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barmarr

May 10, 2008, 9:06 AM

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FM3 - Household items

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We just got our FM3 at the Mexican Consulate Office in Los Angeles and drove down to Tijuana the next day to have the documents activiated.

The Consular said we can have a once in a lifetime list of household items, approved by her, to take to our new home in Bucerias. When I asked if the items had to be at least 6 months old and used she implied we could take new items with us.

Has anyone had an experience in taking NEW household items on an approved list across the border?

e.g.: 2 new flat screen TV's, new patio furniture, new dishes, new Bar-B-Q, new vacuum, plus lots of little things like corn holders, etc.??

(We bought our furniture, refrigerator, bedding, pots and pans in Mexico, but could not find, to our liking, the above items in PV.)

I know the Consulate Office will charge us $127.00 to approve the list, but will we be charged duty at the border? Should I bring my receipts with me?

Thanks...Marilyn



Rolly


May 10, 2008, 10:07 AM

Post #2 of 31 (10292 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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Here we go again -- consulate people who don't know the rules.

The items on a menaje are supposed to be more than six months old. I would go ahead and get the menaje. Then try to make the new things look older -- take the TVs out of the boxes and repack, etc. Hope for the green light at the border.

Look here for information about preparing your menaje: http://rollybrook.com/menaje.htm

Rolly Pirate


barmarr

May 10, 2008, 10:16 AM

Post #3 of 31 (10289 views)

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Re: [Rolly] FM3 - Household items

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Rolly...Do you mean repack the TV's in their original boxes? or do I have to go buy plain boxes from a moving store?

I am really upset that the Los Angeles office gave me misleading information. I have no recourse on this??

What will happen, if the items on the approved list are deemed brand new?


Rolly


May 10, 2008, 10:42 AM

Post #4 of 31 (10288 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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You could put them back in the original boxes. What I meant was to make them look not brand new.

If the customs guy thinks they are too new, he can charge an import duty. Usually 15% of the value. There is a good chance that they will not be interested.

Rolly Pirate


bournemouth

May 10, 2008, 10:58 AM

Post #5 of 31 (10283 views)

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Re: [Rolly] FM3 - Household items

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The OP needs to remember that t.v.'s usually have a date of manufacture on the back of the item, down towards the bottom. Should customs decide to be strict, I think they can tell from the serial number the approximate age. But - I second the idea that there is a good chance they will not be interested.

As to the OP's idea of "recourse" - no, nothing you can do about it. We just have to educate ourselves very well.


NicoXampa

May 11, 2008, 10:19 AM

Post #6 of 31 (10238 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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For what it's worth.....


The written instructions I received from the Consulate in San Francisco:


1. List of household items in Spanish, typewritten or made by computer, starting with electronics appliances, then furniture, then boxes. Number and write each article with brand, model,and serial number. Make four copies of it. NO NEW ITEMS.

So sorry to hear you were misinformed. How about setting your cartons out in the yard for a couple of weeks--get a weathered, "6 month effect"? Good luck! NX


barmarr

May 11, 2008, 11:34 AM

Post #7 of 31 (10221 views)

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Re: [NicoXampa] FM3 - Household items

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Thanks to all of you for your great advise. I should have asked you before I decided to get my FM3. I have learned my lession, next time I do anything I will ask advice for MexConnect first.

You guys are great!


Tequisbob

May 12, 2008, 7:26 AM

Post #8 of 31 (10167 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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I made four trips by car with my household items. I crossed at Eagle Pass, Texas.

On the first trip, I had packed a 42" LCD TV in the trunk of my Camry. I placed bubble wrap over the screen, then plywood, then more bubble wrap and then wrapped the TV in a blanket...it traveled very well and the Customs agent asked me how old it was....I responded " around 9-months old." He said fine. Of course it was brand new and had never been turned on.

The next three trips I got the green light and brought two more 42" LCD TV's as well as my home theater and three PC's.....I had no problems at all. Of course I was prepared to pay the 15 % if I had to, but that never became an issue.

Good luck.


sioux4noff

May 12, 2008, 9:55 AM

Post #9 of 31 (10139 views)

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Re: [bobr76453] FM3 - Household items

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Quote
Of course it was brand new and had never been turned on.

