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New Drone laws in Mexico--Tourists can't use drones after 12/1/18

ScubaBob

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Joined
Nov 11, 2017
Messages
253
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163
Loc
Cancun, MX
Site
www.scubabobphoto.com
#1
Folks. If you are coming to Mexico leave your drone at home. First, as a good friend of mine just learned, the customs folks are going through luggage more diligently and they found his two drones, both of which were over a year old but for which he did not have sales documentation to prove the purchase was at least six months ago so he got hit with a 16% import tax based upon the price for a new drone in Mexico. Second, the Mexican corrupt government has announced new laws for drones that go into effect on December 1, 2018. An article about these changes is attached.

Tighter rules on drones coming but non-Mexicans need not apply
 
Likes: Eraser339

Fat Bastard

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Joined
Oct 26, 2016
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134
Loc
U.S. Southwest
#3
Wow... I've been doing most of my drone flying in Mexico. Flew into Mexico about 2 months ago. No issues at immigration. I'm leaving on the 29th, wonder if they'll hassle me on the way out?
 

bump

Active Member
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Nov 16, 2017
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#4
Such a shame. I've been planning a motorcycle trip down to the Baja next year and hoped to take some drone footage.
 

baksideDisaster

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Feb 5, 2018
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#5
Wow that sucks big time. I was down in Mexico earlier this year, in some pretty off the beaten path types of places and got some amazing drone shots. It was amazing the places I could fly without the slightest hassle.
 

NAUIDIVER

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Joined
Aug 15, 2017
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Loc
New York
#6
Folks. If you are coming to Mexico leave your drone at home. First, as a good friend of mine just learned, the customs folks are going through luggage more diligently and they found his two drones, both of which were over a year old but for which he did not have sales documentation to prove the purchase was at least six months ago so he got hit with a 16% import tax based upon the price for a new drone in Mexico. Second, the Mexican corrupt government has announced new laws for drones that go into effect on December 1, 2018. An article about these changes is attached.

Tighter rules on drones coming but non-Mexicans need not apply
The article specifically mentions requirements for drones over 55lbs but is very vague for smaller UAV. Thinking it may still be possible but require more diligence when traveling into and out of Mexico. However, one thing I’ve learned in my experience going to Mexico, laws don’t matter. They’ll do whatever they want to a tourist and you have zero recourse.

I’ve been onboard flights that have been forced to land and every passenger taken off the plane to pay $20 each to get back on and continue. Seriously. It’s Mexico. And that also means, if they pull your drone out and threaten to tax you, that’s just a hint to break out some dollars and put it in the pocket of the customs agent. You’ll be in your way with your drone in no time.
 

zocalo

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Sep 30, 2018
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#7
The article specifically mentions requirements for drones over 55lbs but is very vague for smaller UAV. Thinking it may still be possible but require more diligence when traveling into and out of Mexico. However, one thing I’ve learned in my experience going to Mexico, laws don’t matter. They’ll do whatever they want to a tourist and you have zero recourse.
That got my hopes up too, but this sentence appear to nail it for non-Mexicans, regardless of the size of the UAV:

"The smaller classes of drones don’t require a license but do require registration which, according to the newspaper El Financiero, also requires Mexican citizenship."
 
Likes: Fat Bastard

CactusJackSlade

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Joined
Oct 17, 2016
Messages
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192
#12
Well that sucks as I’m going in January and was going to bring my Mavic. Such a bunch of money hungry corrupt SOB’s there
Just after our American life style... and apparently (unabashed) corruption is one way they think they will get a piece of the pie...
 

Stephenmaycol

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Joined
Apr 10, 2018
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29
Age
67
Loc
manzanillo, colima, mexico
#13
The article specifically mentions requirements for drones over 55lbs but is very vague for smaller UAV. Thinking it may still be possible but require more diligence when traveling into and out of Mexico. However, one thing I’ve learned in my experience going to Mexico, laws don’t matter. They’ll do whatever they want to a tourist and you have zero recourse.

