Mexico Camera Tax - Bluewater Dive Travel

Mexico Camera Tax


Mexico Camera Tax


Each year, Bluewater Travel books hundreds of guests to resorts and liveaboards around Mexico. The majority of our customers travel to Mexico without any problems, however, over the last couple of years we have received reports that some visitors have been charged a tax for bringing their camera housing into the country. This only seems to be an issue at Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) and La Paz Airport (LAP), so if you are traveling elsewhere in Mexico, the following is unlikely to apply.

As an international passenger, you are entitled to bring two cameras / video recording devices and their accessories into Mexico without paying tax. Your camera’s underwater housing is an accessory and should be considered part of your ‘two cameras with their accessories’ allowance. Therefore, any tax levied against you by a Mexican Customs Official is unofficial and a violation of Mexican Law.

The following information should help ensure your Mexican Customs experience runs as smoothly as possible.



Once you have collected your baggage from the carousel, continue to the Customs area where you will be directed to press an electronic button. If the button shows green you are free to pass through Customs and out to the Arrivals Hall. If the button shows red you will be asked to move to one side where your baggage will be inspected.

Additionally, any baggage that looks like it may contain camera equipment will also be pulled aside for inspection. Therefore, we recommend that you avoid using peli cases or other camera-specific luggage and instead use a standard, hard-sided suitcase to transport your camera equipment.



It is possible that the Customs Official inspecting your bags will decide not to tax your housing and allow you to continue on through Customs without any further issue. However, this is unlikely and your camera housing will probably be queried.

If your bags are inspected by a Customs Officer who does not consider your housing an accessory:

  1. 1. Calmly explain that your housing is an accessory and is allowed tax free under Mexican Law;
  2. 2. Provide any documentation you have available for the housing, e.g. user manual, technical information, receipts, etc.;
  3. 3. Provide a copy of this Spanish-language letter, explaining your rights - CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD



Whether you are taxed or not, and by how much, varies wildly and depends on the individual Customs Officer. Once they decide to tax you it is very unlikely that you will avoid paying, however, there are some things you can do to reduce the amount you have to pay.

  1. 1. Show evidence confirming the value of your housing. The Customs Officer may look up the make and model online so make sure they are searching for the correct one.
  2. 2. Calmly contest the tax - the amount they ask for will often be halved as soon as you dispute it! Continue arguing until for as long as possible without the situation becoming confrontational.
  3. 3. Pay using credit card so that you can initiate a charge-back through your card company.
  4. 4. Ask for a detailed account of the taxes you will be paying and the classification method they used to classify the goods being taxed.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding this, and we will be happy to discuss it further with you.


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