Wouldn't that have been sad if you got it to Mexico and it didn't work? I am surprised you didn't try it out first!


barmarr

May 12, 2008, 11:05 AM

Post #10 of 31 (10126 views)

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Re: [Rolly] FM3 - Household items

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Many posters keep referencing a red light / green light when entering Mexico. We have never seen this system when we cross at Nogales. In Nogales they pull everyone over. Is there another crossing from the Arizona area, where I might have a better chance of no hassles? Like Lukeville?


bournemouth

May 12, 2008, 12:36 PM

Post #11 of 31 (10113 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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Which crossing at Nogales are you using? Unless there have been recent huge changes, there is a red light/green light set up at the first customs post on the Mariposa Road truck gate road - this is the point at which you are technically entering the frontier zone and is just after the toll booth on that road. There is a second one at Kl. 21 where you get car permits and enter the mainland of Mexico. You drive through the lane slowly and get either the red light or the green light. They have always been pretty liberal there and we have rarely gotten a red light.


travisdyer

May 12, 2008, 3:30 PM

Post #12 of 31 (10092 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] FM3 - Household items

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I frequently travel back and forth to Mexico, importing goods. I have come to find that the best route to take is to voluntarily declare your items. You can take new items into Mexico, however; it is better, if you make them appear to be used. The declared value of the item will depend greatly on whether the item is new or used. I recently imported a 52" Sony Bravia LCD. I took it out of the box, removed all plastic bags, and even the owners manual. Of course, I carried that in my bags, but it made it look as if it had been re-packed. The value dropped from $3,200 to $2,000 USD (savings of $160 USD in taxes).

If you "risk" it in the "nothing to declare" lane, and you get the red light, there is a much higher chance that your goods will be listed at a higher value, and your taxes will be higher. This was explained to me the first time that I chose to not declare and hope for the best. Well, needless to say, that didn't work out. I was informed that the red light system works on the honor system. You are given the opportunity to voluntarily declare the items, usually with a lower value.

I am not implying that you should try to import an entire household and only claim that the items are worth $800, but the Aduana is much more "forgiving" and willing to work with you, if you work with them.


thriftqueen

May 12, 2008, 5:13 PM

Post #13 of 31 (10074 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] FM3 - Household items

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We've been through both the Mariposa and downtown in Nogales recently. Both still have the same red/green light set-up they have always had. Barmarr, it's easy when one first begans to come through the port of entry to be confused as there is a lane you can just drive through without going into the red/green light lane. If you are doing so you would probably automatically be pulled over. When we were first getting established in our home we would come through with a pick-up load of stuff, to make it easier on ourselves and our nerves (on good advice) we simply would declare what ever we had on board that were major items. We declared them as used, using garage sale prices (as most were) or as my name implies, purchased at thrift stores. When you declare it is before the red/grn signal so you still may get a red light however if you get a red light it is just a cursory examination.


(This post was edited by thriftqueen on May 12, 2008, 5:16 PM)


barmarr

May 12, 2008, 11:36 PM

Post #14 of 31 (10035 views)

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Re: [travisdyer] FM3 - Household items

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Thanks for the great advise. I guess I just never noticed the red light/green light since my husband was doing the driving.

Question...when you give them your approved list of items from the Consulate Office, should we include value? Or, do the border agents make that assesment?

If we declare the items as new, should we bring our purchase receipts?


bournemouth

May 13, 2008, 6:48 AM

Post #15 of 31 (10016 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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Travis will probably have good information for you, but, if it were me and I was only bringing one vehicle loaded with stuff, I wouldn't bother with the cost of the menaje de casa from the Consulate. Brand new stuff is dutiable under any circumstances. I'd just list the things you have, just as if you were doing details for the consulate, and apply garage sale prices to the items. They are well used to this at Nogales - columns of pickups loaded with stuff from garage sales and swap meets in Arizona can be seen every Sunday and Monday returning to Nogales and points south. They all seem to stop and declare values. While we were doing paper work once, I noted that every single person who came in started with an iron, which is about the cheapest electrical item you can bring over. The forms in the custom's brokers office were already pre-printed with the address of the Tanque Verde swap meet in Tucson! If you can make the boxes of the new items seem a little used - i.e. unpack the stuff and repack it, you may draw a lesser value for duty purposes, but having the receipts would be a good idea.

