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(caution/alert posted Feb 2024)

The Mexican military now operates all civil airports within the country. Due to the many inconsistencies AOPA has been made aware of recently at Mexican airports, AOPA strongly suggests that members who are planning a flight to Mexico seek out and contact a Mexican trip handler such as CST Flight Services, so that they may obtain the latest information available for their trip.

New Entry Procedures

New Entry Procedures In Effect In Mexico Starting January 1, 2024 CLICK HERE

ADS-B mandate effective January 1, 2022

Mexico’s ADS-B mandate mirrors the US requirement. The only approved equipment is the 1090 MHz ES in controlled airspace. For details, see here

Airport Information

AOPA has become aware of an issue that has occurred at the Chihuahua International Airport (MMCU). Mexican Customs at MMCU is applying a poorly written and unclear portion of the Mexican customs and commerce codes which they are interpreting to indicate that all private aircraft must also present an APIS to Mexican Customs. The law specifies that the APIS must be presented using US/EDIFACT or UN/EDIFACT, but provides no other specifications which essentially makes it impossible to comply with the law. However, the person in  charge of customs at MMCU has interpreted this law to indicate that the notifications must be made via email to a personal email address at MMCU with no confirmation email reply. We have been advised that multiple pilots have been fined $4,000 USD apiece for not providing the requested notification and for not providing the officials with their solicited bribe.

The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) (Army) has been performing ramp checks at MMAN- Del Norte International Airport. This has lead to increased processing times for both arrival and departure procedures.

SEDENA is also reviewing aircraft and crew documents before the Civil Aviation Authorities approve Entry Permits, increasing the times of permit approval to up to a week. If you are flying to this airport, be prepared to be received and checked by military personnel. If you apply for a Multiple Entry Permit or plan to fly to a different Mexican airport, you must allow enough time (up to a week) to receive it before departing Monterrey. 

Ramp Checks

The Mexican Authorities have informed AOPA that as of July 20, 2021, the high season will begin and with it, ramp inspections will begin nationwide by the Civil Aviation Authorities (AFAC).

We share with you the list of documents that will be requested:

  • Valid Pilot's License.
  • Valid Medical Certificate.
  • Airworthiness Certificate.
  • Valid Registration Certificate.
  • Current Insurance Policy. Part 91 - Indicating coverage in Mexico, Part 135 - MUST have Worldwide Insurance AND Mexican Insurance policy issued in Mexico.
  • Noise Certificate.
  • Log book. We recommend that you bring photocopies of the last pages of the aircraft's maintenance log book, which show that the aircraft is airworthy and IFR current.
  • Radio Station License.
  • Weight and balance documentation.
  • Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM/POH).
  • Minimum Equipment List (MEL).
  • Adequate and up-to-date charts covering the route to be followed by the intended flight, as well as any other route by which the flight could possibly be diverted.
  • Flight Plan.
  • For charter flights: Valid Aircraft Operator Certificate (AOC), showing where the aircraft can operate.

Please allow enough time to go through this procedure and remember to verify that you have with you all the documents mentioned above.

Mexico APIS for Private Flights

Private general aviation flights must file a Mexican APIS manifest with Mexican Immigration for flights to and from Mexico. The APIS can now be filed via an excel spreadsheet without the need of a third party. Access the instructions and the excel spreadsheet, courtesy of CST Flight Services.

406 MHz ELT requirement

Piston-powered, privately owned aircraft, flying in Mexico with a maximum takeoff weight of less than 12,566 pounds must be equipped with a 406 MHz ELT.

Flying to Mexico: Pre-trip Preparation

This two-minute video gives an overview of the process, as well a brief description of many of the items.



Flight Preparation


The pilot in command must have a current:


  • Each passenger must have a current passport.
  • Tourist visas are required and may be obtained at the first airport of entry.
  • Children traveling with only one parent must have a notarized statement of approval from the absent parent stating the dates of the trip.


All U.S. registered aircraft must have:

  • A standard airworthiness certificate
  • A permanent registration certificate (no temporary certificates/pink slips)
  • A radio station license. For more information on FCC requirements, click here.
  • Operating limitations information
  • Weight and balance information
  • Transponder with Mode C
  • Two-way radio equipment
  • If the aircraft is registered in another person’s or corporation’s name, AOPA recommends that you have a notarized letter authorizing use of the aircraft for flights in Mexico.
  • An ID data plate
  • 12-inch registration marks are required for crossing the ADIZ into Mexico.
  • Aircraft with fuel tanks installed in the baggage or passenger compartments must have Form 337 on board.
  • Regarding experimental aircraft: Due to a recent policy change, the operation of U.S. registered amateur built aircraft is currently prohibited in Mexico. AOPA has asked the civil aviation authorities in Mexico to reverse this recent policy change. AOPA will update this notice and notify the membership when this change occurs.

