Filming in Mexico: Your Essential Guide

what you need to know

Filming in Mexico: Your Essential Guide

A Comprehensive Guide to Permits, Drones, and Customs.

Table of Contents

Filming in Mexico has become increasingly popular among filmmakers worldwide. Boasting a diverse range of landscapes, from stunning beaches to ancient ruins, Mexico offers an array of unique and picturesque locations. 

Moreover, the country has a thriving film industry supported by incentives and well-established infrastructure. To ensure a smooth and successful filming experience in Mexico, let’s dive into the key aspects you need to know: obtaining filming permits, understanding drone regulations, and navigating customs for your equipment.

Obtaining Filming Permits in Mexico

Filming permits are crucial for a hassle-free shooting experience in Mexico. Different locations have specific permit requirements, such as public spaces, historical sites, or natural reserves. To secure the necessary permits, consider submitting the relevant information at least one month in advance, and  follow these steps:

  1. Research the Required Permits: Identify the locations you plan to film in and research the corresponding permits needed. Reach out to the relevant authorities for detailed information.
  1. Prepare the Application: Gather all the necessary documents, including a script, shooting schedule, crew details, and in some cases insurance certificates.
  1. Submit the Application: Fill out the application forms and submit them along with the required documentation to the appropriate authorities.
  1. Consider Hiring a Local Fixer: Working with a local fixer can simplify the permit application process and help you navigate any language or cultural barriers. We can help

Drone Regulations for Filming in Mexico

Using drones can add a captivating perspective to your film, but it’s essential to adhere to Mexico’s drone regulations:

  1. Register Your Drone: If you’re flying commercially, you need to register your drone with the Mexican Civil Aviation Authority (AFAC) before flying it in the country. This is not easy as to register you need Mexican citizenship. As for now, only Mexican citizens are the only drone operators allowed to fly commercially in Mexico.
  1. Know Where to Fly: Familiarize yourself with the permitted flying zones and any restricted areas, such as airports or government buildings.
  1. Get Drone Permits (If Required): Some locations may require specific drone permits. Check with local authorities and obtain the necessary permits beforehand.
  1. Respect Privacy and Laws: Ensure you respect people’s privacy and follow all local laws and regulations related to drone usage.

Navigating Customs for Filming Equipment

Bringing your filming equipment into Mexico requires proper customs procedures:

  • Create an Equipment Inventory: Prepare a detailed inventory of all the filming equipment you’ll be bringing into Mexico.
  • Temporary Importation Permit (ATA Carnet): Obtain a temporary importation permit for your equipment to ensure a smooth entry and exit at customs.
  • Carry All Necessary Documentation: Have all your permits, invoices, and paperwork readily available during customs inspections.
  • Get a consular letter at your nearest Mexican Embassy
  • Ensure a Timely Exit: Plan your equipment’s exit from Mexico and return it within the permitted timeframe to avoid any customs issues.

Tips for a Smooth Filming Experience in Mexico

To enhance your filming experience in Mexico, consider the following tips:


  1. Collaborate with Local Talent: Engage local talent, fixers and crew members who can offer valuable insights into the culture and locations.


  1. Explore Unique Locations: Venture beyond the popular spots to discover lesser-known, visually striking locations for your film.


  1. Respect Local Customs: Show respect for local customs and traditions, and seek permission before filming in sensitive areas.


  1. Learn Basic Spanish: Ok, this is not a requirement but learning a few basic Spanish phrases will help you communicate with the locals and build positive connections.


  1. Engage with Local Communities: Establish good relationships with local communities, which can lead to valuable support and cooperation.


Filming in Mexico can be a rewarding and enriching experience for filmmakers. By obtaining the necessary permits, adhering to drone regulations, and navigating customs smoothly, you’ll be well-prepared to capture the beauty and essence of this captivating country on camera. Happy filming!

Drone Regulations in Mexico

Drone Laws in Mexico

In this article, we’ll delve into the drone laws in Mexico, including registration requirements, weight classifications, and guidelines for both recreational and commercial use.

Read More »
Filming in CONANP Natural reserves in Mexico

Filming in CONANP Protected Areas in Mexico

For filmmakers seeking breathtaking backdrops and rich biodiversity for their projects, filming in some of these areas offers an unparalleled opportunity. However, it requires careful planning, regulation adherence, and environmental preservation commitment.

Read More »

Let's Film Together

Send us your questions