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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are driving from Seattle to Ameca (Near Guadalajara) in December to bring a vehicle to our house. We are not retired yet and are just visiting our place several times a year. My wife has dual citizenship as she is from Mexico.
We are taking a lot of stuff in our truck when we go down.
My wife is agonizing about the values of the stuff she is packing and I hope someone can lend some advice.

1. How detailed does the list have to be? For example, can you pack a box with sheets and blankets and list it as 1 box of assorted sheets and blankets, or do you need to list each item specifiacally?

2. My wife wants to know what she should list as the value. She always finds great deals on stuff at garage sales and such. Sometimes she gets things at fantastic prices. Should she list the actual price she paid (no reciept on most garage sale items), or should she try to estimate the actual value, even if it is much higher than what she paid?

Thanks in advance,
Scott-
 

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Just put garage sale prices on everything. A box labeled 'linens' is OK, but electronics should be listed individually with age and serial number.
As for leaving your car behind in Mexico, here's a reminder: If it is a US plated car, you must have an FM3 visa to do that. You may not legally leave a temporarily imported car in Mexico if you only have an FMT. It makes no difference that your wife is Mexican. It is also a good idea to have a copy of your marriage certificate in the car to cover your wife driving it alone, without you in the car. It is legal for her to do so, but she might be asked to prove that she is 'immediate family'.
Enjoy your drive down; we traveled that same route some years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just put garage sale prices on everything. A box labeled 'linens' is OK, but electronics should be listed individually with age and serial number.
As for leaving your car behind in Mexico, here's a reminder: If it is a US plated car, you must have an FM3 visa to do that. You may not legally leave a temporarily imported car in Mexico if you only have an FMT. It makes no difference that your wife is Mexican. It is also a good idea to have a copy of your marriage certificate in the car to cover your wife driving it alone, without you in the car. It is legal for her to do so, but she might be asked to prove that she is 'immediate family'.
Enjoy your drive down; we traveled that same route some years ago.
Thanks for the answer. We are having an agency up here in Seattle prepare the paperwork to import the vehicle into mexico (and put mexican plates on it). My wife will be the one on the paperwork and we are having our marriage license translated to take with us. My understanding is that she can legally import the vehicle as she has dual citizenship, she has her voter ID and another number (that I can't remember the name of???) I can drive the vehicle with her in the car or with a letter giving her permission. Does this sound incorrect to you?
Thanks, Scott-
 

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I think you have it correct and that should solve most of the problems. If the car is under 10 years old, you will have to pay a hefty 'tenencia' each year and the insurance will also cost more than if it were registered in the USA.
That said, I admit that we have one USA plated car, which can't be imported (made in Japan) and also a Smart Car with Jalisco plates, that we purchased in Guadalajara.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think you have it correct and that should solve most of the problems. If the car is under 10 years old, you will have to pay a hefty 'tenencia' each year and the insurance will also cost more than if it were registered in the USA.
That said, I admit that we have one USA plated car, which can't be imported (made in Japan) and also a Smart Car with Jalisco plates, that we purchased in Guadalajara.
the car is 10 years old and will have Jalisco plates. Do you know if it is possible to buy insurance for just the periods of time we spend in Mexico, throughout the year? We are only at our place for a week or two at a time, 4-6 times a year. It kills me to pay for a year of insurance but only actually drive the vehicle for 6-8 weeks of the year...

Thanks again!
Scott-
 

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I believe that most companies will only write for a six month minimum and that it is nearly as expensive as a whole year. So, I have my doubts. Ask your agent when you get here.
 

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My wife is agonizing about the values of the stuff * * *
1. How detailed does the list have to be? * * *
2. My wife wants to know what she should list as the value.
We did a menaje de casa about five years ago and, like you, fussed a bit over it. We moved from San Diego to Tijuana and we used a local mover with lots of Customs experience. He set us straight.

Detail your manifest to the number of boxes; no need to itemize the contents. "16 cajas libros", for example, and on those boxes you might mark "libros caja 1/16" etc.

The value of your household goods is primarily for statistical purposes. Your wife has an absolute right to bring her belongings into Mexico free of duty regardless of what they're worth. But INEGI is required to compile statistics on the aggregate value of goods passing across Mexico's borders.

