Moving To Mexico

It may come as a surprise but Mexico does host the largest number of American expats in the country. This translates as you can move to Mexico from the USA quite hassle-free especially if you have a proper plan and means in place. The south bordering country, Mexico offers a good quality of life to the people moving from USA and planning to settle down here.

Moving to Mexico from USA

How International Sea & Air can help for moving to Mexico

Mexico is located south of the USA border, very close! But make no mistake that when you are planning to move to Mexico from the US for a longer time period than a vacation, there are many things you have to sort out. International moving involves not only your documentation but also documentation for your household goods when you are transporting those to Mexico. If you own a pet and are relocating, you will need documents for your furry friend as well. There are also mandatory relocation aspects concerning the shipping cost, time and safety. At International Sea & Air Shipping we provide end to end specialized services for all types of moving to Mexico from USA.

International relocation, whether it is just to the south of the country, can be quite heavy on the pocket. However, at International Sea & Air Shipping we understand how complicated an international move can be. That is why we employ highly experienced, insured professionals who will handle your relocation to Mexico from the USA for you, while you can relax and enjoy a hassle-free move.

About Mexico

Mexico is the eleventh most populous country in the world, featuring over 113 million residents. With the ruins of several advanced civilizations like the Maya and Aztec, Mexico is a beautifully historic land. To its north is the United States, and to its south it borders Belize and Guatemala. The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea border Mexico’s eastern coast, while the Pacific Ocean borders its west.

A heavy majority of the country’s population speaks Spanish, but a small percentage of people are also fluent in indigenous tongues. Mexico is also one of the largest oil producers in the world, which is why its powerful economy continues to grow. Featuring historic ruins, famous cuisine and a wide variety of art, Mexico is a place where you’ll learn something new every day.

Mexico, the moment you utter the name of this country a colorful cultural scenario runs through the mind. Easy pace of life, rich cultural and historical heritage, stunning seaside places – all these characterizes Mexico. But there is more to the country than meets the eye at first glance! This country is one of the 6 cradles of civilization taking the history of human settlement back to the 8,000 BCE! Naturally, a trail of interesting historical and archaeological treasures enriches this country offering you to don the explorer hat and have a good time exploring this country.

Apart from historical and cultural significance, what could be of high importance when moving to Mexico from the USA for a long term are the low cost of living, a good healthcare system, and low property cost!

Customs Regulations for Mexico

  • Passport
  • Temporary Residence Visa (Visa de Residente Temporal – obtained by the Instituto)
  • Work permit (Nacional de Migracion)
  • Inventory list (original copy and two copies typed in Spanish – signed by owner and notarized)
  • Inventory – estimated value included
  • Consulate at origin
  • Manifestation of Value (obtained from service agent)
  • Declaration to Customs (Carta Juramentada – states there are no prohibited items in shipment, all new items listed)
  • Letter of Commitment (Carta Compromiso)
  • Liability Letter (obtained from service agent)
  • Federal Registration or tax ID of employer (Registro Federal Causantes)

For permanent moves to Mexico, you can import used personal effects (such as clothes and jewelry) and used household effects (including furniture, bedding, linens, rugs/carpets, dishes, etc.) duty-free, subject to the following conditions:

  • The items must have been in the shipper’s possession for a minimum of six months and should not be intended for resale.
  • Returning nationals must have lived outside for a minimum of six months to import used goods duty-free
  • FM-3 visa holders must export used items upon departure
  • You must declare any items less than six months old separately on the inventory and they may be subject to duties; otherwise, the shipment can be held or confiscated.
  • Amount of new items (anything purchased less than six months prior to import/still in original packaging) limited to:
  • 10 articles of clothing
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 3 pieces of jewelry
  • 10 pieces of imitation jewelry
  • 10 pieces of furniture
  • 2 electronic toys
  • 10 non-electronic toys
  • 1 piece of sporting good equipment
  • 20 CDs/DVDs/tapes
  • 5 computer parts
  • 6 large appliances
  • 1 set of tools
  • 1 bicycle
  • Load appliances and electronic items together for access by Customs (advise the agent to limit the number of lift vans to one or two).
  • Split shipments must arrive to airport/pier simultaneously
  • Customs declares shipments as abandoned after 30 days at the airport and after 60 days at the surface port.
  • If you are not importing any new items, include “No hay ningunosarticulosnuevosen los efectos” in the inventory document.

In Mexico, some items have limitations or require special authorization to clear customs. Sometimes, this involves paying taxes and duties, but some goods are restricted to maximum quantities. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Artwork and antiques
  • Medication – personal use only (must be in original container and clearly labeled, with prescription)
  • Alcohol – up to 3 liters of alcohol and 6 liters of wine (if shipper is over 18 years old)
  • Tobacco – up to 20 packs of cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco (if shipper is over 18 years old)
  • Photography and videography equipment (film, videocassettes, lenses) – amount limited
  • Cellular phones, radios, walkie-talkies, binoculars, typewriters, laptops, CDs, DVDs – amount limited
  • You can have duplicate appliances (two microwaves are allowed, but major appliances may be considered commercial rather than household goods).
  • The customer’s personal registration and the employer’s registration must receive approval before the shipment arrives.
  • Used household goods and personal effects are dutiable for Chinese persons holding a foreign passport and foreigners entering China for an extended period of time (not holding a Residence Card)
  • Customers are allowed to import only one air and one sea shipment within six months.
  • Shipments are subject to physical inspection by customs

You cannot import the following items under any circumstances:

  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Illegal drugs and substances
  • Pornographic material
  • Plans, fruits and vegetables
  • Oriental rugs
  • Spices
  • Silver and gold
  • Precious metals and fossils
  • Liquids of any kind (includes cleaning supplies, toiletries, cooking items, perfumes)
  • Boats and other motorized vehicles (exception: automobiles)
  • Counterfeit materials

