Anyone who wants to fly a drone for commercial work (generally referred to as aerial work) needs a Permission from
the CAA. You will need to be at least 18 years of age.
To get this Permission, you will need to:
There are a number of recognised assessment organisations that can help you meet these requirements. The NQE will
generally help you develop an operations manual and will offer advice on completing any additional paperwork.
Once you meet the requirements you can make an application using form SRG 1320 to UAVenquiries@caa.co.uk.
Please allow up to 28 working days for your permission to be processed.
A Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW) is valid for up to 12 months and is subject to an annual renewal.
You should apply to renew your PFAW at least 30 days before the Permission period is due to expire.
How to renew or change your PFAW
If you want to start using a different weight class of drone that is not approved by your PFAW, you will need to contact us immediately and not wait until the PFAW expires.
The PFAW allows flights within the UK subject to the conditions and limitations specified. However, the greater the amount of 'freedom of operation' that you require (in terms of locations, procedures and the duration of the permission), then the greater the amount of information you need to provide us (in terms of demonstrating that you can operate safely).
The price for a Permission depends on the mass of the aircraft.
Current charges range from £112 - £224 but there is no limit on a maximum number of drones.
The renewal cost is reduced for subsequent years.
Insurance that meets the requirements specified in EC Regulation 785/2004 will need to be obtained by an operator.
Applicants should discuss these requirements directly with insurance providers.
The CAA does not organise or run assessment courses but we approve commercial organisations (National Qualified Entities or NQEs) to do this.
NQE organisations will:
Most NQEs provide the full course and this is suitable for those with no previous aviation training or qualifications.
A typical NQE full-course involves:
After successfully completing the theory element, the pilot will:
These are completed at your own pace and:
Concessions against the theory part of the course are possible if you have:
See Section 2, Chapter 4 of CAP 722 for full details.
Restricted NQE (Flight Assessment Only)
If you are interested in becoming an NQE please email your details to UAVenquiries@caa.co.uk.
Please be aware that applications for NQE status are currently taking up to 90 working days to process.
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