  • Aircraft used exclusively for private flights must be equipped with a 406-MHz ELT.


  • Verify that Mexico is included in your policy’s territory.
  • Check that your policy has liability limits of at least $300,000.
  • Carry your aircraft insurance policy in the aircraft.
  • Present your insurance policy for validation upon arrival in Mexico.
  • It is still recommended that you carry a Mexican Liability Policy.  There may be some authorities in Mexico that do not recognize the U.S. policy.

Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires:

  • An annual user fee decal ($29.96) – allow a few weeks for delivery. You can buy decals online.  For decal questions, call (317)-298-1245 or send an email to [email protected]. You can download a paper application here.
  • eAPIS CBP’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System. All pilots flying across the U.S. border are required to use eAPIS. eApis requires the pilot to send a manifest to CBP at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Mexico has also implemented APIS procedures. FlashPass is an app that streamlines submitting eAPIS manifests to both the U.S. and to Mexico. Click here for more information. For your return trip back to the U.S., plan to land at the first airport of entry after crossing the U.S. border to clear customs.

ICAO Flight Plan

  • Use of an ICAO flight plan is currently required if the flight will enter international airspace. While an ICAO flight plan and an FAA flight plan are similar in many ways, there are some important differences. Some items are the same on both forms: aircraft ID or tail number; aircraft type, fuel endurance, and number of people on board. New items on the ICAO flight plan include a Wake Turbulence category, and Type of Flight. The biggest change, though, is found in the equipment suffixes box, box 10. The ICAO codes used to denote the type of equipment on board the aircraft are different than the codes used by the FAA. To find out more, please view this short AOPA video.


Departing the U.S.

  • Pilots crossing the U.S. border must be in communication with ATC and on a discrete squawk code.
  • All aircraft must be on an activated IFR or Defense VFR flight plan for flying through the ADIZ
  • You cannot bring firearms into Mexico.


Entry into Mexico


Single International Authorization (AIU)

Effective January 1, 2024, the Single Entry Permit and Multiple Entry Permit will no longer be issued. Instead, they will be replaced by the Single International Authorization (AIU) with a validity period of 180 calendar days. Users should submit their authorization request a minimum of 2 days before the scheduled arrival of the aircraft.

Required documents for the processing of the AIU include:

  • Airworthiness certificate
  • Aircraft registration certificate
  • Insurance policy
  • Airman certificates for the crew
  • Medical certificates, or basic med proof, for the crew
  • Copy of LOPA (layout of passenger accommodations)

It is essential to note that the implementation of this procedure may vary from airport to airport. Therefore, AOPA strongly recommends that you maintain constant communication with your agent or local authorities to stay updated on any airport-specific nuances.

Mexican NOTAM A 0313/08 is still in effect and has been incorporated into the Mexican Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP): Effective Feb. 1, 2008, any general aviation aircraft that plans to land in Mexico on a flight that originated in the Caribbean or Central and South America, must make their first landing in either Cozumel (MMCZ), or in Tapachula (MMTP). Both airports operate on a 24-hour schedule. This NOTAM is in effect until further notice. Note: It has been reported that occasional flights from the Bahamas, as well as from other countries, may be diverted to land at one of these airports.

  • Aircraft entering Mexico must make their first landing at a designated airport of entry along their route and notify Mexican customs and immigration.
  • Plan to arrive during normal business hours. If you are arriving after hours, on weekends or Mexican Holidays, you are cautioned to contact the airport authority or FBO for customs contact information and make whatever arrangements are legally required for your arrival.
  • Commercial operators, helicopters, and privately owned aircraft with more than 16 passenger seats or rental aircraft with more than eight passenger seats require advance permits. The permission must be requested in writing, at least five working days before the scheduled date of the trip.

Parking and Security

  • Before you depart the airport, your aircraft will need to be secured and parking arrangements made. AOPA recommends that you bring along your own tiedown equipment and confirm parking arrangements.
  • Park your aircraft in a well-lit area and use security devices such as propeller and throttle locks, sunscreens, door locks, etc.

