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Moving and shipping items to Mexico

Countdown to moving day

How to prepare for your move to Mexico

The big day is getting closer! Before you leave, many things need taking care of. You’re worried about forgetting something? Well, Don’t worry! For your serenity and peace of mind, here is a detailed checklist. This checklist will help you plan all that you need to take care of whilst preparing your departure

Begin consular procedures

Begin consular procedures, request information on how to obtain your visa, residency and work permits before you leave. These procedures take time, sometimes many weeks – even months. Begin as soon as possible.

Check the documents required for the exportation of your goods from your country of origin and for their importation into the country of destination. Your status may enable you to benefit from certain advantages, such as the obtaining of an “Exemption”. This will let you avoid paying duties and taxes upon importing your used personal effects.

Consider renewing your passport and those of all accompanying family members. These should be valid, at least, until your next return to your country.

Establish international driving licenses. Most countries require residents to obtain a local driving license, which may or may not include passing a practical /theoretical driving test. In all cases, keep your actual driving license with you. It may be requested by the local authorities in order for you to avoid having to pass a test.

Educating yourself about your new country

Start informing yourself about Mexico by surfing on the net – Mexico Connect being the obvious place to start – or by obtaining guides, brochures, video tapes and CD ROMs, to be read and watched by all family members.

Check the electrical supply available in Mexico. Ask your local electrician if your electrical appliances will function with the use of adapters and/or transformers. TV systems will need be compatible too, so don’t forget to check this point.

Familiarize yourself with Mexican currency, some currency converters are available via Internet.

Assess your abilities in Spanish. Maybe you require some language tuition.

A Cross-Cultural program will be useful for you and your family. There are seminars available to prepare for international relocation, these are designed to help expatriates communicate and do business successfully.

Searching your new home

Obtain information about the real estate market in Mexico. Visit web sites and online newspapers to get an idea of current prices. Sometimes, there are expatriate neighborhoods (not far from international schools); a good realtor will provide you with this information. A home search trip should be arranged if at all possible.

In some countries appliances are included; in others, it is not easy to find a house without furniture. The type of accommodation on offer in Mexico will influence the final cost (moving furniture or just personal goods or storage for several years, etc.)

Relocation services exist to help expatriates in moving and settling. If yours is a corporate relocation, your employer may pay for these services, because expatriates will be expected to become productive as soon as possible after their arrival, with no concerns about housing. The relocation companies will help you with the inventory of fixtures before moving in, including all of your contracts such as gas, electricity, water, telephone, insurance, etc.. They may help you to discover your new country (city tour, open a bank account, etc.) even assist with obtaining visas.
For parents

Now is time for you to search a school for your children. Some international organizations monitor international schools and give accreditation of the curriculum and educational levels in comparison to schools in your county of origin.

Your health

Search the health information available about Mexico. Check for hospitals and how healthcare is structured. On the internet you will find the latest information for travellers, with health information on specific destinations. Take out an international health insurance policy to cover you and your family in any case Don’t forget vaccination requirements for travelers of all ages. Some vaccines must be given several weeks before leave, ask your GP to schedule this.

Ask your GP, dentist, ophthalmologist and any other specialists to renew all your prescriptions so that you can continue your treatment in Mexico. Do not forget to ask for your medical files.


Your Move

Begin making your list of all household goods and personal effects being moved. Contact at least two moving companies. Arrange for an appointment for a pre-move survey.

A pre-move survey is the key to a successful move. During this visit don’t hesitate to ask about the period of time required for delivery, the means of transportation that will be used. Discuss all the human and technical issues concerning packing and unpacking, anticipation of additional services (external elevator, difficult access, disassembling and reassembling of furniture, packing of heavy or large items, etc.) Is the reassembling of the furniture included in the quote? Is additional insurance coverage necessary? What documents have to be submitted to customs? If your goods share the same container will this be cheaper or will direct transport be faster?

If you have a pet, ask if they can transport it and be in charge of customs regulations (you are responsible for medical documents and vaccines)

Compare quotes (price, services, volumes/weight estimate). Following these procedures, choose your mover and determine the date for packing operations.

