Trust Ownership

Trust Ownership in Mexico:

El Ariss 620 offers the foreign investor one of the most secure forms of property ownership in all of Mexico. The following information describes the process of Mexican Property Ownership. This is general information which was collected from various sources. The individual is advised to do their own due diligence for updates.

How Foreigners can own Real Estate in Mexico

  • The Restricted Zone
  • Fideicomiso or Bank Trust
  • Notario Publico or Notary Public
  • FM3

The Restricted 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, a foreigner cannot acquire the direct ownership of the land.” These areas are known as the “Restricted or Prohibited Zones”.

Fideicomiso or Bank Trust:

Any foreigner or Mexican National can form a Fideicomiso (the equivalent to an American beneficial trust) through a Mexican bank in order to purchase real estate anywhere in Mexico, including the Restricted Zone. To do so, the buyer requests a Mexican bank of his/her choice to act as a trustee on his/her behalf.

The bank obtains the permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to acquire the chosen property in trust. The Fideicomiso can be established for a maximum term of 50 years and can be automatically renewed for successive 50 year periods. During these periods you have the right to transfer the title to any other party, including a member of your family.

The bank then holds the property in trust on behalf of the owner 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 to a pre-appointed heir.

The 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 in order to protect the interests of the buyer/beneficiary. Fideicomisos are not held by the trustee as an asset of the bank.

For practical purposes, even in unrestricted zones many foreigners prefer to hold their property under a Fideicomiso.

Notario Publico or Notary Public

The Notario Publico is a government appointed lawyer who processes and certifies all real estate transactions, including the drawing and review of all real estate closing documents, thus insuring their proper transfer.

Furthermore, all powers of attorney, the formation of corporations, wills, official witnessing, etc. are handled and duly registered through the office of the Notario Publico, who is also responsible to the government for the collection of all taxes involved.

In connection with real estate transactions, the Notario Publico, upon request, receives the following official documents, which, by law, are required for any transfer:

  • A non-lien certificate from the Public Property Registry based on a complete title search.
  • A statement from the Treasury or Municipality regarding property assessments, water bills, and other pertinent taxes that might be due.
  • An appraisal of the property for tax purposes.

Moving to Mexico: FAQ’s

Do I need an FM-3 and if so, how do I obtain one? 
Mexican law states: If you sign a contract, rent a house or condo, buy a house or condo, or lease property (i.e., campo’s), you are no longer a “tourist” and therefore, are required to apply for an FM-3. For further information please contact us.

How soon should I move furniture down?
According to immigration, after obtaining your FM-3, you have 90 days to move furniture across the border duty free. Otherwise it is wise to hire an importer.

What about vehicle registration?
It must be current, check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered in Mexico, otherwise you must purchase Mexican insurance before entering the country, either on-line, or at the border etc.

Is a vehicle pass required?
The first time into Mexico with the car you only require a visa. The second time in, you must have an FM3, you will have to register your car with customs, you must have a letter to let them know that your car will be in Mexico and the description of the car. There is no cost for this and the permit is valid for 4 years.


Applying for your FM3 
The benefits for foreigners acquiring the FM3 temporary resident status permit in Mexico as opposed to having a FMT tourist permit:

  • To keep your foreign car in Mexico indefinitely.
  • To bring your household possessions to Mexico
  • To obtain a local driver’s license
  • To get 50% discount on your property taxes
  • To be eligible for a capital gains exemption on your home when you sell
  • To work temporarily in Mexico (in some cases)
  • To open a bank account (in some cases)
  • The FM3 permit is available at the local immigration office.


  • The official application (form available)
  • A personal application (form available)
  • Copy of your passport (all pages)
  • Your current tourist visa (FMT)
  • 4 picture size 4×4 (2 frontal and 2 right side), must be black and white, no glossy and no Polaroid
  • A copy of your last three bank statements
  • The copy of a local phone, light or water bill
  • The FM3 immigration form information typed
  • 6 tax forms known as SAT #5 to pay the fees
  • $400 pesos for reception fee (about $40 USD)
  • $1,500 pesos for resident status fee (about $150 USD)

Once you have an FM3 you need to renew it once a year. It is much easier because you don’t need pictures and the cost is $1,055 pesos. It is really important to re-check this information before you make your initial application and each time you renew because the cost and procedure may change. Also, we recommend getting some help (at least the first time) if you don’t speak Spanish to avoid a lot of frustration.

* The holder does not acquire any residency rights for living in the country and he may only remain in it for the time and purpose that the Mexican Secretaria authorized him/her for.

The holder must register with the department of registry for foreigners in the state department ( Secretaria de Gobernacion ) within 30 days after his/her arrival in the country

  • The holder must notify the above department in the event of the change of class or immigration characteristic, nationality, marital status, address, activity or occupation, within 30 days after the change has taken place.
  • The holder is under the protection of the provision of Art 42, Section III, IV and VII of the general law of population, having the right to multiple admissions and departures.
  • At the end of the term or circumstances for which the holder was granted authorization to remain in Mexico, he/she must leave the country, after leaving the FM3 document at the immigration office in the place of departure.
  • Any infringements to the General Law on population, regulation and provision of the state department with regards to immigration matters, will be punishable, deportation included, in accordance with the provision of said law.

It is really important to re-check this information before you make your initial application and each time you renew because the cost and procedure may change. We will be glad to assist you or refer you to local bi-lingual translator.