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Flight Crews: Mexico Launches New Entry Authorization Process

Mexican officials believe a new entry authorization process, along with an increased focus on ramp checks, will help mitigate instances of illegal charter and cabotage operations.

Starting in January 2024, U.S. operators entering Mexico were met with new requirements.

The single entry and multiple entry permits in use for several years were replaced by Single Entry Authorizations (SEA), or Autorización de Internación Única in Spanish. Although these new authorizations are called “Single Entry,” they’re typically valid for multiple entries during a 180-day period. Some local authorities might issue an authorization for a longer period.

“It's a bit of a hybrid between the single entry permit versus multiple entry permits of the past.”

Luis Nambo, Lead Global Regulatory Specialist, Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.

“While it’s called a ‘single entry authorization,’ that name is misleading,” said Luis Nambo, lead global regulatory specialist at Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. “This authorizes an operator to enter Mexico multiple times within 180 days. It’s a bit of a hybrid between the single entry permit versus multiple entry permits of the past.”

A new requirement for the authorization process is the submission of a Layout of Passenger Arrangements (LOPA). This requirement can be met with a copy of the cabin layout from the Aircraft Flight Manual.

Rick Gardner, owner and director of aviation services at CST Flight Services, reports a rocky rollout of these new policies, in part due to ports managed by military personnel less familiar with civil or business aviation.

“We saw AFAC [Federal Civil Aviation Agency] implement a new set of ambiguous guidelines with a lot of officials who are new to civil aviation,” said Gardner. “The rollout took on a life of its own due to ambiguous guidelines and issuance before holiday seasons.”

Operators should confirm current SEA requirements for specific ports with their local handlers to ensure compliance and plan to apply for a SEA at least two days prior to entry into Mexico, as processing times and validity periods vary.

Experts also expect requirements and procedures to evolve as local officials and AFAC evaluate the SEA processes.
The AFAC also continues to dedicate resources to ramp checks. Operators and pilots should be prepared for ramp checks anytime they fly into or within Mexico.

“An aircraft can be grounded for hours if the paperwork is not complete when a ramp check is carried out,” said Emilio Padilla Escoto, manager of operations at MANNY.

“We have seen ramp checks become stricter as Mexico is reinforcing safety and security, as well as trying to avoid illegal charters,” Padilla said. “This is a problem, especially when the customer has a [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] appointment in the United States or the passengers are unable to depart.”

Review NBAA’s international operations resources at

Be Prepared

Have these documents available for ramp inspections, even if they were provided to a handler in advance.

Aircraft Paperwork

  • Airworthiness certificate
  • Aircraft registration certificate
  • Complete insurance policy and policy receipt

Crew Paperwork

  • Medical certificate
  • Airman certificate

Additional Requirements

  • Maintenance logbook (copy of most recent pages)
  • Journey logbook

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