Drone Laws

Drone Laws In Different Countries


Over the past few years, the world has witnessed a growing trend of drone laws around the globe that extend beyond the guidelines and restrictions established for commercial and recreational drone users by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Federal Aviation Administration for USA (FAA).

These drone laws restrict a wide variety of behaviors, including drone use over private property without the property owner’s permission, invading privacy, conducting surveillance, and operating over public property or public parks.

Several countries regulate drone operations according to following drone rules:

  • Drone Registration and Labeling
  • Drone Weight and/or type of use.
  • Flight Authorization Information
  • Drone Operator Qualifications
  • Insurance
  • Privacy
  • Safety Features
  • Spatial Restrictions
  • Radio Communication
  • Visual Line of Sight

A lot of the countries have made efforts to adopt drone rules. In this article, we have examined drone laws of a variety of countries.

Here are the laws you should know now, before you take-off.


Australia Drone Laws

You must make sure that the drone must always stay within visual line-of-sight.  Never fly the drone more than 120 m (400 feet) above ground level and fly only one drone at a time. Drones weighing more than 100 grams must fly at least 5.5 km away from a controlled airport. Remember, you must respect the personal privacy of people who may appear in the images captured by the drone without their consent, you never fly drone in a way that creates a hazard to person, property or another aircraft. It is difficult to fly a drone within 30 meters of people but you must keep it away from them. You can fly your drones only during the daytime and you must not fly through cloud or fog. Do not operate a drone over populous area, such as concerts or sports events. And finally, if you intend to fly drone commercially, you must follow extra rules (see Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) website for more information on Australia drone laws).


USA Drone Laws

You must follow the necessary laws to fly drones in the USA. To operate a drone in the USA, you have to zoom in Class G airspace to fly a drone in class A, B, C, D airspace you must check out the LAANC authorization guide to do work in airspace authorization. You must never fly near emergency response issues, and you must be issued a remote pilot certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly commercially. Your UAV must be less than 55 pounds, and you should register your FAA on the drone zone website. Your UAV must be within visual line of sight, and you should fly out your flight during twilight and daylight so that it might be secure for you and everyone around you. Your trip must be below 400 feet, and mph must be less than 100. Your drone must be between 250 to 50 grams, and their flight must be 500 feet horizontally and 250 vertically according to the USA’s laws. One of the new drone flying rules in the USA the drone pilots must pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test (see FAA website for more information on USA drone laws).


Canada Drone Laws

Currently, Canada is not accepting SFOC applications from outsiders looking to fly their drone recreationally, but it does not apply to outsiders who are requesting an SFOC for commercial operations. In January 2021, there will be a re-evaluation of these restrictions. There must be a registration with Transport Canada, of drones that weigh between 250 g and 25 kg. The pilots must mark their drones with their registration numbers before they fly. All drones’ pilots must get a drone pilot certificate, which weighs between 250 g and 25 kg. The pilots of drones must maintain a visual line of sight all time while flying. Fly beneath 122 meters (400 feet) in the air. Must fly away from bystanders at a minimum distance of 30 meters for basic operations. Do not operate at the site of emergency operations or advertised events. Aware of forest fires, outdoor concerts, and parades. Do not fly within 5.6 kilometers from airports or 1.9 kilometers from heliports. Drones must operate at a safe distance from other aircraft. Do not fly anywhere near airplanes, helicopters, and other drones. Always respect the privacy of others while working (see Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) website for more information on Canada drone laws).


UK Drone Laws

Take notice to keep your drone or model aircraft in direct sight. Your flight should not be more than 400ft (120m) above the surface and stay away from aircraft, airports, and airfields. You must avoid flying closer than 50m to humans. Even when the drone is more than 50m away from people, it is safer to avoid directly overflying them. Your flight must not be closer than 50m to buildings, cars, trains, or boats. Never fly directly over a crowd or zoom closer than 150m to built-up areas. Avoid flying in an airport’s flight restriction zone. The restriction uses a radius of two nautical miles and the airfield’s existing aerodrome traffic zone, which has a range of five-kilometers by one-kilometer zones starting from the point known as the ‘threshold’ of each of the runway of the airfields. The two zones extend upwards to a height of two thousand feet above the airport. To fly any zone is illegal unless you have permission from air traffic control at the airport or from the airport itself. If you disobey the safety of an aircraft, you could go to prison for five years. A drone is an illegal or model aircraft between 250g-20kg that does not show a valid operator ID (see Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website for more information on UK drone laws).


