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Author: Subject: Menaje de casa- self-move to Mexico

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[*] posted on 10-18-2016 at 02:40 PM
Menaje de casa- self-move to Mexico

Does anyone have experience moving their belongings on their own (no professional movers) down to Mexico? I am thinking about doing the Menaje de Casa waiver to bring what I can fit in my van and trailer. It wont be a full house of stuff. I keep reading on several online accounts:
1) it is very difficult to move your own stuff down. Is it really? Why?
2) It isn't cost effective if your stuff is valued at $3000 or less. Why is this? If I want to keep that stuff and I am driving down anyway the cost for the Menaje is only around $150.

I plan to bring some appliances, some furniture, and personal effects.

Thanks for any input.
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[*] posted on 10-18-2016 at 03:14 PM


Just my experience. I personally moved a fully loaded pick up and 16' trailer a few years ago and did not use a Menaje although that option was available to me. I created a receipt of the goods that added up about $1,500 worth of stuff. I went to customs in Mexicalli and declared my stuff. I paid ( think) about $300 in duty, spent maybe an hour with the customs people. and I was down the road, Easy Peasy. No unloading no hassles.

We have friends that came through the Otay Mesa a few days later and they attempted to use the Menaje themselves and customs made them go through a broker. The broker was going to charge them $300 or $400 for his services and they were going to have to unload then reload their entire haul. My friend is a bit stubborn so he fought back and fourth with both customs and the brokers (as I now recall it was a Sunday which might have caused more grief). In the end he wasted more than a day, ended up just declaring what he had, paid duty and was down the road.

In the end attempting the Menaje cost time and money vs just declaring your goods from the start.

Just my dos centavos

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[*] posted on 10-18-2016 at 03:53 PM

Here is my experience with that for what it's worth:

Last December I brought down a 170" wheelbase Sprinter cargo van that was filled to the brim with furniture, household goods, and water toys, no Menaje. First problem was at San Ysidro crossing late Sunday afternoon...they took one look at it and said they can't process me properly and I had to go to Otay Mesa (which was closing in 30 minutes).

At Otay Mesa there is an upside down U shaped metal bar and if your rig fits under it you can pay a flat fee for whatever you are carrying as long as it's not motorized. I had a list of all the new items I was bringing that totaled about $3500. The nice man crossed it out, wrote $2600 (or whatever their number is) and I paid about $400 and was on my way.

Good luck and I hope this helps
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[*] posted on 10-18-2016 at 05:02 PM

Don't have first hand info, but it's been said you should have every item accounted for on paper. A complete list.
It's like car insurance. If you have it you probably won't need it, but........

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[*] posted on 10-19-2016 at 08:40 AM

My experience is similar to brucedog and BajaUtah. Brought down loaded truck and 16' trailer with stuff buth new and used - three trips. Had receipts for everything I could and list of approximate values for used stuff. This included about $30k worth of solar power stuff. You need to go through Otay not SY. We did get a broker which cost about $200 - $300 but he was worth it as he "negotiated" the total value of the stuff to way below what my receipts were for and we paid the duty (forget the exact amount - but very reasonable) and we were on our way. The Menaje de Casa seemed like too much trouble for us plus it would have been a little questionable since so much of our stuff was new.

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[*] posted on 10-19-2016 at 09:09 AM

I just recently went through something similar in March if this year.

I got the paperwork for the menage, but never filled it out on the advice of some friends who moved here to Baja, also recently.

Here is what I did:

I hired a local person in the Punta Banda (Ensenada) area to bring a 16' trailer and pick-up and we loaded everything we could into it, I Typed and printed out a COMPLETE list of everything in the trailer and truck. Priced it at garage sale prices.
He drove through the Otay Mesa crossing, spent 2- hours waiting there to get inspected at customs. At the end paid about $300 USD in import duty.
I asked him why he did not go through Tecate since their import duties are generally lower. He said that at one time Tecate turned him around and sent him to Otay for a load that size.


Now I still had three more trailer loads to bring in. So I rented a double axle 12' trailer from U-haul. The first load had a bunch of really expensive antique furniture. Tecate only charged me $40.00 USD in duty.
The second trailer load I was also charged about $24.00 USD in duty.
The third load was full of boxes, my very large bird cage, refrigerators (2), freezer, plus other somewhat valuable items. The customs agent (female) recognized me from two previous trips and said I had already paid enough duty in my previous two trips, so she told her boss to just let me go through with no duty.

Pays to make friends with the Mexican customs duty.

I would never, ever, do a move and bring stuff through Otay crossing. Jus as a reference...the segunda drivers who bring HUGE loads of household goods from yard sales and thrift stores only pay about $300 Pesos in duty from the Otay customs officers. That is a very large discrimination factor against gringos. I got to see six such trucks while I waited at Otay, and I did not have half the value that the segued drivers had in household goods.

Keep in mind...per Mexican customs regulations, each family house member has $300.00 USD exemption from duty on goods brought in to Mexico.

Last bit of advice...cross at Tecate.


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[*] posted on 10-19-2016 at 10:13 AM

Menaje's are not worth it. You many be asked to use a broker (which incurs additional expense) and you will still pay some duty.

Just make a list and drive it across yourself, w/o a broker.

If Udo's info is correct, use Tecate. Customs regs, like all regs in Mexico, are uneven.
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[*] posted on 8-16-2017 at 12:58 AM

This is only a year late, but thanks for the replies everyone. Very helpful!
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[*] posted on 8-16-2017 at 07:44 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Jonah  
This is only a year late, but thanks for the replies everyone. Very helpful!

Well, how did the move go? Thanks everyone for the info.
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