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Questions about Mexican customs, bringing multiple smartphones, electronics

Questions about Mexican customs, bringing multiple smartphones, electronics

Old Aug 8, 20, 3:39 pm
  #1  
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Question Questions about Mexican customs, bringing multiple smartphones, electronics

I've been to Mexico 3 times. Each time I spent a month or two. The last time was in 2016. It seems like a long time ago, and I forgot many things.

I remember last time I went I was worried that customs would find my extra cell phones. As I have no permanent home in the U.S, so I pretty much carry everything with me. I read several years ago that if you have extra electronic devices that Mexican customs will try to charge you money for it on the spot? Is that still true? For example, right now I have a lot of electronics. All things that I use and all things that I'd like to bring to Mexico..
1 labtop
1 tablet
1 Nintendo Switch
3 smartphones.. 1 I use, 1 backup, and another older one I haven't been able to sell
1 Kindle
1 mp3 player

Mainly I worry about being charged for the extra phones.. but I also need to bring the backup with me as I use it as an audio device and also a backup if something happens to my main phone.

Also, I have a medical problem with my eyes.. and have around 40 bottles of eye drops that I bought before leaving Asia.. I would bring those with me to Mexico. Will they try to charge me for the eye drops by (falsely) thinking that I am importing them to sell?

Does Mexico even still mess with people just for bringing extra phones?

I'm also bringing a lot of nutritional supplements.. I take like 25 different supplements.. vitamins, herbs, minerals, etc. for my eyes and for general health.

I had an experience my last time arriving to Mexico whereas I got the "red light" for further inspection.. and I felt they were giving me a hard time about all the supplements I was bringing.. and became afraid they were about to charge me hundreds of dollars in "taxes" for carrying the mostly already opened supplements with me. Just wanted to get other's experiences and see whether it's still the same?

and checking also since I'm not up-to-date on all the latest information. It's still okay for U.S citizen on tourist visa to fly to Mexico City right? Do I need a return ticket? I'm planning to fly one-way since I don't know when I would like to return to the U.S.

I'm thinking about going to Mexico because I have a few good friends there and costs are much more affordable. I need an affordable place to live. I just came back to the U.S a month ago, and stressed everyday about cost of accommodation here in the Pacific Northwest. I genuinely miss Mexico too.. the people, food, and friendliness. I wish there were not a pandemic.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 9:35 am
  #2  
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Mexico requires a return ticket for visitors, but rarely checks other than to inquire how long your stay for. That said, you are required to depart Mexico before the expiration of your permit, which will ordinarily, but not always be, six months. I think you might have to leave one phone at home. Still, three phones isn’t a commercially feasible amount, but you are at some degree of risk with the number of devices you want to take if you get a strict inspector.

As to what you can import without duties (in part - see full text here)

