Drone Laws in New Mexico

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of New Mexico

Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/

New Mexico State Legislature – Senate Bill 167

Updated March 10, 2022

UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in NM

Drone operation in New Mexico is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.

In addition, the New Mexico State legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to NM drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below.

Are drones allowed in NM State?

Drones are allowed in NM State for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.

Specific additional drone use laws by New Mexico State legislature

Senate Bill 167

“​Drone​” is defined as any device used or designed for navigation or flight in the air that is unmanned and guided remotely or by an onboard computer or onboard control system. Drones may also be referred to as “unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)” or “unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAVS).”

Title 19, Chapter 31, Part 10, – ​USE OF VEHICLES AND ROADS IN HUNTING:
It shall be unlawful, at any time, to pursue, harass, harry, drive, or rally any protected species by use of a drone. It is also unlawful to use a drone to assist in the locating or taking of any protected species.
Exceptions: Aircraft, drone, and vehicle exemptions to this rule: The Director may exempt a person from the prohibition of utilizing an aircraft, drone, or vehicle for management purposes.

Senate Bill SB 556 (2013)

SB 556 prohibits persons or state agencies from using drones for unwanted/unauthorized surveillance. In these cases, unwanted and unauthorized means without the consent of individuals, property owners, or businesses. Exceptions are for state agencies to gather evidence or other data using drones; permissible only with an official warrant.

Specific additional NM Drone laws (by local governments within New Mexico)

There are no other local drone regulations in place in New Mexico at this time. Please check with the state legislature for updates.

UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves

NM State Park Service Division

The use of drones and model aircraft are prohibited at Navajo Lake State Park.

Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft, such as a drone, within White Sands National Park is prohibited. See WHSA Superintendent’s Compendium §1.5 G for additional information. Unauthorized aircraft activity within the park also violates military airspace and potentially creates safety hazards to military operations.

Specific additional NM Drone Laws (in Jurisdictions within New Mexico)

Many cities or towns within New Mexico may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in New Mexico

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Recreational drone operations (i.e.e, flying for recreational purposes) in New Mexico State are approved under Federal law, specifically the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and will help keep the airspace available to everyone.

  1. Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment). 
  2. Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
  3. Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with crewed aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Drone flights may be prohibited in certain airspace or may require FAA authorization. A drone pilot can find navigable airspace, other Classes of airspace, and flying restrictions on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
  8. Have a current registrationmark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you. For recreational flyers, the FAA does not require you to register or mark a drone which weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
  9. Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
    • Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
    • Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.

Recreational drone pilots should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.

Hobbyist rules by Division of Parks and Forestry

The U.S. National Park Service’s ban on aerial drones being used inside national parks, primarily to capture photos and video, is now in full effect in New Mexico and nationwide. 

Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in New Mexico

If you have a small unmanned aircraft that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Commercial drone operations in NM State are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

There are three main steps drone owners must follow To fly under Part 107 rules:

Step 1: Learn the Rules

  1. Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
  2. Some operations are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
    • Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
    • Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
    • Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
    • Visual observer (§ 107.33)
    • Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
    • Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
    • Operation over people (§ 107.39)
    • Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
    • Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51) 
    • *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
    • If your operation will require a waiver, read about the Part 107 Waiver application process.
  3. Commercial Drone Pilots should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the UAS operator must avoid crewed aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment. Read more about flying near airports.

Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test

  1. To be eligible to get your Drone License (Remote Pilot Certificate), you must be:
    • At least 16 years old
    • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
    • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
  2. Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
  3. Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
  4. Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
  5. Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
  6. Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
  7. You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot

Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA

  • Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy to register.
  • Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
  • Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number if it gets lost or stolen.

Commercial rules by Division of Parks and Forestry

The operation of a UAV for commercial purposes is hereby specifically prohibited within all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service unless specifically approved by the Assistant Director, State Park Service.

Useful published information on flying drones in NM

We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to NM State Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.

Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.

Traveling with a Drone?

Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone


Help Us Keep Drone Laws Updated

Tell Us About Your Recent Experience

In The Comments Below


The content on this site (The latest Drone Laws/Drone Regulations) is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

We welcome any feedback, corrections, or updates that can be shared with our community.

The contents of this website are open-sourced and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC By-SA 3.0 US). Feel free to share, remix, or otherwise.

4 thoughts on “Drone Laws in New Mexico”

  1. The info provided on “drones registration” could use improvement. In the NOTES section, the info listed in No. 8 only applies to drones that weigh MORE THAN 0.55lbs (250 grams). Nothing is said about the latter. So you should add something like, “9. The FAA does not require registration for drones that weigh less than .055lbs (250grams).”
    Likewise, there is “No FAA requirement exists to mark these small drones with some type of number.” This, and the small-drone weight-entry should be made in the STEP 3 REGISTER YOUR DRONE section (above)

    • Richard, thank you for pointing this clarification out to us. The exemption for 0.55lbs registration applies to recreational flyers. We don’t find a similar exemption for commercial operators. We made some adjustments to the language for better clarification above. Let us know if you agree, or if you have any other suggestions. Cheers


Leave a Comment