United States of America Drone Laws 2024 (Everything To Know Before Flying)

United States Drone Laws

I know that feeling of buying a drone and preparing for its first flight. However, you need to know about the United States drone laws for 2024 before you think of flying your new baby.

This article will give you clear information about the limits set in place for drone users in America. So, let’s jump into it.

At the end of the article, I’ll point you to links on the drone laws in the 50 states of America, so you’ll know what to expect in your state.

Before we go in-depth into the various laws that depend on the use-cases of drones, let’s start with the simplest (and most obvious) question.

Can you fly a drone in the United States of America?

Drones are allowed in the United States for both recreational and commercial purposes. However, there are some rules put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to govern the use of drones in America.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the governing body that manages all of the airspace in the United States of America. They lay down the rules that all drone pilots need to follow if they want to legally fly a drone anywhere in the United States of America.

United States Drone Laws For Recreational Purposes

Flying your drone for recreational purposes means flying as a hobby or without monetary compensation.

Do I Need A License To Fly A Drone For Fun?

You must pass the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) to legally fly a drone in the USA for recreational purposes.

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) is a free online test that takes around 30 minutes to complete and that will certify you to legally fly your drone in the USA. The Trust Test is mandatory for everyone flying a drone that weighs over 250 grams.

You can learn more about TRUST from the official FAA website here.

Personally, I recommend you take the free online training and receive your certificate of completion from UAV Coach, an FAA-approved test administrator

Registering Your Drone for Recreational Purpose

After passing the test, you have to register your drone if it weighs more than 250 grams (like the majority of consumer drones) to get an FAA registration number.

You can visit the FAA’s official website. To find out more about the registration process,

You’ll pay a little token of $5 to get a registration number and a license that enables you to own and fly as many drones as you wish for a period of three years before you renew your license.

You are required by the FAA to slap your registration number on the exterior surface of your drone as a means of identification.

However, you don’t have to slap your registration number on your drone if it weighs less than 250g, like the DJI Mavic 2 and the DJI Mavic Mini Light Foldable Drone.

Recreational Flying Drone Rules

Below are the drone rules that govern flying your drone for recreational purposes

  • You must take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) required by the FAA. We’re proud to be an FAA-approved test administrator. Take the free online training and receive your certificate of completion with UAV Coach.
  • You must fly for hobby or recreation ONLY (no side jobs or in-kind work allowed).
  • You must register your UAV with the FAA on the FAADroneZone website.
  • You must fly within visual line-of-sight.
  • You must follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization (CBO) like the AMA.
  • You must fly a drone under 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization.
  • You must never fly near other aircraft.
  • You must fly in Class G airspace. If you need to fly in Class B, C, D or E controlled airspace, you need to apply for airspace authorization. Check out our LAANC authorization guide to better understand how that authorization process works.
  • You must never fly near emergency response efforts.

Additional Rules For Recreational Flying

Also, there are some additional rules you need to follow to fly your drone for recreational use, which include not flying under the influence of drugs and alcohol; and also not flying over emergency situations and crowds.

These rules are not rocket science. It’s just something that requires simple logic.

Also, the flying of drones at national parks has been banned nationwide, which has hindered drone enthusiasts from taking awesome drone footage.

United States Drone Laws For Commercial Purposes

Flying your drone for commercial purposes, as viewed by the FAA, means any drone activity that’s been monetarily compensated for.

This simply means selling your drone footage as stock photos or videos is viewed as commercial flying. Commercial flying also includes drone activities for wedding shots, construction, agriculture, and other freelance gigs.

The Part 107 Test

This Part 107 Test is the first step you need to take to get your commercial flying license. This test is not like the FAA Trust Test. You’ll need to study for the test and then take it.

Before you even look at other rules and regulations, know that you cannot fly drones commercially if you haven’t passed this test (at least not legally).

You also won’t be able to legally fly a drone in America if you don’t take and pass the Part 107 test.

Certification Requirements for Flying A Drone For Commercial Purposes

  • You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment).
  • You must be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS.
  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You must pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test—also known as the Part 107 test—at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  • You must undergo Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) security screening.

For more information on how to obtain a remote pilot certificate, check out this page on the FAA’s website.

