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Moving Your Personal Goods To, From, or Within Mexico


Some people move to Mexico and bring the bare necessities with them, perhaps a couple of suitcases and a backpack.  For those who have accumulated a stock of personal items over the years, a move might involve shipping a quantity of goods across borders—and special rules apply for that.

If you’ve been living in Mexico a while, and you decide to move home within Mexico, whether that’s across town or across the country, there’s less paperwork to deal with than there is for an international move, but there are other considerations to take into account.

This article helps you to consider key aspects of a physical to or from Mexico, as well as domestic removals within the country.

Choosing your removals company

When you’re planning to move your personal goods, whether you’re moving across town, to a new city in Mexico, or across borders, it’s important to choose the right moving company.

If you know someone who can provide a recommendation, perhaps someone who has used a company before, perhaps through one of the many social or business networks in Mexico, that is ideal. Otherwise, search for a company that is well established locally, and always ask for references of other people they have moved prior.

Domestic removals

In Mexico, moving companies are referred to as “Fletes y Mudanzas.”  It’s common to see trucks and vans on the street and traveling on highways labelled with this and the corresponding firm’s name, e.g., “Hermanos Sanchez: Fletes y Mudanzas.”

If you are moving within Mexico and intend to hire a local firm you will need to be able to speak Spanish, or get someone to interpret for you, to make the arrangements.

Some of the larger and more expensive international removals firms based in bigger cities might have some English-speaking staff on hand to assist, but the majority of local removals firms based in Mexico are unlikely to speak much English.

Removal firms work in teams and offer a sliding scale of services; from entire house packing, removal and reinstallation in your new home, to a simple ‘lift, move and unload’ service.  Some firms offer storage services in case your goods cannot be transferred to your new home right away.

Fees and charges for home removals in Mexico

Fees and charges for domestic removals from one place in Mexico to another place in Mexico vary depending on:

  • the level of service you require—from a basic ‘lift, move and ship’ of packed items, through to packing, moving, and unpacking at the destination;
  • how many things will be moved, and whether there are any special items—this is usually calculated in cubic meters, and extraordinary items like fine art, statues, and antiques may require special handling;
  • the distance between the point of original and the delivery location—Mexico is a big country and it can take days for a truck to transport your goods between some towns and cities;
  • whether they will be a delay in the time between your goods being removed from their point of origin and their delivery destination, requiring storage.

There are too many variables involved to give an ‘estimate’ of removal costs.  The best way to find out is to contact a removals company, describe your situation, answer the questions they will ask you, and then get a quote from them based on your individual circumstances.

Tipping home removal teams

In addition to the fees charged by the firm, you should include a tip for each of the people undertaking the physical work of your removal and/or delivery in Mexico.  The amount to tip is entirely at your discretion and ideally ought to be commensurate with the size of the removal and the effort the team made.

Some practical tips when you’re moving within Mexico

Most good removal companies in Mexico —even the local ones— work hard to provide a high standard of service; they work in teams of three of more people (depending on the size of the job) and are respectful and helpful in all aspects of the removal process.

Here are some tips to take note of when you’re moving your personal goods from one location in Mexico to another.

  • When the removals team arrives at your house in Mexico, be sure that there is some space reserved on the street for the truck if they cannot drive onto your property.
  • If you live in a gated community or condo complex, be sure to let the gate guards know about your move date, and liaise with your neighbors and/or Home Owners Association as may be appropriate.
  • When the removal vehicle arrives, check all of the paperwork thoroughly, and be clear about what is to be removed.  Ask the removal company about the vehicle and team that they intend to send, including vehicle license plates.
  • Make a note of the vehicle and its license plates when the moving team arrives. If you become suspicious about anything when the moving truck arrives, telephone the removal company’s offices.
  • If you or anyone in your household doesn’t speak Spanish, be sure to have an interpreter at your home on the day of the removal and on the day you expect to take delivery at your new address.

Don’t forget to inform the INM about your change of address

If you are a Temporary or Permanent resident Mexico, you must advise your local immigration office when you move home.

If you are moving within the same district/State, you can file your change of address at the office where you are currently registered.

If you are moving outside of your district/State, you must file your change of address at the immigration office nearest to your new address.

You have 90 calendar days to file the change, otherwise penalties may be imposed.

Moving home and arriving to or leaving from Mexico

If your move to or from Mexico involves an international border crossing, you will need to contract a company that deals with international removals—small local firms are unlikely to be of assistance to you in this situation.

Additional requirements, paperwork and restrictions apply

If you are moving personal goods to Mexico from abroad, or if you are leaving Mexico after having lived here for a time and want to take your goods with you, there are additional requirements, paperwork, and some restrictions to consider as part of your move.

Moving to Mexico from abroad: If you are moving to Mexico from your home country (or a third country where you are resident) you will need to have a residency card and, if you are a Permanent Resident,, you’ll need to apply for a a Menaje de Casa (Household Inventory) from your local Mexican consulate.  For details about this, read about Moving your personal goods to Mexico.

Your shipment to Mexico must be commensurate with “household goods”

You cannot ship one, two, or even a small handful of items by themselves.  The consignment must be commensurate with a shipment “personal household goods” and comprise at least 12-15 boxes, or a combination of boxes and furniture.

You cannot use your personal household goods exemption to ship, for example, a couple of paintings, or one or two heirlooms.  These must combined with other personal goods to create a “household consignment.”

See our guide to moving your goods to Mexico for more details.

Leaving Mexico with your personal goods: If you’ve been living in Mexico for a while and move with your personal goods, you will need to complete some paperwork for Mexican Customs to clear your goods as they leave Mexico and you’ll need to fulfil the Customs requirements of the country you are moving to. A professional removals company will be able to advise and guide you.

How international removals work

International removal companies work as part of an affiliated network.  If you are moving your goods from the US to Mexico, a US-based removal company will arrive at your home there and receive your items and will subsequently transfer your items to a Mexican removals company for delivery to your home in Mexico.

Mexican Customs clearance of your goods will usually be undertaken by the Mexican removals company, who will ensure that all the paperwork is in order and liaise directly between you and the Customs officials about the status of your shipment.  (If you are moving from Mexico to the US, for example, the process is the same in reverse.)

As with domestic removals, service levels vary depending on your needs, with fees charged on a sliding scale, accordingly, although read our guide about moving your goods to Mexico, as many of the rules (for example, the need to leave boxes unsealed if you pack them) are also relevant when you leave Mexico.

Useful resources and contacts

Here is a list of useful contacts and resources related to importing your personal goods to Mexico.

Mexican consulates: Applications for a Menaje de Casa, if you need one, must be made through any Mexican Consulate abroad.  Contact your nearest Mexican consulate to ask for details of their Menaje de Casa procedures.

Removal companies: We recommend you use a professional removals company to help you ship your personal goods to Mexico,  You can begin your search here (Google) and also consider requesting a no-obligation quote from our home removals associate.

Bringing your pets: Read additional information about procedures and paperwork needed to bring your pets to Mexico

Temporary vehicle imports: Useful information if you plan to use your foreign-plated vehicle to move your things to Mexico.

Mexican Customs: If you want further advice, visit the Mexican Customs website

Customs brokers: If you decide to self-ship, you might consider contacting a Customs Broker for advice and help to get your consignment through Customs.  Removals companies work with Customs Brokers too, so if you hired a removals company, they usually liaise between you and the Customs officials. You can begin your search here (Google)

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