• US DRONE LAWS: Fly your drone in the USA

    – Updated in 2024 –

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the body in charge of regulating aviation in the USA, is also in charge of issuing UAS regulations and, therefore, determines what you can and cannot do when flying drones in the United States.

In this post, we will guide you through the most recently published regulations. And we’ll also give you essential tips and helpful resources to ensure you have a safe and compliant experience.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re travelling with a drone in the U.S. Do you need a licence? Can you fly a drone in New York, for example? How do you register a drone in the U.S.? We’ll tell you all about it!

federal aviation administration regulate us drone laws

First of all,

Do I need a license to fly a drone in USA in 2024?

For recreational flying, you do not need a licence, but you do need to take a test to approve the pilot’s skills and knowledge so as not to compromise air safety.

Its official name is The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and it has been developed in coordination with different organisations to determine its content.

This test is completely free of charge and is valid for life. However, if you lose the ticket, you will not be able to print it out again. In this case, you will have to pass the test again.

So, if you fly your drone in the USA, remember that you must carry your proof of having passed the test with you so that you can present it whenever you are asked to do so by the authorities.

FAA rules for recreational drone flying in the US

There are nine simple rules that will ensure you fly responsibly and do not compromise the safety of others or, of course, the airspace.

  1. Fly for recreational purposes only.
  2. Make sure you follow the safety rules of an FAA-recognised CBO (you can find them on the FAA website).
  3. Keep your drone in flight within your line of sight (VLOS) or use a spotter who is positioned next to you and in constant communication.
  4. Do not interfere with other aircraft in flight and always give them the right of way.
  5. In controlled airspace (Classes B, C, D and E), do not exceed the maximum altitude permitted by the FAA (see the following infographic) and always with prior authorisation via LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. In uncontrolled airspace (Class G), never exceed an altitude of 400 feet when flying your drone (120 metres).
  7. Take the TRUST test and always carry the logbook with you as proof.
  8. Register your drone and mark it externally with the registration number (if you don’t know how to do this, don’t worry; we talk about it below).
  9. Never compromise the safety of the airspace by flying your drone in the US.

What should I do when traveling with a drone to the United States?

Rules for foreign pilots

Recently, the FAA has instituted changes that affect people who want to fly their drone in the USA without being a citizen.

So, in addition to learning the recreational flying rules for all pilots, if you are a foreigner, your drone must have Remote ID.

Your drone must have Remote ID

From September 2023, if your drone weighs more than 250 grams, it must have Remote ID to fly in the USA. And also:

  • If your UAS is already registered in your home country, you must submit a Notice of Identification (NOI) on the FAA’s DroneZone website. Just create an account and follow the steps.
  • If your UAS is NOT registered in your country, you still need to access the DroneZone website and register it to obtain a Certificate of Ownership Acknowledgement.

What if your drone does not have Remote ID and weighs more than 250 grams?

Then you can only operate in certain geographical areas, defined by the FAA as Recognized Identification Areas (FRIAs), whose location can be found on the FAA’s UAS Data Delivery System website.

  • You can fly your drone in NYC but always in open spaces and away from crowds, not in the middle of Times Square.

Do all drones have to be registered with the FAA?

If your drone weighs more than 250 grams (0.55 lb), yes, you must register it.

With this in mind, the next thing to decide is whether you are flying for commercial or recreational purposes. When you go to register your drone on the FAA website, you will need to specify this by choosing to fly under Section 107 (commercial purposes) or under the recreational exemption.

In this post, we are going to focus on recreational flying.

How to register a drone in the USA

It is a simple process and can be done online or by email, depending on the weight of the drone. In addition, registration will only cost you $5 and is valid for 3 years.

During the registration process, a personal account will be created with your profile containing your full name, physical/postal address, and whether you are flying for recreational or commercial purposes. You will also need to declare your agreement with FAA safety guidelines, which is incredibly important to understand before flying.

Information needed for registration

To register your drone in the USA and fly it for recreational purposes, you will need the following:

  • Email
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • Make and model of your drone
  • Manufacturer’s Remote ID system serial number (if required in your case).
  • Debit or credit card.

Requirements to register your drone

  • You must be at least 13 years of age (if you are a minor, you must be registered by an adult of this age).
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or have legal permanent residency.
  • If you are neither a citizen nor a resident, the FAA will consider the registration as an acknowledgement of ownership, as mentioned above in the rules for foreign pilots.

If it weighs more than 25kg you will need to register your drone by post.

It is unlikely that you would want to travel to the US with such a large drone, but even so, to register a drone weighing more than 25kg, you will need to mail the required documents to the FAA’s Aircraft Registration Division.

More information can be found in 14 CFR Part 47, which is available on the FAA’s Aircraft Registration website.

  • Even if your drone is this small, you must register it.

How to label your drone after registration

When you finish registering your drone, the FAA will provide you with a unique 10-digit registration number. This number should be inscribed on the drone for easy identification.

