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My experience in Mexico
8187 22 2017-1-16
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fivetonine
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I had a recent trip to Mexico and informing myself about drone regulations there, I found out that it is pretty easy to fly just about anywhere outside of cities, airports and people. So I thought it would be a good idea to bring along my Phantom 4.

Then came the customs guys. On my entry airport, Guadalajara, customs revised all my luggage and, of course, found a very interesting drone. The guy knew very well what it was, and told me it would exceed the duty-free limitations each visitor has (which includes two photographic cameras, and other electronic stuff, but no drones). I tried to convince him that this was just a more fancy photographic camera, but to no avail. I had to do an importation procedure and pay duty and VAT. The clerk asked me for the purchase receipt, which I couldn't produce, and immediately checked on Amazon for how much my drone retailed. He took 30% off, and charged me a whopping MXN 2,100 (US$ 100) in taxes. My spanish is pretty good so I tried anything to talk him out of it, or try other options, but at the end the only options were to pay or let customs destroy the drone. So I paid (they take MasterCard!) and they handed me an official receipt including the serial number of the device, so I was told the next time I entered Mexico, I just need to show this receipt and I will not be charged again.

Besides that, Mexico was awesome. I took some really nice shots, and will come back for more. Just making sure I print out and take along a copy of that expensive receipt.


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2017-1-16
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ulti
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any chance of sharing that receipt? I have a trip to mexico coming up in a few days and would love to not have to go through what you went through. ;)
2017-1-24
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185EZ
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We had the mis fortune of hitting the random red button in mexico customs and they searched all our luggage
Agent opened the backpack and lifted the drone out and asked "phantom"?
I said yes and he asked value and I said $600
he put it back and we went on our way
2017-1-30
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185EZ
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I would also like to see the receipt of the tax charge
Why are drones excluded?
Import Taxes

A.      VAT (Value added tax) – A 15% tax on the cumulative value of the customs value plus other fees and duties on imported products. For products staying in the border zone, VAT is 10%. The following are exempted goods from VAT:

1.       Personal luggage
2017-1-30
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dronist
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Thx for the info and for the beautiful picture. Upload more if you have!
2017-1-30
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fivetonine
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ulti Posted at 2017-1-24 09:34
any chance of sharing that receipt? I have a trip to mexico coming up in a few days and would love to not have to go through what you went through. ;)

Hi, I'm sharing attached a copy of the receipt (anonymized). As long as you can explain to the authorities that the drone is not new, has a lot of mileage on it and will go back out with you, you should be fine. I have heard from several people that this happens every once in a while in Mexico, though.
2017-1-31
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fivetonine
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SAT Receipt

SAT Receipt

2017-1-31
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GTrusco
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United Kingdom
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I'm off to Cancun in a few weeks, more touristy and i would assume drones are a fairly common bit of hand luggage. Online research suggests that theres no issue whatsoever bringing it in, do you think you just got unlucky?
2017-1-31
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fivetonine
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GTrusco Posted at 2017-1-31 05:04
I'm off to Cancun in a few weeks, more touristy and i would assume drones are a fairly common bit of hand luggage. Online research suggests that theres no issue whatsoever bringing it in, do you think you just got unlucky?

It may depend on the airport. Research I have done showed a fairly high number of incidents where people had to pay at the border.
2017-1-31
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GTrusco
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fivetonine Posted at 2017-1-31 05:45
It may depend on the airport. Research I have done showed a fairly high number of incidents where people had to pay at the border.

Thanks - It's Cancun International [CUN], coming from the UK. I have my receipt on standby anyway.
Got it through Thailand, Australia and Qatar of late, so i'm confident it will be okay.
2017-1-31
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fivetonine
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GTrusco Posted at 2017-1-31 06:16
Thanks - It's Cancun International [CUN], coming from the UK. I have my receipt on standby anyway.
Got it through Thailand, Australia and Qatar of late, so i'm confident it will be okay.

How did your trip go?
2017-2-22
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GTrusco
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Not off until the 23rd March! will report back at month end!
2017-2-24
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Dav Carps
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Canada
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I just came back from Dominican Republic (Punta Cana). Really wanted to take my Phantom 4 with me and take some nice aerial footage, but opted out when I read about the regulations for flying a drone there.  Apparently you need some sort of  a Permit obtained from the aviation authoroties:
https://uavsystemsinternational. ... epublic-drone-laws/
My trip was a last minute one, so I didn't have the time to pursue it further...I do however would love to know if anyone did take their drone to Dominican [?]
Cheers
2017-5-2
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fivetonine
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Dav Carps Posted at 2017-5-2 19:53
I just came back from Dominican Republic (Punta Cana). Really wanted to take my Phantom 4 with me and take some nice aerial footage, but opted out when I read about the regulations for flying a drone there.  Apparently you need some sort of  a Permit obtained from the aviation authoroties:
https://uavsystemsinternational.com/drone-laws-by-country/dominican-republic-drone-laws/
My trip was a last minute one, so I didn't have the time to pursue it further...I do however would love to know if anyone did take their drone to Dominican [?]