Being pleasant and using what Spanish you have, will take you a long way and I would doubt that the duty will exceed the cost of the menaje de casa.

If you have a menaje de casa, then duty should not enter the picture and values would not be necessary. I have heard in the past that Nogales officialdom is not good at dealing with menajes de casa when individuals cross using one. Maybe someone else will have more current information on that.


JohnnyBoy

May 13, 2008, 8:27 AM

Post #16 of 31 (10003 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] FM3 - Household items

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I have crossed at Nogales many times, both downtown and at the Mariposa truck crossing. Last year, just about this time, I made six round trips across the Nogales border between Hermosillo and Tucson, where I had all my household belongings in storage, using a small pickup truck. Everything I had was old and very used.

On my first crossing I too got confused, missed the red light/green light thing and ended up in the Auto-Declaration area. I told the official who came to my window and asked the value of my stuff that my stuff was worth about $400 and he told me I would have to go inside and pay taxes. Inside, the female official (once she got off her personal cell phone call and acknowledged my presence) said I did not have to pay anything because it was all just old personal living stuff. Was she a "custom's broker?"

From then on I have always taken my chances at the reg light/green light machine. I think I have averaged probably 60% green lights, and 40% red lights. A couple of the red lights were during the six trips transfering my household stuff. Each time they could see it was all basically crap and let me go. Other times we had been shopping in Tucson. We put food from Costco in front of any items we had from places like Bed Bath and Beyond or Target, whatever, so that it appeared it was nothing but food, which we explained to the official was just stuff that "the fussy gringo can't find in Hermosillo." Each time we were turned loose with no further action required.

For anyone who does not already know, "we" consists of me and my Mexican partner who does most of the talking, and I think this gives us quite an advantage.

Anyway, in the next week or two I have to go to Tucson to pick up two new La-Z-Boy recliners chairs that I ordered. I understand they do no come in boxes but are covered with plastic and are in two pieces each (apparently the back slides off the seat). I also plan to buy several gallons of paint. Maybe as many as 20. I don't think there is any way to make the the paint look old or used. I do have a very ingenious and devious plan to prove the chairs are used, garage sale items.

After reading some of the posts in this thread, I am really wondering if I shouldn't stop and auto declare the paint (as new) and the chairs (as used).

I am concerned about this: "The forms in the custom's brokers office were already pre-printed with the address of the Tanque Verde swap meet in Tucson! " What does that mean? I have to hire a custom's broker to get 20 gallons of paint through the border? Could someone please briefly outline the exact steps required from the moment one enters the auto-declaration lane and the official comes to the window and asks "What is the value of your items?" What exactly happens after that?


travisdyer

May 13, 2008, 9:07 AM

Post #17 of 31 (9993 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] FM3 - Household items

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John,

After you pull into the auto-declaration lane, you will be directed to park in any one of the empty parking bays. Then, the official will ask you what you are declaring, and he/she will direct you to the customs office. When you go into the little office, it would be good to hand over the receipt for the paint, as it is new, and then tell the official about the two chairs. If you don't give them a receipt for the chairs, they will ask you how much they are worth. After they fill out your receipt, they will apply your "franquicia" or personal deduction, which is $75. They deduct your franquicia from the total value of the goods, and you will pay 15% tax on the remaining value. After you pay the tax, they will stamp your receipt, and then they will ask you to press a button for the red/green light. If you get the green light, then you leave without getting inspected, but if you get the red light, they will want to inspect your vehicle and the declared goods. The person working for "aduana" or customs at the border is not a customs broker, rather a customs official. A customs broker is a private individual that brokers goods through customs and pays all duties on behalf of the importer. A broker is only needed if the total value of the goods being imported, at any one time, is more than $3,000 USD. Otherwise, you can import them yourself.


bournemouth

May 13, 2008, 9:21 AM

Post #18 of 31 (9990 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] FM3 - Household items

