Mexico Landing Permit Changes – Part 1: Private Ops

PT 4 M minute read
Mexico Landing Permit Changes – Part 1: Private Ops

Updated 6/23/2014: Updates to this article have been posted in the following articles, which outline change to the charter permit restrictions and process.

Updated 5/23/2014: Universal has obtained opinions from two different attorneys who specialize in Mexican aviation law. Both attorneys have advised that the DGAC Circular is legally valid and enforceable and should be followed. As with any law, the DGAC Circular could be challenged and found to be invalid. Until the law is challenged through a valid process and found to be invalid or is amended, we recommend that operators follow the DGAC Circular.

This is a post by author Liliana Zagal. Liliana is the Manager of outlying stations at Universal Aviation Mexico, which has a full-service FBO in Toluca, ground handling offices in Cancun, Los Cabos and Cozumel, and agents stationed at more than 60 airports across Mexico. Liliana is an expert on business aircraft operations in Mexico and can be contacted at

This business aviation blog is part of a series on Mexico landing permit changes.

Landing permits are required for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to Mexico. Private operators have the option of either one-shot or annual permits. It’s important to note that recent regulatory changes have impacted the permit process

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Recent Mexican permit changes

Another welcome change has been the elimination of verbiage on annual permits that mandated private aircraft only arrive in Mexico from their country of origin (i.e., where the aircraft is based). This means that private non-revenue operators on annual Mexico permits can now arrive from anywhere, and this has alleviated the former requirement to make additional en route stops to depart from the approved departure country. It still is required to present a letter stating the relationship of each passenger onboard to the company which owns the aircraft as well as a letter of authorization for the service provider to arrange the permit on your behalf.

2/2/2017: updated by the author

2. Changes to annual permits

Effective on April 25, 2014, you can receive an annual permit on arrival after landing at your first point of entry.

2/2/2017: updated by the author

3. Private non-revenue landing permit lead times

For one-shot private permits, there are no lead time requirements. You’ll simply present the required documentation on arrival and obtain your permit. It’s recommended, however, that private non-revenue operators forward all required documentation in advance so that the ground handler can present it to the comandante.
For annual private permits, lead time is about two weeks at DGAC. It’s best to apply for your annual permit in October for the next calendar year in order to give Dirección General de Aeronáutica (DGAC) Mexico time to review submitted documentation.

4. Annual permit procedure

Annual permits allow unlimited access to Mexico without the need for individual landing permits each time. Annual permits are valid for a calendar year (January-December). The original copy of the annual permit is presented to the airport comandante on each entry/exit to/from Mexico. The comandante will review your documentation, and no charges will be owed. In some cases, the comandante may ask for pilot licenses and medical certificates or aircraft documentation.

5. Arrival/departure procedures vary by airport

Whether you’re traveling to Mexico as private non-revenue or charter, it’s important to understand the applicable arrival/departure procedures at your intended destinations. Arrival/departure procedures and documentation presentation may take 20 – 60 minutes, but this depends on the airport and if it’s high season or not. While all original documentation must be presented on arrival, you’ll usually not have to show this again on departure. Inspection of documentation on departure may be required from time to time, but this depends upon the particular airport comandante.

6. Additional changes for Mexico

  • As of January 1, 2014, all private non-revenue and charter flights into/out of Mexico must file advance passenger information system (APIS).
  • DGAC now requires submission of the operator’s security manual for all blanket permits, which are only applicable to charter operations.
  • Be aware that DGAC has increased charges for all Mexico permits.
  • In addition, as of April 25, 2014, an aircraft that is listed on a charter certificate is strictly prohibited from operating as private non-revenue (Part 91) into Mexico.

7. Penalties for non-compliance

Operators who do not comply with Mexico permit regulations face risk of both financial penalties and operational delays. The local airport comandante may ground your aircraft in the event of non-compliance or incorrect/missing documentation.

Because the regulation is new, you should also take precaution to ensure any 3rd-party providers you use for trips in Mexico are up-to-date and in compliance, as well as consider what your risks may be if you work with a provider who does not follow this regulation.

8. Additional information is available

DGAC publishes a circular, online and via print media, listing all new notifications and permit changes. This information is provided in Spanish and we have translated it to English for your convenience.

May 22, 2014: Updated by author


If you prefer to operate privately to Mexico on a one-shot, rather than annual, permit you may do so, but it could be more expensive in the long run. For any operation to Mexico it’s important to ensure you have original versions of all required paperwork onboard.


If you have any questions about this article or if you would like assistance with planning your next trip to Mexico, contact me at

Later, we’ll discuss charter operations for Mexico and their impact on your trip.

Got a question for Liliana about this article?