Menaje de Casa

July 23, 2010 by
Categories: Border Crossing, Driving to Mexico

Items you can Bring into MexicoFrom Viva Veracruz Blog

The Spanish title of this entry literally means goods of the house – more to the point this is a list of items you want to bring into Mexico that can be submitted at the border.

From what I have read and been told about this process it is time consuming, a hassle and often expensive. Folks that have moved their entire household down to Mexico report that this menaje de casa process can cause extensive delays and expense at the border. Once you have your list it needs to be translated into Spanish.

While we haven’t moved a household’s worth of furniture and accoutrements to Mexico, we have managed to get quite a number of household items there including ladders, an air compressor, lots of tools, bicycles, solar panels, side tables, shelving and even a big red Italian espresso maker. This next trip down we will bring a hefty load of stuff as we are leaving our home here in the U.S.

Our rationale has been as long as we look like tourists rather than part- or full-time Mexican residents, what we bring into the Mexico is less suspect. In other words, if border officials think we are bringing it in for a visit, they assume we will subsequently take it back out.

On one occasion, as we were heading down some 135 miles before Xico, at Coasta Esmeralda we were stopped by the military ostensibly to check for drugs. On that occasion a gun toting Army boy asked me why I had a large ladder and a big floor jack strapped onto the top and back end of our camper. I explained that the ladder was needed to clean the tall camper and the jack – well this is a BIG one-ton Ford truck that requires a hefty jack for tire changes. To my credit there was a large spare wheel and tire just inside the door of the camper to support my claim. Apparently accepting my quick, on-my-feet explanation through Anita’s interpretation we were told to drive on with little to do. This was the only time we were questioned about what types of things we were bringing into Mexico.

To date I have not paid any official for looking the other way regarding our things of entry. I have paid a few traffic fine mordidas – but I am getting better at ignoring the policia when they motion me to pull over and have yet to be chased down after driving past their flailing arms motioning me to the side of the road. Of course this takes experience and some nerve to blatantly appear to ignore their gestures and command.

We have thus far purposely avoided getting our FM3’s in order to be passing the border as tourists. One trip Anita did have her FM3 as we needed it to buy property in Veracruz, but I went in on an FMT (Tourist Visa) and we only showed my documentation on that entry.

If you haven’t experienced it, you may have heard of the red light/green light process. At both airline entrances and automobile entries, the Mexican government has a clever light system you must pass through. Should you get a red light you will be searched in some detail, possibly in great detail. This is a luck-of-the-draw kind of thing. Our luck has been good through numerous visits to Mexico we have never had the red light shine upon us.

We have pulled trailers, hefted campers in the bed of our trucks and stacked and crammed things to a point of distraction without incident. This next trip we will be pulling a trailer with our big truck with a shell over the bed. We won’t be filled with trepidation as earlier trips, but we are going to be hauling items that will require some tall explaining should we get the dreaded red light.