What is the Menaje de Casa and how do I use it to move my household goods to Mexico?
The Menaje de Casa is the method whereby the Mexican government allows foreigners and Mexican nationals to bring certain classes and amounts of their used household goods into Mexico one time, tax free.
Any legitimate commercial mover will import your used household goods through the Menaje de Casa.
(If you bring in your household goods into Mexico by yourself, without a commercial mover, you may or may not need a Menaje de Casa, but that’s a different story, so this post deals only with moving your household goods to Mexico through a legitimate commercial mover.)
There are very specific rules and there is a very specific process you need to follow in order to be in compliance with the Menaje de Casa, and non-compliance is no joke—there can be fines, confiscations, etc., and ignorance is no defense.
That said, it is not difficult to comply if you know the rules, which may very well be different depending on your visa status; the method by which your household goods enter Mexico; where your household goods cross into Mexico; and other considerations. Getting different answers depending on all these facets is why it can be so frustrating at times to know what to do. (For more on this aspect of moving to Mexico, please see: Why do I find such contradictory answers about how to move my household goods to Mexico.)
In all cases, you will need an inventory created in a specific way, especially with regard to electric / electronic items, which generally need to list each item’s make, model, and serial number, and sometimes, country of origin. There are other documents you will need as well, including letters written in grammatically correct Spanish containing certain information and in a certain format. You will also need a licensed customs broker and it is an extremely good idea to use a customs broker who is familiar with the Menaje de Casa (because most customs brokers are not) and the particular procedure followed in the geographical location where your goods will cross into Mexico.
It’s not intellectually difficult to comply with the Menaje de Casa, but you do have to know and follow the rules and work with people who have experience and who also know and follow the rules. As written above, the Mexican government treats non-compliance very seriously.