Drone/UAV Laws and Regulations for Other Countries

Updated: Oct 18, 2018


As the global drone industry grows, so do requirements and restrictions on UAVs and their operators. Here at White Cloud Drones, safety is our top priority. If you’re considering drone services in another country it is vital that you check drone laws and regulations.


Here is a quick list and reference guide for the top 10 countries most visited by Americans. This list is just to provide direction; you should always do your own research when considering UAV usage outside of the United States. Remember, CYA: Cover Your Assets.


1. United Kingdom


According to the U.K.’s national aviation authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of the U.K.(CAA), flying a drone is legal in the United Kingdom, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’re traveling to the United Kingdom and want to bring your drone, the CAA lists these special considerations for foreigners who want to fly drones:

  • If you are a drone operator from overseas and want to carry out work in the U.K. (i.e., you want to do commercial drone work in the U.K.), the CAA will normally be able to grant permissions to foreign operators, on the basis that you are able to satisfy the same basic safety requirements that are required for U.K.-based operators.

  • Drone approvals / qualifications from other nations are not ‘automatically’ accepted as being valid. In order to fly in the U.K., you must be in possession of a valid U.K. permission if the type of flight that you are conducting requires one. Each application is considered on its own merits, but we will take the details of your own national approval / qualification into account when determining your application and the conditions that are set within the permission. All applications should be made as far in advance as possible—you can find the guidelines on how to apply and submit your application on this page on the CAA’s website.

If you’d like to contact the CAA directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: infoservices@caa.co.uk. / +44 0330 022 1500


General Rules for Flying a Drone in the United Kingdom

  • Commercial drone operations in the U.K. require permission from the CAA. See the section below to learn more about how to obtain permission.

  • Insurance is required for all commercial drone operations.

  • You must keep the drone in your direct sight at all times while it is flying, so that you can ensure that it does not collide with anything, especially other aircraft.

  • You must not endanger anyone, or any thing with your drone, including any articles that you drop from it.

  • All drones, regardless of mass, must not fly above 122 meters (400 feet) above the surface.

  • If your drone is fitted with a camera, there are also a number of additional limitations surrounding where you can fly it, and how close you can fly it to other uninvolved people or objects. In order to be able to fly within these areas, or closer than the minimum distances that are in the regulations, you must obtain prior permission from the CAA to do so. Learn more about applying for permission here.

  • You may not fly a drone within 150 meters (492 feet) of any congested area or organized open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons; or within 50 meters (164 feet) of any person, property, vessel, vehicle, or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft; following additional codes not to overfly 122 meters (400 feet) above the surface.

  • You must not fly a small unmanned aircraft closer than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) from the boundary of a protected aerodrome without first checking that you have permission to do so.

  • You may not cause or permit any article or animal (whether or not attached to a parachute) to be dropped from a small unmanned aircraft in a way that endangers persons or property.

  • If your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft, it is a criminal offense and you could go to prison for five years.


2. Dominican Republic


According to Dominican Republic’s national aviation authority, the Dominican Republic’s Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics (IDAC), flying a drone is legal in the Dominican Republic, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the IDAC directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: aeronautica.c@verizon.net.do / +1 809 221 7909


General Rules for Flying a Drone in the Dominican Republic

  • Drones weighing more than 4.4 pounds must be registered with Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation (IDAC) and must have liability insurance. Register your drone here on the IDAC website.

  • Drones weighing under 4.4 pounds may be operated without prior registration.

  • Drones may not be operated in a manner that can endanger persons or property and may not be operated in a manner that may violate privacy rights.

  • Do not fly your drone in weather that impairs visibility. Visual contact must be maintained with drone.

  • Do not switch drone operators while drone is in flight.

  • Do not operate drone after sunset unless drone is illuminated enough to provide warning at least one nautical mile away and special authorization has been obtained.

  • Do not operate drones in a reckless manner.

  • Do not operate drones within five nautical miles of any airport or airfield.

  • Do not operate over dangerous or restricted areas unless prior authorization has been obtained by the Air Traffic Control.

  • Do not operate more than one drone simultaneously.

  • Do not operate drones under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Do not throw objects from drones.

  • Do not operate drones in an area where a fire is being fought.

  • Drones weighing more than 4.4 pounds may not be operated at a distance greater than 1,650 feet on a slope or 400 feet vertically from the operator. Drones weighing under 4.4 pounds may not exceed a distance greater than 1500 feet on a slope or 400 feet from the operator.

