New Drone Laws in Mexico (2023 Updated)
With drone technology continuing to advance, its potential is ever-expanding. Drones are becoming popular in Mexico for various applications, from surveying landscapes to delivering medical supplies.
Recently, drones have even been used to deliver food and other goods to rural areas with difficult terrain, making them invaluable in providing aid and services to those in need. They can also be utilized for security purposes, helping patrol borders and keeping an eye out for illegal activities.
As new technologies evolve, our laws must stay up-to-date with these revolutionary developments. The use of drones and other flying robots is becoming increasingly popular, an aerial platform transforming how people take photos and videos for advertising, surveys, or research purposes.
Mexico also partakes in this drone trend, but some rules guide their usage. If you plan on visiting Mexico with your favorite quadcopter, familiarize yourself with the country’s regulations first.
This blog post will provide a brief overview of drone laws in Mexico that shape our ability to fly UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) over Mexico and advice on getting official clearance from Mexican authorities.
Table of Contents
- Drone Rules in Mexico (2023)
- Penalties for Breaking Drone Laws in Mexico
- Classification of Drones in Mexico
- Registration of Drones in Mexico
- Mexico Secretaria de Communicacaciones Y Transportes (Secretariat of Communications and Transport)
- Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) / AFAC (Civil Aviation Federal Agency)
- No Drone Zones in Mexico
Drone Rules in Mexico (2023)
The Mexican government has not yet created any specific laws regarding the use of drones. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of Mexico has published some guidelines for the use of drones.
- Mexican citizens are the only individuals permitted to operate drones in Mexico.
- The DGCA has mandated that all drones weighing more than 250 grams (.55 pounds) must be registered. Unfortunately, this precludes foreign persons from partaking in the registration process as it requires an official Mexican identification document.
- Take to the skies and fly drones only in the daytime.
- Maintaining your drone within sight and no further than 1,500 feet from the operator is of utmost importance.
- To ensure air safety, never exceed 400 feet in altitude when flying.
- For the safety of living creatures and property, refrain from flying drones over people or animals.
- Out of respect for historical sites, please do not fly to locations like Chichen Itza.
- Drones must remain 9.2 kilometers (5 nautical miles) from any aerodrome.
- Respect the maximum operating speed of your drone, which is determined by its maximum takeoff weight. Exceeding this limit could lead to unsafe flying situations.
- Drones mustn't discharge objects which have the potential to injure individuals or property.
Penalties for Breaking Drone Laws in Mexico
There are no specific penalties for breaking drone laws in Mexico. However, if a drone is used in a way that endangers public safety or invades people's privacy, the owner could face criminal charges.
You could be fined if caught flying a drone without a permit. You could be fined if you are caught flying a drone in a restricted area. If you are caught flying a drone in a way that endangers people or property, you could be fined.
If you are caught flying a drone without a permit, you could be jailed for up to two years. If you are caught flying a drone in a restricted area, you could be jailed for up to four years.
If you are caught flying a drone in a way that endangers people or property, you could be jailed for up to eight years. If you are convicted of all three offenses listed above, you could face up to 20 years in prison.
Loss of Drone
If you are caught flying a drone without a permit, your drone could be confiscated. If you are caught flying a drone in a restricted area, your drone could be confiscated and fined.
If you are caught flying a drone in a way that endangers people or property, your drone could be confiscated, and you could be fined.
If you are caught flying a drone without a permit, you could be charged with a misdemeanor. If you are caught flying a drone in a restricted area, you could be charged with a felony.
As you can see, the penalties for breaking the drone law in Mexico can be severe. So if you're planning on flying a drone in Mexico, make sure you are familiar with the laws and regulations.
Classification of Drones in Mexico
Mexico has established regulations that divide drones into three distinct categories:
If a UAV weighs 2 kg or less, it belongs in the Micro category. Although these unmanned aerial vehicles can be flown without approval from aviation authorities, companies must have third-party liability insurance to operate them for commercial purposes and adhere to other regulations.
With proper operation, these innovative aircraft can ascend to a maximum altitude of 400 feet above the ground and remain no further than 1,500 feet from their operator. At the same time, they stay in a visual line of sight.
Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) weighing between 2 kilograms to 25 kilograms (55 pounds) can be flown by hobbyists, but only on the grounds of a model airplane club that has been authorized.
Before carrying out any commercial activity with a Light UAV, the owner must register it with the DGAC and affix license plates. Additionally, each flight must be authorized by the AA.
UAVs exceeding 25 kilograms in weight must adhere to all the guidelines for light UAVs and the terms and conditions set out by the AFAC. Furthermore, heavy UAV pilots are required to possess an official pilot's license.
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Registration of Drones in Mexico
This instructional guide provides comprehensive information about the necessary steps to register a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) with the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC)'s website. Detailed instructions are outlined below so registration can be completed quickly and accurately.
