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Drone Laws in Minnesota

Summary of Drone Laws in Minnesota

Hobbyist Drone Laws For Residents of Minnesota and USA

Drone Operations in Minnesota are regulated.


  • Hobbyist drone flights are allowed
  • Hobbyist drone pilot license may be required for certain operations.
  • A TRUST Test is required.
  • Hobbyist Drone registration is required for hobbyists flying a drone of more than 0.55 lbs.
  • Drone Remote ID is required for hobbyists, although full implementation is delayed
  • Drone Insurance is not required but recommended for hobbyists’ drone operations

Read below for more details on Hobbyist Drone Laws in Minnesota and to find links to regulators and other credible sources!

Commercial Drone Laws For Residents of Minnesota and USA

Drone Operations in Minnesota are regulated.


  • Commercial drone flights are allowed
  • A commercial drone pilot license is required
  • Commercial Drone registration is required in Minnesota
  • Drone Remote ID is required for Commercial Drone Operators. However, full implementation has been delayed
  • Drone Insurance is not required but recommended for commercial drone operations

Read below for more details on Commercial Drone Laws in Minnesota and to find links to regulators and other credible sources!

Drone Laws For Foreign Visitors To Minnesota (not USA Residents)

Drone Operations in Minnesota are regulated.


  • Foreign visitor drone flights are allowed in Minnesota
  • Foreign visitor drone pilot license is required
  • Drone registration is required for visitors/tourists
  • Drone Remote ID is required in Minnesota for tourists. However, full implementation has been delayed.
  • Drone Insurance is not required but recommended for tourist drone operations

Read below for more details on Drone Laws in Minnesota for Visitors (Tourists) and to find links to regulators and other credible sources!

Drone Laws For Government Drone Operators

Drone Operations in Minnesota are regulated.


  • Government drone flights are allowed in Minnesota
  • Government drone pilot license is required
  • Drone registration is required for Government operations
  • Drone Remote ID is required in Minnesota for Government operations. However, full implementation has been delayed.
  • Drone Insurance is not required for Government drone operations

Read below for more details on Drone Laws in Minnesota for Government Drone Operations and to find links to regulators and other credible sources!

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Minnesota

Drone Regulator in the USA: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Contact Information

If you need additional details we have not covered or specific case assistance, you can contact the FAA directly at:

  • Address: 800 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20591
  • Phone: 844-FLY-MY-UA (+1 844-359-6982)
  • EmailUAShelp@faa.gov

Please continue reading for more details on USA Drone Laws.


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Minnesota

Drone operation in Minnesota is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.

In addition, the Minnesota legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Minnesota drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the links above and search for unmanned aircraft

Are drones allowed in Minnesota?

Drones are allowed in Minnesota for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls established by local governments. Read on for details.

Specific additional drone use laws by the Minnesota State legislature

Senate Bill – SF 3074

The omnibus data privacy bill: Chapter 82 – Sections 1, 2, and 5

Search warrant requirement

Under the new requirements, law enforcement agencies must obtain a search warrant before drone use. However, search warrants are not required when a drone is used:

  • During or in the aftermath of an emergency situation that involves the risk of death or bodily harm to a person.
  • Over a public event where there is a heightened risk to the safety of participants or bystanders.
  • To counter the risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization.
  • To prevent the loss of life and property in natural or man-made disasters and to facilitate post-recovery efforts.
  • To conduct a threat assessment in anticipation of a specific event.
  • To collect information from a public area if there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
  • To collect information for crash-reconstruction purposes after a serious or deadly collision occurs on a public road.
  • Over a public area for officer training or public relations purposes.
  • For a non-law-enforcement purpose at the written request of a government entity. The government entity must specify the reason for the request and proposed period of use.

This last exception applies if another city department requests the use of a drone from the police department.

Limitation on drone use

The law prohibits deploying facial recognition or other biometric-matching technology on drones, unless authorized by a warrant. It also prohibits equipping drones with weapons or collecting data on public protests or demonstrations unless authorized by a warrant or under one of the search warrant exceptions above.