South Africa Drone Laws

Do not fly a drone over 10 kilometers or closer to an airport without special permission from the SACAA. Drones weighing more than 7 kilograms are not allowed to fly. It is difficult to fly a drone within 50 meters of people or private property (without permission from the property owner). Drone pilots must keep an eye of contact on their drones at all times while in flight. It would help if you only flew Drones during daylight and twilight hours. And according to the SAN Park website, “The use of drones inside (and over) our national parks is prohibited” (see South Africa Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) website for more information on South Africa drone laws).


Spain Drone Laws

You must make sure that the drone must always stay within visual range of the pilot. Never fly the drone more than 120 m in flight. Do not fly in 8 km from any airport, aerodrome, or controlled airspace. It is highly recommended but not mandatory, but to have liability insurance. It is the pilot’s responsibility for any damage by the aircraft. Make sure that the drone has a fireproof identification plate fixed on it. It must contain information such as the name of the manufacturer, model, serial number (if applicable), and the pilot’s contact details. You must respect the right to privacy of people who may appear in the images captured by the drone, and you must take special care with their public disclosure in order not to violate the Data Protection Act (see EU drone rules website for more information on Spain drone laws)..


China Drone Laws

In China, you must get your drones registered with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which weighs more than 250 grams (.55 pounds). Licensing is essential for commercial operation, and you must not fly beyond your visual of sight. Flight must not be more than 120 meters (394 feet). Do not operate in densely populated areas. Do not fly around airports, military installations, or other sensitive areas such as sub-stations. All drones operational in China are subject to China’s “N0-Fly-Zones” . Beijing is an NFZ. Flight must not be in controlled areas unless you have approval by the CAAC in advance (see CAAC  website for more info on china drone laws).


France Drone Laws

Drones must be registered by their owners, on Alpha Tango, the public portal for users of remotely piloted aircraft of all drones of flight 800g or more. The drone’s registration number must be permanently fixed on the drone and must be readable with the naked eye from 30 centimeters. The drone pilot must provide proof of registration in the event of a check. Drone pilots must maintain a visual of sight with their drones at all times. If an observer is tracking the drone, the pilot may fly out of his or her range of view. You must not fly drones at night (unless with special authorization from the local authority). Do not operate a drone over people; over airports or airfields; over private property (unless with owner’s permission); over military installations, jails, nuclear power plants, monuments, or national parks. You must use map to locate flight restrictions by geolocation. It would help if you did not fly drones over ongoing fires, accident zones, or emergency services. You must not operate the drones higher than 150 meters (492 feet) or more top than 50 meters (164 feet) above any object or building that is 100 meters (328 feet) or more in height (see EU drone rules website for more info on France drone laws).


Japan Drone Laws

Do not fly a drone in the following manners without special permission from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. It must be 150 meters above ground level, near airports, above densely inhabited areas, as defined by Japan’s Ministry of Communications. To request your permission, apply for a license to the Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism at least ten business days before the proposed operation. Contact Japan’s UA / Drone Counseling Service for information. You can fly your drones only during the daytime and twilight. Drone pilots must maintain a visual line of sight with their drones during their flight, and they may not fly within 30 meters (98.4 feet) of people. Do not operate a drone over crowds, such as concerts or sports events. Prevent using drones to transport hazardous goods. Drones may not drop objects during the flight, either intentionally or accidentally (see Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) website for more info on Japan drone laws).


India Drone Laws

In India, all drones must be registered except those in the Nano category and issued a Unique Identification Number (UIN). For a commercial drone, drone pilots must maintain a visual line of sight all time while flying. You cannot fly a drone vertically for more than 400 feet. Drones cannot operate in areas specified as “No Fly Zones,” including areas near airports, international borders, State Secretariat Complex, strategic locations, and military installations. The license to fly in controlled airspace can be obtained by filing a flight plan and getting a unique Air Defense Clearance (ADC)/Flight Information Center (FIC) number (see Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) website for more info on India drone laws).


What do you think?

Written by Adrian Smith

Adrian is a freelance writer and editor how brings a passion for technology wherever he goes, whether it's for drone industry, mobile technology, or pretty much anything that requires tech trends and innovation.


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