Destination wedding in Mexico - Has anyone done one?

willis_927

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Hi,

I am going to be shooting a destination wedding in Mexico (Mayan Riviera) in January 2014. I am just wondering if any of you have shot a wedding in Mexico, and know a bit about what I am aloud to bring in terms of equipment??

I talked a Mexican consulate in Canada and she basically said I did not need any paperwork as long as all payment is done in Canada etc, but in terms of equipment she referred me to this website : Pasajeros - English version

I see it says I can take 2 cameras, but it says nothing about the rest of my stuff. For example, at a typical wedding I would take my 2 camera bodies, 3-4 lenses, 3 speed lites, 3 light stands, wireless flash triggers etc.

Has anyone done a wedding in Mexico, or does any one have any other input? I don't want to run into any troubles with customs etc.

Thanks!
 

tirediron

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Buy two Pelican cases; split your gear in half, and send down as FedEx/UPS freight. Safe, secure, and they deal with ALL of the custom's hassles (of course that's a billable expense).
 
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willis_927

willis_927

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Between my wife and myself (assuming she will let her carry on be one of my camera bags), I should be able to get most of my gear right on the plane with us, with exception to light stands/tripod etc... Any idea what they would think of wireless flash triggers being in a carry on bag?
 

Josh66

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I don't really see why they would have a problem with it, unless you joke around about it being a detonator or something, lol.

I tend to agree with Tirediron though - FedEx it all to your hotel.
 

Robin_Usagani

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Put all of your important stuff as carry on. Make sure you have a camera case that is small enough to be a carry on. The light stands just check them in.
 

munecito

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Old thread revival.

Some countries are very strict about import duties. Sometimes the consulates are not aware of this as it is a customs officers discretion.

If I was going to take over $4000 worth of equipment I would probably enquiry about getting an ATA CARNET. It is a temporary import permit, sort of a passport for your equipment. The only thing is that you need to take out of the country all the equipment listed in the carnet.

It cost a couple of hundred dollars, but it is still less than paying for import taxes if they were to charge you for them.

Even using FEDEX or the likes your cameras may be held at customs until the taxes and duties are paid and in Latin America the process is not as fast. I am Latin American so I know what I am talking about here.
 

kathyt

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I am going to Mexico in a couple of weeks. I am not shooting a wedding, but I plan on taking my gear. I am just taking everything carry-on. I am not checking anything. I won't take a tripod just because it would be a pain in the butt.
 

cgipson1

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Old thread revival.

Some countries are very strict about import duties. Sometimes the consulates are not aware of this as it is a customs officers discretion.

If I was going to take over $4000 worth of equipment I would probably enquiry about getting an ATA CARNET. It is a temporary import permit, sort of a passport for your equipment. The only thing is that you need to take out of the country all the equipment listed in the carnet.

It cost a couple of hundred dollars, but it is still less than paying for import taxes if they were to charge you for them.

Even using FEDEX or the likes your cameras may be held at customs until the taxes and duties are paid and in Latin America the process is not as fast. I am Latin American so I know what I am talking about here.

Really? I have often carried gear worth well over $10,000 into several Latin American countries (Mexico, Costa Rica, and Belize) with no problems at all...

Importing implies bringing items into the country for resale or to use permanently in that country. Bringing in personal gear, for personal use, has nothing to do with importing, to the best of my knowledge! I will concede I am not an expert in this area, though.

How to Take a Professional Camera Into Mexico | USA Today

Quote from Going to Mexico - Customs Rules

"Are there any restrictions as to what I can bring across the border?

Personal baggage (in reasonable quantities) is duty-free, provided all items are declared upon entry and are for your own personal use. Foreign-made items (such as cameras, binoculars, etc.) should be registered with U.S. Customs before crossing the border. This will verify (upon re-entry into the U.S.) that such items were not purchased in Mexico. Personal effects may include shoes, personal computer, CD player, 5 DVDs, 20 music CDs or audio cassettes, and a cellular phone. Any tourist carrying such items, even if dutyfree, should enter the “Merchandise to Declare” lane at the first customs checkpoint. If you have no merchandise to declare, you must go through the Stop and Go light check point. A green light means proceed ahead without inspection. A red light means stop for inspection.

