Mexico Airport Customs
WYou’ve made it to Mexico. After packing and spending hours spent in planes, trains and automobiles, all you can think about is getting to your final destination. It almost seems cruel to make you pass through immigration and customs. Well, unfortunately, somebody has to do it and that somebody is you, me…and everyone else on the planet.

What do you have in there? Red light, green light, stop, go, is what people talk about when talking about going through customs in Mexico’s airports. With all the talk about lights and pushing buttons, nobody has really made it clear as to what it is all about. No, the magical button and flashing lights do not have the power to detect anything prohibited or illegal in your luggage. Instead, it is Mexico’s innovative way to randomly select passengers to double ensure that no prohibited products are crossing the border. Every passenger has to press a button. If the light is green, you are free to go. If it is red, your bags will be lightly searched.

 

Putting magical non-discriminating lights and buttons aside, getting through immigration and customs can be a pain. Here are a few tips on how to make it less painful:

A) Most American airlines pass out a slip for you to fill out for your FMM or tourist visa on the plane. Carry a pen with you and fill it out before landing. It will save you time in the airport.

B) Keep your passport and your piece of paper together at all times and make sure they are easily accessible. If you are anything like me, getting out of the airport as fast as possible is the mission.

C) If you are traveling with a partner or a group of people, divide the luggage up evenly when going through customs. That way if your partner gets the green light and you don’t; only half of your luggage will be searched.

D) No food! Dogs roam through the small city of luggage to sniff out anything illegal. Although they may be trained to find something a little more potent than a ham sandwich, a ham sandwich they will smell and it will stop them in their tracks. You will have to take time to remove it from your luggage.

E) Before leaving your country, determine EXACTLY what items are prohibited and what are not prohibited to carry into Mexico. The most commonly encountered and confiscated items include:

  •              ° More than 3 liters of alcohol.
  •              ° Large quantities of cigarettes and cigars.
  •              ° Medicine for personal use- make sure you have a prescription.
  •              ° Firearms – only with a permit from the Mexican consulate.

By following theses basic rules and doing adequate research before leaving, getting through Mexican customs will be a breeze.

Traveling to Mexico?

Because exact rules and regulations regarding international travel can be vague, we want to know what questions you have regarding immigration and customs in Mexico’s international airports. Please post questions in comments. We will do our best to find you answer. Also, if you have a funny story regarding Mexico customs, we want to hear it.

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About the Author

kristin Kristin McCollum is a travel writer that has spent the past year traveling and working throughout Europe and Mexico. Now settled on the Yucatan Peninsula, she finds inspiration in every person she meets and in the natural beauty which surrounds her. Follow Kristin on Twitter.

Writter Bio

Yucatan Holidays

COMMENTS

20 Responses to “Mexico Airport Customs: Passing with Ease”

  1. John Horton

    1. Your bags will be lightly searched
    2. Divide the luggage up evenly
    3. You can’t bring medicine or firearms
    4. Baby Sea Turtles: Keep your distance!
    Mexican Beer 101: Biggest beer distributors in Mexico: Grupo Modelo and Cerveceria Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma.

    Reply
  2. meleia paola

    1) What happens if you get the red light while in Customs?
    bags are searched
    2) What’s Kristin’s tip when you travel with a partner or group into Mexico?
    divide luggage
    3) Mention at least 2 things that are prohibited to carry into Mexico.
    firearms large quantities of alcohol
    4) Mention 2 of the Related News and Articles at the bottom of the post
    # Mexican Haciendas of Yucatan: History, Design and Photos. (0)
    # Baby Sea Turtles Go Wild in Cancun

    Reply
  3. Emmale

    1) What happens if you get the red light while in Customs?

    A. Your bags will be lightly searched.

    2) What’s Kristin’s tip when you travel with a partner or group into Mexico?

    A. Divide bags up evenly.

    3) Mention at least 2 things that are prohibited to carry into Mexico.

    A. Firearms and large quantities of cigarettes

    4) Mention 2 of the Related News and Articles at the bottom of the post

    A. “Tequila: What you didn’t learn in College.”
    “Baby Sea Turtles Go Wild in Cancun”

    Reply
  4. meleia paola

    1) What happens if you get the red light while in Customs?
    bags are searched
    2) What’s Kristin’s tip when you travel with a partner or group into Mexico?
    divide luggage
    3) Mention at least 2 things that are prohibited to carry into Mexico.
    firearms large quantities of alcohol (more than 3 liters)
    4) Mention 2 of the Related News and Articles at the bottom of the post
    # Mexican Haciendas of Yucatan: History, Design and Photos. (0)
    # Baby Sea Turtles Go Wild in Cancun

    Reply
  5. Alisa Flabel

    If you get red light, you will be lightly searched.

    In a group, divide luggage up.

