What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules

Sept 12, 2019 Update:
Mercado Libre has published a DANDY list of what specific items are prohibited to bring into Mexico and a sub-list of items that can be brought in with modest restrictions.

July 27, 2017 Update

Details on filing the appropriate paperwork for importing medical supplies:
Shipping drugs, medications, medical equipment etc require an import permit from COFEPRIS (Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks). A copy of the COFEPRIS approved permit must be in the package with the device when it arrives at Aduana. This is true for any device that arrives by itself, not in the company of its owner or someone else when entering Mexico. In the past COFEPRIS has taken 6-8 weeks to process import permit applications .

We start at the COFEPRIS link  “Permiso sanitario de importación de dispositivos médicos para uso personal ”  (“Medical Import Permit for Medical Devices for Personal Use”)



COFEPRIS uses a Red List, Yellow List, & Green List convention … and there are other twists~details worth reading about at:

Requirements for Bringing Medical Supplies, Drugs or Medical Equipment into Mexico

Dec. 4, 2014 Update
We have added a section on ~ RULES FOR SALESPEOPLE doing business as VISITORS to Mexico:.

Oct. 4, 2014 Update
We have added information on bringing in additional quantities of restricted items like cigarettes or alcohol, by paying extra duties.   See the comments at the end of the list of “What Can I Bring In Duty-Free” for details.  We also added a section on items that are prohibited for importation by shipping by common carriers like Estafeta, UPS, DHL, and FedEx in a subsection called: Prohibited Items for Importation by Shipping into Mexico

Feb, 2013:  SAT has issued new rules for importing things. Customs brokers are no longer required for private individuals when bringing personal items in by land.

Dec. 7, 2013
Yucalandia offers the following update to Aduana’s policies on what is allowed for visitors to Mexico as a part of an ongoing series of articles on common issues. We welcome you to propose your own questions or issues for additional articles.

Please note that as of Dec. 5, 2013, SAT/Aduana has issued new Duty Free limits for people entering Mexico by air and by land. The new year round limits are $500 US dollars per person entering Mexico by air, and $300 US dollars per person by land. Note that these are the year round limits. There are also special holiday $500 USA per Mexican citizen Paisano program limits between Nov. 1, 2013 and Jan. 8, 2014.

Here’s a List of the Contents of this Article:
Click on any of the following topics to go to that Section.

~  What can I bring in duty free?

Which items may be included in my personal luggage exempt from duty?

In which cases should I pay taxes?

Which other items must be declared?

Which goods are restricted?

Which goods are prohibited?

How much should I pay for those additional goods that are not part of my luggage or the $500 flight or $300 auto exemption?

Are you planning on driving into Mexico with your household goods? ~ Menaje de Casa Rules (English) ~

Aduana: Menaje de Casa ~ (Spanish)

Map of Aduanas del Pais

SAT – Directory of BANJERCITO Offices that Handle Vehicle Imports

Official Map of Aduana offices

RULES FOR SALESPEOPLE doing business as VISITORS to Mexico:

Prohibited Items for Importation by Shipping into Mexico

Back to the article:

Aduana’s current webpage for passengers arriving by Land and Aduana’s current webpage for import rules for passengers arriving by Plane says:

What can I bring in duty free?
° The items allowed in your personal luggage, according to the length of the trip
° As of Dec. 5, 2013: Up to US$500 per person in permitted goods, or its equivalent in other currencies when flying into Mexico. Passengers arriving by land are allowed only $300 of goods per person. Passengers traveling with family members (spouse and children) may combine their personal exemptions only when arriving together. In order to claim this additional exemption passengers must have the corresponding commercial invoices or receipts available
° Beer, alcoholic beverages and manufactured tobacco may not be included in this additional exemption.   New Duty Free Limits for Entering Mexico – Dec. 2013.

Desk-top computers are allowed, with 16% duties, as long as the total value of the computer is less than $4,000 USD.  Alternately, bringing in more than $3,000 USD of goods, no longer requires using a Customs Broker – Menaje de Casa style lists are accepted and encouraged. ~ Are you planning on driving into Mexico with your household goods? ~ Menaje de Casa Rules (English) ~

Which items may be included in my personal luggage exempt from duty when flying?