You may take into Mexico a carton of cigarettes, up to 50 cigars, 1 still camera, 1 motion picture camera, 1 video camera, 12 rolls of film, and 12 blank cassettes. Tripods are allowed in most areas, but a special permit is required for their use in historic sites. There are certain restrictions regarding agricultural items: most fruits are prohibited, and if you decide to take fruit or meat with you into Mexico, you will not be allowed to bring these items back with you, and there is a fine of $50-$1000 if you fail to declare agricultural items. It’s recommended that you ask a CBP Officer for a list of items you are allowed to bring back with you before you go to Mexico."
 

munecito

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Really? I have often carried gear worth well over $10,000 into several Latin American countries (Mexico, Costa Rica, and Belize) with no problems at all...

Importing implies bringing items into the country for resale or to use permanently in that country. Bringing in personal gear, for personal use, has nothing to do with importing, to the best of my knowledge! I will concede I am not an expert in this area, though.

How to Take a Professional Camera Into Mexico | USA Today

Quote from Going to Mexico - Customs Rules

"Are there any restrictions as to what I can bring across the border?

Personal baggage (in reasonable quantities) is duty-free, provided all items are declared upon entry and are for your own personal use. Foreign-made items (such as cameras, binoculars, etc.) should be registered with U.S. Customs before crossing the border. This will verify (upon re-entry into the U.S.) that such items were not purchased in Mexico. Personal effects may include shoes, personal computer, CD player, 5 DVDs, 20 music CDs or audio cassettes, and a cellular phone. Any tourist carrying such items, even if dutyfree, should enter the “Merchandise to Declare” lane at the first customs checkpoint. If you have no merchandise to declare, you must go through the Stop and Go light check point. A green light means proceed ahead without inspection. A red light means stop for inspection.

You may take into Mexico a carton of cigarettes, up to 50 cigars, 1 still camera, 1 motion picture camera, 1 video camera, 12 rolls of film, and 12 blank cassettes. Tripods are allowed in most areas, but a special permit is required for their use in historic sites. There are certain restrictions regarding agricultural items: most fruits are prohibited, and if you decide to take fruit or meat with you into Mexico, you will not be allowed to bring these items back with you, and there is a fine of $50-$1000 if you fail to declare agricultural items. It’s recommended that you ask a CBP Officer for a list of items you are allowed to bring back with you before you go to Mexico."

I had one beachtek DSLR pro recorder sent via FEDEX to Argentina (Used unit) and was stopped in customs for 3 weeks. It was a pain and I had to shoot the documentary using a zoom h4n.

Entering Chile by air they wanted to charge me duties on the gear (2 camera bodies, 5 lenses, the zoom, tripods, stands, lights) but we were able to sweet talk out way showing them that we had crossed the border by bus three times in the previous weeks.

Every time we went into Argentina (they don't subscribe to the ATA carnet treaty) they wanted to check credentials and or receipts. We used an old press pass and the producer had an UK press id as well.

As I said it depends on the customs officer, it is like a lottery.

Last time I went to the USA they customs lady was convinced that I had my gear because I wanted to stay ilegally in the USA working. I just happened to have the ATA Carnet on my from the last trip to Asia that I hadn't returned (You are required to return it in Australia once you have finished the "tour")

Maybe I am just unlucky, but now that I think about it I have been stopped for random drugs and explosives swaps all but one time when travelling. :lmao:

I just think that if I was to shoot a destination wedding I would prefer to have the CARNET than gamble on who is going to be the customs officer.

EDIT: The $4000 amount is because my travel insurance covers up to that amount for any claims in listed gear. Over that I would have to use my professional insurance. So I use that as a threshold. If I take less than that, which means one body and one lens I just don't worry and pass it like any other tourist.
 
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