Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.
Last Published: 10/10/2018

For tax purposes, all Mexican importers must register and be listed with the Official Register of Importers (Padrón de Importadores), maintained by the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), which also maintains special sector registries. To be eligible to import more than 400 different items (including agricultural products, textiles, chemicals, electronics, and auto parts), Mexican importers must apply to the SHCP to be listed in these sector registries. U.S. exporters have occasionally encountered problems when products are added to the list without notice or importers are summarily dropped from the registry without prior notice or subsequent explanation. It is important to keep in mind that in many cases releasing goods from Mexican customs can take more time than expected.

The basic Mexican import document is the Pedimento de Importación. Mexico requires import and export documentation including a completed pedimento for all commercial crossings. This document must be accompanied by a commercial invoice (in Spanish), a bill of lading, documents demonstrating guarantee of payment of additional duties for undervalued goods if applicable (see the Customs Valuation section of this guide), and, if applicable, documents demonstrating compliance with Mexican product safety and performance regulations (see the Standards section). The import documentation should be prepared and submitted by a licensed Mexican customs broker or by an importer with sufficient experience in completing such documents.

Products qualifying as North American must use the NAFTA Certificate of Origin to receive preferential treatment. This must be completed by the exporter and does not have to be validated or formalized. Mexican tax authorities conduct fiscal audits on certain exporters in sensitive industries. A good source of information is the Mexican Tax Administration Service’s website regarding Verification of NAFTA Certificates of Origin. (For future developments and information on eventual agreements related to the NAFTA renegotiation, check the Fact Sheets and NAFTA pages at the Office of United States Trade Representative at www.ustr.gov.)


Following a 2015 change in the law, the Mexican importer (registered in the Official Register of Importers) must assume responsibility for their own import paperwork and compliance with Mexico's customs regulations. Thus, the use of a customs broker for import transactions is no longer a requirement. However, Mexican customs law is very strict regarding proper submission and preparation of customs documentation. Errors in paperwork can result in fines and even confiscation of merchandise as contraband. As a result, a customs broker’s services may still be needed for the import process. Since customs brokers are subject to sanctions if they violate customs laws, some have been very restrictive in their interpretation of Mexican regulations and standards. Please also see our Temporary Entry section below.

In the case of the textiles, apparel, and footwear sectors, the importer must be registered in the Padrón (national registry) for textile, apparel, and footwear products. Companies not registered in the Padrón are not allowed to import the product.

On December 3, 2015, the Mexican Government initiated a special program to strengthen the Mexican textile-apparel industry. The main purpose of this program is to protect local industry against counterfeiting from Asia and to promote the financing programs of the Mexican Development Bank to support small and medium-sized companies in the sector. A number of these measures affect Mexican textile importers, including the use of an importer registry, the establishment of reference prices (though they should not be applied to products coming in under a NAFTA Certificate of Origin), as well as a five-day waiting period for all imports.

As is the case with steel products, notice of importation must be provided to the Mexican Government at least five days prior to the shipment and must include the invoice, complete supplier information, and other documents.

The following links provide access to the three versions of the textile, apparel, and footwear Mexican reference price lists:

 

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Mexico Import Regulations Trade Development and Promotion