    Prohibited: More than 3 liters of alcohol and large quantity of cigarettes and cigars.

    Related News Articles: Mexican Haciendas of Yucatan: History, Design and Photos.
    Baby Sea Turtles Go Wild in Cancun
    Mexican Beer 101| Beyond Corona

    Reply
  6. Lauren Sheppard

    ‎1) What happens if you get the red light while in Customs? Your bags will be searched

    2) What’s Kristin’s tip when you travel with a partner or group into Mexico? Divide up your bags

    3) Mention at least 2 things that are prohibited to carry …into Mexico. More than 3 liters of alcohol, fire arms

    4) Mention 2 of the Related News and Articles at the bottom of the post
    Baby sea turtles in Cancun, Mexican Beer beyond CoronaSee More
    2 minutes ago · UnlikeLike · 1 person
    Loading…

    Reply
  7. Wayne Bennett

    1 – your bags will be lightly searched.
    2 – divide the luggage up evenly when going through customs. That way if your partner gets the green light and you don’t; only half of your luggage will be searched.
    3 – More than 3 liters of alcohol.
    – Large quantities of cigarettes and cigars.
    4 – Mexican Haciendas of Yucatan: History, Design and Photos
    Baby Sea Turtles Go Wild in Cancun

    Reply
  8. stacey novello

    1.If you get a red light while going through customs your bag will be searched.
    2. If you are traveling with a group devide the luggage up evenly so then only half your items get searched.
    3.2 things that are prohibited to carry into Mexico are more than 3 liters of alcohol and large quantities of cigars or cigarettes.
    4.2 realated news articals are : Tequila- What You Didn’t Learn in College and Mexican Beer 101-Beyond Corona.

    Reply
  9. Matthew Wolff

    1) What happens if you get the red light while in Customs? your bags will be lightly searched.
    2) What’s Kristin’s tip when you travel with a partner or group into Mexico? divide the luggage up evenly when going through customs
    3) Mention at least 2 things that are prohibited to carry into Mexico.
    More than 3 liters of alcohol.
    ° Large quantities of cigarettes and cigars.
    4) Mention 2 of the Related News and Articles at the bottom of the post
    Mexican Beer 101| Beyond Corona (8)
    Tequila: What You Didn’t Learn in College (2)

    Reply
  10. Lori R. Wages

    Answers:
    1) If you get a red light, your luggage is subject to a light search.
    2)Kristin’s tip when traveling with a partner is to split your luggage up so that only half is subject to search.
    3) Firearms and Food are two things that we are prohibited from carrying through customs.
    4) Two related articles are: ‘Tequila:What You Didn’t Learn in College’ and ‘Baby Sea Turtles Go Wild in Cancun’

    Reply
  11. Cyndy Nordyke

    OK, had a tough time finding the BLOG Page.

    1) If you get a red light if just means your pages will be searched. No big deal.

    2) Divide your bags up evenly between everyone.

    3) Food with seeds & firearms. also, large amounts of alchol.

    4) Sea Turtles & Mexican Beer! Articles!

    Reply
  12. Denis Larsen

    A friend of mine on Isla Mujeres, Luis, had a prosthetic leg that was not functioning correctly. I had another friend who worked in the USA for the manufacturer of the leg. My friend in the states (Dan) told if I could get the leg to the states and sent it to him, he would get the leg rebuilt and working smoothly. I returned to the states with the leg in my suitcase and mailed the leg to Otto Bock Prosthetics in Minnesota. Luis was on crutches for about two weeks. Otto Bock rebuilt the leg “like new” and sent it to me in NJ in a specially made cardboard box. When I hit Mexican customs and the box went through the x-ray, customs officials wanted to know what was in the box. I explained. They wanted to know if it were mine. No, it belongs to a friends from Isla Mujeres. What’s the value of the leg? I don’t know; it’s not mine. We went back and forth until a supervisor came over and did the same dance. I explained the situation in detail again. What’s the value of the leg? I don’t know; it’s not mine. Finally after at least 15 minutes, they told me to get out of there and take my leg with me. My friend on Isla is still using the leg thanks to Otto Bock and Dan and Mexican customs.

    Reply
  13. Kristin

    I am glad to see so many comments on my post. Dan, I a especially happy to know that your friend was able to get his leg back. Imagine the debacle that could have been. When I passed customs, I was questioned about the 4 cans of beans in my bag I was carrying for a friend. Beans… in Mexico. Something tells me that I wouldn’t have made much regardless of the brand. I think they just want to make sure that you aren’t here to sell anything. In your case, it seems that wanted to make sure you weren’t here to sell the leg….as funny as that sounds. The lesson learnt: Never cross the border with a large quantity of sellable products or in Dan’s case, detached prosthetic limbs when you already have fully attached four natural limbs of your own. 🙂

    Reply

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