How long will it takes to establish a company in Mexico?

Rubén Hernández
4 min readJul 18, 2023

The answer is not straightforward, and indeed, things have significantly shifted after the pandemic.

I am often asked how long it takes to set up a company in Mexico. Generally, pre-pandemic, it would take approximately 4 to 6 weeks, but now the timeline has become unpredictable due to the governmental agencies’ extended turnaround times.

First, let’s consider what is needed to legally establish a company in Mexico:

  • Articles of Incorporation: This document is essential for the creation of a company. It is prepared by a public notary, who also usually drafts the general business project. All partners that will make up the company must be in Mexico to sign this document, so consider these dates for registration. Depending on the notary or public brokerage, it could take between 3 to 5 weeks to issue the testimony of the company’s constitution for the next steps. Time spent at the notary: 2 hours. This document is crucial; without it, no other step can be advanced.
  • Public Property and Commerce Registry (RPPC): This is the government office where all companies must register to publicly reveal who the partners, shareholders, associates are, and disclose some of their most important agreements. Normally, it could take between 2 to 6 weeks to complete the registration with this institution. Time spent: N/A, as this is handled by notary’s agents. This document is important to have, but being newly created, all institutions and offices understand that the incorporation deed will take time to be registered. Therefore, a letter issued by the Notary stating that the document is in the process of registration will allow progress in the following procedures.
  • Federal Taxpayers Registry (RFC) Registration: All companies must register with the RFC of the Tax Administration Service (SAT), the federal tax authority in Mexico, responsible for income tax (ISR), value-added tax (VAT), and the special tax on products and services (IEPS). This meeting will also obtain the Advanced Electronic Signature (FIEL) from the SAT, which can be used to carry out online procedures with the SAT and submit tax returns. The time to get an appointment can vary depending on the time of the year and the SAT’s capacity to handle taxpayers. Usually, it can take between 2 to 8 weeks to secure an appointment with the SAT. Time spent at the SAT office: expect to be patient, it could be between 2 to 6 hours depending on the day and the SAT office’s saturation. Without this document, the process of opening a bank account, IMSS registration, and state registration cannot be started.
  • Bank account: To start operations and make payments, you need a bank account to transfer funds to suppliers. Banks are often very busy and can be slow to provide service and decide whether to accept the company as a customer. They sometimes visit the declared address to verify that the company actually exists. Depending on the bank and the workload of the branch where the account is requested, it could take between 4 to 7 weeks to have an operational account in pesos and dollars.
  • Registration as an employer: If you will have employees, you must register with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS). The Legal Representative or Legal Attorney must visit the Institute office to carry out this process. “Digital Certificates” will be generated to perform online procedures for hiring and dismissing employees. The procedure at the IMSS is quite quick, no appointment is necessary, and if well-coordinated, you can obtain the certificates in a single day. Time spent at the IMSS office: 2 to 3 hours. Without this document, you cannot register with the Payroll Tax Registry. Without this document, you cannot provide “Social Security” to employees, and having employees working without “Social Security” could lead to fines.
  • Registration for state payroll tax: Depending on the state where the employees physically provide services, registration must be done in each state where services are provided. Registration is typically done in person through a form at the state tax collector’s office. Estimated time spent at the offices: 1 to 3 hours.
  • Digital Stamps: These files are used to issue invoices for the income received and generate invoices for clients who request them so that they can deduct these payments from taxes. This file is generated from the local computer and then sent to the SAT for registration. Although generating the files can be quick, to be activated and generate invoices it takes 24 hours. Estimated time to generate: 1 hour. Estimated time for activation: 24 hours.

Considering the above, here’s a rough estimate could a total 9–20 weeks.

* Since the RPPC does not prevent progress, it is not included in the timeframe.

Times may vary due to various factors, but I generally recommend budgeting this time to avoid delays in projects. These estimates are as of July 2023 and could change in the future.

This text was originally written in Spanish and was translated with ChatGPT, so it may contain some spelling mistakes or translation errors.

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Rubén Hernández

Corporate advisor. I believe in the digital (r)evolution. Guiding foreign businesses to success in Mexico's legal landscape. Puerto Vallarta, México.