Trip organization

Make airline or rail reservations. Be sure to keep your tickets after arrival. These could eventually be requested at your destination for Customs Clearance purposes.

Make a car rental reservation if necessary.

Make eventual plans for temporary accommodation for the post-packing period. The same should be done at destination, whilst you are waiting for the final delivery of your goods.

Change of address

Inform your local authorities (Condominium Association etc.) of your forthcoming departure.

Inform the various organizations of your forthcoming change of address. Transfer your subscriptions or cancel your contracts.

Where possible, it’s recommended to shut off water, light and telephone 24 hours after your moving date, in case moving day falls behind schedule. Make the same arrangement at your destination, everything must be installed 24 hours before you move in, this will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises.


Start cleaning

Have your house linen, curtains and carpets cleaned

Sort out your goods and store or dispose of those you will not be using anymore.

Contact all benevolent associations to whom you’ve decided to donate all effects that you will not be moving. Set up an appointment so that these can be picked up from your home.


Continue cleaning

Clean your bicycles, garden tools and furniture and empty the tanks of all combustible items.

Now is the time to sell or donate all unwanted effects. Do not forget to return things that you had borrowed from family or friends.
Provide your new contact details

Give your new contact details to your circle of family and friends. Make sure that the moving company have both your addresses, at origin and destination. Any intermediate contact numbers should also be transmitted (parents, hotel, etc.).

Reconfirm your moving dates to your moving company. Make sure you have their addresses at origin and destination.

Preparing packing

Arrange to have your children looked after during the packing and loading operations.

Add appropriae electrical adapters and/or transformers to your shipment. Your U. S. or CAnadian appliances will work in Mexico. However, current modulators and surge protectors are vital, as the Mexican electrical system is more subject to variable current than you are used to. These are necessary for the operation of your electrical appliances at destination. You will also be able to purchase them before the delivery of your effects in your new residence.

Begin your “Valued Inventory List” of all household goods and personal effects being moved. Fill the inventory in while being as precise as possible.


Last details

Prepare your luggage: consider the season and likely weather conditions on your arrival.

Use destination stickers to sort out your goods by destination or method of transportation (by sea, by air, etc), if more than one destination (storage, cottage, etc) or method.

Start dismantling your furniture, removing curtains, pictures and light fixtures, unless the moving company is contracted to provide this service.

Clean and let dry all kitchen appliances to avoid the appearance of mildew during shipping. Disconnect all electrical appliances and cover bare wires where necessary.

If at all possible, reserve a parking spot for the removal van or container as close as possible to your residence. Loading operations will become much easier.

Put aside a few soft drinks and some snacks for the packing crew in order to optimize their working conditions.


Put away all important documents and articles of value (passports, airline tickets, cash, travel addresses, destination country contact details, portable computers, phones, keys etc.) that you wish to carry personally. This will avoid having them packed accidentally.

Upon the arrival of the packing crew, you should go round your home with the crew foreman and point out all that needs to be packed. If you have any special requests; i.e. packing of your beds last, now is the right time to mention them.

Before the truck or container departure, you should go round your home with crew foreman if some goods were left behind.

There…you are now ready to move!

Moving is always a rather upsetting experience and meticulous planning and organization are essential if all concerned want to retain their sanity! Moving to a foreign country only adds to the difficulties. Allow plenty of time to organize your move so that it is not a traumatic experience for you and your family.

Initially, plan your move as much in advance as possible and remember that the period between June and September is always extremely busy for all moving companies. Make sure you know the dates of transportation well in advance and that you are aware of all the documents you will need for the exportation and subsequent importation of your goods. Thus you will avoid any unpleasant surprises such as hold-ups with customs clearance and delivery to your new home, which always involve additional charges for items such as hotels, restaurants, detaining the container at the port, etc. These can add up alarmingly.

Try to estimate the approximate volume of the goods to be shipped. This will give you – and your employer if yours is a corporate relocation – a rough idea of the costs involved. Before contacting a mover, you should have decided what you want to take with you and have made a list. This will be based either on your expatriate’s contract drawn by your employer or by the budget you as an individual have allowed for this move.