I’ve been onboard flights that have been forced to land and every passenger taken off the plane to pay $20 each to get back on and continue. Seriously. It’s Mexico. And that also means, if they pull your drone out and threaten to tax you, that’s just a hint to break out some dollars and put it in the pocket of the customs agent. You’ll be in your way with your drone in no time.

I have lived in Mexico for the last 19 years. I find this post to be prejudicially inaccurate. And I dont believe that a scheduled airline made an unscheduled forced landing so that each person could be robbed of $20. What airline?? from where to where??
 
Joined
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75
#14
I live in Mexico as well and am flying, and will continue to fly, around the Lake Chapala area. I have found that there are laws on the books but most are not enforced. Yes, as with the traffic cops, I'm sure the drone police can be bribed as well. The cops have bigger fish to "fry" with the woeful disregard for the traffic laws here by the Mexicans than with drones. I'll continue to fly, registered with the US FAA, and let you know if I have any trouble. Besides, if I'm hassled I'll just show them the US registration number and say it's Mexican.
 

NAUIDIVER

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New York
#15
I have lived in Mexico for the last 19 years. I find this post to be prejudicially inaccurate. And I dont believe that a scheduled airline made an unscheduled forced landing so that each person could be robbed of $20. What airline?? from where to where??
Absolutely 1000%! LAX to Puerto Vallarta on Arro Mexico, 1997.
 

NAUIDIVER

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New York
#16
Absolutely 1000%! LAX to Puerto Vallarta on Arro Mexico, 1997.
And also swore I’d never fly them or go to Mexico again.

I kept one promise. Never flew aero Mexico again. But I did go back to Playa Del Carmen. Go robbed coming out of a bar just off the main drag and shopping district. That was 2015. That’s when I said never again to Mexico.
 
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#17
I live in Mexico as well and am flying, and will continue to fly, around the Lake Chapala area. I have found that there are laws on the books but most are not enforced. Yes, as with the traffic cops, I'm sure the drone police can be bribed as well. The cops have bigger fish to "fry" with the woeful disregard for the traffic laws here by the Mexicans than with drones. I'll continue to fly, registered with the US FAA, and let you know if I have any trouble. Besides, if I'm hassled I'll just show them the US registration number and say it's Mexican.
He Capt Jim...I also live in Chapala ..Vista del Lago. Been flying mine, as well. This article is just that..A newspaper article. I guess we will see what the new law states, but, I will still fly my 2 zoom.
 

zocalo

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Sep 30, 2018
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#18
He Capt Jim...I also live in Chapala ..Vista del Lago. Been flying mine, as well. This article is just that..A newspaper article. I guess we will see what the new law states, but, I will still fly my 2 zoom.
If you're already *in* Mexico, then I doubt you'll have many problems either - as you say, the police have much bigger fish to fly. Whether they'll actively check whether people have valid permits or not remains to be seen but, if they're as corrupt as is being implied in some of the posts here, then it might not be as simple as you hope though. In that case, I'd suggest that once they figure out the potential resale value of a seized drone that is going to play a big part in how well this is enforced and the amount of any bribes required if you don't have the necessary paperwork on you.

The concern for everyone else is the limitation of permits to Mexican citizens. That provides a nice easy choke point at customs where people bringing drones into the country will also have an ID that establishes their nationality. That would make it very easy for customs staff to seize any drones they spot entering the country that are not held being carried by someone with a Mexican passport.

At this point it is just a newspaper report though, so we do need to see what the actual legislation says before making and final decisions. That said, I'm certainly not prepared to take a $1000+ drone through customs (anywhere, not just Mexico) and hope I either don't get spotted or get someone willing to look the other way for a small (or not so small) "consideration".
 
Likes: Alky1229

roadkilt

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Nov 2, 2016
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68
#19
Well, my carryon bag to Cancun in January just got lighter. Too bad. But thanks for the heads up, it would have been even worse to have been held hostage to some security guard smelling easy money.
 
Likes: Alky1229
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
Messages
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Loc
NYC
#20
Well, my carryon bag to Cancun in January just got lighter. Too bad. But thanks for the heads up, it would have been even worse to have been held hostage to some security guard smelling easy money.
My thoughts exactly and I thought the same thing, My carryon got lighter and smaller
 

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