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Mexico Moving Requirements

October 15th, 2014 - 9:16 AM

Important Note: Effective April 28, 2015, U-Pack has discontinued service into and out of Mexico. 

What you need to move to Mexico

If you’re moving to Mexico from the U.S., you’ll definitely need a passport, but what else should you be prepared for? Depending on your reasons for moving, you may also need a visa and other documents. Let’s take a look at what’s required, and some tips for moving your belongings to Mexico the easy way.


Do I need a passport to move to Mexico?

Yes, you must present a valid U.S. passport to enter Mexico. But a passport isn’t all you need —you may need a visa. The type of visa you need depends on whether you intend to move to Mexico temporarily or permanently.

What visa do you need for a temporary move?

For a temporary move, you’ll need a Visa de Residente Temporal (formerly known as the FM3 visa). This visa is for those who want to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days but not longer than four years. It’s renewable and gives temporary residency status to the holder.

What visa do you need for a permanent move?

For a permanent move, you’ll need a Visa de Residente Permanente (formerly known as the FM2 visa). This visa is for those who want permanent residency status in Mexico or those who want to seek Mexican citizenship.

Important: You can only move household goods into Mexico under the Visa de Residente Temporal or the Visa de Residente Permanente.

What visa do you need for just visiting Mexico?

If you intend to visit Mexico and stay within the “border zone” for less than 72 hours, a visa isn’t required. The border zone is defined as an area between 12-18 miles from the U.S. border. Before you visit, check to see what the “border zone” is for your area.

If you intend to visit Mexico and stay within the border zone for longer than 72 hours, or you intend to visit an area beyond the border zone, a Visitante Visa is required.

The Visitante Visa (formerly known as the FFM visa) is good for a maximum of 180 days, can’t be renewed, and can’t be used to move household goods into Mexico. The fee is usually about $20. If you’re flying into any location in Mexico, the cost of the visa should be included in your airline ticket. If you plan to enter Mexico by land or sea, you can get the Visitante Visa from a Mexican consulate, tourism office, border crossing point, or airport within the border zone.

So, which visa should you apply for?

Because everyone’s situation is unique, it’s strongly recommended that you contact the Mexican consulate in your state or the U.S. Mexican Embassy to determine the right visa for your circumstances. The Mexican Embassy in the U.S. is located in Washington D.C. and can be reached at 202-728-1600. You can also view this list of Mexican consulates to find one in your state.

How to easily move your belongings to Mexico

If you’re looking for a low stress way to move your things to Mexico, check out U-Pack®. We’ll deliver a moving trailer to your home in the U.S. and give you three business days to pack and load. Then we’ll drive your items across the border and into Mexico. Once the trailer arrives at your home in Mexico, you’ll have four hours to unload. Easy as that!

U-Pack offers door-to-door service to many major Mexican cities. To see if U-Pack offers service to your destination or to get a quote, call 800-413-4799 and ask to speak to a U-Pack Mexico specialist.

Mexico moving requirements with U-Pack

You’ll need a customs broker

If you move to Mexico with U-Pack, you’ll have the choice to add broker services to your U-Pack move (highly recommended), or hire your own broker. Either way, a customs broker is required to move household goods into Mexico.

If you’re a non-Mexico native, you’ll need to provide U-Pack this paperwork:

  • Three original copies of broker letters (a broker letter gives the broker permission to move your shipment across the border on your behalf and certify that you’re not shipping prohibited items. U-Pack will send the letters to you to complete and sign)
  • An itemized list of your items
  • A copy of your driver’s license
  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your proof of Visa status
  • A signed copy of the U-Pack Bill of Lading contract

If you’re a Mexico Native, you’ll need to provide U-Pack this paperwork:

  • Three original copies of broker letters
  • Two original copies of your Menaje De Casa (the paperwork issued by your Mexican consulate that allows you to bring your household belongings into Mexico without paying an import duty)
  • The following documents are required by U-Pack and are typically included in your Menaje de Casa: An itemized list of your items, a copy of your driver's license, a copy of your passport
  • A signed copy of the U-Pack Bill of Lading contract

U-Pack will advise you if there are additional required documents for your move.

You’ll need an itemized list of your items

As stated above, an itemized list of your items is required to move to Mexico with U-Pack. The itemized list should include the following:

  • The description and number of pieces and/or packages (i.e. # of boxes, furniture pieces, electronics, appliances) you own and their approximate USD value. If you’re using more than one trailer to move to Mexico, you’ll need to specify which items will go in which trailer.
  • The serial number, make, and model for all electronics (Mexican customs officials define electronics as anything with batteries or a power cord – think TV, iPad, kitchen appliances, electric shaver, etc.

Packing your electronics

Shipments moving from the U.S. to Mexico are subject to inspection—most commonly electronics. Follow these packing instructions for all your electronics:

  • Because we are a transportation company and not an import company, U-Pack is not allowed to transport anything newer (or that appears to be newer) than 6 months old into Mexico.
  • Mark all boxes containing electronics with an “E.”
  • When you pack the trailer, pack all boxes containing electronics last (closet to the bulkhead) so they can easily be accessed by customs officials.

Loading your items in the trailer

  • Secure your items inside the trailer with rope and ratchet straps to prevent shifting during transit.
  • The bulkhead can be removed for inspection by Mexican customs officials. The more organized your shipment is, the more likely it will pass through customs with ease.
  • U-Pack doesn’t provide ramps for Mexico moves, so you’ll need to use your own ramp for unloading. U-Pack ramps are 14 ft. long and 2 ft. wide, and trailers sit 48” off the ground.

Items you can’t take into Mexico

There are certain items you can’t put on the moving trailer and take into Mexico. Those items include: weapons (decorative knives, guns, etc.), ammunition, supplements, food, alcohol, rare artwork, chemicals (soaps, detergents, cleaning items), medications, live plants, tobacco, flammables, items that look like they could be sold for commercial use, and items that are new or purchased within the last 6 months. Review the Do Not Ship list for other items you can’t take into Mexico.

The process of moving to Mexico with U-Pack

After you reserve your move with U-Pack, you’ll need to send an electronic copy of all your paperwork (listed above) to your assigned U-Pack moving coordinator two weeks before your move date. Your U-Pack coordinator will review the paperwork and either approve it or send it back for changes. When the paperwork is approved, your coordinator will provide you the address to send your hard-copy paperwork to the broker. You should overnight the paperwork to the broker via certified mail as soon as it’s approved – no later than 5 days before your move date.

One week after your shipment is picked up, you can call U-Pack for a status update on your shipment. When your shipment crosses the border into Mexico, you’ll be contacted by the service center in Mexico to coordinate a delivery time.

U-Pack customers should keep a copy of all paperwork they send to U-Pack for themselves and take the paperwork with them when they travel to Mexico.

Mexico bound with U-Pack

When you move to Mexico with U-Pack, a helpful moving coordinator will be with you every step of the way to ensure your move is a smooth one. Get a free moving quote online (we’ll email the quote to you) or call 800-413-4799 to get a quote instantly.

If you have questions about how a U-Pack Mexico move works, leave a comment below and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Sources Related to Requirements for Moving to Mexico

Department of State Mexico Information

Entry Requirements for Mexico

Moving to Mexico

Moving to Mexico with pets