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).
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.
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.
Other notable rules state that:
If you're planning to use your drone for commercial purposes in Mexico seek clearance from AFAC.
Mexico has three main classification types for drones:
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.
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:
For faster processing, you may also want to include
Registration is possible through AFAC's website, and the process takes between seven to ten days.
Here are the steps to take
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.