  • Drones cannot be flown faster than 87 knots (100 mph) for drones weighing over 4.4 pounds, and 30 knots (34 mph) for drones weighing under 4.4 pounds.

  • Drones may not be operated from a vehicle, except by a vessel in water.


3. Italy


According to Italy’s national aviation authority, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), flying a drone is legal in Italy, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact ENAC directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: comunicazione@enac.rupa.it / +39 06 445 961


General Rules for Flying a Drone in Italy

  • Drones must be identified by a plate showing the identification of the system and of the operator. An identical plate shall be installed also on the remote ground pilot station. As of the 1st of July 2016, in addition to plates required by the Art 8.1, all drones that allow the transmission of data in real time must be equipped with an Electronic Identification Device.

  • Drone pilots must maintain a direct line of sight with their drone during operations.

  • Drones may not be flown at night.

  • Drones are not allowed to fly over people or crowds, including sports events, concerts, and other large events.

  • Drones being flown for recreational purposes may not fly more than 70 meters (230 feet) above the ground, and drones being flown for commercial purposes may not fly more than 150 meters (492 feet) above the ground.

  • Drones may not be flown within 5 kilometers (6.8 miles) of any airport or airfield.

  • Commercial drone pilots conducting low-risk operations must submit a statement of compliance with specific requirements to ENAC along with a 94 Euro processing fee. For higher risk operations commercial drone pilots must obtain a training and operating certificate as well as a health certificate. Learn more about the requirements for commercial operations on this page on the ENAC website.


4. France


According to France’s national aviation authority, the French Civil Aviation Authority, flying a drone is legal in France, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the French Civil Aviation Authority directly before you travel with any questions you might have, message them on Twitter: @DGAC


General Rules for Flying a Drone in France

  • Drone pilots must maintain a line of sight with their drones at all times. If a visual observer is tracking the drone, the pilot may fly out of his or her own range of sight.

  • Drones may not be flown at night (unless with special authorization from the local prefect).

  • Drones may not be flown over people; over airports or airfields; over private property (unless with owner’s authorization); over military installations, prisons, nuclear power plants, historical monuments, or national parks. Use this map to locate flight restrictions by geolocation.

  • Drones may also not be flown over ongoing fires, accident zones, or around emergency services.

  • Drones may not be flown above 150 meters (492 feet), or higher than 50 meters (164 feet) above any object or building that is 100 meters (328 feet) or more in height.


5. Germany


According to Germany’s national aviation authority, the German Federal Aviation Office (FAO), flying a drone is legal in Germany, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the FAO directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: FAO Contact Form / +49 531 2355 115


General Rules for Flying a Drone in Germany

  • Drones may not fly above 100 meters (328 feet) without a permit. In controlled airspace the maximum altitude allowed is 50 meters (164 feet).

  • Drone pilots must maintain a direct line of sight with their drones at all times. According to our research, an exception might be permissible in the case of FPV flights in which the drone flies no higher than 30 meters (98 feet) above the ground and weighs no more than 250 grams (.55 pounds).

  • Drones may not be flown at night.

  • Drone insurance is required for all drone operations in Germany.

  • Drones weighing up to 5 kilograms (11 pounds) may be flown without a permit, but a license is required to fly a drone weighing more than 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds).

  • Drones may not be flown within 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles) or closer to an airport.

  • All drones weighing 250 grams (.55 pounds) or more must be labeled with a fireproof badge containing the name and address of the drone owner / operator.

  • Drones may not be flown over crowds, industrial areas, disaster areas, prisons, and several other areas designated as sensitive. See this map for more information on where drones are banned in Germany.


6. Jamaica


According to Jamaica’s national aviation authority, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority(JCAA), flying a drone is legal in Jamaica, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the JCAA directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: jcivav@jcaa.gov.jm / +1 (876) 960-3948, 960-3965


General Rules for Flying a Drone in Jamaica

  • Do not fly drones at heights exceeding 400 feet (122 meters).

  • Do not fly drones beyond a range of 1,640 feet (500 meters).

  • You must keep your drone within visual sight at all times. “First Person View” technology does not satisfy this requirement.

  • Do not fly over or within 500 feet (152 meters) of any crowd.

  • Do not fly over or within 165 feet (50 meters) of any person excluding the drone operator or during take-off and landing procedures.

  • Drones may not be operated on public or private property without prior authorization.