- All applicants must finish and submit Form APPENDIX “K” REGULATIONS for their application to be considered valid. To operate an RPAS, you must register with the aeronautical authority and obtain your registration sheet before flying.
- Before beginning any RPAS operation, it is essential to record all necessary information.
- By submitting your form, APPENDIX “K” REGULATIONS: REGISTRATION OF RPAS BY THE RPAS OPERATOR, you are ensuring that all of the information provided is accurate and truthful. Misstating any details can result in being unable to receive a record. Please double-check each question before submitting for accuracy; ensure every answer is complete and correct.
- For the legal possession of your RPAS, please submit a digitalized version of the documentation. Additionally, keep in mind that this data should be kept secure from third parties if any issue or dispute arises.
Steps to Register
- To complete the registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operators, please fill out and submit the form Appendix “K.”
- To verify your identity, you must provide a digital copy of an official government-issued form of identification.
- To affirm your lawful status, a digitized version of the articles of law and power of attorney must be provided to demonstrate your identity.
- Carefully analyze the data presented. Your wait time for registration will rely on it.
- For proof of ownership or possession of your RPAS, provide a digital version (in .pdf, .docx, .jpg, or .png formats) to be scanned.
- To obtain registration for an RPAS, send a signed email to the relevant authority with your completed application form attached in Excel format. Accompanying this should be a printed version of the same form, which must also include your signature and Federal Register of Taxpayers homoclave (if you possess one). Digitized copies affirming ownership must also be included.
- Await your registration information or the criteria that need to be met to obtain it, sent to you at the provided email address within 10 business days of submitting your application.
- If you experienced any troubles while completing the form, include your comments in your email. Specify which question on the form they pertain to so that we can effectively resolve these issues and ensure a smooth submission process.
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Mexico Secretaria de Communicacaciones Y Transportes (Secretariat of Communications and Transport)
The Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT) is the primary governmental body in Mexico responsible for regulating the postal service, communications, transport, and aviation.
This autonomous body is tasked with implementing innovative practices to align transport systems with technological advancements.
In recent years, SCT has pushed ingenious policies that have enabled safer public travel and promoted technological growth. Drones are a prime example of the brand of innovation that SCT has championed.
The organization created its regulation on drones which governs how they can be used safely but also promotes their use across multiple sectors.
Mexico's Secretariat of Communications and Transport has embraced modernity while safeguarding citizens' well-being, providing a beacon for other organizations to follow.
Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) / AFAC (Civil Aviation Federal Agency)
In light of recent changes, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has been renamed the Federal Agency for Civil Aviation (AFAC).
The Civil Aviation Federal Agency (AFAC) in Mexico is the federal agency of civil aviation responsible for regulating, developing, and governing all matters related to air navigation.
The main objectives of AFAC are to promote air services in Mexico, protect national airspace and its users, ensure respect for the principles of sovereignty and safety in aerial traffic, promote technological modernization of the national airline infrastructure, and collaborate with foreign counterparts in the areas of aircraft certification and operation.
Drones are also subject to AFAC's authority; it grants permits for their use by private individuals and companies like logistics companies to operate them within national airspace.
Through collaboration with other relevant authorities nationwide, AFAC works towards establishing effective oversight rules over unmanned aerial systems operations to keep civilians safe while allowing progress on emerging technologies.
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No Drone Zones in Mexico
No Drone Zones designate certain areas where flying drones is not permitted. This may be because the area is home to humans or animals or for safety and security reasons, such as a prison, hospital, or airport.
Mexico has created several No Drone Zones to protect the safety of its citizens and their property. The Mexico Federal Aviation Agency implemented these zones, restricting drones from entering military establishments and airports.
Additionally, general zones limit flights around Mexico's countryside, where drones can only fly to specific heights or distances from their operators.
These measures were implemented to ensure Mexico maintains a safe environment for its inhabitants, protects people’s privacy, provides a noise-free atmosphere, and preserves key national monuments and other cultural heritage sites.
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The Mexican government has implemented various policies to ensure the safe use of drones in the country. The Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT) and the Federal Agency for Civil Aviation (AFAC) are primarily responsible for regulating, developing, and governing all matters related to air navigation.
They have also established No Drone Zones throughout the country to protect citizens’ safety, privacy, noise levels, and cultural heritage sites.
In conclusion, drones are a fun and useful tool for capturing aerial photographs and videos. However, it's important to know the laws and regulations governing UAVs in Mexico before you fly.
Ensure you obtain all necessary permits before flying your drone and avoid any restricted areas or activities that may endanger people or property.
Following these simple rules should ensure an enjoyable experience while keeping everyone safe. Thanks for tuning into this blog post on drone laws in Mexico. We hope it has been helpful. Feel free to leave a comment and share as much as you can.