To do this, use an indelible marker or heavy-duty vinyl to ensure that the registration number can be read if an authorised officer requests your identification. The most likely scenario in which you might be asked for identification would be flying in restricted airspace, or over private property. Knowing the rules will go a long way to avoiding incidents and fines.

We also recommend that you print out the certificate confirming your registration as additional documentation that you can present if you need it.

  • You can put a plate on it, mark it with a marker or put a vinyl on it.

LAANC system for flying drones in the USA

What is the LAANC system and why is it the biggest advance in drone legislation in the USA for years? Let’s tell you about it, but first, let’s get some background.

Before LAANC, drone operators and recreational pilots who needed authorisation to fly in Class B, C, D and some Class E airspaces had to submit an application through the FAADroneZone website, which could take anywhere from a week to several months to arrive.

The system was totally inefficient for both pilots and regulators, and with the speed at which drones are being registered and integrated into commercial industries, the process needed to be streamlined. This is where LAANC came into drone regulation in the US.

What is LAANC and why do you need it if you want to fly your drone in U.S. controlled airspace

The LAANC, or Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, is a system created by the FAA, as a means of putting air traffic control facilities and airports in direct, real-time communication with drone pilots who want to fly in controlled airspaces other than FAA-authorized ‘fixed points’.

Because you should know, the FAA allows safe flight at specific ‘fixed points’ in controlled airspace all over the entire country. The fixed points are listed on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Facility Maps and are updated periodically.

We recommend that if you are planning to travel with a drone to the United States, on your vacation, for example, you click on the link to find out where you can safely fly it.

How does LAANC work? How to request authorisation to fly the drone in the USA?

The LAANC system works through dedicated apps that act as intermediaries between flight planning and the corresponding air traffic control approvals.

Using the drone controller, smartphone, tablet or PC, any pilot can submit an application for permission to fly in controlled airspace and, within minutes, the relevant control body can either approve the flight or refuse it for a cause.

In addition to the ordinary rules surrounding airspace, the application we are using for LAANC will also filter the request using the GPS location and determine if there are any mitigating elements for the time of flight, such as NOTAMS or TFRs.


There are many applications, for both iOS and Android, to request authorization through LAANC. Here are some of the most interesting for both professional and amateur pilots.


UAVs professionals have praised Kittyhawk as an all-in-one tool. In addition to requesting flight clearance through LAANC, useful features include

  • Full VFR sectional charts, for in-depth flight planning
  • NOTAMS, TFRs and METARs in real-time
  • Synchronization with the DJI app to track flight logs, drone performance, battery status, etc.

Kittyhawk is an excellent option if you are carrying out an operation with several members of the same team, as it allows you to customize flight restrictions and best practices under individual profiles. Kittyhawk also includes flight ceilings, maximum pilot distances and no-fly zones.

Besides, Kittyhawk allows you to view in full streaming and with audio, everything that the drone camera is capturing; this makes it a powerful tool for incident response, training and safety.

VIDEO | How to use LAANC with Kittyhawk

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use LAANC for recreational pilots with Kittyhawk. We are sure that you will find so useful!


Airmap is the perfect application for recreational drone pilots or pilots who are just starting to get familiar with the new LAANC system. Why? It’s very simple.

The Airmap application is free, easy to use, and allows you to quickly get permission to take your drone anywhere you want. The built-in maps make the task much easier thanks to the included features:

  • Updated activity within the area where we are
  • It marks the boundaries of National Parks that are expressly off-limits to drones that have not received the appropriate strict exemptions.
  • It includes controlled airspace and all associated radios.
  • AGL networks to familiarize yourself with the nearest restricted airspace.
  • This is what the Airmap APP integrated map looks like, isn’t it super intuitive?


Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of Skyward is that Verizon now owns it, the largest provider of mobile lines in the U.S. This, according to engineers, has allowed significant leaps in its technology based on increased resources.

Beyond LAANC’s excellent clearance, the set of distinctive features used by Skyward relates to industry-specific software configurations, including

  • Construction and Engineering
  • Public Safety
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Oil, Gas and Mining
  • Insurance
  • Media and Broadcasting

Skyward’s goal is to guide any industry wishing to use unmanned aircraft for imaging, surveillance or various flight purposes while doing so safely and efficiently.

  • Dark mode view of the Skyward application to work with LAANC.

Future changes in Laws on Drones in the USA

Last year, the FAA reported over 1.3 million drones registered in the U.S., with the likelihood that there could be up to 40% more unregistered UAVs based on full aircraft and component industry sales; this means that there are almost 2 million drones in the United States.

If we compare this with the much smaller number of 325,000 human-crewed aircraft in the country, we can see how fast the industry is growing and why the FAA has had to move quickly to keep our airspace running correctly.

We can say with complete conviction that many new developments await us regarding the development of new ways of understanding the industry and the unmanned aircraft sector. The relevant departments of the FAA are continually changing to regulate drones efficiently.

We will keep you informed of all developments regarding drone regulations in Spain and in the USA.

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