Moving to Mexico: Doing it Yourself vs. Hiring a Moving Company

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If you’ve decided to move to Mexico, you may be wondering how to bring your favorite belongings with you. Should you take a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach or hire a moving company? Both are viable options, depending on your timeline and finances. Below is a guide to help you make the best decision for your moving to Mexico needs.

DIY Move to Mexico

Most expats opt to move themselves to Mexico and rely on one of the options below:

1. Partial DIY With this option, you would sell or donate (great for tax deductions) big furniture pieces and appliances and bring only clothes and keepsakes. All items can be replaced upon arrival in Mexico. This is especially appealing to those who are renting apartments, condos or homes that are partially or fully furnished.

2. Full DIY With this option, you would load your belongings and cross the border on your own.

3. Hire a Mexican National This individual would bring your items across the border in a large vehicle. This option is very common and will not likely draw the interest of customs officials who assume your items belong to the driver. Sometimes the hired mover will unload and unpack your boxes, if you’re willing to pay for the service. If you need referrals, we can help you find a reliable and affordable mover.

With option 2 and 3, you’ll need to complete a Lista de Menaje de Casa. This list specifies all of the household goods and electronics you’re bringing into Mexico. (Clothing and personal items do not require a Lista de Menaje de Casa when crossing the border.) The list is in Spanish and notes the quantity, brand and descriptions of your items, as well as the model/serial numbers of your electronics. All boxes need your name and a sequential number that corresponds with your itemized list.

You’ll need to have four original and signed sets. The Lista de Menaje de Casa then requires a stamp issued by the Consulate General of Mexico office near you. The Menaje de Casa will need to be submitted to Mexican customs.

Sometimes a few trips across the border are needed because you could be taxed if your shipment is valued at $3,000 USD or more. If that is the case, you’ll need the help of a Mexican customs broker to officially file the Mexican customs entry on your behalf.

Hiring a Moving Company

Expats who have or intend to purchase to a home in Mexico opt to hire an international moving company. Prices vary and the process includes an in-home interview (less than an hour) to go over the following:

● What needs to be moved

● Trip roles and expectations

● Packing materials

● Packing

● Inventory/preparation of the List de Menaje de Casa

● Estimate (based on the total weight of your shipment)

● Transportation (usually ground shipping)

● Import and export documentation

● Port of entry fees

If you’re moving from the United States, the professional mover will need to pack your items to meet Homeland Security and insurance requirements. (Unpacking and box removal in Mexico is optional.) We recommend buying insurance through the moving company. It will cost about three percent of the total shipping fee.

Most international moving companies offer a way for you to track the transportation of your belongings. Belongings are sometimes stored in warehouses along the way.

It will take about three weeks for your shipment to arrive. Make sure that you’re there to welcome your driver and ensure that everything arrives in good shape. If something is damaged, take photographs to submit to the insurance company. If something is missing, contact the moving company’s customer service department right away.

Final Thoughts for Hiring a Moving Company

● Look for reputable companies via the Better Business Bureau (BBB), FIDI (the world’s largest alliance of international moving companies) and the International Association of Movers (IAM).

● Make sure your choice company is bonded and has been in business for more than a decade.

● Ask for references from those who have used their services.

● Reach out to expats via online forums. Inquire about the methods they used to move to Mexico.

Should you have any questions, feel free to connect with us! We’re happy to share those tried-and-true companies that have successfully moved our clients.

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3 Responses to Moving to Mexico: Doing it Yourself vs. Hiring a Moving Company

  1. Lee-Anne Calhoon July 24, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Very helpful. This topic is on my mind every day. Gracias Brent.

  2. bill July 30, 2018 at 5:45 am #

    what about pets,,?,you forgot the most important family member

    • Erin May August 10, 2018 at 12:27 am #

      Hi Bill,
      We have several other articles about moving with pets to Mexico.

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