Folks moving to Lake Chapala worry more about how much of the "stuff" to bring to Mexico as they do the decision to move here and leave their friends and family behind.
If It Fits in the Car
If you plan to just bring what will fit in your car, you can obtain a visitor's document (the FM-T) at the Mexican border crossing and then get your long-term immigration visa (FM-3) during the 180 days you are allowed to remain in the country on that temporary document.
Mexican law allows each person to import (duty free) your clothes, used personal items and $50 US in new merchandise when you drive into the country.
Each person may also bring a number of duty free items including:
- 1 camera
- 1 computer—laptop or desk top
- Books and magazines
- Medicines for personal use
- 20 packs of cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco
- 3 liters of wine, beer or liquor
- 1 pair binoculars
- 1TV, under 12 inches
- 1 portable radio/recorder
- 1 DVD player
- 20 CDs, DVDs or cassette tapes
- 1 musical instrument
- Camping gear and tent and one set of fishing gear
- 5 toys
- 1 pair of skis
- 1 pair of tennis racquets
- 1 surfboard or sailboard
If You Bring That Mattress, You'll Need a Moving Company
If you decide to bring even one item that doesn’t fit in the car, you'll need a moving company. You’ll also need to obtain an FM-3 (long-term immigration status) and a Menaje de Casa (the permit that allows you to bring your goods into Mexico duty free). Both of these documents can be obtained at the Mexican Consulate's office nearest your home.
Watch the timing—you have to be in the country with your FM-3 within 180 days of the issue date. You only have 90 days after issue of the Menaje de Case to get the load into the country.
Those famous north of the border moving companies are great if you are going from one state to another or need crates of your stuff taken to the seacoasts and the ship that’ll take your stuff to Europe.
I'm convinced you need a moving specialist to handle those pesky details when it comes to driving a load of your stuff across the Mexican border. We consistently hear great reports about Strom-White Moving. Doug and Teresa White give every shipment a lot of extra attention.
Read the Rules and Regulations, and Questions and Answers sections at the Strom-White Moving website. You'll find a wealth of other information at the site.
Whether you fly into the Guadalajara airport with a toothbrush and a change of underwear, drive a car full of your treasures across the border or fill a 48-foot trailer with your furniture, be sure you know and obey the rules…it’s the best way to go.
More Mexico Insights Moving Tips:
For detailed information about moving your stuff and all facets of moving to Mexico, attend a Mexico Insights Newcomers Seminar.
If we don’t answer three questions you didn’t know to ask, we’ll refund your fee in full!
Seminars are held at 10 a.m. every Thursday at La Nueva Posada in Ajijic. The fee, $25 US for singles and $40 US per couple, includes a comprehensive handout book and refreshments
For more information email us: firstname.lastname@example.org