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Carlos LoyolaJul 9, 2024 7:00:00 AM3 min read

Shelter Services and Other Types of IMMEX in Mexico

Shelter Services and Other Types of IMMEX in Mexico


Navigating the world of international manufacturing can be complex, especially when entering new markets. For global manufacturers, establishing operations in Mexico offers a range of benefits, particularly through the IMMEX program. The IMMEX (Maquiladora, Manufacturing and Export Services Industry) program allows foreign manufacturers to temporarily import goods and materials into Mexico and, along with the VAT Certification, not pay VAT on imports, reduce import duties and have virtual transactions of goods, provided these materials are used in the production of goods for export.

IMMEX companies typically operate as a cost center in Mexico. They do not maintain a profit locally. So instead of paying an income tax in Mexico, the Safe Harbor ruling applies. Read more about finance and tax in Mexico here.

Understanding the different types of IMMEX is crucial for manufacturers aiming to maximize efficiency and compliance. This guide will explain the different IMMEX types and help you choose the right one for your business.

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Key Types of IMMEX


Industrial IMMEX (“IMMEX Industrial”)

Definition: The Industrial IMMEX is the most common type, allowing companies to import raw materials and components for manufacturing, transforming them, and then exporting the finished products.

Key Characteristics:

  • Ideal for Manufacturing Activities: This type is perfect for companies engaged in manufacturing and assembly operations.
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): Companies must provide a detailed WBS outlining production processes.
  • Duty Deferral: Imported materials used in the manufacturing process are exempt from import duties until they are exported as finished goods.

IMMEX Holding Company (“IMMEX Holding”)

Definition: The IMMEX Holding program is designed for organizations managing multiple manufacturing companies under a single IMMEX registration.

Key Characteristics:

  • Streamlined Administration: Facilitates the management of several manufacturing subsidiaries, simplifying compliance and administrative tasks.
  • Shared Privileges: All subsidiaries under the IMMEX Holding benefit from the same import and export privileges as the Industrial IMMEX.

IMMEX Services (“IMMEX de Servicios”)

Definition: This type of IMMEX caters to companies that provide services supporting the production of export goods.

Key Characteristics:

  • Support Services: Ideal for logistics, maintenance, quality control, and other support services.
  • Temporary Import: Allows the temporary import of equipment and materials necessary for service provision, enhancing operational flexibility.

IMMEX Shelter (“Empresa de Servicios Especializados de Ensamble – Maquiladora”)

Definition: The IMMEX Shelter program enables foreign companies to establish operations quickly by partnering with an existing Mexican company that acts as a shelter.

Key Characteristics:

  • Faster Entry Point: Leverages the shelter company's existing infrastructure, permits, and experience for a faster market entry.
  • Administrative Support: The shelter company handles administrative tasks, compliance, and IMMEX management, allowing foreign companies to focus on core operations.

Third-Party IMMEX ("IMMEX Terciarización")

Definition: A certified, third-party IMMEX company in Mexico provides manufacturing operations services to another certified IMMEX company that does not have installations in Mexico. This could allow non-manufacturing IMMEX companies an ability to conduct productive processes in Mexico.

Key Characteristics:

  • No Factory Required: Utilizes a third-party, existing structure in Mexico, so the start up time could be decreased.
  • Flexibility: Works similar to a contract manufacturer, with added benefits of foreign-based service transactions, free of Mexican VAT.


Choosing the Right IMMEX Type

Selecting the appropriate IMMEX type is vital for aligning the program's benefits with your business needs. Consider the following factors:

  • Nature of Business Operations: Determine whether your primary activities involve manufacturing, support services, or other functions.
  • Company Structure: Evaluate if your organization consists of a single entity or multiple subsidiaries.
  • Control and Administrative Burden: Decide the level of control you want over operations and the amount of administrative tasks your company can handle.


The IMMEX program offers significant advantages for global manufacturers looking to optimize their operations in Mexico. By understanding the different types of IMMEX and carefully selecting the one that aligns with your business needs, you can leverage these benefits to their fullest.

For personalized guidance and to ensure you choose the right IMMEX solution tailored to your specific requirements, consider consulting with industry experts.

Ready to take the next step? Contact us today for a consultation and unlock the full potential of the IMMEX program for your business.