You get the menaje de casa authorized at your nearest Mexican consulate. They look over the manifest and, as long as it doesn't say "50 plasma televisions" or "1 Kalashnikov AK-47", they'll charge you about a hundred bucks and put the consular seal on each page. When a proper menaje de casa is presented at the border, the Customs guy's authority is thus limited to verifying that you are carrying nothing in excess of what the consulate permitted. Our moving guy was insistent on this point -- even seventeen boxes of books, where your manifest shows sixteen, could make things difficult for you.

Our experience disagrees with RV's advice on one point, however. Our menaje de casa was prepared in my wife's name using her Mexican citizenship: the mover told me I'd only gum up with works even if I had an FM3. I didn't even have an FMT at the time. So I drove into town on my own and my wife went with the moving van. No problems. Your situation differs from ours in that you will likely be present when the menaje de casa hits Customs.

If I were to offer advice on the menaje de casa, it would be to prepare everything in Spanish, inasmuch as Customs officials are not expected to understand English, and to make three or four photocopies of the approved paperwork.

You later mentioned that an agency in Seattle is translating your marriage certificate. That, by itself, will have no value. You will want to have your marriage certificate apostilled and then translated by an authorized translator. This might sound onerous but, from my own experience, I have found the U.S. bureaucracy to be about ten times more onerous -- certainly ten times more costly -- than the Mexican bureaucracy. And they both get off on hiding behind the curtain and doing the "Great and Powerful Oz" routine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
...You later mentioned that an agency in Seattle is translating your marriage certificate. That, by itself, will have no value. You will want to have your marriage certificate apostilled and then translated by an authorized translator. This might sound onerous but, from my own experience, I have found the U.S. bureaucracy to be about ten times more onerous -- certainly ten times more costly -- than the Mexican bureaucracy. And they both get off on hiding behind the curtain and doing the "Great and Powerful Oz" routine.


Thanks for all of your comments, one more question:

How & where can I get the marriage certificate apostilled and translated, as you suggest?

Scott-
 

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Hello, Scott.

The apostille is an international convention that is about a century old. It is how most countries recognize documents issued by other countries. (In other words, this is not a ******-vs-Mexican question, as many have suggested elsewhere: the apostille was established in The Hague ages ago as a way to simplify international paperwork.)

One may aposille only official documents. To do so, one presents oneself to the local issuing authority and requests a certified copy of the document (in your case, the marriage certificate from the county recorder in Seattle). The document is then taken to the state agency in charge of apostilles (in California, that is the Secretary of State; I don't know what it's called in Washington state), where the document is given its apostille. This is nothing more than an international certification of the local certification of the original document. As such, the document originally issued by the sovereign state of Washington ought to enjoy full faith and credit before any of the nations registered with the Hague Convention of 1920-something-or-other.

With the apostille you have a document that is accepted internationally. All you need at this point is to render it into one of the official languages of the receiving country.

Although there are about sixty languages being spoken in Mexico, the only official one is Spanish. And how might you translate your documents? Well, by paying an English-to-Spanish translator, of course. But no ordinary bilingual will do: you must use one who has been certified by your governing body. You need to look for a "perito traductor" -- this is someone who has been appointed by one of the thirty-one states or by the federal district of Mexico to offer formal translations for the purposes of good government etc etc. (Please don't ask me: I am merely a literary translator.)

If your agency in Seattle is authorized to translate for any of the federated bodies of Mexico, then you have no worries. If not, I would suggest you find someone who is authorized to translate for the Instituto Nacional de Migración and have them handle your paperwork. Best to get their guarantee in writing. And aim for an FM1, not an FM3. Because of your wife, you should be able to achieve dual citizenship in a couple of years.

I write from Tijuana, where everything is a bit of a blur. Here we are all fronterizos and much is forgiven on that account. (I spent two years bringing carloads of household goods into Tijuana that were not on our menaje de casa.) You will not enjoy the same latitude by moving from Seattle to Jalisco. To make matters worse, I doubt that your house will fit in one van -- ours didn't and we came from a two-bedroom apartment. Before you go, find a place where you can store "stuff" without payment or compromise and close to where you are likely to drive up to visit.

If I had the luxury of going back in time to give myself advice, it would be to say "Don't worry, just prepare." And, if I were in your position, I'd get my FM1 now from the Seattle consulate rather than later from INM. Yes, an FM1, not an FM3: being married to a Mexican puts you on the fast track to dual citizenship. Use it!