Good question. You do know that this is the Mexico thread? ;)
2017-5-3
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Roseli Lima
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Mexico
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It is very sad to know that there are agents that have this kind of attitude. A computer (mac book air) is more expensive than a drone and do not charge you for entering.
There is a good blog (in spanish) with some information about drones in Mexico. cyclope-drone.net/blog-de-drones (put https:// before) check it out.
2017-11-4
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jimbolaya
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Hello everybody,

I'll be flying to Cancun from Germany on January 24th and would like to bring my DJI Mavic Pro.

I've got a receipt stating that I've paid the equivalent of 970 USD for it. I purchased it with a discount coupon so it's below 1000 USD.

However now I've read that the price limit for extra taxation is not 1000 USD but 500 USD :-(
This information is based on this blog:
https://emwng.com/drone-photography-mexico/

Furthermore I have asked via email and received this reply from Sección Consular Embamex Alemania <consularembale@sre.gob.mx> :

"Estimado Jan,

La franquicia, como le comentábamos, es de 500 dólares.  Para mayor información, le sugerimos entrar en contacto con un agente aduanal (customs broker), o revisar la página de Aduana México: http://www.sat.gob.mx/aduanas/im ... aginas/default.aspx

Atentamente,

Sección Consular
Embajada de México en Alemania"

From this I conclude, that if the random red light flashes for me while I pass customs, then I most likely will have to pay 155 USD extra taxes for my DJI Mavic (16% on 970 USD).
That pretty much sucks!

I've got two questions for those of you who have already passed Cancun airport:

1) How high do you estimate the chance of receive a red light? Is it like 50% of the people get a red light or is it rather 25% from your experience?

2) If I get a red light, will the customs officer then search my whole luggage (e.g. suitcases) or will he only search my hand luggage? (If only my hand luggage is searched then I would carefully pack my DJI Mavic into my suitcase into a cushioned protection case...)

Any help is highly appreciated! I would really like to refrain from paying a whooping 155 USD just for taking some drone shots in Playa del Carmen.

Regards, Jan
2018-1-3
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Al S. Alice's H
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Just a thought,  what if you bought it used? Would it make a difference on the value for tax?
Is a handwritten receipt enough proof for the value?
Only paid $300 for it.
2018-1-3
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A CW
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Not addressing the technicalities of your issues but the image looks really nice - post more if you have them.
2018-1-3
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jimbolaya
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Al S. Alice's H Posted at 2018-1-3 03:52
Just a thought,  what if you bought it used? Would it make a difference on the value for tax?
Is a handwritten receipt enough proof for the value?
Only paid $300 for it.

Well, that sounds like a good idea! thanks.
But your first question might be a valid point!

Even if I bought it used (maybe 14 month old), then a price tag of 490 USD would be reasonable.

But: does anybody know if such a private receipt is valid for the taxation?
2018-1-4
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Shadowspy
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Do you think if I went through customs with a pawn receipt for a used Mavic Pro purchase of $475... This might get me through with minimal problems?
2018-1-7
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Jim Medema
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One option  if you don't have your receipt is to create one yourself! Any amount of talent with even the basic tools in a word processing program with elementary drawing tools can create something that looks like a receipt. It make take an hour or so to make it look nice and officlal, but chances are that the customs agents won't look up the fictitious company name you bought it from.

You would need, of course, to include all the elements that a receipt would have: date of purchase, company name of the seller, SKU, Description, Qty, Price Per, SubTotal, Tax, Total, address, etc. If they DID dig deeper then you'd amplify your problems with customs....
2018-3-15
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Geebax
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I wonder what would have happened if you told them you wanted to cancel your trip to Mexico and get back on the next flight home. Without spending any money in Mexico, or even entering the country. They need the cash you know, to pay for that wall that Trump is going to build.
2018-3-15
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fivetonine
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Geebax Posted at 2018-3-15 21:55
I wonder what would have happened if you told them you wanted to cancel your trip to Mexico and get back on the next flight home. Without spending any money in Mexico, or even entering the country. They need the cash you know, to pay for that wall that Trump is going to build.

Ahem, I am not sure if this is a place to get political. But no one will pay for this wall except maybe the person wanting to construct it so badly. And I don't think Mexicans are in desperate need for my money. If I wanted to take the next flight home - they'd be happy to see me go.
1-12 00:51
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