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Customs in Mexico : an effort to gather the info in one thread !

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We got married this May in Mexico and had 6 bags between my fiance and myself. I was carrying my wedding dress, so it was pretty obvious that all of our luggage was for a wedding. Customs agents made my fiance push the button and then just let me walk right on by without pushing anything. I was worried that the dried starfish we brought for decor might be an issue, but it sounds like we got off easy!

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We had 5 pieces of luggage plus my dress (and a backpack each). I had dried starfish and shells and such in the bags. My mom also had a piece of luggage for us with decorations. We all went right through, got green lights without a second look. 

 

 

Originally Posted by TheWolferts View Post

We got married this May in Mexico and had 6 bags between my fiance and myself. I was carrying my wedding dress, so it was pretty obvious that all of our luggage was for a wedding. Customs agents made my fiance push the button and then just let me walk right on by without pushing anything. I was worried that the dried starfish we brought for decor might be an issue, but it sounds like we got off easy!

 

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What did you ladies do with your wedding bands/jewelry? Besides my wedding dress, that's all of value that I'd be taking through customs. A friend of mine told me to wear it through customs and declare my wedding dress only.

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We didn't declare our rings or my dress - those are all personal belongings, not gifts per se.

Originally Posted by Kali628 View Post

What did you ladies do with your wedding bands/jewelry? Besides my wedding dress, that's all of value that I'd be taking through customs. A friend of mine told me to wear it through customs and declare my wedding dress only.

 



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Well that's good news. I wasn't sure if since I was stowing them in my carry on bag they would have to be declared separately! Thank you!

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I got married in Mexico back in June but I'm just getting around to posting this. Before we left I read this forum and understood the limitations and requirements, etc. We were bringing down a massive amount of stuff with us (9 suitcases not including our personal items/clothes/etc for the trip) so I had a feeling we were going to have issues. We had a folder inside each suitcase that included a detailed spreadsheet of every item and its value, and original receipts for every item. We understood that each person had a $300 limit and we would be taxed for anything above that amount. We easily could have made up receipts and lied about an items value, BUT the penalty to falsifying information is WAY MORE (several thousand dollars) than just paying taxes. We decided to go the safe route and were honest about everything. I think total we brought with us about $2,500 of decor, gifts, welcome bag materials, etc. We bought plastic suitcases/travel trunks from Walmart (picture below) - they were wonderful for packing and traveling but were a HUGE RED FLAG for customs. We didn't even get to go through the red light / green light thing. We were brought aside immediately by customs staff and all 9 suitcases were inspected in their entirety. They made sure there was nothing illegal (guns, drugs, etc.) and of course wanted to know the value of everything. I am so lucky/thankful that I have been studying Spanish for 12 years, otherwise this process would have been nearly impossible with the language barrier. They were asking me a lot of questions and trying to have a conversation the whole time. We ended up having to pay around $120 to get them to clear our suitcases.  Please note that they only accept Mexican pesos - no US dollars or credit cards. We didn't know this so we had to find a currency exchange at the airport and were charged a ridiculous exchange rate. We were afraid they would confiscate items or charge us several hundred dollars, so we didn't think our fine/tax was too bad. The worst part was that the whole process took about an hour and 1/2. There were 12 other guests on our same flight from the States who were waiting for us to head to the resort (we had a huge 20 passenger van) so I felt really bad about how long it took. My advice: travel with luggage that looks like personal luggage, not sketchy trunks!!
Eek! I can't even imagine what you spent to travel with that many pieces of luggage! As someone who can barely say hello and count to ten in Spanish, a story like yours kind of freaks me out. Thank you for sharing! Especially the tip about using ordinary luggage, because I have heard people discussing other containers to use, and I always wondered if that might draw more attention. I hope to bring down very few suitcases, but I need to get better about keeping up with receipts.

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It's good to know that it helps to know Spanish. I haven't studied it for that long so I'm not completely fluent, but I'm hoping that if any issues do come up that knowing that little bit of Spanish would help. It's good to know my Spanish courses in university isn't going to waste!

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I plan to learn some before I go, but I don't know how successful I will be.  I took 2 years of it in high school and came out only knowing how to ask incredibly basic questions.  Time to get to work on that, I guess! 

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I'm just going to keep praying that I will have it easy at the customs, and won't need to use any of my Spanish. I'd much rather that than having to deal with them and delaying everyone.

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