Drone regulations in Great Britain (United Kingdom)

In this post, I’d like to introduce you to the current rules for operating drones in the UK.

Since 2019, there have been two ways to register a drone in the UK.

One is to register as an operator. If your drone weighs between 250 grams and 20 kilograms and you want to use it in the country, you must register as an operator. An operator is the person or company responsible for the drone. He or she must be of legal age (at least 18 years old). Registration is possible online and costs 10.33 pounds. You can also only register as an operator if you are not flying the drone yourself, for example because the pilot is your underage child. The operator ID is valid for one year and must be clearly visible on the drone.

You also have the option of registering as a flyer. Registration as a flyer is required if your drone weighs 250 grams or more. To get your flyer ID, you must be at least 13 years old and complete an online test. This is free of charge and tests your knowledge of the safety rules. It consists of 40 multiple choice questions, 30 of which you have to answer correctly. However, you can repeat the test as often as necessary. The Flyer ID remains valid for five years.

If your drone weighs less than 250 grams and does not have a camera, you do not need an Operator ID or a Flyer ID. The same exception applies to toy drones.

Following Brexit, the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The UK was actually supposed to adopt the EU drone regulation, which came into force at the end of 2020. However, so far it does not look as if there will be any harmonization. This means that European registrations and licenses are not valid in the UK.

Overview: Drone rules in Great Britain

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, after registration or approval
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, after registration or approval
Maximum Altitude:400 in uncontrolled airspace.
Is drone insurance mandatory? Yes, for commercial drone flights. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Does the drone need a badge?Yes.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? Yes.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people
Contact information

Drone and Model Aircraft Registration Team: [email protected]

Contact for commercial pilots and in case of questions about where you can fly: [email protected] 

Rules for operating drones in the UK

Drones must always be kept within visual line of sight.

A distance of 50 meters must be maintained between your copter and individuals and buildings. Near crowds and built-up areas, a distance of 150 meters must be ensured. The allowed distance to airfields and airports is precisely regulated. It is based on the respective traffic control zone, which you can see on this site.

Commercial pilots

To use your drone in the UK commercially, you must apply for a permit. For simple maneuvers, a standard permission is enough, for which you can apply online. For more complex projects and exemptions, use form SRG 1320.

Good to know: Frequency determinations: 2.4 GHz without power limitation with digital radio; 5.8 GHz in the range of 5.725 to 5.875 MHz

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Great Britain to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Great Britain!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use several drones like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ or the DJI Mini 3 Pro. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a drone. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!


  • Urban karma | 29.10.2017

    I live in the U.K. And have just got my pfco from the CAA great to see your site giving advice on safe drone flying around Europe and other places really informative lots of info in one place and all the info on the UK is 100% correct great research and will be using your site for reference when flying overseas thanks guys would love to see a gallery on here of all your travels

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