How to get your STUFF here.
What you need to know about moving to Mexico
What you'll find in this issue:
How to get your stuff here:
You have made the decision to move to Mexico. Congratulations! You are now on your way to an adventure that will change your life as you know it. Moving anywhere is a very big step, and made from several different points of view, to be sure. You may be moving for a more relaxed lifestyle, to learn a new language, to save money, to move to a better climate. You may be moving because you just want to experience a different type of life.
Whatever your reasons, there are things you will need to plan before you throw that goodbye party in your hometown.
The first thing you will need to decide is whether you will sell everything at home and start fresh in Mexico, or whether you will move your worldly possessions and start a new life with your familiar things around you. The reason you have come to this site is to find out about moving your stuff, so I'll give you some hints about that!
There are rules set up by the Mexican government about moving your household things, and those rules are covered on official government websites and at Mexican consulates around the U.S. and Canada. To find a complete list of Mexican Consulates in the U.S. and Canada, consult www.mexonline.com . From there you can request a list of acceptable items to bring into Mexico.
I will tell you some things about the first-hand experience of moving with my husband to Mexico three years ago. We decided to sell the majority of our household, and those things we didn't sell, we put in storage in Colorado. I had arranged for the rental of a small house in Xalapa, Veracruz through the internet. We knew it was furnished, so we figured that we could always rent furnished homes in Mexico. For this reason, we only packed clothing, perscription medicine (with copies of the prescriptions ready) and a few items like cds and books. We packed 4 suitcases, 2 backpacks and a small bag for snacks and set off in our car, heading for Texas where we were storing our car before crossing the border into Mexico. We selected a storage facility in Austin. From the storage place, we rented a car and drove down to McAllen, Texas, and after turning our car in, took a taxi across the border into Mexico at Reynosa. Once inside the bus station, we bought our tickets for Veracruz, went to the customs office to get our tourist visas, and waited for the next five hours till our bus was ready to leave. We took a 14 hour overnight ride to Veracruz, then took another 2 hour bus ride to Xalapa where we settled into our new little home. We stayed there for 6 months, and got a bit acclimated to the country, the language and the food. Our plan was to explore different parts of Mexico, and we decided that our next stop should be a house on the beach. Through internet research and talking to friends in Xalapa, we chose Progreso, Yucatan, for our next home, as it was less of a tourist destination, near a large city (Merida) and on the ocean. When it was time to leave, we hired a van with 2 drivers who could move us and our things which we accumulated (a TV, dvd player, computer, kitchenware) the 14 hours to the Yucatan. We had to pay for the both ways of the van and the gasoline, and tolls. All in all, we spent about $800 to move to the Yucatan from Xalapa. If you have a vehicle of your own it will cost you much less, but since we had lived in Mexico for 6 months without a car, we didn't have that option. There are moving companies who will move your things, but we didn't have enough to warrant hiring a truck.
Our decision to move without furniture was one of convenience. We figured that if we enjoyed living in Mexico we could go back up to Colorado, collect things we wanted to have with us, and drive them down. We did that the following year. We packed up things that would fit in our car, and drove back down to Mexico. We were not inspected at the border. You could be, so be sure you have nothing illegal in your car! One thing is for sure...you cannot bring live plants, drugs or guns into Mexico. Don't even try it. Have a list of what you have in your car, just to be sure. If you have a lot of electronic things, try to have the receipts for them, as you may be charged a duty.
I know that many of you will want to move your households down to Mexico. I won't give you advice on hiring movers from your home town, but I will concentrate on the availability of moving your things down to Mexico through sea-freight shipping services located in Florida. We live in the Yucatan peninsula, and the port here is Progreso. There are 2 shipping services that I know of, that will rent you a container for your things, and get it to Mexico through the Gulf of Mexico within a week. They are both located in Panama City, Florida.
You will see an FM3 visa referred to in the following paragraphs, and I will not go into the process for obtaining that visa. There is information in many places about the process, and if you are thinking of moving to Mexico permanently, you will have already started that process. You can wait until you have an address in Mexico to obtain your FM3 visa, but you can apply for it in the United States as well.
Some friends of ours recently had the experience of moving their household down here, and have written to me about it. They used Linea Peninsular, Inc. I will include their "Positive Container Story" here for you to read. They lived in Florida, and had already come down to Merida and purchased property. They had their FM3 visas, and had prepared their inventory in Spanish and English. Be sure to follow the rules for importing household goods into Mexico, laid down by the Mexican government. We had other friends who never got a list of what was acceptable, and were broken hearted when the authorities took many of their items from them once they arrived in Mexico. They weren't aware that band aids and gauze were considered 'medical supplies' and that canned foods and spices were contraband to ship.
So, saying that, you can now read the "Positive Container Story."
"When my wife and I made the decision to move to the Yucatan full time, the next choice was to bring or not bring all our furniture from the large home we owned in Miami, or sell everything but our personal things and buy everything in Merida. After several trips to Merida looking for furniture and electronics, (and not finding equal furniture and electronics we wanted) we thought if the price was right we would ship what we owned.
If you elect to get your FM3 visa before you ship your things down, you will not have to pay duty on your shipment, as long as you have done it within 6 months from the time you get your FM3 visa. You also need to have a complete inventory in Spanish and English for the Mexican Consulate.
I went on line and to the yellow pages to find international movers that could handle the job. We had heard some terrible stories about movers and containers to Mexico, so we were aware of some of the problems. After having 4 movers come to the house and give us prices, we were even more concerned. Some wanted to truck the goods to the border and trans-ship to a Mexican truck. Some wanted to ship by boat to Veracruz and truck it from there, and some didn't know how they were going to ship it. On top of that, they all quoted prices ranging from $13,000 to $15,000, which by the time they were done would be more, as well as it would take from 6 to 8 weeks.
I decided to spend some more time to figure out what the elements were, and try to find the vendors myself. In short, there are 5 components: finding someone to pack and load your stuff, finding a container firm to ship the container to Progreso, finding the trucking company to get the goods to the shipping company, finding an export broker, and finding a Mexican import broker.
It took me the better part of 2 weeks but it paid off. We were able to have a full 40 foot container shipped from Miami to Progreso in one week. Our customs broker here in Mexico took us to the pier to inspect the container, and the next day delivered it to our beach house with nothing missing. The total price was around $8,500 U.S. If I were to do it again, here's how:
1) Have one internatinal shipper come out and tell you if you need a 20' or 40' container.
2) Call a local mover and get a price to pack and load the container.
3) Call Linea Peninsular Container shipping Company. They will drop a container at your house, and when you're done loading, will come back and pick it up. Then transport it to their piers and put it on their ship to Progreso. All they do is ship from the U.S. to Progreso. They will also refer an export broker to you. Their contact numbers are: U.S.: 850/785-0397. Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico: 011-52-969/935-5520.
4) Contact an import broker. (They were referred to me by Linea Peninsular.) The one we used: Grupo Aduanero Peninsular, Progreso. Number: 011/52/969/935-4059. Make sure you tell them you need it delivered to your house, if you do.
It will take some followup, but is well worth it. Good luck."
Another company based in Panama City, Florida, that has recently started operation to Mexico is Gulf Alliance Logistics, Inc./Consolidadores Peninsulares.S.C. (CPSC) Their bodega (warehouse) in Panama City is 1847 Industrial Drive, Panama City, FL 32405. No website given. For their Mexican office, they are in Progreso and you can email Mayte Perez Cruz (firstname.lastname@example.org) Phone number: 011-52-969/935-2319.
You will always be able to find people to give you horror stories about moving...those are abundant. But taking advice from people who have had a great experience is worth its weight in gold!