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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

ID and registration requirements

There are two IDs you may need before flying drones or model aircraft outdoors in the UK:

  • flyer ID, which shows you’ve passed the basic flying test
  • operator ID, which must be labelled on your drone or model aircraft

You may need to have both.

Type of ID needed

The IDs you need depend on the weight of your drone or model aircraft, whether it is a toy, and whether it has a camera.

Flying weight requirements table
Flying weight ID needed
Flyer ID Operator ID
below 250g - toy No No
below 250g - not a toy - no camera No No
below 250g - not a toy - with camera No Yes
250g and above Yes Yes

Our registration site provides guidance to help you work out if your drone or model aircraft is a toy.

Remember, even if you do not need to register, you must still follow the Drone and Model Aircraft Code when you fly.

Flyer ID

You must pass the CAA’s official theory test to get a flyer ID before flying a drone or model aircraft covered by the regulations.

You’re responsible for flying safely and legally whenever you fly.

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.

You must be 18 or over to get an operator ID.

The operator is 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.

Categories of drone and model aircraft operations

The types of flying you do with your drone or model aircraft are known as operations.

There are different categories of operations. The categories affect things like where you can fly, and how close to people and crowds you can fly.

Categories of drone and model aircraft operations
Categories Type of flying
Open A1 and A3 Basic, low-risk flying
Open A2 More risk than A1 and A3
Specific Moderate-risk flying
Certified High-risk, complex flying

This Code tells you everything you need to know to pass the test to get a flyer ID. This allows you to fly in the Open A1 and A3 sub-categories, which is the starting point for anyone wanting to fly a drone or model aircraft in the UK.

You’ll need to go on and get further authorisation if you want to do more advanced flying, or if you want to fly a drone or model aircraft that weighs 25kg or more. For example, if you want to fly in the Open A2 sub-category, or Specific category, or Certified category.