INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE IN LOS CABOS
The “Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores” (SRE), or translated – The “Secretary of Foreign Affairs”, is an agency within the Mexican government that handles literally, everything related to foreign affairs.
Some of their duties include any foreign entity holding property in Mexico, so be sure and read this article completely to know how this agency affects your real estate purchase.
The SRE handles a myriad of responsibilities, including the establishing, running and the maintenance for all Mexican Embassies, of which there are currently 80 formal embassies worldwide, 33 consulate-generals, 35 consulates, 1 representative office in Ramallah, a trade office in Taiwan, 2 representatives at the UN and 144 honorary consulates around the world. They also support, organize or attend trade missions and observer missions all over the world as well.
This agency, handles everything related to trade and foreign relations; political and financial.
In addition, any passport action for Mexican citizens too. Mexican passports are issued or denied from the SRE. Naturalization of foreign citizens choosing to and that are qualified to legally adopt Mexico as their new country, apply to SRE for naturalized citizenship.
SRE is charged with promoting Mexico and protecting Mexico’s name and best interests overseas. As such, they have ambassadors, and trade agents working and overseeing international legislation and treaties in various entities such as the United Nations or Trade Associations such as the Latin American Trade Commission.
They also are charged with overseeing signatures on treaties and all kinds of diplomatic actions. And through the Attorney General of Mexico, they can extradite or intervene in an extradition and prosecute before the competent judicial authorities in Mexico any wrong doings according to Mexican law by Mexican citizens living abroad, or foreign citizens or entities within Mexico.
But the arena that most foreigners will come in contact with SRE is when they want to purchase property in Mexico.
In the “Restricted Zone, 30 miles from ANY coastline or 60 miles from ANY border), before you receive or take over a fideicomisos, one of the requisite steps is a “PERMISO OTORGADO POR LA SECRETARÍA DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES” or translated, “A Foreign Relations Permit” which allows you, as a foreigner to hold the property in a trust. It is a required part of the process and said permit is listed in your deed. Your closing agent or Notario will apply for this permit. Be aware that no Notario will ratify the trust without it being in place. So, you have nothing to do or worry about! It is part of the process!
Not so with a foreign owned corporation, or a foreigner buying fee simple in the Non-Restricted areas of Mexico. EVERY FOREIGNER OR FOREIGN OWED MEXICAN CORPORATION must advise SRE of your purchase not held in a fideicomiso. The SRE is in charge of keeping an account of every foreign owned property. Even if 1% of your corporation is foreign held, you are obligated to advise SRE. The format is called, “Aviso de Adquisición”.
The law states that within 90 days of the purchase, the foreigner or foreign owned Mexican entity MUST advise SRE of its purchase. This holds true, as well, for fee simple escrituras held by foreigners in mainland Mexico, not within thee Restricted Zone. The process of advising SRE is pretty simple and costs between $985 to $1280 pesos. However, if late, there is a fine of $7280 pesos automatically, with interest and penalties accruing annually. It can get quite costly. The process, when done on time and in full, is about 30 days in our area, as the paperwork is processed in Mexico City. If done late, it can be as much as 90 days.
Didn’t know this? Better check out your documents. Check with your accountant. Have him check with SRE for any records of your Aviso.
Who is responsible for doing this? Well, after playing the “Who is responsible game” on a property owned by a foreign owned Mexican Corporation with the original purchase Notario, Closing Agent and the Corporate Accountant who did NOT do this Aviso, all of them having said, “Not me, I am not responsible”, it can only be assumed that the Foreign Owned Mexican corporation itself is responsible, the one ultimately held financially responsible as well. Claiming ignorance is not an excuse…sound familiar? Those are the code words of the U.S. IRS too! So knowledge is power…
If you own property in Mexico in a Mexican corporation or outside the Restricted Zone, this is VERY important for you to follow up on, because any Trust bank, should you sell to another foreigner, will REQUIRE the Aviso in order to open their files to start a fideicomiso for your Buyer. Without this properly being handled, it can delay your closing by months and may cause the demise of a sale. If you are in the process of purchasing, arrange for the closing agent or Notario to advise SRE immediately upon receipt of your registered documents. And follow through!
Also, be aware that any foreign owned Mexican entity owning property valued in your deed over $100,000,000 pesos is obligated to pay an annual Aviso with SRE.
Learn something new every day!
By Cheryl T. Miller, Broker, Baja Realty and Investment, firstname.lastname@example.org, 624-122-2690. Cheryl is the broker of Baja Realty and Investment, a 14 year veteran of Mexican Real Estate and an architect. Call her for any of your real estate needs.