Shipping to Mexico: Rules and Regulations

arrow with painted with Mexican flag mounted to tree against blue sky

Mexico provides invaluable products and services to American businesses and manufacturers, but not every enterprise has a streamlined shipping system that works internationally. Like all international shipping, shipping to Mexico comes with a unique set of rules and regulations that help ensure all imports and exports are safe and accounted for.

When considering shipment to Mexico, it is vital to thoroughly explore three major shipment considerations: cost, regulation, and restriction.

Cost of Shipping to Mexico

Shipping to Mexico from the United States is, in many cases, simpler than shipping overseas. Calculating costs is based largely on two factors: freight class and weight.

Freight Class

The freight class system and its designations depend highly on the shipper. Since the capabilities and resources of each shipping company are different, freight classes must be adjusted to accommodate those capabilities.

However, freight class is commonly determined by the following:

  • Density – Materials vary widely in shipments, and some may be more tightly packed and rigid than others.
  • Handling – Whether your freight is easy to transport may affect its class.
  • Stowability – Shipments need to be stored efficiently to maximize return on investment for shippers.
  • Liability – The value of your goods and their propensity to break shift their freight class.

Knowing the freight class of your cargo helps produce more accurate estimates for shipment. Check with your shipper to find out how your class is determined.


The total weight of your goods (not their individual weights) changes how much manpower and fuel is necessary to safely ship them. To calculate the total, shippers will require the following information:

  • Name of or type of item
  • Weight of individual item
  • Total count of items under the provided name or type

An accurate weight helps speed the entire shipping process and improves the accuracy of cost estimates.

Mexico’s Customs Regulations

The list of regulations for any international shipment is long, but the following are helpful to know before considering shipment.

Value Added Tax (IVA)

Customs in Mexico collects a sum called the value-added tax (IVA) from importers once merchandise enters the country. Lawmakers have mandated a solid 16% IVA across the country.

Non-Document Shipments

Shipments to Mexico that may not be considered documents are likely to be assessed duty, tax, or both. Application of a duty or tax to non-document shipments is unaffected by the value of the shipment.

Formal Import Rules

Shipment value does affect Mexico’s formal import rules. The country requires registration with the Mexican government for formal import when goods are valued more than US $1,000 for businesses or US $5,000 for individuals.


To ensure the safety and efficiency of shipment, the country of Mexico has placed restrictions on shipped goods.

Certain items require special clearance, including:

  • Charitable Donations
  • Consumable products
  • Powders, liquids, and gases
  • Samples
  • Solid Wood Packing Materials
  • Temporary Imports
  • Toys made for children 3 or younger
  • USDA Shipments
  • Warranty Shipments

Specific listed items are absolutely restricted from entry to Mexico, such as:

  • Bicycles and bicycle parts
  • Used electrical items
  • Forged or counterfeit items
  • Personal effects or used personal items
  • Products made in Iran

No Dumping

When manufacturers produce excess goods that cannot be sold for a profit in their country of origin, they sometimes attempt to mitigate their losses by dumping goods in a foreign country. To discourage this practice, the Mexican government applies an anti-dumping duty according to a list of specific products from particular countries. The amount of the duty changes depending on the merchandise.

Restrictions apply nearly universally, so it’s in the best interest of the shipping party to check with shippers as to the legality of exporting goods.


The logistics of shipping to Mexico become more complicated as shipments increase in size and weight. Businesses that manufacture multiple products for export can benefit greatly from the creation of an exportation plan.

The plan should include actionable options for situations in which exportation of products may run into problems with Mexico’s shipping rules and customs regulations.

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