Can a foreigner own land in Mexico?

It is a common misconception that foreigners can not own real estate in Mexico: the reality is that they can. a foreigner or foreign corporation can acquire any type of real estate the same as a Mexican National holding the property as a direct owner, complying with Mexican law, however, there is a restrictive zone, as described below that needs to be taken into consideration.


Where is the restrictive zone?

The Mexican constitution regulates the ownership of the land and establishes that “… in a zone of 100 kilometers along the border or 50 kilometers along the coast, any foreigner cannot acquire the direct ownership of the land.” Nevertheless, the latest Mexican foreign investment law, which became law in December 1993, makes the allowances mentioned above. 


An alternative is to purchase a non-residential property through a Mexican corporation, which can be under condition 100% foreign-owned, with a provision in its bylaws that the foreigners are subject to Mexican laws and agree not to invoke that laws of their country. The real estate acquired must be registered with the foreign affairs ministry and is used for non-residential activities. In other words, under said conditions, foreigners can acquire directly, properties destined for tourism, commercial and industrial uses. 


Within the restricted zone, a foreigner or foreign corporation may obtain the rights of ownership but it must be in a bank trust, known as fideicomiso. 



This word is well the equivalent of a bank trust, any foreigner or Mexican national can constitute a fideicomiso through a Mexican bank to purchase real estate anywhere in Mexico including the “ restricted zone”. To do so, the buyer requests that a Mexican bank of his/her choice act as a trustee on his/her behalf. The bank obtains a permit from the ministry of foreign affairs to acquire the chosen property in the trust. 

A fideicomiso (bank trust) can be established for a maximum term of 50 years and is automatically renewable for a subsequent 50 year period. During this period, you have the right to transfer the title to another party, including a member of your family (no inheritance tax).

The bank becomes the legal owner of the property for the exclusive use of the buyer/ beneficiary, who has all the benefits of a direct owner, including the possibility of leasing or transferring his/her rights to the property to a third party or a pre-appointed heir. During this period, the foreigner is considered a Mexican national.


The bank/trustee is responsible to the buyer/beneficiary to ensure precise fulfillment of the trust, according to Mexican law, assuming full technical, legal, and administrative supervision, to protect the interests of the buyer/beneficiary. Fideicomisos, held by the trustee, is not considered an asset of the bank.
For practical purposes, even in the unrestricted zones, many foreigners and Mexican nationals prefer to hold their property under a fideicomiso. 


You may also want to read: The real estate industry in Mexico, the process of buying real estate in Mexico.


If you’re interested in buying, selling, or renting a property in Mexico, please call the Laguna Shores office at 638-383-0210 ext. 502 from the united states, call 1800-513-1426 

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