If you need to import your automobile into Mexico, you’ll require help from an experienced, reliable international vehicle shipper. International Sea & Air Shipping possesses the knowledge and resources you need to get your vehicle across the border. With an exceptional understanding of Mexican automobile import laws and customs regulations, your car will be in good hands.
The required documents for automobile import include:

  • Original visa (if you are not a returning Mexican national)
  • Passport
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Original certificate of title
  • Valid state registration
  • Letter of credit or affidavit from financing company (if vehicle has a lien)
  • International credit card in driver’s name

There are also several specific regulations involving the importation of motor vehicles into Mexico:

  • Vehicles must weigh less than 3 tons (exception: mobile homes)
  • FM-2 visa holders and returning nationals cannot import automobiles duty-free (import permits required)
  • FM-3 visa holders can temporarily import automobiles. The vehicle cannot be sold in Mexico and must be exported when the visa expires.
  • Only the shipper and members of shipper’s immediate family may drive vehicle in Mexico

Are you bringing a pet across the border? Here is all of the information you’ll need to make sure your furry friend gets into Mexico with you:

  • Valid vaccination certificate – states that pet is up-to-date on vaccinations against rabies, hepatitis, pip and leptospirosis (issued by veterinarian within 3 months of move)
  • Authorization from the Security of Commerce and Industrial Promotion
  • Official health certificate (issued by veterinarian within 72 hours of entering country)
  • Air waybill (AWB) – for pets arriving unaccompanied by owner (must state “Freight as agreed”)
  • Mexico allows up to two dogs and/or cats to be brought into country.
  • If you have more than two pets, you must obtain special permission from the Mexican consulate.

*If your pet is arriving in Mexico without you, it is best to fax all documents (including the AWB) to Customs in advance to avoid delays. Try to arrange arrival earlier in the week to avoid your pet being held in Customs over the weekend.

In Mexico, there is a 16% tax applied on CIF in addition to duties. When shipping within the “border regions” of Mexico and the United States, the value-added tax (VAT) is reduced to 11%. Mexico’s VAT usually ranges from 10-16%. The tax rate applies on CIF, duties and other charges upon import.

NOTE – Customs regulations are subject to change at any time. The proceeding information is a brief summary of customs regulations applicable to household goods shipments to this destination and is being provided for general guidance to assist our Agents and Customers. Since such regulations are subject to change without notice, International sea & air shipping cannot be held liable for any costs, damage, delays, or other detrimental events resulting from non-compliance. Always double check with your local embassy or consulate.

Call our International Moving Specialists @ 1 (866) 315-4170

Documents required for relocation to Mexico from USA

Now, if you have planned to stay in Mexico longer than the vacation period or more than 90 days, you will need to obtain a proper visa to justify your reason to stay in this country. Moving to Mexico from the USA can be done if you have a proper visa. Here is a list of the visas that you can apply after due consideration of your purpose –

Work Visa

If you want to move to Mexico from USA and stay there for work purposes then you need to obtain the proper work visa. However, like in case of work visas for any country, here also an employer need to apply for a work visa on your behalf. The National Migration Institute (INM) must authorize the work visa request so that one who is applying for this visa can continue with the procedures at the Mexican embassy. Once you move to Mexico from USA then you have to present the visa to the National Migration Institute (INM). Then you will receive a temporary resident card, which will allow you to stay in Mexico for 4 years.

Study Visa

If you want to move to Mexico from USA for study purposes there are student visas available to suit the duration of your stay in this country. Students can choose the course of their study and then they have to apply for this temporary resident visa or the study visa in the Mexican Embassy in the USA. However, keep in mind that the temporary resident visa or the student visa needs to be converted into a temporary residence card. The process for this conversion is that the student has to apply at the National Immigration Institute in the destination country.

Family Visa

Family visa or family reunification visas are another way to move to Mexico from the USA if you are planning to settle or stay in the country for a longer duration. In this case your family members residing in Mexico have to be a legal resident. The family members with whom you are looking to be reunified have to apply for the permission of this kind of visa. They have to apply at the National Immigration Institute in Mexico.

Retirement Visa

Now it has been observed that Mexico is a popular retirement country for the US expats. If you are looking to relocate to Mexico from the USA for the similar reason you must obtain a retirement visa. However, the process to obtain a retirement visa for staying in Mexico is a bit complicated as you have to get a permanent resident visa first and then get it to convert into the Mexican Permanent Resident Card. You will also have to fulfill the eligibility to have the necessary funding to support your comfortable living in Mexico when you move from the US.

Top 5 reasons to move in Mexico from the USA

Now, the question that sometimes crops up in the mind is that why would you consider moving to Mexico from the USA as in the origin country you may have greater opportunities and more high quality of life! While this is an apparent idea, let us list the top 5 reasons to consider to relocate to Mexico from the USA –


Cost of healthcare access in Mexico is relatively cheaper than that of the USA. Operating on the two-tier healthcare system encompassing both the public and private sectors, Mexico offers good quality of free healthcare availability to the citizens and legal residents alike.


Due to the low rate of property cost real estate in Mexico can be available at a comfortable rate. This will lead to relatively lesser cost of housing while you try to move to Mexico from the USA and settle or invest there.

Living Cost

We have already mentioned that real estate costs less in Mexico compared to the USA. Now, add to that the lower cost of eating out, going on vacation, and pretty much everything in your day-to-day life! Naturally the cost of living is within a very comfortable range when you are moving to Mexico from the USA.


Mexico is globally known for the variety of delicious cuisine of the land. The gastronomic exploration opportunities are limitless here!


Mexico is endowed with a wide range of amazing natural beauty from seas beaches to lofty mountains and everything in-between!