Ship or Shop?

Based on the number of people who have joined our Facebook Group: Moving to Mexico in the past month (, there appears to be a growing interest in relocating to this beautiful country. People frequently ask whether it is best to pack up and ship all your earthly possessions or buy new items. Both options have as many benefits as drawbacks. The best decision for one family may not be the best for another. Here are some things to consider that will help you decide whether shipping is worth the hassle.

Shipping your furniture and household goods is not as simple as locating a big van and driving leisurely to your new home in Mexico. First, it is critical to understand that there are as many good shipping companies as there are bad ones. When selecting a shipping company, make sure to do many reference checks. The feedback and testimonials on the company website may display only positive reviews. Make sure to search for reviews from independent, third-party sites before settling on the shipping company you will use. Even better, connect with others who have actually used the company since many online reviews are fake.

A reputable company offers insurance, which is essential, especially if you have expensive items or valuable heirlooms. No matter how careful a company is, whether moving large and heavy objects or small objects in boxes, things are prone to get damaged or broken. A good shipping company will provide moving materials such as boxes, bubble wrapping, and protective rugs/blankets. Remember that anytime you move or ship, there is a high risk of damage or loss.

If you are planning to bring furniture and household items in your vehicle, plan out how to secure the contents overnight. Unfortunately, unsecured hotel and motel parking lots are a target for theft. Last year, there was a higher number of reports through social media of Canadians and Americans who were the victims of unscrupulous thieves who cleaned out the contents of vans and storage trailers while their owners were sleeping. Look for accommodations with a 24-hour guard or secure parking facilities.

Whether you use a shipping company or drive the items into Mexico, importing your furniture and household goods requires a certificate. This includes furniture, linen, books, clothes, artwork, and anything you plan to move to your new home. According to Mexican law, you must hold a permanent or temporary resident card to import household goods. You must also present a household import certificate at your point of entry into Mexico. This certificate is only available in advance from the Consulate closest to your home.

To obtain this certificate, you will need to present to the Consulate your resident visa card, a valid passport, a typed letter addressed to your Mexican Consulate Office, providing the current address of your home in Canada or the US, as well as the complete address of your new residence in Mexico. Also required is a typed list, in Spanish, of ALL household goods you are importing, including the quantity and description of each item and the brand, model, and serial numbers of electronic appliances. You will need four original sets of each document, and all must be signed. A reminder that there is also a consular fee that you must pay by cash. If you are a Temporary Resident with a Temporary Visa, keep in mind that you are only allowed to keep the imported items in the country until your Temporary Resident Card expires. When the card expires, you must leave the country with your household goods and anything you imported. It will be critical that you keep an eye on the expiry date of your Resident Visa.

Household goods import certificates also have a deadline, and you have no later than six months from when you first enter Mexico to import your items. You are only allowed one household goods import certificate, so plan accordingly to get everything moved within that period.

You may require the service of a customs broker at your port of entry. Customs brokers are licensed experts in importing and are familiar with all Mexican customs and tariff laws. The right custom broker will work on your behalf to ensure you have met all the requirements to import your goods. Although an additional cost, they will help identify any import duty and taxes.

Import duty and taxes use a valuation method called CIF. CIF is the total cost of the items you are importing, the cost of insurance, and the cost of freight. Some things, such as electronic items, can be imported duty-free. In addition to the import duty and tax, there may also be a sales tax, customs processing fee and excise taxes. In the past, with NAFTA, Canadians and Americans were granted preferential duty rates. Depending on current negotiations, this may change.

To reduce stress and hassle, if you import your furniture and household goods, consult experts before you go.

Would you like the name of a great company that ships furniture from the US/Canada to Mexico? Contact me – I am happy to connect you to the one that is the best in Mexico. Or, if you prefer to shop, we offer well-made furniture that will last in this environment. Please email us at or send us a message by Whatsapp at +523221365156.