Overview

You must register before flying most drones or model aircraft outdoors in the UK.

There are two requirements and you may need to meet both:

  • if you’ll fly, you must pass a theory test to get a flyer ID
  • if you’re responsible for a drone or model aircraft, you must register for an operator ID

You can get both your flyer ID and operator ID at the same time.

Warning It is against the law to fly a drone or model aircraft without having the required IDs. You can also be fined for breaking the law when flying. In the most serious cases, you could be sent to prison.

Toys and small drones and model aircraft

You do not need to register if you will only fly or use the following types of drone or model aircraft:

  • toys below 250g or in C0 class
  • those in C0 class with no camera, whether they are a toy or not
  • those below 250g with no camera and no class mark, whether they’re a toy or not

Take a look at the registration requirements for drones and model aircraft to find out if you need to register.

Flyer ID

The flyer is the person who flies the drone or model aircraft.

You must pass an online theory test to get a flyer ID. The test is free. You should prepare for the test before you take it.

Children under 13

Children under 13 must also pass the test to get a flyer ID. For data protection reasons, they must register with their parent or guardian.

There's more information in the children and parent guidance.

Operator ID

The operator is the person responsible for managing a drone or model aircraft. This means they’re responsible for things like maintaining it and making sure that anyone who flies it has a flyer ID.

They’re usually the person or organisation that owns the drone or model aircraft, but not always. For example, if you’re younger than 18 and you own a drone or model aircraft, you must ask your parent or guardian to register for an operator ID. You’ll still be able to fly as long as you have a flyer ID.

The operator must:

  • make sure that only people with a valid flyer ID use their drone or model aircraft
  • label their drones and model aircraft with their operator ID

You must be 18 or over to register for an operator ID. You can use the same operator ID for all your drones and model aircraft.

If you’re responsible for drones or model aircraft, but will not fly them you can register as an operator only.

Prices

Operator and flyer registration costs and validity
Registration Cost Valid for
Operator ID £9 1 year
Flyer ID £0 5 years

Insurance requirements

Drones and model aircraft below 20kg

If you fly a drone or model aircraft below 20kg for recreation, sport, or as a hobby, you can choose whether or not to have insurance.

If you fly it for any other reason, you must have third party insurance.

Drones and model aircraft 20kg and above

If your drone or model aircraft is 20kg or more, you must always have third party insurance, no matter what you use it for.