country and arrive to settle in Mexico.

The exact details of your plans will vary depending on your own, unique circumstances. Key factors that will influence the complexity of your move include whether you are single or married; whether you have children to look after, and whether other family members will be moving with you, too.

This guide has been written to give you a practical check-list of items that need to be considered and taken care of over a three month time-line leading up to your moving day.

The guide presumes that you have made a firm decision to move to Mexico and you are in the final planning stages of leaving your home country and physically moving you, your family and your possessions to Mexico.

Moving to Mexico: 3 Months to Move Day

Here is a checklist of items to be organized three months before your planned departure date:

Moving to Mexico: 2 Months to Move Day

Here is a checklist of items to be organized two months before your planned departure date:

Moving to Mexico: 1 Month to Move Day

This is going to be a busy month. All of the preparation work you have been doing over the last sixty days will begin to come together very quickly over the next three weeks. Your last week (see next section) will be one of the busiest in you have experienced!

Moving to Mexico: 7 Days to Move Day

Everything has to come together this week; and you need to organize matters so that your move out of your property goes smoothly.

Move to Mexico Day(s)

It might take more than one day to move out, depending on your circumstances; however, if you can, try to move out in one day, and arrange for any hand-over of the property (rental or sale) to happen no earlier than the day after you expect to have vacated the property.