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Drone Laws in Mexico: Updated Details (2022)

Updated in 2022 by Paul Posea
Mexico

Mexico is a great place to fly your drone. The weather is perfect for flying year-round, and there are plenty of places to explore. However, before you take your drone out for a spin in Mexico, it's important to understand the country's laws governing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Is It Legal to Fly a Drone in Mexico?

Like any other country, Mexico has its own set of drone laws that must be followed. The guidelines may not yet be fully streamlined, but they are gradually getting there.

According to the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (Agencia Federal de Aviación Civil, or AFAC), it is legal to fly a drone. However, drones in Mexico must be registered with the government and have a license to fly. 

You must, however, follow all of the country's safety regulations, including flying your drone at least 5.2 miles away from airports, 900 meters away from helipads and prisons, and 400 meters away from populated areas.

What Are the General Regulations for Flying Drones in Mexico?

AFAC has put in place a few general regulations for flying drones in Mexico. These help ensure the safety of both drone pilots and the general public.

These include:

  • Drones must be registered with the government and have a license to fly
  • Drones must be flown at least 900 meters away from prisons and helipads,
  • Drones must be flown at least 400 meters away from populated areas
  • Drones cannot be flown within five kilometers of an airport

Other notable rules state that:

  • Drone pilots must maintain visual contact with their drones at all times
  • You cannot fly drones at night
  • You are not allowed to fly your drone over crowds or stadiums or use it for commercial purposes without a license from AFAC.

If you're planning to use your drone for commercial purposes in Mexico seek clearance from AFAC.

What Are the Main Drone Classifications in Mexico?

Mexico has three main classification types for drones:

  1. Micro UAVs - Drones weighing less than two kilograms with a maximum altitude of 400 meters
  2. Light UAVs - Drones that weigh more than two kilograms but less than 25 kilograms with a maximum altitude of 400 meters
  3. Heavy UAVs - Drones weighing more than 25 kilograms with a maximum altitude of 600 meters.

Micro UAVs used for recreational purposes do not need a license to fly. However, if you want to use a micro UAV for commercial purposes, you need to apply for and receive a special permit from AFAC.

For light and heavy UAVs used for commercial purposes, you must have a license from AFAC to fly them. This license is valid for one year and can be renewed if you follow all of Mexico's drone laws.

How Do I Get a License to Fly Drones in Mexico?

To obtain a license from AFAC, you must be at least 18 years old and have a private pilot's license. You will also need to provide AFAC with the following:

  • Proof of nationality (passport or birth certificate)
  • A copy of your private pilot's license
  • Your name, address, phone number, and email address

For faster processing, you may also want to include

  • The make and model of your drone
  • A letter from the manufacturer stating that your UAV is safe to fly

Registration is possible through AFAC's website, and the process takes between seven to ten days.

Here are the steps to take

  1. Fill and submit the APPENDIX “K” REGULATIONS: REGISTRATION OF RPAS BY THE RPAS OPERATOR. This allows you to get aeronautical authority's registration sheet duly filled and stamped by the operator
  2. Record the RPAS information in the FORM "F" . BY submitting the APPENDIX “K” REGULATIONS details, you are attesting that the information in the FORM "F" is correct.
  3. After filling out the form, attach a copy of your drone's registration (in Spanish) and pilot license to it
  4. Submit both forms duly filled to the nearest Aeronautical Authority's office together with the supporting documents and the payment of the corresponding fee
  5. Submit all of this information to AFAC
  6. Once you have registered your drone with AFAC, you will receive a sticker to place on your drone that confirms its registration.

The Mexican Aeronautical Registry will keep track of all drones in Mexico and their operators. This registry is important for safety reasons, as it allows the government to keep track of drones that are flying in Mexican airspace and helps ensure that they are following all safety regulations.

Filling Out the Form Appendix “K” Regulations

  1. Take your time to fill out the form APPENDIX “K” REGULATIONS completely and accurately. Make sure that you have all of the information necessary to complete the form, including the make and model of your drone, your name and contact information, your pilot license number, and the drone's registration number.

2. For a natural citizen, you must submit a digitized copy of your valid ID.

3. For legal persons, you must submit a digitized copy of the articles of law and power of attorney as evidence of your personality.

4. Look at the information to see how long it will take you to get your registration.

5. You will need to provide documentation proving that you are the owner or have possession of your RPAS. This can be in the form of a scanned copy of the document in .pdf, .docx, .jpg or .png format.

6. To register for an RPAS, send an email to rpas@sct.gob.mx and attach the complete form provided below in Excel format. Include a print out of the form, signed by you, and add your autograph signature. In addition, include digitized copies of any documentation that proves you own them.

7. You will get a registration sheet or the considerations in 10 business days.

8. If you had any difficulties or problems filling out the form, please mention it in the email. Include the comments you have not been able to add, indicating which question on the form they refer to.

9. If we need to, we will contact you to solve the problem. If we don't, their appreciation will help improve the tool for future editions.

10. For any enquiries, contact Tel: (55) 57239300 EXT. 18111, 18113, and 18125.

Can a Foreigner Fly a Drone in Mexico?

Mexico is known for its welcoming culture, and it's a great place for tourists to visit. As technology becomes more advanced and drones become even more popular, accommodating foreign drone pilots becomes necessary.

Unfortunately, Mexico does not yet allow foreigners to obtain a license to fly their drones. However, some exceptions can be made for scientific research or humanitarian purposes. If you're interested in flying your drone for one of these purposes, contact AFAC to see if you can get an exemption.

Even so, this may change in the future as drone laws get more streamlined. In the meantime, it's best to check with AFAC before flying your drone in Mexico.

Can Us Citizens Fly Drones in Mexico?

The US and Mexico have a close relationship, so it makes sense that US citizens would be able to fly drones in Mexico. Unfortunately, this is not currently the case.

US citizens cannot currently obtain licenses from AFAC or register their drones with the government. If you're an American who wants to use your drone for commercial purposes while visiting Mexico, contact AFAC and see if they can make an exception based on your purpose for flying.

As drone laws continue to evolve, US citizens may be able to legally fly drones in Mexico soon.

Can I Fly My Drone Near Monuments in Mexico?

Mexico is home to many beautiful monuments and historical sites, such as the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. When you're visiting these places, it's very tempting to take out your drone and capture some great aerial shots.

Unfortunately, flying your drone near monuments is not permitted. In fact, drones are illegal over any archeological or historic site in Mexico. If you're caught flying your drone near a monument, you could face fines of up to $10,905.00 mxn/day or even imprisonment.

However, you can apply for permission if you plan to take photos or videos at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). When doing so, INAH will require the following:

  • The name of the person requesting permission
  • The make and model of the drone
  • Proof of insurance for the drone
  • Script, dummy sketch, or storyboard of your project
  • A letter from the pilot stating that they have read and agrees to all of Mexico's drone laws

Final Words

While Mexico is yet to establish a clear and concise set of drone laws, it's important to know the basics before flying your UAV. Unfortunately, US citizens are not currently able to fly drones in Mexico as easily as they can in their own country, but with time and patience these restrictions may be lifted. In the meantime, it's best to check with AFAC before taking your drone on a vacation south of the border.

If you are keen on flying your drone as a foreigner, it doesn't hurt to contact AFAC and see if they can make an exception based on your purpose for flying. As drone laws continue to evolve, it's possible that foreigners will be able to fly drones in Mexico without hitches in the future. Just keep checking back with AFAC for updates.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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