  • Bienes de uso personal, tales como ropa, calzado y productos de aseo y de belleza, siempre que sean acordes a la duración del viaje, incluyendo un ajuar de novia; artículos para bebés, tales como silla, cuna portátil, carriola, andadera, entre otros, incluidos sus accesorios. (Clothes)
  • Dos cámaras fotográficas o de videograbación; material fotográfico; tres equipos portátiles de telefonía celular o de las otras redes inalámbricas; un equipo de posicionamiento global (GPS); una agenda electrónica; un equipo de cómputo portátil de los denominados laptop, notebook, omnibook o similares; una copiadora o impresora portátiles; un quemador y un proyector portátil, con sus accesorios. (Three phones or other devices using cellular or other wireless networks - technically, could include tablet, one laptop or similar computer.)
  • Dos equipos deportivos personal​es, cuatro cañas de pesca, tres deslizadores con o sin vela y sus accesorios, trofeos o reconocimientos, siempre que puedan ser transportados común y normalmente por el pasajero.
  • Un aparato portátil para el grabado o reproducción del sonido o mixto; o dos de grabación o reproducción de imagen y sonido digital y un reproductor portátil de DVD; un juego de bocinas portátiles, y sus accesorios.
  • Cinco discos láser, 10 discos DVD, 30 discos compactos, tres paquetes de software y cinco dispositivos de almacenamiento para cualquier equipo electrónico.
  • Libros, revistas y documentos impresos.
  • Cinco juguetes, incluidos los de colección, y una consola de videojuegos, así como cinco videojuegos. (Five toys, including a video game console, five video games.)
  • Un aparato para medir presión arterial y uno para medir glucosa o mixto y sus reactivos, así como medicamentos de uso personal (en caso de sustancias psicotrópicas debe mostrarse la receta médica). (Medicines for personal use, psychotropics require medical prescription.)
  • Velices, petacas, baúles y maletas o cualquier otro artículo necesario para el traslado del equipaje.
  • Un binocular y un telescopio.
  • Dos instrumentos musicales y sus accesorios.
  • Una tienda de campaña y demás artículos para campamento.
  • Un juego de herramientas de mano con su estuche, que podrá comprender un taladro, pinzas, llaves, dados, desarmadores, cables de corriente, entre otros.
  • Los pasajeros mayores de 18 años, un máximo de 10 cajetillas de cigarros, 25 puros o 200 gramos de tabaco; hasta 3 litros de bebidas alcohólicas y 6 litros de vino.
  • Los adultos mayores y las personas con discapacidad, los artículos que por sus características suplan o disminuyan sus limitaciones, tales como andaderas, sillas de ruedas, muletas, bastones, entre otros.
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Old Aug 22, 20, 4:18 am
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Mexico isn’t like it used to be about electronics. If all of your electronics are obviously for your personal use (not new in boxes), you should be fine. I don’t think it is that unusual for business people to be traveling with three phones. As far as customs goes at MEX: after grabbing your luggage head to the sign that says something like “nada que declarar“ or “sin declaraciones” (nothing to declare/ without declarations) and walk through that pass-way with purpose giving a little glance of acknowledgement to the security officer posted there. Easy breezy.

Best to sound like you have a place to quarantine for 14 days / destination/ and purpose in immigration arriving to CDMX during pandemic.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 12:50 pm
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I have found that it is not the Mexican immigration you have to worry about with a one way ticket....but the counter agent at the airport when you check-in. Some of them know the " law" and will not let you board w/o some sort of return ticket or evidence of your intent to return. Most of the times they don't give it a second look.... but occasionally you get the strict agent who at the very most...makes you buy a return ticket before checking you in. ( Buy a full fare and refund it once you are in Mexico)
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Old Aug 25, 20, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by david55 View Post
I have found that it is not the Mexican immigration you have to worry about with a one way ticket....but the counter agent at the airport when you check-in. Some of them know the " law" and will not let you board w/o some sort of return ticket or evidence of your intent to return. Most of the times they don't give it a second look.... but occasionally you get the strict agent who at the very most...makes you buy a return ticket before checking you in. ( Buy a full fare and refund it once you are in Mexico)
They're not quoting the law, they’re referring to IATA TIMATIC. That’s what airlines follow, and personnel are generally quite strict about it. If they allow a passenger who fails to meet the stipulated requirements, they can get into trouble, particularly because if one is refused on arrival the airline responsible for their arrival will generally have to transport the passenger back to their origin and may be subject to a $10,000 fine.

One can fill in detail and see what the IATA requirements for travel are. United Airlines offers a version of Timaticweb here.

(Two friends of mine secured Business Class travel on Cathay Pacific round trip US gateway to Delhi via Hong Kong. When they got to Delhi, there was a small error with her online travel authority. Her passport was confiscated, she was escorted to the gate and onto the CX flight to HKG, where she was escorted to the next flight to her US gateway city. She was given her passport upon arrival at that city. CX was required to transport her, meaning they had to boot a paying passenger off the full flight, and she lost her paid travel arrang3ments in India as well as her miles.)
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Old Sep 23, 20, 1:23 pm
  #6  
 
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Mexico ≠ Brazil or Argentina. They don't care about electronics and they aren't taxed, unlike south america where iPhones are 2x the price of USA, here in Mexico its the same price, yo ucan bring whatevery ou want.