  • Do not fly within 3 miles (5,000 meters) of any airport, helipad, or airport.

  • Do not fly drones at night or during conditions with low visibility.

  • Drones may not be used to drop or discharge items to the ground.

  • Drones may not be operated in restricted or prohibited airspace.

Additional Requirements for Professional UAV Operators in Jamaica

The following requirements apply to persons or companies which operate UAVs for any non-recreational purpose, commercial or noncommercial, including business-related activities such as, but not limited to, aerial photography, surveillance, geometric surveys, power line inspections, crop observations, research, and development activities.

  • Apply to the JCAA in writing for approval, providing all details of the intended operation

  • Do not fly the aircraft, unless written permission has been received from the JCAA, stating any applicable restrictions or conditions


7. Spain


According to Spain’s national aviation authority, the State Agency of Air Security (AESA), flying a drone is legal in Spain, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact AESA directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: drones.aesa@seguridadaerea.es / +34 91 396 80 00


General Rules for Flying a Drone in Spain

  • Regional authorities have the ability to issue their own drone regulation, so it’s a good idea to do local research before flying.

  • A permit is required for commercial drone flights.

  • Liability insurance is required for commercial drone pilots.

  • Drones may be flown up to 120 meters (394 feet) above the ground.

  • Drones may only be flown during the day. For drones with a take-off weight of less than 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), flights may also be carried out at night as long as a flight altitude of 50 meters (164 feet) above the ground is not exceeded.

  • Drones must always be flown within the visual line of sight. During FPV flights a second visual observer must monitor the drone with the eye and be in direct contact with the pilot.

  • Drone pilots must maintain a distance of at least 8 kilometers (5 miles) to airports in uncontrolled airspace, or 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) on approved BVLOS flights.

  • Drone pilots must maintain a distance of 150 meters (492 feet) from buildings, and a distance of 50 meters (164 feet) or more from people not involved in the flight.

  • For flights in national parks, you need permission from the AESA. The use of drones in no-fly zones must be approved by the Spanish Ministry of Defense (processing time is approximately one week).


8. China


According to China’s national aviation authority, the Civil Aviation Administration of China(CAAC), flying a drone is legal in China, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the CAAC directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: fsdcaac@public3.bta.net.cn / +86 010 6409 1288


General Rules for Flying a Drone in China

  • Any drones weighing 250 grams (.55 pounds) or more must be registered with the CAAC. See the section below to learn more about registering your drone.

  • Licensing is required for commercial operations and in other scenarios. See the section below to learn more about the scenarios that require licensing by the CAAC.

  • Do not fly beyond your visual line of sight.

  • Do not fly above 120 meters (394 feet).

  • Do not fly in densely populated areas.

  • Do not fly around airports, military installation, or other sensitive areas such as police checkpoints or sub-stations.

  • All drones are subject to China’s “No-Fly-Zones” or NFZs. Beijing is a NFZ. You may consult this NFZ map as a resource.

  • Do no fly in controlled areas, unless you have approval by the CAAC in advance.

Registration Licensing Requirements for Flying a Drone in China

Registration Requirements for Flying a Drone in China

Any drone that weighs over 250 grams (.55 pounds) must be registered with the CAAC.

Registration requires the personal information of the individual as well as details about the drone and its usage. You will need to provide:

  • Owner’s name

  • Valid personal ID number (such as ID or passport number)

  • Mobile phone and email address

  • Product model number

  • Serial Number

  • Purpose of use

Once your drone is registered you must print your registration sticker with the QR code and attach it to your drone in a clearly visible manner.

Here is a link to the CAAC portal for registering your drone, and here is a site that provides helpful information to guide you through the registration process.

*Note: The registration process may require understanding of the Chinese language and a Chinese mobile phone number.


Licensing Requirements for Flying a Drone in China

Here are different scenarios that require licensing from the CAAC:

  • Any drone weighing 7 kilograms (15 pounds) to 116 kilograms (256 pounds) requires a license from the CAAC.

  • All drones flown for commercial use require a license from the CAAC.

  • Any drone weighing over 116 kilograms (256 pounds) requires a pilot’s license and UAV certification for operation.

Learn more about how to obtain a license in this document issued by the CAAC.



9. India


According to India’s national aviation authority, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, flying a drone is legal in India, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced the country’s first Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for drones on August 27, 2018 to go into effect December 1, 2018. Read the full ruling here (Section 3–Air Transport, Series X, Part I).