° Suitcases, trunks, and the necessary bags to carry your belongings.

  1. Goods for personal use, such as clothing, footwear and personal toiletries and beauty products, as long as they are appropriate for the duration of the trip, including wedding party items. Baby travel accessories, such as strollers and baby-walkers.
  2. Two photographic cameras or video recorders, 12 rolls of film or video cassettes; photographic material; three portable cell phone or other wireless networks; global positioning equipment (GPS); a portal typewriter; an electronic calendar; a portable computer (laptop), notebook, Omnibook or similar items; a copier or portable printer; a portable projector, and their accessories.
  3. Two sports equipment, four rods, three speedboats with or without sails and their accessories, trophies or recognitions, provided that they can be transported normally and commonly by the passenger, one stair climber, and bicycle
  4. A portable radio for the recording or reproduction of sound or mixed tapes; or a digital sound reproducer or portable reproducer of compact discs and a portable reproducer of DVDs, such as a pair of portable speakers, and their accessories.
  5. Five laser disks, 10 DVD disks, 30 compact disks (CD) or magnetic tapes (audiocassettes), for the reproduction of sound, three software packages, and five storage devices or memory cards for any electronic pieces of equipment.
  6. Books, magazines and printed documents.
  7. Five toys, —included those that are collectible— and a video game console and five videogames.
  8. One device that permits measurement of arterial pressure and one for glucose, as well as medications of personal use; in the case of psychotropics, the medical prescription should be shown.
  9. One set of binoculars and a telescope.
  10. Valises, trunks, and suitcases are necessary for the movement of goods.
  11. Passengers over 18 years of age, may bring in a maximum of up to 10 packs of cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco and up to three liters of alcoholic beverages, and six liters of wine.    Items in excess of the above cannot be imported without complying with applicable regulations and restrictions.*
  12. Two musical instruments and its accessories.
  13. A camping tent and camping equipment, as well as their accessories.
  14. A set of tools including its case, it might have a hand drill, wire cutters, wrenches, dices, screwdrivers, current cables, among others.
  15. Up to two dogs or cats, may be introduced as well as their accessories, provided that the corresponding  zoo/sanitary  import certificate issued by (SAGARPA) is presented to the customs officials.**

Readers who doubt these official SAT rules (who are reading the out-of-date Aduana websites),  can check the current Mexican Customs Form from SAT (Aduana’s PARENT organization) at:  http://www.sat.gob.mx/sala_prensa/boletin_tecnico/Documents/Boletin2014_P084_Anexo1.pdf

*BRINGING IN MORE STUFF THAN ALLOWED for Duty Free:   If you want to bring in more than the allowed $$ of goods,  or bring in ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES of restricted items like more than 3 liters of alcoholic beverages or more than 1 cartons (10 packs) of cigarettes,  here are the current SAT rules as of Oct, 2014:

¿Qué puede importarse bajo el procedimiento simplificado de pasajeros?
Una o varias mercancías que tengan un valor total no mayor a 3,000 dólares, que no estén prohibidas ni estén sujetas a permisos.

Cuando entre las mercancías se incluya un equipo de cómputo el valor total de las mercancías no debe exceder de 4,000 dólares. El porcentaje de impuestos que se debe pagar en este caso es de 16% del valor de la mercancía, restando el importe de la franquicia.

Mediante este procedimiento se puede importar:

  • Hasta seis litros de bebidas alcohólicas o vino, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 90% de impuestos sobre el valor de la mercancía.
  • Hasta 40 cajetillas de cigarros, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 573.48%.
  • Hasta 50 puros, en cuyo caso se paga una tasa global de 373.56%.”

http://www.aduanas.sat.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2008/pasajeros/139_10953.html and http://www.sat.gob.mx/BienvenidoaMexico/Paginas/opcion02.htm

** Note:  SAT’s website (parent agency of Mexican Customs) Item #16 describes 3 pets allowed per person. ~ ~ Equipaje personal~~ plus descriptions of the veterinary certification you need to complete before traveling: el certificado zoosanitario para su importación, expedido por la Secretaría de Agricultura, ”

~ Additional details (in English) on importing pets are listed at an SRE website: ” When traveling to Mexico with your pet. “ including explanations about the veterinary exam requirements.