RE: return ticket they have gotten quite strict about that, the airlines are even worse, if you have a one way ticket almost certainly a gate agent will demand to see proof of return or residency. Worst case scenario you can buy a ticket at the airport on the spot and then get a refund within 24 hour period, but best to avoid that situation.
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Old Sep 24, 20, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by PointsPanda View Post
Mexico ≠ Brazil or Argentina. They don't care about electronics and they aren't taxed, unlike south america where iPhones are 2x the price of USA, here in Mexico its the same price, yo ucan bring whatevery ou want.
About 5 years ago I brought 2 laptops (mine and a new one - out of box - purchased for a family member). I was required to pay tax on the second one based on purchase price. Perhaps they have changed the rules or customs officers have been granted more discretion now....YMMV.
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Old Sep 24, 20, 11:45 am
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Think honestly you just got unlucky Section 107 i've been through customs dozens of times in the last few years never taxed or even questioned about anything.

Also the airport matters, Cancun is way more corrupt then pretty much any other airport.
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Old Sep 28, 20, 12:47 am
  #9  
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Random Questions About Mexico.. for people living there or who have lived there

I'm a U.S citizen who is thinking about spending 1 - 3 months in Mexico. I have done 1 - 2 months 3x before.. in Merida one time.. and in Queretaro / Guanajuato another time.. and Mexico City the third time.

To be honest, I get nervous about customs every time I go. I have no permanent "home" (as in place to keep my stuff) in the U.S.. so basically everything in my luggage is everything I own. So I have like old smartphones, lots of electronics.. I take a lot of health and nutrition supplenents on a daily basis for many general health and specific health things. None of it prescribed just over the counter health supplements. I have a major eye problem.. so I need to use a lot of over-the-counter non-prescribed eye drops.. but like special ones.. not the usual ones you can find easily. I have to order from Europe.. so I buy in bulk.

First question / concern about Mexico. I get nervous every time I enter.. because often I am carrying 30 different kinds of health / nutritional supplements in my luggage. I use all of it for personal use. With COVID it's even 'worse' because I've added all kinds of immune boosting supplements to my daily regimine. So if I'm going to Mexico for a few months you can imagine how many supplements I need to bring! Is there any chance that customs is going to stop me and demand that I pay taxes? or even some corruption and asking for money? Like he'll open my luggage and see 35 different kinds of supplements (all legal) and 50 eye drop things that I need for 3 months.. will they demand I pay taxes on it?

Likewise, I have multiple smart phones.. Nintendo Switch.. tablet.. etc. Mexico is the only country I've been to that has a list of "1 tablet.. 1 phone.. etc." How often does it happen to be charges taxes on things like this for personal use.. say, for example.. maybe I have 3 smartphones.. 2 of them used.. but they are all mine for personal use and not for selling. How to protect myself from customs or any kind of customs corruption? Considering I need to bring everything I own.

Next question.. I stayed in Merida for a month.. loved it.. normal.. affordable.. lovely people.. perfect for me.. boring. I like boring, safe, and nice. That's my style. I visit Cancun and Playa Del Carmen and Tulum and did not enjoy any of it.. just seemed like dirty, tourism hell, and relatively expensive too. So here's my second question.. I'm thinking to visit Puerto Vallarta for the first time. I've never been there. Do you think I'd enjoy it? I like Mexico City, Queretaro, and Guanajuato very much. I've read some comparisons between Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.. but honestly.. in my mind, I am trying to compare Merida and Puerto Vallarta in terms of cost, safety, and overall enjoyment to relax and enjoy a peaceful life. Would I enjoy Puerto Vallarta? And how long? 1 week? 10 days? 1 month? Any other places in Mexico anyone suggests for 1 month Airbnb stay? I'd like to do 1 month Airbnb stay in three different parts of Mexico. The second month would likely be Mexico City.. and third month.. I dunno..

