Do You Need A Licence To Fly Drones In The UK?

Picture of James Bastable
James Bastable

Photographer, Drone Pilot & Editor - Director at

Do You Need a Licence to Fly a Drone in the UK?

In the UK, whether you need a licence to fly drones depends on the purpose of the flight. For recreational use, no licence is required, but strict guidelines set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) must be followed. However, for commercial operations, such as aerial photography or surveying, operators must obtain permission from the CAA and hold appropriate qualifications. 

It’s essential to understand and adhere to regulatory requirements to ensure safe and legal drone flying in the UK. Let’s delve into the main details of what to do if you’re a recreational or commercial drone operator:

Recreational Drone Flying:

If you’re flying a drone for recreational purposes, you do not need a licence in the UK. However, there are essential rules and guidelines that must be followed to ensure safe and responsible operation:

  • Stay Below 400 Feet: Keep your drone at an altitude of no more than 400 feet (120 metres) above ground level.

  • Maintain Visual Line of Sight: Always keep your drone within your line of sight, without the use of binoculars or other aids.

  • Respect No-Fly Zones: Avoid flying near airports, military installations, and other restricted areas.

  • Stay Away from People and Property: Maintain a safe distance from people, buildings, and vehicles to prevent collisions and protect privacy.

  • Be Mindful of Privacy: Respect the privacy of individuals by avoiding intrusive or unauthorised filming.

Commercial Drone Operations:

If using a drone for commercial purposes, such as aerial photography, surveying, or inspections, you will need to obtain permission from the CAA. This involves obtaining an Operational Authorisation (OA) and holding relevant qualifications, such as the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC) or the Remote Pilot Competency Certificate (RPC).

In summary, recreational drone pilots in the UK do not need a licence to fly, but they must adhere to specific rules and guidelines outlined by the Civil Aviation Authority. Commercial drone operators, on the other hand, are required to obtain permission from the CAA and hold appropriate qualifications. By understanding and complying with regulatory requirements, drone enthusiasts and professionals can enjoy the skies safely and responsibly. For further information and guidance on drone regulations in the UK, consult the official resources provided by the Civil Aviation Authority.

At, we take pride in our commitment to safety and professionalism. With over a decade of experience, we are fully certified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), ensuring compliance with regulations and industry standards for drone operations. Our team of skilled professionals hold all necessary qualifications and permissions, providing peace of mind to our clients. Additionally, we prioritise the protection of our clients and their assets by maintaining comprehensive insurance coverage. When you choose, you can trust that your drone photography and videography needs are in capable hands, backed by a proven track record of reliability and expertise.

Get in touch / REQUEST A CALL

Keep reading

Introducing Our New State-of-the-Art Drone!

New Drone Day!
In this industry, you have to keep up with the ever developing technology and we LOVE nothing more than testing out a new drone on a sunny day! Take a read about our newest addition here…

Property Photography

This week we’re talking about property photography and the different ways can help you showcase your housing developments.