° New or used goods for personal use, such as clothing, footwear and personal hygienic products, in reasonable quantities, according to the length of your trip and that they may not be subject to commercialization

° Medications for personal use. In the case of psychotropic substances you must present the corresponding medical prescription ***

° Persons with disabilities may include those items for personal use that due to their characteristics may replace or reduce their disability.

http://www.aduanas.sat.gob.mx/aduana_mexico/2008/pasajeros/139_10210.html and
New Duty Free Limits for Entering Mexico – Dec. 2013

In which cases should I pay taxes?

– Remember that you are entitled to bring in up to US$500 worth of goods in addition to the personal items included in your personal luggage, and that you are allowed to combine this amount with family members (except for alcohol and tobacco not allowed for minors).

– If you exceed this exemption, or if your family’s combined amount exceeds the combined exemption, you must pay duties and taxes. There is a flat 16% rate of duties and taxes, which is applied only to the amount exceeding the exemption (individual or combined). You must fill out a payment form, which is available at the Customs counter

– If the value of the goods surpasses one thousand dollars (per family member) after subtracting the US$500 exemption, or if any of the goods is subject to non-tariff regulations or restrictions, you must hire the services of a customs broker. Private brokerage services are always available at the airport

– If you bring a desktop computer, you may pay duties and taxes by filling out a payment form as long as the value of the computer and its peripherals and accessories do not exceed US$4,000. If the total value of the computer and its peripherals and accessories exceeds US$4,000 you no longer are required to hire the services of a customs broker.

Which other items must be declared?

– Animals, agricultural products and medications

– If you are carrying more than US$10,000, or its equivalent in other currencies, in cash, checks, money orders or any other monetary instrument, or a combination of them, you must declare the amount exceeding US$10,000. You will not have to pay duties or taxes, but you must declare it on the Customs Declaration form. Failing to declare it is a violation of Mexican Law and such violation is sanctioned with administrative and even criminal penalties.


Which goods are restricted?

• Firearms and ammunition. In order to import firearms and cartridges, you must secure an import permit from the Ministry of Economy and from the Ministry of National Defense. For further information please visit the following websites: http://www.economia.gob.mx and http://www.sedena.gob.mx.

• Hams and Cheeses, well-sealed in their original packages, with all labeling intact, are allowed:  SAGARPA: Ingreso de jamones y quesos ,Firehttp://senasica.gob.mx/?id=3694

***Aduana de Mexico offers a specific list of medications for which Mexican customs have special rules.  See these 2 sites to get a sense of what is allowed, and what is required:

~ Aduana de Progreso has confiscated incoming shipments of grease products, including small tubes of water-proof fishing reel grease. The person who ordered the grease was sent an official notice by Aduana asking him to come to the Administrative Offices at the Progreso Muelle. The Aduana supervisor told him that all grease products were forbidden for import by private individuals.

Other reliable posters have described that (like grease) Aduana also confiscates candles and soap in packages mailed into Mexico.


Which goods are prohibited?

– Narcotics, insecticides and live predator fish of any size. Stamps, stickers, drawings, illustrations or printed materials representing children in a denigrated or ridiculous way, or inciting violence. For further information please visit the Mexico Customs website http://www.aduanas.gob.mx
– The Ministry of Agriculture prohibits the following goods since they represent a great risk for the introduction of plagues and diseases: earth, straw, padded containers of hay, straw decorations without processing; homemade foods; flours of animal origin; fresh, dry, canned or frozen meat and meat products, such as smoky, salted and mature sausages that have been elaborated in countries under absolute quarantine (Europe, Africa, Asia and South America).

~ The Port of Progreso Aduana office also says that all grease products are not allowed, including fishing reel lubricants. ???

For additional information please visit the website http://www.sagarpa.gob.mx .


How much should I pay for those additional goods that are not part of my luggage or the $500 flight exemption or$ 300 driving exemption?

If you exceed the $500 flight exemption, or$ driving exemption (per person), you must pay duties and taxes. There is a flat 15% rate of duties and taxes and you must fill out the payment form intended for it, which is available at the Customs counter.

