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Declarations entering Mexico

When entering Mexico

When entering Mexico by plane, travelers are given an official Customs Declaration Form to complete along with the tourist card (FMT). When crossing into Mexico by car, however, you must select carefully which lane to enter. When crossing at the Lukeville-Sonoyta entrance, there is generally only one “Nothing to Declare” lane open, while for “Voluntary Declaration” you will need to turn left BEFORE going forward to the stoplight, park, and walk to the small office located in the center of the entry in order to make a formal declaration and pay any taxes, as applicable. More info on Mexico Customs

If you are not doing a Voluntary Declaration, as you progress past the US/Mexico border, there is a stoplight as well as a traffic arm. A Green light means you may continue without further inspection. After the traffic arm goes up, it is still best to see if the customs agents signal you over to the left for an inspection anyway.  A Red light means you must pull into the customs inspection area, located on the left. Roll your windows down, but do not get out of the car unless asked. The inspection generally involves a few questions as well as looking through items you may be transporting in the car.  Important! If you have more than the allotted amount of merchandise and fail to Declare Voluntarily, your vehicle and all other items can be confiscated.

Nothing to Declare
Individuals traveling into Mexico as tourists by car are allowed $75 USD tax free* each in new merchandise per person (it is helpful to have receipts). *Note: Border zone residents (of legal age – 18) are allowed up to $150USD (i.e. Mexican residents in the border region, or foreigners with FM2, FM3, or immigrant status visas), though this may not exceed $400 US per car when traveling with multiple passengers.  *Programa Paisano is a program for Mexican citizens residing abroad that increases the amount on duty-free items during specific times of the year (i.e. Winter holidays Nov – early Jan., around Semana Santa / Easter Break, and Summer) for travel beyond the border region (or rather, these increases do not alter the amounts allowed for tourists, Mexican citizens who reside in the border region, or foreigners with Temporary/Permanent Resident visas living within the border region…Rocky Point is considered within the border region).

In addition to the information above, travelers may have personal items including:
•  Articles for personal use including clothing, shoes, hygiene and beauty products – provided that these correspond to the length of the trip. This includes one bridal ensemble (dress, veil, etc.).  For babies, articles may include items for hygiene and entertainment including portable crib, stroller, chair, among other items, as well as accessories (infant must be in vehicle).
•  2 cameras or video cameras, including 12 rolls of film or video cassettes, photograph material, two cell phones or radio equipment; a portable typewriter, electronic planner, a portable computer (laptop, notebook, omnibook, etc.); a portable copier or printer, portable projector, and accessories.
•  2 sets of personal sports equipment, four fishing rods, three (surf)boards with or without sails and accessories, trophies or acknowledgments provided these may be transported normally by a traveler; a stationary walker and stationary bicycle
•  1 portable apparatus to record or reproduce sound, or a digital sound reproducer or portable CD and a portable DVD, as well as set of speakers and accessories
•  5 laser disks, 10 DVDs, 30 CDs or audio cassettes; 3 packages of software and 5 electronic storage devices
•  Books, magazines, and printed documents
•  5 toys, including collection items, and a video-game console, as well as 5 video games
•  A device to measure blood pressure or blood glucose, as well as medication for personal use (with your prescription).
•  Luggage or suitcases to transport items
•  For passengers older than 18:  20 packs of cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco; up to 3 liters of alcohol (that is not wine) and 6 liters of wine
•  One binocular and telescope
•  2 (portable) musical instruments and accessories
•  1 tent and other camping articles
•  For older adults or those with disabilities: articles that decrease limitations including walkers, wheel-chairs, crutches, and canes, among other items.
•  A (portable) tool kit consisting of a drill, wrenches, screwdrivers, car cables, among others.
•  2 cats or dogs, accessories for their travel and hygiene – provided presentation of animal certification issued by the Secretary of Agriculture, Ranching, Rural Development, Fishing and Feed (SAGARPA)

Voluntary Declaration
•  If the value of new merchandise you are carrying surpasses the allotted customs amount of $75 USD per person (or $150 USD for border residents – see details above), as you cross the US/Mexico border and prior to going through the entry lane, turn left and park in the designated area (this is at the Sonoyta entry). Collect receipts for all items and present these to the Tax (Hacienda) official located in the small building located between the lanes entering and exiting Mexico.
•  The Tax official will fill out a form indicating the items you are transporting, value, and tax assessed. Sometimes they will inspect the vehicle and goods directly. Merchandise is subject to a flat 16% tax (or 90% for alcohol or tobacco above the allotted amounts).
•  After completing the form, take this to the Banjercito window (the tax agent should direct you) located around the side of the principal customs building on your left (entering Mexico). NOTE:  Banjercito DOES NOT ACCEPT US DOLLARS and there is NOT an ATM machine nearby.  If you are crossing after 6 p.m., you may pay applicable fees in pesos or dollars directly in the office of the Tax Official, otherwise you can exchange dollars for pesos at one of the import offices located just near the border (if you visit Mexico frequently, it is a good idea to keep pesos on hand).  Pay applicable taxes at Banjercito IN PESOS and return to small customs/tax building; they will keep a copy and give you a copy of the declaration. KEEP COPY OF DECLARATION WITH YOU! This will accredit the legal entry of the merchandise you are carrying.

What goods are prohibited? 
In accordance with the Law of the General Taxes of Import and Export, the following products are prohibited for the import and/or export:

• Firearms and ammunition. In order to import firearms and cartridges you must secure an import permit from the Ministry of Economy and from the Ministry of National Defense.
• Live predator fish, in their states of young fish, youthful and adult.
• Totoaba, fresh or cooled (fish).
• Frozen Totoaba (fish).
• Turtle eggs or any class.
• Poppy seeds (Narcotic).
• Flour of poppy seeds (Narcotic).
• Seeds and spores of marijuana (Cannabis indica), even though when they are mixed with other seeds.
• Marijuana (Cannabis indica).
• Juice and extracts of opium, prepared to smoke.
• Extracts and juice derived from marijuana (Cannabis indica).
• Mucilage and condensed products derived from the marijuana (Cannabis indica).
• Stamps or printed transfers in colors or in black and white, displayed for their sale in envelopes or packages, even when they include chewing gum, candies or any other type of articles, containing drawings, figures or illustrations that represent childhood in a degrading or ridiculous way, on attitudes of incitement to violence, to self-destruction or in any other form of antisocial behavior, known like Garbage Pail Kids, for example, printed by any company or commercial denomination.
• Thallium sulfate.
• Insecticide (Isodrin or Aldrin).
• Insecticide (Heptaclor or Drinox).
• Insecticide (Endrin or Mendrin or Nendrin or Hexadrin).
• Insecticide (Leptophos).
• Heroin, base or hydrochloride of diacetylmorphine.
• Medication prepared with marijuana (Cannabis indica).
• Medication prepared with acetylmorphine or of its salts or derivatives.
• Skins of turtle or doggerhead turtle.
• Goods that have been declared as archaeological monuments by the Secretariat of Public Education.