By Terry Sovil from the August 2018 Edition
Shipping products from USA or Canada to Mexico can be easy, depending on what you are trying to do. If what you need is in larger quantity, or for a specific sport (like snorkeling or SCUBA), you may have a harder time getting it shipped to Mexico. Some things they will just not ship. Other things are identified by a customs agents as a problem. Things like: stain remover, CO2 cylinders, paint and paint pens, makeup, lithiumion batteries and potential weapons (knives, spear guns) may get stopped.
Also a problem would be cash, traveler’s checks, checks of any kind payable to a generic bearer rather than a specific person, precious metals such as gold or silver, some jewelry or precious stones and lottery tickets foreign to Mexico. Other prohibited items include electronic cigarettes, pork products, virtually any-thing perishable, works that infringe on Mexican intellectual property, ammunition and loaded metal firearm cartridges. You may be faced with sending them back, paying a huge fee or having them confiscated.
Shipping between USA and Mexico includes integral inspections, forms and codes, wait time, customs brokerage, freight
forwarding, trucking, air freight, and more. You want to choose a carrier that does business in BOTH Mexico and in the USA or Canada. This leaves you with UPS, DHL and FedEx. If you are in the USA, you can opt to use USPS (United States Postal Service). It will get them to the border and then it is turned over to Correos Express. UPS, DHL and FedEx (the big 3) will fly them to Guadalajara and then have customs review the pack-age and either release it for delivery or create a problem ticket. I have found that, for orders of less than $300.00 USD, that USPS Global Priority is a good way to ship. I’ve never encountered an import fee with them. Not as fast as the others, but it does get here and requires a signature. Often it not as expensive as the big 3 shippers. I still get our PADI training materials this way.
Most of what you need with these kinds of orders is done for you. There are basic documents required and they include:
• Import/export form – this is picked up and completed at the post office or is done by the vendor you have purchased from, or by the import broker you have hired.
• Commercial invoice this is your bill from wherever you bought the merchandise, usually inside and on the top of the package.
• Bill of lading the document issued by the carrier to acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment, like the form you get from FedEx with all the information on it and they stick it in a plastic liner or on the package.
• NAFTA Certificate of Origin (only if goods qualify for NAFTA).
Amazon will ship to Mexico from the USA and they also have an Amazon Mexico web site. It can be a bit confusing.
Here are some ideas. You can receive things like health items, movies on DVD, music on CD, tools, watches, jewelry, toys, electronics, etc.
Visit your USA Amazon account (www.amazon.com) and create a shipping address here, in Mexico. As you search for the products, you want make sure your shipping address stays in Mexico. Amazon will tell you what can’t be shipped by that seller, so you can find another seller, or that it can’t be shipped to Mexico at all.
Otherwise, go to your Amazon Mexico account (www.amazon.com.mx) and browse the products there. If they are coming from the USA and are not already here, in Mexico, they will tell you there will be an import fee.
International shipping fees can be high so, while you are keeping your Mexico shipping address displayed, choose shippers with lower shipping rates. If you click “Amazon” in the seller box in the left hand column, you should be seeing only items sold and shipped by Amazon.
Amazon takes care of the transaction(s) and delivery times are usually pretty good. I once ordered 2 hard drives on a Sunday and had them by the very next Friday. The costs can be high for import, but they have all of that information included so when you pay them for the order, you do not pay again upon delivery. The cost will include shipping, etc. If there is a problem, Amazon works to correct it.
If you are trying to order from a specific store, some will not ship internationally at all.
If you are doing all ground delivery, perhaps of a bigger item, it is similar and looks like this:
Ground freight bound for Mexico travels the same way as any shipment within the US, until it reaches a shipping facility near the border. At that point, a freight forwarder, customs broker and drayage company are needed to get freight into Mexico.
Here’s how it works:
• Your domestic carrier will deliver the shipment to a freight forwarder of choice, which then acts on behalf of your Mexican customs broker to prepare it to cross the border.
• The freight forwarder inspects the shipment, makes sure customs documentation is correct and hires a drayage company.
• The drayage company takes the shipment over the border, gets it through customs and delivers the freight to the carrier handling final delivery.
• The carrier delivers the shipment to the consignee.
If you are interested in having commercial products sent to you in Mexico, and the value could exceed $1,000 USD, you need to obtain an import permit from SAT/Hacienda (Mexican IRS).
Packages under $300.00 USD do not get a great deal of inspection unless there is something in the contents that they are looking for or don’t like. You will also benefit from the services of an import broker. You need to choose an honest and reliable broker. That isn’t always easy! Trust me.
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Terry is a founding partner and scuba instructor for Aquatic Sports and Adventures (Deportes y Aventuras Acuáticas) in Manzanillo. A PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) Master Instructor in his 36th year as a PADI Professional. He also holds 15 Specialty Instructor Course ratings. Terry held a US Coast Guard 50-Ton Masters (Captain’s) License. In his past corporate life, he worked in computers from 1973 to 2005 from a computer operator to a project manager for companies including GE Capital Fleet Services and Target. From 2005 to 2008, he developed and oversaw delivery of training to Target’s Loss Prevention (Asset Protection) employees on the West Coast, USA. He led a network of 80+ instructors, evaluated training, performed needs assessments and gathered feedback on the delivery of training, conducted training in Crisis Leadership and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention to Target executives. Independently, he has taught hundreds of hours of skills-based training in American Red Cross CPR, First Aid, SCUBA and sailing and managed a staff of Project Managers at LogicBay in the production of multi-media training and web sites in a fast-paced environment of artists, instructional designers, writers and developers, creating a variety of interactive training and support products for Fortune 1000 companies.