For travel in 2014,  we are not required to use Customs Brokers.

*    *    *    *     *     *    *

Are you planning on driving into Mexico with your household goods?
Here is our crude translation of Aduana’s current official rules for bringing in household goods using a “Menaje de Casa”.

The following used household items can be imported duty-free:
~    The furniture and utensils of a house, used exclusively for the use and proper and regular treatment of a family, clothes, books, booksellers.
~    Works of art or science, they do not constitute complete collections for installing exhibitions and art galleries.
~    Scientific instruments for professionals as well as workers and craftsmen tools, provided they are essential to the development of the profession, trade or occupation.
~    Scientific instruments and tools that enjoy the exemption may not be a complete set of equipment for the installation of laboratories, clinics or workshops.

Foreigners interested in importing household goods duty-free, must certify that the household goods were acquired at least six months before the date you enter Mexico.

People who are allowed to imports household goods, without payment of taxes on foreign trade are:

No utensils are considered part of the following commodities:
~    Goods which the persons concerned have been abroad for commercial or industrial activities.
~    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 ~ (Spanish)

Yucalandia Note:
We suggest taking at least 3 copies of the list, because Aduana will keep one copy at the border, and then when you cross 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. In the bustle of traveling, a single list might get lost – leaving you with no list (a.k.a. in the dog-house) for future inspections of the load.

Note that we cannot and do not give legal advice, but we do note that there have been 100’s of people’s personal internet reports over the past 5 years that most people with a modest truckload or trailer-load of HOUSEHOLD goods are waved through Customs paying no duties. The key thing people describe is having a good Menaje de Casa style list that describes every numbered box (and its contents) and the un-boxed items in your load – along with items named in Spanish – along with serial numbers on electronics. Note that people who bring in commercial quantities of items, or who bring in lots of tools (enough to start a small shop), or people with lots of electronics or lots of computers or lots of computer gear are often asked to pay modest duties. Also note that these same 100’s of people say they did not have a Consulate approved Menaje de Casa – and the ones who did have Consulate-approved lists (like my wife and I) found that the Aduana people gave no importance to the fact that the list had been pre-approved. If you are using a professional mover, or a Customs Broker, then they do need a Consulate approved formal Menaje de Casa list. Again this is NOT advice, but just an observation of our experience and the experiences listed in 100’s of internet posts.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Official Map of Aduana offices
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

*   *    *    *

Prohibited Items for Importation by Shipping into Mexico

Estafeta, a good common carrier in Mexico, lists the following items prohibited for shipping by common carrier into Mexico, and a separate list of items prohibited for shipping within Mexico:
“Artículos prohibidos para importación

Armas en general y accesorios, productos inflamables, tóxicos o peligrosos. Todo tipo de alimentos frescos, semillas, medicamentos, suplementos alimenticios, vitaminas. Instrumentos médicos de cualquier tipo como: medidores de presión, masajeadores, material pornográfico. Algunos artículos cosméticos con ingredientes farmacológicos. Ropa y calzado usado, artículos de piel en general. Algunos accesorios para bebé como biberones, pañales, mordederas. Llantas usadas y nuevas. Artículos de madera en general, tintas y tóners líquidos, velas, ceras, globos, cigarros electrónicos y accesorios. Equipo para gotcha o paint ball y accesorios. CD´s o DVD no grabados (vírgenes), etc.

Si tu artículo no se encuentra en esta lista parcial o tienes alguna duda, contacta al área de informes merkalink.com para aclarar tus dudas o preguntas. informes@merkalink.com

Restricciones en la Transportación de Productos en México
Artículos Prohibidos: Bebidas alcohólicas, artículos perecederos y de fácil descomposición, pieles y cueros de animales, mercancía falsificada denominada como “pirata”. Armas de fuego, muestras para laboratorio (tóxicas, peligrosas o de manejo especial), animales (vivos o muertos), refacciones con residuos líquidos, artículos de valor extraordinario y piedras preciosas, dinero o monedas, metales, títulos de crédito negociables, plantas (naturales), líquidos, material pornográfico, cualquier tipo de armas blancas, vidrio (en cualquiera de sus presentaciones) y sustancias psicotrópicas (precursores químicos y químicos básicos), artículos con lasser, CD´s o DVD no grabados (vírgenes).