Your move appears to be daunting but it is merely a question of putting one foot in front of the other. Well, for me it was -- I was already acculturated before I got here and I suggest you do the same. I've seen culture shock and it isn't pretty. Being married to a Mexican is not enough, one needs to accept Mexico as an alternative and proper reality.

Mexico is an alternative and proper reality, carajo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello, Scott.

The apostille is an international convention that is about a century old. It is how most countries recognize documents issued by other countries. (In other words, this is not a ******-vs-Mexican question, as many have suggested elsewhere: the apostille was established in The Hague ages ago as a way to simplify international paperwork.)

One may aposille only official documents. To do so, one presents oneself to the local issuing authority and requests a certified copy of the document (in your case, the marriage certificate from the county recorder in Seattle). The document is then taken to the state agency in charge of apostilles (in California, that is the Secretary of State; I don't know what it's called in Washington state), where the document is given its apostille. This is nothing more than an international certification of the local certification of the original document. As such, the document originally issued by the sovereign state of Washington ought to enjoy full faith and credit before any of the nations registered with the Hague Convention of 1920-something-or-other.

With the apostille you have a document that is accepted internationally. All you need at this point is to render it into one of the official languages of the receiving country.

Although there are about sixty languages being spoken in Mexico, the only official one is Spanish. And how might you translate your documents? Well, by paying an English-to-Spanish translator, of course. But no ordinary bilingual will do: you must use one who has been certified by your governing body. You need to look for a "perito traductor" -- this is someone who has been appointed by one of the thirty-one states or by the federal district of Mexico to offer formal translations for the purposes of good government etc etc. (Please don't ask me: I am merely a literary translator.)

If your agency in Seattle is authorized to translate for any of the federated bodies of Mexico, then you have no worries. If not, I would suggest you find someone who is authorized to translate for the Instituto Nacional de Migración and have them handle your paperwork. Best to get their guarantee in writing. And aim for an FM1, not an FM3. Because of your wife, you should be able to achieve dual citizenship in a couple of years.

I write from Tijuana, where everything is a bit of a blur. Here we are all fronterizos and much is forgiven on that account. (I spent two years bringing carloads of household goods into Tijuana that were not on our menaje de casa.) You will not enjoy the same latitude by moving from Seattle to Jalisco. To make matters worse, I doubt that your house will fit in one van -- ours didn't and we came from a two-bedroom apartment. Before you go, find a place where you can store "stuff" without payment or compromise and close to where you are likely to drive up to visit.

If I had the luxury of going back in time to give myself advice, it would be to say "Don't worry, just prepare." And, if I were in your position, I'd get my FM1 now from the Seattle consulate rather than later from INM. Yes, an FM1, not an FM3: being married to a Mexican puts you on the fast track to dual citizenship. Use it!

Your move appears to be daunting but it is merely a question of putting one foot in front of the other. Well, for me it was -- I was already acculturated before I got here and I suggest you do the same. I've seen culture shock and it isn't pretty. Being married to a Mexican is not enough, one needs to accept Mexico as an alternative and proper reality.

Mexico is an alternative and proper reality, carajo!

Again, thanks for such an informative answer. Some of this does not apply to me... yet, as I am not planning to retire and move to Mexico for at least 5 more years. but I will file this away for future reference!
 

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I just wanted to add that the rules at the Registro Civil here in Puebla require that your documents (marriage certs, or birth certs) be apostilled then translated by an approved translater by the Registro Civil. So it may be better if you wait till you get to mexico and get it translated here. i got my BC translated in the US and i wasn't able to use it at all.

also... how much stuff are you planing to bring? just a car full of stuff? when we moved down here I had a pick up truck with the back filled with stuff. i had a list. i dont think i even listed everything.. had a rough estimate, and they only asked me for the total of what i was bringing. they didn't ask for the list or the individual prices of each item or whatever. i just told them it was about $400 worth of household items and i had to pay $40. i didn't have fm3 or fmt or anything as i went through customes before i went to immigration.
 

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To confirm:
Yes, you will need to wait until you are in Mexico to find an acceptable translator.
To 'apostille' a document, you apply to the Secretary of State where the document was issued.
 
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