Do I Need a License to Fly a Drone in US | JC Drones

If you live in a state like Colorado, where you’re allowed to fly your drone over private property, the key is to be respectful of your neighbors and stay in line with the FAA’s guidelines.

When you’re flying your drone in a populated area, try to keep a reasonable distance from your neighbors. Also, make sure that your drone is safe and that it doesn’t make an excessive amount of noise. These are the things that make drones flying over private property legal.

Do I Need a License to Fly a Drone in the US?

What does it take to fly a drone in the US? Do you need any special licenses or permits? And where can you even fly them? The laws governing drone flight are constantly changing and getting more complicated, so we’ve put together this short guide on how to fly your drone legally in the United States!

Licenses For Commercial Use

Hobbyists can fly small drones without any sort of license, but if you plan on using your drone for business purposes (or other non-recreational purposes), you’ll need to obtain a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. The FAA has developed four ratings: Recreational, Private, Commercial, and beyond the line of sight.

To obtain these licenses, you must pass knowledge exams that cover specific subject areas as well as flight tests that evaluate your skill level. Your local FAA Flight Standards District Office will have information about how and where to obtain these certifications. Licensed pilots are required to keep their certificates current by logging flight time every two years.

Flying Without A License

To fly your drone for recreation or as a hobby basis, you won’t need a license. You’ll just need to register your drone with the FAA (within 5 days of buying it) and make sure it weighs less than 55 pounds and stays under 400 feet in altitude. If you want to use your drone for commercial purposes like real estate photography, however, you’ll have to get an FAA license.

This can take months and involves providing proof of liability insurance and passing both an airman knowledge test as well as an aeronautical knowledge test. It’s best to hire a lawyer who specializes in drones if you want to follow FAA rules and avoid any legal issues with compliance.

Other Rules And Regulations

Regulations vary by state, so make sure you know your state’s rules before you fly. This site provides an interactive map that lists regulations by state. Before flying over crowds or any open-air assembly of people (such as sporting events), be sure to contact your local authorities and get written permission if necessary.

If possible, check with nearby airports beforehand—your flight may interfere with their operations. FAA regulations prohibit flying your drone higher than 400 feet above ground level and within 5 miles of an airport without notifying airport authorities; for reference, New York City’s two main airports are about 3 miles apart.

Busting The Myths About Drones

Most consumer drones sold in the US don’t require a license. There are some rules, however: You can’t fly within five miles of an airport, above 400 feet, or near moving vehicles. Plus, you need to always maintain sight of your drone and avoid flying over any people (or crowds).

Failing to abide by these rules could result in thousands of dollars worth of fines or even jail time. For more details on flying legally, check out section 336 of part 101 of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).

Things To Consider Before Buying One

You don’t need an FAA-issued license, but you must register your drone with them. The fine for failing to register is $27,500. You should also keep in mind that certain rules apply when flying around national parks and other restricted areas.

In addition, it’s against federal law to fly over 400 feet and within 5 miles of airports without first contacting air traffic control. If you plan on flying within 3 miles of those airports, you’ll have to notify them at least 10 days before you do so.

Lastly, remember that drones can be noisy and can affect people’s privacy (though there are rules about how close they can get). To stay safe and keep your hobby legal, always follow your manufacturer’s instructions when setting up and using your drone.


We hope you enjoyed our article about drone flight laws in the US. As you can see, flying a drone can require a little bit of homework, but the end result is totally worth it! With this knowledge, we’re confident you’ll be able to fly your drone easily and legally. So what are you waiting for? Start flying today!