In Country

In Mexico

Flight Operations in Mexico

  • You must always be on a flight plan while you are in Mexico, and be sure to keep hard copies of it with you.
  • It’s a good idea to make a low pass over the non-towered airfield prior to landing; often there are obstacles that could create a hazard to you and others.
  • If your flight entails overwater, desert, or mountain flying, consider carrying appropriate survival gear.
  • It is wise to take along your own oil, tiedown equipment, and security devices.
  • Overtime fees may accrue for late arrivals. Overnight parking fees and landing fees are charged at towered airports and are weight based. Air traffic control fees are charged as a separate user fee when you refuel.
  • Pay for fuel with cash (pesos preferred, although U.S. dollars are accepted). Bring plenty of small bills along to meet the exact amount. Fuel is available at most airports of entry and most towered fields in Mexico.

Night Operations Prohibited with these Exceptions

VFR night operations are not permitted, with the exception of approved flights headed to the United States departing from these border airports: Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Tijuana, and Mexicali. Even these flights are subject to the following requirements:

  • VFR weather conditions shall prevail all along the route from the departure airport to the destination airport.
  • The flight path must be within the control zone of the departure airport until the United States border is crossed.
  • The flight must be concluded within the operational hours of the departure airport. Radio communications must be maintained with the departure airport’s ATC tower until advised of frequency change.
  • All applicable regulations of international operations must be complied with.
  • A VFR flight plan must be filed.
  • Flights may be made only with prior authorization from the Commandant.

For any IFR night operation, the pilot should call ahead to ensure the destination airport will be open.

For more information, visit the CST Flight Services web site.


Returning to the U.S.

Departing Mexico

Clearance procedures involve returning your tourist visa(s) and departing from an airport of exit.

Returning to the U.S.

  • File and activate an IFR or Defense VFR flight plan for flying through the ADIZ.
  • Call U.S. CBP at least one hour and no more than 23 hours before your planned U.S. arrival time.
  • File an eAPIS arrival manifest (if you filed eAPIS reports for both legs of your trip before you left the U.S., you do not have to file again).
  • Your flight plan should include the estimated time of ADIZ penetration.
  • Your flight should have been planned in advance to land at the first U.S. CBP airport of entry after crossing the U.S. border to clear customs. Be on time. If you are arriving in southern Florida, you may land at any one of the following eight U.S. CBP airport of entry after crossing the U.S. border. Be on time – a little late is better than early.
    • Key West International Airport, (KEYW)
    • Tamiami Airport, Miami (KTMB)
    • Miami International Airport General Aviation Center (KMIA)
    • Opa Locka Airport, Miami (KOPF)
    • Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE)
    • Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International-General Aviation Facility (KFLL)
    • Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach (KPBI)
    • Saint Lucie County Airport, Fort Pierce (KFPR)
  • Pilot and passengers must remain inside the aircraft until the U.S. CBP officer instructs you to come out.

Additional Resources

Third-party companies

  • CST Flight Services
    Proud Partner of AOPA
    CST Flight Services offers international permits, overflight permits, border overflight exemptions, ground handling, and guided expeditions
    US (786) 206-6147
    Mex +52 222-912-6250
    eMail: [email protected] 
  • Air Journey
    Guided Flying Trips, Concierge Services & Personalized Flight Support
    11382 Prosperity Farms Road, Suite 222
    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410
     Tel. (561) 841-1551
    Cell. (561) 452-1225
    eMail: [email protected] or [email protected] 
  • Cuba Handling
    Cuban Aviation & Travel Planning
    Eric Norber, President
    Office: 844-JET-CUBA
    Cell: 1-407-619-0022
    Cuba: 53-58695166
    eMail: [email protected]
  • FlashPass. FlashPass is an app that streamlines submitting eAPIS manifests to U.S. CBP, as well as APIS manifests to Mexico. A subscription is required.
  • International Air Rally
    Catherine Tobenas, Managing Director,
    Aviation Connection Event Coordinator
    USA office: 1-800-709-3209
    Canada office: 1-450-969-2247
    eMail: [email protected]
  • Fly GA Mexico
    Fly GA Mexico offers a complete guide on how to fly to Mexico, focusing on the northern, central, and south-east side of the country. They also host annual guided tours, and private international travel consultation.
    Tel. (512) 769-8790

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)