Drone regulations in Iceland

Iceland has written down the laws for drone pilots in great detail. In this article, we explain the current legal situation for drone pilots in the country.

Iceland has some beautiful landscapes, which offer great motifs for drone pilots. But this stunning nature should be preserved, so before you start using your copter in the country, you should inform yourself about the rules.

The special situation in Iceland is that both the European regulations (e.g. 2019/947) and the previously applicable rules (Regulation 990/2017) must be applied.

Overview of the European rules that apply in Iceland

In Iceland, the regulations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) apply. The following is a summary of the key facts. For a complete overview, read our article on the new EU drone regulation.

Is registration necessary? Registration is mandatory for all drone operators, unless the drone weighs less than 250 grams and is NOT equipped with sensors to collect personal data (e.g. camera, microphone). Drones that fall under the EU Toys Directive are also exempt. The registration is recognized in all countries that have also introduced the EU Drone Regulation.
LabelsAll drones must be visibly marked with the individual registration number (e-ID). If available, the number must also be loaded into the drones remote identification system. More info on drone badges
Drone licence:Depending on the category, pilots must take exams to obtain the EU drone licence. These are recognised in all countries that have also introduced the EU Drone Regulation.
Differentiation by category: Open Category (with three subcategories), Specific Category and Certified Category; no distinction between private and commercial pilots.
Maximum Altitude:120 Meter in uncontrolled airspace in Open Category.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people

National peculiarities in Iceland

Each country can define certain aspects of its drone regulations. For Iceland, the following requirements apply in addition to the European regulations.

Is drone insurance mandatory? Yes, for commercial drone flights. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Minimum age for remote pilots16 years

Further rules for drone pilots in Iceland

In Iceland, the maximum flight altitude is limited to 120 meters above the ground. If your copter supports a height limit, you must set it to 120 meters.

You may operate your drone only within the visual line of sight.

The Icelandic transport agency is of the opinion that all copters should be insured. Even if the insurance is only legally prescribed from 20 kg of take-off mass, you should secure yourself in case of an accident.

Within built-up areas, the maximum take-off weight must not exceed three kilograms (for commercial users, the limit is seven kilograms after prior notification to the responsible authority). Outside of built-up areas, flights up to a weight of 25 kilograms are permitted.

Before you start your copter in Iceland, you have to attach your name, address and telephone number to it. In addition, you must of course also attach your UAS operator number.

Safety distances and flight bans

To Icelandic airports with scheduled flights services (Keflavík, Akureyri, Reykjavík, and Egilsstaðir), your copter has to keep a distance of at least 2 kilometers. For all other airfields, there is a prohibition zone within a radius of 1,5 kilometers. If you want to get closer to these airports, you need permission from the control tower. However, the permit does not have to be collected if you do not fly higher than the highest elevation in the immediate vicinity.

A distance of 150 meters must be maintained from public buildings (e.g. the Alþingi parliament building, presidential palace, ministries, police stations and prisons). Within settlements, a minimum distance of 50 meters to buildings must be observed. If you want to fly closer to the buildings, you need the consent of the residents/owners.

Multicopters must not be operated in breeding areas (for example bird rocks), over gatherings of people, over houses, over vehicles and deployments of safety organizations (such as police, fire brigade, etc.).

In national parks, you need written authorization from the park administration before the flight (for example, there is an application form for the Vatnajökull National Park).

Rules for commercial drone flights

As soon as your drone in Iceland is not used exclusively for recreational activities, you must register with the Samgöngustofa. Registration is also necessary if you want to publish your private recordings (for example, on social media).

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Iceland 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 or gain experience with your copter in Iceland!

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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!

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