SI DAL01140.100 Foreign Property — Ejidos in Mexico (RTN 3 08/2009)

SI 01140.100G covers general foreign property development. Foreign property is subject to the same SSI resource rules as domestic property.

A. Background — Ejidos in Mexico

An SSI applicant, recipient, or deemor may allege ownership of communal property called ejidos in Mexico. The ejido is a geographic and political entity holding ownership in a tract of land similar to a rural commune or village. Prior to 1993, ejidos were owned by the Mexican government or by the collective group who lived on the land and usually farmed it. The ejido had a well-defined government consisting of a board of directors and a communal office (comisariado ejidal). There was no private ownership, and no part of the land could be sold or rented by individual members of the ejido. Because individuals could not sell or convey ownership in ejido land, it was not a resource for SSI purposes.

The Mexican government began in 1993 to privatize ejido land by allowing the ejido groups to divide the land among members and later to issue titles to individual land parcels to ejido members, enabling individuals to sell or convey ownership in their parcels. Much of ejido land in Mexico is now individually owned and meets the definition of a resource for SSI purposes.

The National Agrarian Registry (Registro Agrario Nacional) records the ownership changes. Once the authorities have relinquished their controls over the property, a title certificate (certificado parcelario) is issued. For SSI purposes, the ejido property becomes a resource based on the date of the certificado parcelario. Individual property titles can later be issued through the local Public Registry of Property, but usually only when privatized property is sold.

B. Procedure — Ejidos in Mexico

1. Obtain evidence of ownership

If an SSI applicant, recipient, or deemor alleges ejido ownership, ask for any documents in their possession to determine if it is privately owned and thus a resource for SSI purposes. If the applicant, recipient, or deemor does not have the documents necessary to support a determination of ownership, the individual may be able to request proof of ownership. Suggested evidence of ownership would be the certificado parcelario issued by the National Agrarian Registry in Mexico City or, if necessary, a title issued at the local Public Registry of Property. When needed, contact the Foreign Service Post for assistance."

2. Obtain evidence of CMV

Follow the general CMV and equity guidelines for domestic non-home property in SI 01140.100D and SI 01140.100E. Absent evidence to the contrary, assume an individual can sell the property at its estimated CMV. Suggested evidence of CMV would include but not be limited to a tax assessment notice or bill (catastro), subject to the conditions described in SI 01140.100D.2. An allegation of a legal bar to the sale of property must be developed per SI 01140.100G because a legal bar makes CMV development unnecessary.

3. Foreign Service Post (FSP) assistance

If the individual is unable to provide the necessary ownership documents, send an assistance request to the appropriate FSP as shown in GN 00307.670D.2. In Mexico, the three FSPs with Federal Benefit Units (FBU) are located in Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, and Mexico City. The three FBUs will handle all requests for assistance. As of January 2009, e562 requests (OCO 09-0086 GS ) can be sent to FBUs in Mexico. The following information is needed by the FBU to assist in obtaining verification of real property ownership in Mexico:

  1. Full name of claimant, including mother’s double surname; and

  2. Complete address/location of property, including street name, house number, subdivision, city and state; and

  3. Copies of any documentation the requesting FO may have to corroborate the allegation; and

  4. Any additional information that is specific to the type of evidence requested and normally required to obtain similar evidence in domestic property cases.

C. Reference — Ejidos in Mexico