Customs Allowances into Mexico

Customs Allowances into Mexico

DO NOT BRING EITHER GUNS OR DRUGS INTO MEXICO. Mucho problema! Don’t try it – think about it or even toy with the idea. If caught you most likely will end up in prison for a very long time.

You are allowed to bring into Mexico:

  1. 2 cartons of cigarettes or 50 cigars or a kilo of tobacco (2.2lbs)
  2. 3 liters of wine or hard liquor
  3. 12 rolls of film
  4. a computer
  5. 2 cameras – photo, movie or other

If traveling by air you are allowed a $300 customs allowance in addition to the above. If traveling by land you are only allowed $75.*

Be reasonable and don’t bring in quantities of anything that might look like you are planning to resell them. You really don’t have to load up on food anymore as there are enough Supermercados with a good supply and variety of food.

When you cross most borders you will be asked to push a button or your car will automatically trigger one. If your light is green you will continue to pass through. If you hit a red signal your luggage and vehicle will be searched. Additionally if you look suspicious or a guard has the desire – you can be searched regardless of the light.

Paisano Program

The Paisano Program allows people who drive into Mexico to import $300 USD worth of merchandise – the same amount that people arriving by air or sea are allowed. The Paisano Program is in effect November 1, 2011 to January 8 2012.

What do You do when crossing the border?

Select carefully the lane to enter the country:

Nothing to Declare Lane This lane is used when your exemptions do not exceed the permitted limits.

Self-declaration Lane This lane is used when you bring goods worth more than the personal or family exemptions, or when the amounts of goods exceed those amounts allowed in your personal luggage.

Upon crossing the border, your vehicle will activate the Automated Selection Mechanism (stop light). When crossing the border on foot you will be asked to activate the mechanism:

The red light indicates that your luggage will be inspected.

The green light indicates that you can drive through the Customs facilities without inspection.

If you or your vehicle have been selected for inspection, a Customs Inspector will conduct the examination. If the Customs Inspector finds goods that should have been declared and you did not do it, the Inspector will classify and appraise the goods and will impose the corresponding sanctions.
If you mistakenly choose the wrong lane, you may approach a Customs Inspector and ask for a classification and appraisal of your goods for the corresponding payment of duties and taxes.

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

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.

Two photographic cameras or video recorders, 12 rolls of film or videocassettes; photographic material; three portable cell phone or other wireless networks; global positioning equipment (GPS); a portable typewriter; an electronic calendar; a portable computer (laptop), notebook, omni book or similar items; a copier or portable printer; a portable projector, and their accessories.

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

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 DVD’s, such as a pair of portable speakers, and their accessories.

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 equipments.

Books, magazines and printed documents.

Five toys, —included those that are collectible— and a video game console and five videogames.

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.

One set of binoculars and a telescope.

Valises, trunks and suitcases necessary for the movement of goods.

Passengers over 18 years of age, may introduce a maximum of up to 20 packs of cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco and up to three liters of alcoholic beverages, and six liters of wine; in excess of the above, cannot be imported without complying with applicable regulations and restrictions.

Two musical instruments and its accessories.

A camping tent and camping equipment, as well as their accessories.

A set of tools including its case, it might have a hand drill, wire cutters, wrenches, dices, screwdrivers, current cables, among others.

Up to two dogs or cats, maybe introduced as well as their accesories, provided that the corresponding zoosanitary import certificate issued by (SAGARPA) is presented to the customs officials.

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: and

Which goods are prohibited?

In accordance with the Law of the General Taxes of Import and Export, the following products are prohibited for the import and/or export:

Alive predator fish, in their states of young fish, youthful and adult.

Totoaba, fresh or cooled (fish).

Frozen Totoaba (fish).

Turtle eggs or any class.

Poppy seeds (Narcotic).

Flour of poppy seeds (Narcotic).

Seeds and spores of marijuana (Cannabis indica), even though when they are mixed with other seeds.

Marijuana (Cannabis indica).

Juice and extracts of opium, prepared to smoke.

Extracts and juice derived from marijuana (Cannabis indica).

Mucilage and condensed products derived from the marijuana (Cannabis indica).

Stamps or printed transfers in colors or in black and white, displayed for their sale in envelopes or packages, even when they include chewing gum, candies or any other type of articles, containing drawings, figures or illustrations that represent childhood in a degrading or ridiculous way, on attitudes of incitement to violence, to self-destruction or in any other form of antisocial behavior, known like Garbage Pail Kids, for example, printed by any company or commercial denomination.

Thallium sulfate.

Insecticide (Isodrin or Aldrin).

Insecticide (Heptaclor or Drinox).

Insecticide (Endrin or Mendrin or Nendrin or Hexadrin).

Insecticide (Leptophos).

Heroin, base or hydrochloride of diacetylmorphine.

Medication prepared with marijuana (Cannabis indica).

Medication prepared with acetylmorphine or of its salts or derivatives.

Skins of turtle or doggerhead turtle.

Goods that have been declared as archaeological monuments by the Secretariat of Public Education.
For effects of the Customs Law, the import or export of prohibited merchandises is causal so that the customs authorities come to a precautionary distrain from said merchandises and the means of transport. Likewise, it constitutes an infraction related to the import or export of this type of merchandise and is sanctioned with a fine: Therefore, these merchandises happen to be property of the Federal State, regardless of the penal sanctions establishes by the Penal Code.

Temporary vehicle importation

If you live in the United States or in Canada, you can request a temporary vehicle importation permit by Internet.
Visit the following websites:

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