Commercial Flying Drone Rules

Below are the drone rules that govern flying your drone for commercial purposes

  • You must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA to fly commercially.
  • You must register your UAV with the FAA on the FAA Drone Zone official website.
  • Your UAV must weigh less than 55 pounds, including payload, at takeoff.
  • You must fly in Class G airspace.*
  • You must keep your UAV within visual line-of-sight.*
  • You must fly at or below 400 feet.*
  • You must fly at or under 100 mph.*
  • You must yield the right of way to manned aircraft.*
  • You cannot fly from a moving vehicle, unless in a sparsely populated area.*

The rules given above (except the weight requirements) can be waived, and you’ll be granted permission to exceed them if you apply for and receive a Part 107 waiver from the FAA.

You can also fly in Class G airspace if you also apply for and receive approval for special airspace authorization from the FAA. Check out the LAANC authorization guide to get an in-depth understanding of how the authorization process works.

There are also other rules to check for flying your drone at night and over people as well.

Controlled Airspace

Controlled airspace is the area surrounding airports where manned aircraft can fly. 

Controlled airspace has certain restrictions for drone flyers to protect the security of the country. The FAA has given a detailed explanation of them, but I’ll give you a brief overview of them to know what you’re up against.

Types of Controlled Airspace

Class A

Class A airspace is the airspace over the waters within 12 nautical miles of the coasts of the 48 contiguous States and Alaska, and it extends from 18,000 feet MSL (Mean Sea Level) up to and including FL (Flight Level) 600.

Class B

Class B is airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL surrounding the nation’s busiest airports in terms of IFR operations or passenger enplanements. Below are the primary US airports with Class B airspace:

  • Boston Logan Airport, MA
  • Chicago O’Hare Intl. Airport, IL
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Intl. Airport, TX
  • Newark Intl. Airport, NJ
  • New York Kennedy Airport, NY
  • Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, GA
  • Los Angeles Intl. Airport, CA
  • Miami Intl. Airport, FL
  • Andrews Air Force Base, MD 

Class C

Class C airspace surrounds airports that have a functioning control tower and is located between the ground and 4,000 feet above the airport elevation.

Class D

Class D airspace is the airspace found between the ground and 2,500 feet MSL. Prior to entering airspace, every aircraft must establish two-way radio contact with the ATC facility (Air Traffic Control) providing air traffic services.

Class E

Class E is every other controlled airspace besides Class A to D. Class E includes a large part of the lower airspace in the United States and can exist in various forms.

You’ll have a clearer understanding of how these classifications compare to one another after viewing this FAA illustration.

How To Get A Controlled Airspace Permit

You have to apply for an airspace authorization called the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) to get a controlled airspace permit.

LAANC was established so that the FAA could collaborate more closely with the private drone industry to approve and oversee remote pilot flights.

Before the LAANC, drone operators had to submit an application for a license via the FAA Drone Zone website, which might take weeks or even months.

Nowadays, the LAANC uses software to assess whether you may fly in regulated airspace or not, and it takes minutes, sometimes quickly, to complete your assessment.

This YouTube video below clearly demonstrates how the LAANC functions:

Uncontrolled Airspace

Uncontrolled airspace is any airspace that does not fall under Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E. It is categorized as Class G.

There are many airspaces categorized as Class G where you can’t fly your drone even though they are called “uncontrolled” airspaces. These restricted Class G airspaces are called “Special Use Airspace,” which I’ll touch on below.

Prohibited Areas

Prohibited areas are airspace where drone flying is prohibited due to national security. These prohibited areas include government buildings, congress halls, etc.

Restricted Areas

Restricted areas are areas where drone flying is restricted due to hazards invisible to the human eye. These hazards include guided missile, aerial gunnery, artillery firing, etc.

Flying a drone without a permit in these unrestricted areas can be very dangerous to the flier and the people around the hovering drone.

Military operation areas (MOAs)

Military Operational Airspace is airspace created for military operational activities, such as to separate them from civilian airspace.

Alert areas

Alert areas are airspace shown on aeronautical charts depicted by an A, followed by a series of numbers to inform pilots of airspace that contains a high volume of pilot training or unusual aerial activity.

Can the FAA Track Your drone?

This is a question drone enthusiasts have asked to know if the FAA can trace a drone back to them

The FAA can track your drone in multiple ways. They can also be able to hack your drone as it flies in real time, causing it to crash, self-destruct, or force it to land. They can also trace your drone back to you if the wreckage contains your registration number.

In conclusion, I don’t think you should break the FAA drone laws for any reason. Most of the rules are there to keep everyone safe and won’t hinder the pleasure you derive from using your drone.

Special Travel Considerations For Foreigners Flying Drones In The United States of America

Here are some special considerations foreigners should look out for if they intend to fly a drone during their trip to the United States.

