What to choose when acquiring Property in Mexico’s Restricted Zone: Trust (Fideicomiso) or Company Formation?

Foreign nationals interested in acquiring property in Mexico’s picturesque Yucatan Peninsula—including areas like Mérida, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Cancún, and Tulum—face unique legal hurdles due to the “Restricted Zone” laws stipulated by Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution. This article delves into the two principal legal mechanisms available for foreigners: the formation of a Restricted Zone Trust and establishing a Mexican company. We will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, helping potential investors make informed decisions.

1. Restricted Zone Trust


– Direct Involvement: Investors can acquire property directly for residential purposes, maintaining a personal connection to the asset.

– Legal Framework: The trust is legally straightforward, established with the aid of a Mexican bank acting as the fiduciary.

– Renewability: Initially valid for 50 years, the trust can be renewed, providing long-term stability.


– Costs: Involves various fees, including contributions to obtain the permit (approximately MXN$20,000 plus VAT), fiduciary fees which vary by property value, and notarial fees (around 2% of the property price plus VAT).

– Complexity in Setup: Requires navigating through the bureaucratic process of obtaining permits and setting up the trust with a fiduciary.

– Limited to Residential Use: The trust only allows the acquisition of residential properties, not commercial ones.

2. Formation of a Mexican Company


– Commercial Use: Allows for both residential and commercial property acquisitions, providing greater flexibility for business activities.

– Control and Structure: Offers potential tax planning and business operational benefits under Mexican corporate laws.

– Long-term Benefits: No need for renewals like the trust, providing a more permanent presence in Mexico.


– Higher Initial Complexity:*Involves the formation of a company, which requires more steps such as drafting by-laws and registering the company with the National Registry of Foreign Investment.

– Management Responsibilities: Comes with the obligations of managing a Mexican company, including compliance with corporate regulations.

– Costs: While the initial setup costs (around MXN$17,000 including registration and notarial fees) might be lower than setting up a trust, ongoing corporate management and potential tax obligations could increase overall expenses.


Choosing between setting up a Restricted Zone Trust and forming a Mexican company largely depends on the investor’s goals, the type of property, and their readiness to handle administrative responsibilities.

For those primarily interested in residential properties and seeking a simpler, albeit potentially costlier, route, the Restricted Zone Trust offers a viable option. It provides a direct way to own property, albeit under the stewardship of a fiduciary institution, with clear legal protections and renewability.

Conversely, forming a Mexican company is advantageous for investors aiming for both residential and commercial properties, offering more control over the investments and potential business benefits. While it entails more complex initial setup and ongoing management, the flexibility and permanence it provides can be a decisive factor for serious investors planning extensive activities in Mexico.

Ultimately, foreign investors should consider their long-term strategic goals in Mexico, the nature of their intended property acquisition, and their capacity to manage either a trust or a company. Engaging with legal experts, like PeninsuLawyers, can provide tailored advice and ensure compliance with Mexican property law, paving the way for a successful investment in Mexico’s Restricted Zone.

This legal article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The content is based on general legal principles, and laws may vary by jurisdiction. Readers are strongly advised to consult with a qualified attorney regarding their specific legal issues. The authors and publishers are not responsible for any actions or decisions taken based on the information provided in this article. The article does not create an attorney-client relationship, and any communication through this platform does not guarantee confidentiality. The accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of information in this article is not warranted or guaranteed. The authors and publishers disclaim any liability for any errors or omissions in the content.

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