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John, we were directed to the custom's brokers office, which is in line with the banks and the customs officials office, because we were unlucky enough to get an officer who felt that $750 of kitchen cabinets was too much of the same thing - no matter that each one was different. He even refused to allow us our franquicias, which at that time were $50 a head. That's how I got to watch the whole "declaring everything starting with an iron" scenario play out. I might add that it was the one and only time that we ever stopped to declare, choosing to take our chances on the green light from then on.


jl1

May 14, 2008, 12:37 PM

Post #19 of 31 (9917 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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This is a little late, but I'm surprised you couldn't find the same or similar items in P.V. My wife and I just bought a ton of stuff there for our house and casita. The prices for things like appliances and t.v.'s were as good as internet prices nob. It's just a matter of finding the right places. For example, Tio Sam's, across from Neptune Plaza has amazing prices. They have a main store in Guad. and a big warehouse there. In addition, there are now new Costco and Home Depot stores there and many other discount places. If you need any other appliances or electronics, I would suggest asking around for recommendations before going through the trouble of bringing stuff south. Good Luck.


sioux4noff

May 14, 2008, 8:33 PM

Post #20 of 31 (9882 views)

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Re: [jl1] FM3 - Household items

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The difference we found, is that NOB you can find sale and clearance prices on many items. In PV, it is hard to find prices comparable to the sale/clearance prices.


jl1

May 15, 2008, 3:01 PM

Post #21 of 31 (9840 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] FM3 - Household items

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You're right about that. The difference that we found a few months ago--as opposed to 5 years ago--is that there are some newer retailers in PV who are much more willing to deal on major appliances, etc. Especially if you are purchasing more than one item. My wife is a dedicated internet shopper, (as a retailer myself, my worst kind of customer), and she was unable to find lower prices on, say, Bosch and G.E. appliances, than we found at Tio Sam's. Tio Sam's also had a rock bottom price on a 42" Sony hdtv. Please, oldtimers, I am not suggesting that I know the game better than anybody else, but we have compared experiences with others who are setting up households in the PV area and most of them had experiences similar to ours.


sioux4noff

May 16, 2008, 8:22 PM

Post #22 of 31 (9791 views)

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Re: [jl1] FM3 - Household items

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With all the newer retail outlets in Puerto Vallarta, it is much easier shopping here now! The selection is decent and prices can be competitive.
I wouldn't bring appliances from NOB, but we buy a lot of smaller things and bring them from Texas.


(This post was edited by sioux4noff on May 16, 2008, 8:24 PM)


barmarr

Jun 30, 2008, 10:17 PM

Post #23 of 31 (9652 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] FM3 - Household items

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Well, we just returned from our trip to PV with our Menjia de Casa and it turned out to be a nightmare. After crossing at Nogales and arriving at the declaration station, we were told we had to hire an Aduana to process our Menjia de Casa. The Aduana charged us $300.00 US dollars for his services.

The lesson we learned was it is much faster to just declare everything as new, pay the taxes and be on your way.

Marilyn
(barmarr)


jerezano

Jul 1, 2008, 6:35 AM

Post #24 of 31 (9635 views)

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Re: [barmarr] FM3 - Household items

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Hello barmarr,

You said:>> After crossing at Nogales and arriving at the declaration station, we were told we had to hire an Aduana to process our Menjia de Casa.

If what you said is correct, then your nightmare trip was your own fault. That declaration station at the freezone (restricted zone) limit is not set up to receive and process the Menaje de Casa. That should be done at the frontier on crossing.

Anyway, just be glad that everything worked out and that your introduction to Mexican paperwork was relatively easy. Be alert next time you need to process some kind of document and follow the rules.

jerezano.


bournemouth

Jul 1, 2008, 9:41 AM

Post #25 of 31 (9608 views)

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Re: [jerezano] FM3 - Household items

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Jerezano, the customs officials at Nogales are notorious for being unhelpful with Menaje de Casas - it is easier to use other crossings if possible - and simpler to just declare and pay duty as the OP mentions. A Menaje de Casa is only worthwhile, in my estimation, when shipping a lot of stuff - and today most movers no longer require that you get one. If you are moving just what you can get into your vehicle, gambling on the green light or declaring is simpler.
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