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Mexican Customs - Entering into Mexico
The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico. While U.S. citizenship documents such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Citizenship are acceptable, the U.S. Embassy recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires that by January 1, 2008, all U.S. citizens have a valid passport or other secure, accepted document, in order to enter or re-enter the United States. The proposed timeline for the implementation of this requirements will be as follows:
January 23, 2007: A passport will be required for re-entering the United States by air from the following destinations: Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Bermuda, in addition to all other foreign destinations that already require a passport.
Summer, 2008 date to be determined: The passport requirement will be extended to all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel.
Custom Allowances into Mexico
- New & used goods for personal use, e.g. clothes, personal hygiene products, footwear
- 20 Packs of Cigarettes
- 50 Cigars or 200 grams of tobacco
- 3 Liters of alcoholic anything (wine, spirits, et al)
- Up to 12 rolls of film
- Up to 20 music CDs
- A Laptop computer
- Any sporting equipment (e.g. golf clubs, scuba gear, bike) for personal use
Tips for Safe Entry into Mexico
Don't bring anything that obviously looks like you're in the re-sale game... for example, 5 laptop computers! These items will get heavily taxed or confiscated. Items for personal use will be allowed, new or used, but only in quantities that are commensurate with the definition of 'personal use'. If you are carrying large quantities of one item or if the Customs Inspector believes you are trying to commercialize your goods, then you may be interviewed further.
When you are crossing the Mexican Border you will see a red light or a green light. If the light is GREEN; then you may proceed into Mexico. If the light turns RED and you are signaled into secondary inspection, follow the custom officials signals, you will be directed to an area to park. If you are signaled to go to secondary, the first thing to remember is Don't Panic. Secondary is often a random process, also heavier or larger vehicles often set off weight scales sending them directly into secondary inspections. They will probably ask you a few questions, look through your car and search your trunk, they are looking for items that you may not have declared, The best thing to do is be polite, answer all questions with a simple "yes" or "no".
Be Aware of the Following:
- Don't bring any drugs - not even small amounts of 'soft' drugs, e.g. cannabis/marijuana. Firearms and dangerous knives are totally illegal in Mexico.
- A foreign Gun Licence is not valid in Mexico; if you own a gun don't take it to Mexico with you. The only exception is a firearm used for hunting purposes; but you will need to apply for a special permit - contact your local Mexican consulate. Caught in possession of illegal firearms can land you in serious trouble - even if you have a licence for it that was issued in your home country.
- Drug offences are likely to land you in a Mexican prison (not pleasant)... don't expect your consulate to bail you out in this case because it won't be able to! 20-25 year prison sentences for drug and serious arms related offences are not uncommon.
If you would like more information visit the Mexican Customs website.