I'm worried about COVID.. honestly, I sanitize everything since I got back to the U.S a few months ago. I always wear K95 masks, etc. and avoid enclosed spaces and crowds. What's the overall feeling in Mexico for safety with COVID? Particularly asking about Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City? Do most people wear masks? weak masks properly (in the U.S 1/3rd don't)? social distance? Just wondering..

Fourth question.. I'm wondering.. do I really need to order all those supplements and eye drops and carry in my luggage??? I would normally buy from Amazon.com and iherb.com.. but I saw the customs duty exemption for shipments is very very low.. only $50 on health care items?? For people living in Mexico how do you order iherb or Amazon without being charged super high taxes? Like for me, in Singapore, I think up to $500 of health items was exempt from customs duties.. so $50 seems very slow.. if what I read was correct!

Thanks for any help, advice
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Old Sep 28, 20, 1:09 pm
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Holy cow.. I'm so sorry guys.. I forgot that I made this thread a month ago because I forgot to subscribe to it.. so I'm just now seeing the replies.

You can tell these questions have been on my mind for a while now. Although my 'new' thread also asks some COVID questions and questions about Puerto Vallarta. I'd really like to hear people's feedback on Puerto Vallarta and how long is suggested to stay. I'm just thinking would PV be an affordable and safe place and not too touristy like Merida? Or will it be completely different than Cancun in many ways, but still feel touristy and still be relatively expensive? My favorite places I've stayed / traveled in Mexico are Merida and Guanajuato and Queretaro.. I like Mexico City too but of course it's a big bustling city and air quality makes it not so enjoyable. I like nature a lot. I like safe and I like boring. I'm also really on a budget and don't want to spend too much. It's just the flight connections into Puerto Vallarta are very easy from the west coast, and I've never been.. I just don't know though if in my case whether 3 nights, or 10 nights, or 1 month makes the most sense.
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Old Oct 4, 20, 4:31 pm
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Maybe better start a new thread about it FlyingSloth . PV is way more touristy then Merida IMO. I'm surprised you think of Merida as touristy as its a medium sized city of just under 1 million usually skipped by foreigners on vacation despite its proximity to Cancun. PV is quiet, has a lot of old expats, its not like Cancun at all. Also be aware PV doesn't really have much of a real "beach" as its on a bay not the ocean with very short shoreline that practically disappears in high tide. Personally i'm not a huge fan of PV, its quiet and boring without much to do or see past a few days.

Most younger folk like myself usually use PV as simply a starting point to checkout the beaches north or the city in Nayarit like Sayulita, San Pancho etc, that are way prettier and of course, actually have a real beach and for us surfers, waves. Actually in my opinion the "riviera Nayarit" area has some of the prettiest beaches in Mexico and they're only 20-30 miles away from PV proper.

If you liked Merida, Guanajuato and Queretaro, sounds like you like interior cities. Maybe check out Puebla and its sister city Cholulua, its 2 hour bus ride from CDMX, an absolutely stunning Spanish colonial towncenter, tons of crazy history went down there, and fascinating museums as well. Plus its def busier then sleepy Guanajuato but not TOO busy like CDMX and much better air quality, maybe this medium level bustle is your vibe.

Maybe you could something like PV for 2-3 days, Sayulita/San Pancho for 2-3 days, then fly to CDMX and checkout some nearby pueblos, like Cuernavaca/Tepotzlan, Valle de Bravo, Puebla/Cholula etc. Another option is a few days in PV and nearby beaches and then its only a 4 hour bus ride to Guadalajara and of course nearby Tequilia. GDL has some fascinating culture but it pales in comparison to CDMX in terms of stuff to do and culture and general vibrancy. plus much less walking friendly, I'd give it 2-3 days max.

Hope this is helpful, but generally speaking 10 nights in PV you'd be pretty bored, you could see all the sites in 2 days and the beach in the city proper, well stinks honestly, it feels more like a lake shore then ocean or bay. PV has some OK nightlife too, but of course due to covid all shutdown ATM. PV does have its perks though, good flight connections, and since they are used to tourist good english level as well, but outside of the boardwalk and the church in the center there ain't much to do IMO.

Last edited by PointsPanda; Oct 4, 20 at 4:39 pm
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