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UAV flight and Aerial Photography - worldwide rules

Updated on February 28, 2012

Flying UAVs and taking UAV platform aerial photographs - the Law across different Countries

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), whether operated commercially (for profit) or as a hobby are regulated by the aviation Laws of the Country in question. In addition, strapping a data recording device - e.g. camera - for personal or commercial use may or may not be permitted.

For UAV operators asked to operate in a different country to their own, this can be a minefield so this Lens is a guide to the Laws of individual Countries to assist operators should they be asked to fly there (and possibly take aerial photographs). It is only a Guide so check with the relevant Country before attempting aerial work.


Contributing and using this information

This lens has been set up as a communal 'Web 2.0' page. It relies on contributions from those in the know from around the world.

If you can contribute to this Lens, then please do so - the more information that we can pull together, the better.

If you want to use the information for personal use, then that is what it is all about. If you wish to publish the information, then we would request that you respect the effort that has gone into it. By all means, copy it for your website but please include the following piece of code which credits this page and also refers the user to the latest information. It's a bit like a Creative Commons (Attribution) licence without the formality.

Credit and (C) Squidoo contributors. Click here for the latest information

Thanks - Links to Contributors

This Module wouldn't exist without contributions from around the world, so here are links to the contributors.


CASA provides 'guidance to controllers and manufacturers of UAVs in the operation and construction of UAVs and the means whereby they may safely and legally operate UAV systems'

You need Operator and Controller Certification.

By all accounts, the cost of certification is approx AUS$5,000 and insurance is expensive. There are very few operators

All information here is extracted from this discussion on the APLanding discussion Forum. Hope no-one minds. If anyone wants a Credit or to add something, do get in touch.


Liability insurance and a permit from Transport Canada are required for commercial aerial photography activities in Canada. The permit usually take about 4 weeks to be processed and a separate permit is required for each job.

Complete information on Canadian UAV air regulations and SFOC requirements are available at Transport Canada's Civil Aviation website:

Canadian UAV Resources list (Thanks Rob C)


A permit is required for aerial photography in India, which normally takes over a month to acquire. Regulations apply to land-based photography for certain locations.

Source: Wikipedia

Click here for a summary of the process

United Kingdom

Executive Summary: Can fly for leisure without camera. Once a camera is attached, you need to apply for a "Permission to fly" from the CAA.

Regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA issues Air Navigation Orders (ANOs) . Craft either have to operate under these constraints or have to actually have Approval under these Constraints.

ANO CAP 722, UAS Operations in UK Airspace - Guidance

ANO CAP 393, Section 166 operating a Small Unmanned Craft

ANO CAP 393, Section 167 operating a Small Unmanned Surveillance Craft

The CAA classifies craft by weight:

General Rules

Under 20Kg. 'Small Unmanned Aircraft'

  • (Minimum) Operational Constraints (166)
  • No Airworthiness Standards

Surveillance / Data acquisition

Under 20Kg. 'Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft'

  • (Minimum) Operational Constraints(166)
  • No Airworthiness Standards
  • CAA Permission required (167)

Commercial use (aerial work)

< 20Kg. 'Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft'

  • Operational Constraints (166a-c)
  • plus permissions required (166(5)
  • No Airworthiness Standards

20 - 150Kg

  • Exemption required including Operational constraints
  • Impact kinetic energy must be determined to be not more than 95 KJ
  • Airworthiness recommendation from accredited body

Over 150Kg

  • Existing national operating rules
  • EASA airworthiness standards

United States

Commercial use of a UAV for aerial photography is forbidden.

There are, however, moves afoot to try to open up the air, so if anyone has further information, please let us know and we will add to this section.

There is a good summary (albeit somewhat old), here is a good commentary on the current (20th September 2010) state of affairs

Useful Links

Miscellaneous Links that you may find useful

Where to buy UAVs - Commercial UAV vendors

A list of UAV / Heli / Plane vendors that will get you started from the smallest practice one, to the largest mean machines out there.

As well as commercial Firms, there are also groups creating open source UAVs. See the next list for these (WIP)

Please feel free to add Countries or amend existing entries.

These guestbook entries (validated before publication) will get published and then subsumed into the list of Countries as and when I get the time.

Key points to consider:

  • Are UAVs allowed to fly for leisure - if so, where
  • Are UAVs allowed to fly for remuneration - if so, what are the constraints
  • Are UAVs with cameras attached allowed to fly with / without remuneration - if so, what are the constraints
  • Is a licence required
  • Links to further information
  • If you want a Credit and a link to your website, add it to the end in the format
  • CREDIT: Your Name and Country
  • URL: Your URL

Add a Country or comment on an existing entry

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: The appropriate authority will likely be the same agency that is in charge of commercial flights in and out of airports. I wouldn't know what they call it - but this is one of the reasons international flights are possible - every country has an agency to control airspace.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My Squidoo lens, "Big Boy Flyers" shows many of these craft in action with a few listed for purchase at Amazon. Http://

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, the info here is helpful. In India, who is the licensing or authorising authority for flying UAV/UAS for civil (non-military) aerial survey purposes? Can someone throw light on this. Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago


      Just thought I'd let you know I've added a Canadian UAV Resources page to my site. The resources link is


      Rob Chandler

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      lawrencewarwick 6 years ago

      Hi There

      I like your lense and I represent Arthur wolk who is an aviation expert in aviation law and and air safety issues please visit his lense , I am trying to finish the lense with the 20 squidlikes will you be so kind to be one. thank you, larry