Están excluidos también los materiales restringidos por la IATA: Explosivos, gases comprimidos, líquidos inflamables, sólidos inflamables, objetos magnéticos, materiales oxidantes, objetos radioactivos, artículos tóxicos, materiales irritantes, sustancias infecciosas y/o artículos que puedan dañar la estructura de la aeronave y aquellos que posean otras características inherentes a las arriba enlistadas.

Las llantas nuevas requieren cumplir con Normas Oficiales que incluyen análisis de laboratorio.

Recuerda que ésta es una lista parcial, para más información enviar un correo electrónico a:  informes@merkalink.com con el link del producto específico que deseas importar.


RULES FOR SALESPEOPLE doing business as VISITORS to Mexico:

NAFTA has special rules for salespeople doing business as visitors to Mexico:
A business traveler may temporarily import certain goods duty-free. Goods which qualify are professional equipment (tools of the trade), equipment for the press or for sound or television broadcasting, cinematographic equipment, goods for sports purposes,   and goods for display or demonstration.

As a condition of duty-free entry, a NAFTA country may require that these goods:
– not be sold or leased while in its territory;
– be accompanied by a bond if they are not originating goods as defined in Chapter 4 of the NAFTA;
– only remain in the importing country until the departure of the person or within a reasonable time established by each country;

  • be capable of being identified when exported;
  • be imported in no greater quantity than is reasonable for its intended use;
  • be imported by a national or resident of another NAFTA country that seeks temporary entry;
  • be used solely by or under the personal supervision of the person importing the good in the exercise of the business activity, trade or profession;
  • be accompanied by a bond (or other security) no greater than 110% of the charges that would otherwise be owed on final importation. (A bond for customs duties will not be required for an “originating” good.) …”

This next info is from a Canadian govt. website, so it describes the NAFTA member rules for entering Mexico or the USA:
2. Business Visitors
Business Visitors can enter the United States or Mexico on a temporary basis to perform work as follows:

Market researchers and analysts conducting independent research or analysis for an enterprise located in Canada.

Trade fair and promotional personnel attending a trade convention.

Sales representatives and agents taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services for an enterprise located in Canada, but not delivering or providing the goods or services.
Buyers purchasing for an enterprise located in Canada.

Transportation operators moving goods or passengers to the U.S. or Mexico, or loading goods or passengers and transporting them back to Canada, with no unloading within the U.S. or Mexico. Purely domestic service or solicitation, in competition with American or Mexican operators, is not permitted. …

9. I have a commercial sample I need to ship to Mexico. What do I need to do?

Commercial Samples of Negligible Value: Commercial samples of negligible value can be permanently imported into Mexico duty-free. However, such goods must be truly valueless — meaning cut, marked, torn, or otherwise made unsalable. All other commercial samples must be imported into Mexico on a temporary basis. Contact a Mexican Customs broker for additional information.”

THIS IS FROM AN 2007 NAFTA FACTS Document 8409… Is it still valid? I understand that it is still valid…

“8. How do I find a Mexican Customs broker?
Typically, it is the Mexican importer who hires the import broker. However, if you need to hire a Mexican import broker, the best way is to obtain a recommendation from business associates, clients or customers. If you are unable to find a broker through a recommendation, you may contact the Confederacion de Asociaciones de Agentes Aduanales de la Republica Mexicana (Confederation of Mexican Customs Brokers) at 011-525-533-0075, 011-525-533-0076, 011-525-533-0077, 011-525-533-0683 or 011-525-533-0684; Fax: 011-525-525-8070.”


Corresponde al impuesto que pagas dependiendo la categoría del producto a importar.

Categoría del ProductoImpuestosLibros y documentación0%Electrónicos, ropa, calzado y demás mercancías16%Revistas y catálogos16%

Cuando los artículos no tienen el país de origen, se toma automáticamente como hecho o fabricado en China. ”


We (Yucalandia) note that Aduana also includes greases as being prohibited for importation.

Happy Trails !

Source: Dr. Steven Fry www.yucalandia.com

The Mazatlan Post


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