Special Travel Considerations

Foreigners are currently not allowed to fly drones in India. For commercial purpose, they need to lease the drone to an Indian entity who in-turn will obtain Unique Identification Number (UIN) and UAOP from DGCA.

If you’d like to contact the Ministry of Civil Aviation directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: Shri T.N. Dwivedi, Deputy Secretary, tn.dwivedi57@nic.in / 011 2463 2950.


General Rules for Flying a Drone in India

  • All drones except those in the Nano category must be registered and issued a Unique Identification Number (UIN).

  • A permit is required for commercial drone operations (except for those in the Nano category flown below 50 feet and those in the Micro category flown below 200 feet).

  • Drone pilots must maintain a direct visual line of sight at all times while flying.

  • Drones cannot be flown more than 400 feet vertically.

  • Drones cannot be flown in areas specified as “No Fly Zones”, which include areas near airports, international borders, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations, and military installations.

  • Permission to fly in controlled airspace can be obtained by filing a flight plan and obtaining a unique Air Defense Clearance (ADC)/Flight Information Center (FIC) number.

Drone Categories in India

Registration is required for all but the Nano category.

  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams (.55 pounds)

  • Micro: From 250 grams (.55 pounds) to 2kg (4.4 pounds)

  • Small: From 2kg (4.4 pounds) to 25kg (55 pounds)

  • Medium: From 25kg (55 pounds) to 150kg (330 pounds)

  • Large: Greater than 150kg (33 pounds)

Required Drone Equipment in India

Also worth noting is that India has specific requirements regarding the types of features a drone must have to be flown in India (excluding those in the Nano category). These mandatory requirements include:

  • GPS

  • Return-to-home (RTH)

  • Anti-collision light

  • ID plate

  • A flight controller with flight data logging capability

  • RF ID and SIM/No Permission No Takeoff (NPNT)

India’s No Permission, No Takeoff Policy

Before every single flight, drone pilots are required to request permission to fly via a mobile app, which will automatically process the request and grant or reject it. India is calling their system “No Permission, No Takeoff” (NPNT). If a drone pilot tries to fly without receiving permission from the Digital Sky Platform, he or she will simply not be able to takeoff.

All drone operators will register their drone and request permission to fly for each flight through India’s Digital Sky Platform. The Digital Sky Platform and further details will be available on the DGCA website from December 1, 2018.



Costa Rica


According to Costa Rica’s national aviation authority, the Costa Rica Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), flying a drone is legal in Costa Rica, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the DGCA directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: ecubillo@dgac.go.cr / +506 2242 8000


General Rules for Flying a Drone in Costa Rica

  • All drones in Costa Rica must be registered with the DGAC. The DGAC registration portal can be found here.

  • Fly only during the day and with clear weather conditions.

  • Keep the drone within your visual line of sight.

  • Do not fly in cities, communities, and crowds unless you have special permission from the DGAC.

  • Do not fly closer than 30 meters (98 feet) from buildings.

  • Do not fly closer than 8 kilometers (miles) from airports or airfields.

  • Do not fly in specific No Fly Zones, including the following: Arenal Volcano, La Palma passage, Zurqui Tunnel, el Murcielago Police Training Center, La Reforma Prison, The Presidental House, El Ministerio de seguridad publica.

Certification Requirements for Flying a Drone in Costa Rica

Drone pilots flying for commercial purposes must obtain a certificate issued by the Technical Council of Civil Aviation and an operational certificate issued by the DGAC.

The requirements for obtaining an operational certificate include:

  • Passing theoretical and practical courses

  • Over 10 hours of experience flying

  • Must be 18 years of age or older

  • Must have a high school diploma

Learn more about certification requirements in Costa Rica in this document created by the DGAC.



Most countries have their own laws and regulations on both commercial and recreational drone/UAV usage. If you are looking for information on a country not included on our list, we recommend UAV Coach’s impressively comprehensive Master List of Drone Laws, which has information on both state-specific and foreign laws and regulations.



Sources

Barton, Sophie. “Ranked: the Top 30 Most Popular Destinations for Americans.” Ranked: the top 30 most popular destinations for Americans, 28 Feb. 2018, www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/ranked-the-top-30-most-popular-destinations-for-americans/ss-BBJIgSo#image=31.

“Master List of Drone Laws (Organized by State / Country) l UAV Coach.” UAV Coach, June 2018, uavcoach.com/drone-laws/.

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