  • You must register your drone with the FAA using the FAA Drone Zone official website if you want to fly for recreational purposes or commercial purposes.
  • You must take the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and follow the drone laws for recreational flying if you want to fly your drone for recreational purposes.
  • You must take the Part 107 Test and follow the drone rules for commercial flying if you want to fly your drone for commercial purpose.
  • The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) allows you to travel with your drone when traveling within America if you bring it in carry-on luggage. You are not allowed to carry your drone in a checked luggage

You can visit the TSA official website to learn more about traveling within the USA with your drone.

Security Concerns For Drone Users

There are concerns about the risks that could arise from the unregulated use of drones close to certain infrastructure within the United States, despite the fact that there are apparent commercial applications for drones in the monitoring and repair of vital infrastructure. Security concerns are at the center of these challenges.

Drones can pose a potential danger to critical infrastructure and national security that can lead to the loss of human lives. The FAA has reported a substantial rise in the number of pilots reporting drone sightings near other aircraft and airports.

Drones being used to carry contraband is an issue that prisons all throughout the country are addressing. According to security experts, drones might be used by terrorists to spy on essential infrastructure and crucial facilities or even to help them attack them.

Critical Infrastructure

Additionally, legislation was passed to safeguard crucial infrastructure from rogue drone operators. The definition of “critical infrastructure” differs from state to state, but generally speaking, it covers things like power plants, electric utilities, pipelines, wastewater treatment facilities, chemical or rubber manufacturing facilities, and other places of a similar nature.

Ten states have officially prohibited the use of drones near vital infrastructure and facilities.

These states include Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas.


Certain states in America have also expressed worry over the use of drones above and in close proximity to prisons. The use of drones near or over prisons is currently prohibited in 22 states across the United States, which are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Various states have adopted a variety of legislative strategies; some target the locations where drones may be used, while others focus on the crime of using a drone to smuggle contraband into a penal facility.


Hobby drone pilots must notify the airport manager and air traffic control tower if they will be flying within five miles of an airport, according to the FAA’s special rules for model aircraft. Model airplanes are never allowed to fly in close proximity to other aircraft or to emergency response vehicles, according to the FAA.

Nevada law states that “A person may operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within 5 miles of an airport only if the person obtains the consent of the airport authority or the operator of the airport, or if the person has otherwise obtained a waiver, exemption or other authorization for such operation…”

A defaulter of this law will be charged with a misdemeanor.


The FAA has prohibited drones from flying within three miles of stadiums one hour before and one hour after the scheduled time of any of the following events.

  • Major League Baseball
  • National Football League
  • NCAA Division One Football
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races

Drones are not allowed to be used near stadiums or outdoor events according to state legislation in Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. Any athletic event, concert, auto racing, festival, or other event with more than 1500 attendees is prohibited from having drones fly above it in Delaware.

Texas expressly forbids drones from flying above “sports stadiums” with at least 30,000 seats. According to Tennessee law, drones are not allowed to fly over stadiums, and it is also prohibited to drop anything from a drone into an open-air event venue if more than 100 people have purchased tickets.

Drone Laws For The 50 States of The United States of America 

Alabama Drone Laws

Alaska Drone Laws

Arizona Drone Laws

Arkansas Drone Laws

California Drone Laws

Colorado Drone Laws

Connecticut Drone Laws

Delaware Drone Laws

Florida Drone Laws

Georgia Drone Laws

Hawaii Drone Laws

Idaho Drone Laws

Illinois Drone Laws

Indiana Drone Laws

Iowa Drone Laws

Kansas Drone Laws

Kentucky Drone Laws

Louisiana Drone Laws

Maine Drone Laws

Maryland Drone Laws

Massachusetts Drone Laws

Michigan Drone Laws

Minnesota Drone Laws

Mississippi Drone Laws

Missouri Drone Laws

Montana Drone Laws

Nebraska Drone Laws

Nevada Drone Laws

New Hampshire Drone Laws

New Jersey Drone Laws

New Mexico Drone Laws

New York Drone Laws

North Carolina Drone Laws

North Dakota Drone Laws

Ohio Drone Laws

Oklahoma Drone Laws

Oregon Drone Laws

Pennsylvania Drone Laws

Rhode Island Drone Laws

South Carolina Drone Laws

South Dakota Drone Laws

Tennessee Drone Laws

Texas Drone Laws

Utah Drone Laws

Vermont Drone Laws

Virginia Drone Laws

Washington Drone Laws

West Virginia Drone Laws

Wisconsin Drone Laws


Washington DC Drone Laws

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