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Tips for Cross-Border Shipping from the United States to Mexico

Shipping goods from the United States to Mexico can be challenging. Missing documents or documents that are incorrectly filled out can cause shipping delays and customer dissatisfaction. 

In this article, we’ll highlight everything you need to know about cross-border shipping from the United States to Mexico, starting with some of the rules and regulations you’ll need to know.

Understand the Regulatory Landscape

First, you must understand the USMCA or the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This document highlights specific rules and regulations regarding imported and exported goods. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the USMCA, you’ll need to stay updated on potential modifications to prevent delays, penalties, and impoundments. 

Some of the most important rules of the USMCA include:

  1. Proving the Origin: The USMCA doesn’t require a Certificate of Origin (for goods under $2,500 in value). However, you still need to prove the country of origin by supplying the name and address of the certifier, exporter or importer, producer, an authorized signature (with date), and a listed blanket period if the carrier has to prove the origin for multiple shipments.
  2. Understanding De Minimis Threshold: Canada and Mexico have different De Minimis Threshold rules. Goods over a certain threshold will come with duties or taxes, while goods under a threshold value are considered duty-free and tax-free.
  3. Providing Classification: Carriers must also provide a 6-digit description and tariff classification of the goods being shipped. 

Prepare Accurate Documentation

Accurate and complete documentation is essential for a smooth cross-border shipping process. Errors or omissions can lead to delays and extra costs. Under USMCA, some of the documents you’ll need include:

  • Bill of Lading: A Bill of Lading proves the authenticity of the goods you ship to Mexico. This document will list where the goods are being shipped from, the expected shipment date, where the goods are being shipped to, the expected delivery date, who is responsible for paying the shipment fees, the name of the carrier, customer order information, and authorized signatures from the shipper.
  • Invoice: The commercial invoice form contains information about the shipment, including the country of origin, the name of the exporter, the final destination (and any other stops), and a detailed list of the items in the shipment, such as each item’s gross weight and monetary value. This form must be completed in Spanish to be valid.
  • Certificate of Origin (if Applicable): As previously mentioned, an official Certificate of Origin is only required for shipments exceeding $2,500 in value. If it’s below this value, all that’s needed is to prove the data elements outlined in USMCA.
  • Proper Classification: Each item should be classified using the correct Harmonized System (HS) code. This international nomenclature is used for customs tariff and statistical purposes.
  • Compliance With Specific Commodity Requirements: Some goods, including cosmetics, drugs, chemicals, and hazardous materials, may require additional permits or certifications. Make sure you have all the necessary documents based on the nature of your goods.

Plan for Delays

You can’t always expect shipments to arrive on time. Unforeseen weather conditions, accidents, traffic issues, and hold-ups in customs can cause delays. It’s wise to always expect some delay—the best solution is to provide real-time tracking or partner with a carrier that provides real-time tracking so your customers can stay updated. 

How to Choose the Right Cross-Border Shipping Service Provider

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Partnering with a transportation and logistics company is the best way to ensure success. An experienced international logistics company will have experience handling and transporting goods to many countries and can help you avoid penalties and shipping delays. 

When searching for a cross-border shipping provider, you’ll want to look out for the following qualities:

  • Experience in Cross-Border Shipping: Seek out companies with a demonstrated history of managing cross-border shipments. 
  • Knowledge of Regulatory Landscape: Your chosen provider should have an in-depth knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the countries involved in the shipping process.
  • Strong Network: A good shipping company will have a strong network of customs brokers and local partners to ensure seamless service.
  • Security Measures: The company should have robust security measures in place to ensure the safety and security of your cargo.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Choose a provider that offers real-time tracking capabilities. This helps you and your customers stay updated on the shipment statuses.

Partner With TSI for Cross-Border Shipping

Cross-border shipping from the United States to Mexico can be daunting, but with the right partner, you can save money, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce delays. TSI has provided seamless cross-border shipping from the United States to Mexico for over four decades. We specialize in automotive shipments and have strong relationships with many OEMS nationwide.

If you have questions about cross-border shipping or want to learn more about our capabilities, please contact us today.