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.

Iceland will also adopt the EU drone regulation, which came into force in many countries on December 31, 2020. However, this will probably be delayed in Iceland until mid-2021. In the meantime, the existing laws will apply. Information about the new rules can be found in our overview article and on the pages linked there.

Overview: Drone rules in Iceland

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, without further requirements
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, after registration or approval
Maximum Altitude:120 Meter (393,7 Fuß) in uncontrolled airspace.
Is drone insurance mandatory? No. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Does the drone need a badge?Yes.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? No.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people

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 urban areas, the maximum take-off weight may not exceed 3 kilograms. Outside of cities and villages, flights are allowed up to a take-off weight of 25 kilograms.

Before you start your copter in Iceland, you have to attach your name, address and telephone number to it.

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.

For freestanding buildings, a distance of 150 meters must be maintained. Within settlements, a minimum distance of 50 meters to buildings must be ensured. If you want to get closer to the buildings, you will 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 a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

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