Generally, if the move is a corporate relocation, the amount is restricted to a specific volume of goods, which when exceeded, is paid by the expatriate. In this case, you might want to consider putting some goods in storage.

Bear in mind the dimensions of your new place. Having large pieces of furniture in small rooms can be a hindrance. Priority should obviously be given to all goods you cannot find in Mexico. Make sure you know if the voltage used in Mexico is the same as used at home for all your electrical appliances.

Import and export customs restrictions should play a role in your selection of goods to take with you. Some countries have import restrictions on certain items or special procedures before allowing their importation so make sure you know if Mexico is one of them and what the procedures or requirements are.

Send a few basic goods by air, especially if you are travelling with young children, as there are sometimes long delays. Having some familiar items around will help children settle into a new environment more quickly. Decide which toys or other items can go with them as carry-on items. Restrict them to one soft toy apiece!!

About 90 days before you move you need to select the right moving company. Moving goods from one country to another requires considerable expertise – not all moving companies have it! The packing, the logistics on an international level, customs regulations and choosing the handling agent at destination are just a few aspects which require specific skills.

Obtain some quotes, which don’t cost you anything but which will help you choose the right company – and not just based on price alone. Avoid any companies that will not come to your home, but send you a quote after a telephone call.

You need a moving company that offers a comprehensive service from door to door, one that will not only send your personal belongings to the other end of the world, but also find you a local company at the other end to deliver them.

It is always wise to opt for a moving company that is a member of an international group with its own agencies from departure to arrival. The company should also belong to an international association, which has its network of partners across the world. You should always ask a moving company for references: Corporate Accounts, diplomatic missions, etc. Find out if it has implemented a quality control system and whether it has been awarded quality certifications.

Before you can get a quote, you need a pre-move survey, which will identify all the various aspects of your move. This includes the volume/weight estimate; a list of all items which will require special attention (made-to-measure packing, refrigerated boxes, lamp boxes, etc.); anticipation of additional services (external elevator, difficult access, disassembling and reassembling of furniture, packing of heavy or large items, etc.) and finally a description of all the human and technical issues concerning these aspects.

There are a number of questions that you should ask any moving company. These include:

  • What are the import and export restrictions?
  • Is the reassembling of the furniture included in the quote?
  • Is an additional insurance coverage necessary?
  • Who is responsible for disconnecting the electrical appliances?
  • What mean of transportation should be used?
  • What is the time scheduled for delivery?
  • Who is the handling agent at destination?
  • What documents have to be submitted to the customs?
  • What importation duties or customs fees will there be, if any?
  • Do I have to be there upon arrival of my belongings at the destination?

When the quote arrives take the time to check that the logos of any quality schemes or programs mentioned by the salesman are displayed on the document. Also make sure that you read carefully the general terms and conditions, in particular the clauses dedicated to claims in case of any damage.

Obviously, the cheapest quote is not necessarily the quote you should go for. Pay attention to what is included and what is not and take note of any charges excluded such as Terminal Handling Charges, difficult access, etc.
The quote should include all the following information:

  • the volume to be shipped
  • the customized packing materials
  • the additional services
  • the means of transportation
  • the price and its detailed costing
  • the insurance cost
  • the payment terms
  • the place of pick-up and delivery.

Once you have assessed all the information, you can make your choice of moving company and begin the countdown to the move itself and life in another country.

Safe journey!

Moving and shipping company links – these are some links you can use to quote services. It is a very good idea to get a recommendation from a trusted source before deciding which company (of these or others) would be best for your move.

Important note: IdeaCOM facilitates tips about legal and other matters as a service to our clients. Content provided here is for information and convenience purposes only and is not to be considered legal or other advice or an endorsement of products or services of any of the links. Details, costs and fees mentioned, links and veracity of content of external sites and companies are subject to change without notice and can be changed without our knowledge. For pricing, costs and information about third-party services, please contact those companies directly. For legal advice or help with any other matters, as well as for a quote related to your service or case, please contact one of our experts and make an appointment to discuss your personal or corporate matters on an individual case-by-case basis. For a complete list of our FAQs, tips and information, please consult our site map.

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