Drone regulations in Portugal

Picturesque landscapes with idyllic, dream-like beaches, rugged cliffs and green mountains – the diverse country in the west of the Iberian Peninsula offers many great locations for drone pilots. In this article, you will find all the information you need to know for a trip to Portugal with your drone.

The EU Drone Regulation has been in force in Portugal since December 31, 2020. This has largely harmonized the rules for remote pilots. You only have to register as an operator in one European country and your EU drone license is also recognized across countries.

If you want to register in Portugal, you can do so via this link.

Overview of the European rules with effectiveness in Portugal

In Portugal, 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 a registration necessary? A 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), Special category and category subject to registration; 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 specificities in Portugal

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

Is drone insurance mandatory? Yes, for all drones weighing 900 grams or more. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Minimum age for remote pilots16 years
Contact information

AAN: [email protected]

Further rules for drone pilots in Portugal

Insurance is mandatory in Portugal for all drones weighing 900 grams or more. The amount of coverage depends on the weight:

  • 900 grams up to and including 1.5 kilograms: 260,000 special drawing rights (approx. 310,000 euros, as of mid-February 2021)
  • more than 1.5 kilograms up to and including 4 kilograms: 380,000 special drawing rights (approx. 452,000 euros, as of mid-February 2021)
  • more than 4 kilograms up to and including 20 kilograms: 560,000 special drawing rights (approx. 666,000 euros, as of mid-February 2021)
  • more than 20 kilograms: 750,000 special drawing rights (approx. 900,000 euros, as of mid-February 2021)

Safety distances and flight bans

The distances and permitted flight altitudes near airports differ. Check the links on this page for the information relevant to you. For many smaller airports, a distance of 2.5 kilometers applies. You must keep a distance of 1 kilometer from helicopter landing pads.

Flights are not allowed over gatherings of people (12 people or more), embassies, military installations, security force installations, rescue operations, prisons and education centers. Additional no-fly zones can be identified using the app Voa Na Boa (download link above) from Portuguese air traffic control.

A separate flight permit may be required for flights at historic sites and national parks.

Aerial images

Over land

The above rules apply to drone use per se. However, if your drone has a camera, you need special permission from the Autoridade Aeronáutica Nacional (AAN). It is irrelevant for what purpose the recordings are made.

You can submit applications via the e-AAN portal, where you should register in good time. Once you have created your account there, you will receive an email with a declaration, which you must sign and send back to the AAN by post. Only then will your account be activated. So far, this has worked quickly for our readers.

You can then add pilots and drones in the portal. A lot of data is queried, which you should enter as best you can. You will also be asked for a registration number. In Portugal, the registration of drones from 250 grams is planned, but this is supposed to be done in connection with another platform that does not yet exist. According to an AAN information sheet, the field can be filled in with “N/A” or “Não Aplicável” until implementation.

You can now submit applications for your flights via e-AAN.

Over water

If you want to take aerial photographs (photo or video) over water (e.g. ocean, lake, and beaches) in Portugal, you need special permission from the Autoridade Marítima Nacional (AMN). Apparently, they sometimes ask for an administration fee (around 20 Euros).

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Portugal 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 Portugal!

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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!

Discussions

  • Andrei G | 07.12.2018

    rules are changing…
    in Cancun, Mexico they customs put a duty tax on the drone!!! … just pocketing the money …
    so I would not want to be caught of guard
    I am flying from NYC to Delhi via Lisbon and Rome

    any info if I need to be aware of taking a drone through customs?
    thank you !!!

  • Denny | 15.10.2019

    Dear all,
    in Portugal are now little bit complicated rules. You need a permission to take a pictures !!
    You have to be registered – National Aeronautical Authority (AAN) here: https://backoffice.aan.pt/operators-drones-add
    How to do it: http://aan.emfa.pt/includes/AAN/conteudos/galeria/ficheiros/drones/e-aan-guiarapido-ingles_88.pdf

    General rules are mentioned here:https://uavcoach.com/drone-laws-in-portugal/

  • David hansson | 18.08.2020

    A drone was flying over my house. 20 meters. There was Noone around. Then it disapeared. I felt very bad with this intruder and I wonder what to do? I don’t want it around and I would prefer taking legal action instead of shooting it down.

    • Drone Traveller Team | 20.08.2020

      Hello David,
      We cannot give legal advice and without more information, we wouldn’t be able to because from what you wrote, it is not clear if the drone was there legally or not. Keep in mind that in general, sometimes, drones appear to be flying directly above your property, when in reality, they are above public grounds. Nevertheless, if you wish to find out who was filming and what, you could contact two authorities: One is ANAC (Autoridade Nacional Da Aviação Civil), the Civil Aviation Authority, where drones from 250 grams must be registered. Another would be the AAN (Autoridade Aeronáutica Nacional), where drone pilots must ask for permission if they want to take aerial images in Portugal. They might be able to tell you if there was a scheduled and approved flight in the area at that time. Both will also be able to give you tips on what to do if this happens again.

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