Data classification

Data collected by a UAV is classified as private data on individuals or nonpublic data. Exceptions include:

  • If the data subject requests a copy of the recording; data on other individuals who do not consent to its release must be redacted.
  • Disclosure as necessary in an emergency situation that involves the risk of death or bodily harm to a person.
  • Disclosure to the government entity making a request for UAV use for non-law-enforcement purposes.
  • If UAV data is criminal investigative data, this data is governed by Minnesota Statutes, section 13.82, subdivision 7.
  • Classification under other provisions of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 13 are retained.

Retention period

Law enforcement agencies are required to delete drone data collected within seven days after collection unless the data is part of an active criminal investigation.

No Tennessen warning

Under the new law, a Tennessen warning is not required for data collected by a UAV.

Documentation

Law enforcement agencies are required to document each use of a UAV, including providing a case number and the factual basis for each use. Documentation must also include what statutory exception under Minnesota Statutes, section 626.19, subdivision 3 applies if a warrant was not obtained.

Public comment requirements

Before a law enforcement agency purchases or uses a UAV, the agency must provide an opportunity for public comment. The agency itself must accept public comment electronically or by mail.

The city council must also provide an opportunity for public comment at a regularly scheduled meeting.

Written policies

Similar to requirements for body-worn cameras, prior to the operation of a UAV, the police chief must establish and enforce a written policy that governs its use. This includes a policy for handling requests for use by other government agencies.

While developing and adopting this policy, the agency must provide an opportunity for public comment, either electronically or by mail. The council must also provide the opportunity for public comment at a regularly scheduled council meeting.

The UAV policy must be displayed on the agency’s website unless the agency does not have a website.

If police departments acquire drones now, the Legislature allowed leeway on the deadline for related policy adoption. Law enforcement agencies have until Feb. 15, 2021, to adopt these policies. However, policies must generally be adopted before law enforcement use of drones.

Reporting

By Jan. 15 of each year, any law enforcement agency that maintains or uses a UAV must report the following information to the commissioner of Public Safety:

  • The total cost of the UAV program.
  • The number of times a UAV has been deployed without a search warrant. This includes the date of the deployment and the statutory warrant exception under Minnesota Statutes, section 626.19, subdivision 3 that authorized the use of the UAV.

MN DOT Aeronautics Rules | Chapter 8800

This state rule requires commercial drone pilots to acquire a Commercial Operations License. The annual licensing fee currently stands at 30 dollars ($30).

Minnesota Statute 360.59

All commercial UAS operators must obtain a drone certificate of insurance in accordance with this statute. Insurance cover requirements must be specific to the aircraft.

Minnesota Statute 360.60

All commercial drone pilots must register their aircraft with Minnesota’s Department of Transportation (MnDOT). There are two registration processes available.

  1. Online Aircraft Registration Application
  2. Download, complete, and submit the Aircraft Registration Application


Registration costs currently stand at $100/year.

SF 550 (2017)

This law pertains to Moose Calf Surveys and Monitoring; appropriating money to the sum of $348,000 to evaluate the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for monitoring changes in ecosystems and moose populations.

Specific additional UAV laws by local governments or within Minnesota

Many cities or towns within Minnesota may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.

Anoka County | Municipal Ordinance (2018)

This Anoka County city ordinance states that all drone users must obtain a Special Use Permit from the Parks Department to fly UAVs over the county’s parklands.

Town of St. Bonifacius | Municipal Law (2013)

This city ordinance prohibits drone operations in the city’s public airspace.

City of Bloomington | Municipal Law

Prohibits drone operations within the city’s parks. Exceptions exist for operators who have secured a Special Use Permit.

UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (2001)

This ordinance prohibits all drones from takeoff, landing, and other flight operations on Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board owned/managed property without a permit. See ‘Drones’ tab on site for more details.

What you must know about Minnesota No Fly Zones or No Drone Zones

You need to know if you can operate your drone. Under what limitations? Will you need flight authorizations? And, if so, how do you get those authorizations?

We encourage you to read our explainer. It provides more details here: Explainer – What You Must Know About No Fly Zones or No Drone Zones

How do I check for no-fly zones, no-drone zones, and uncontrolled or controlled airspace in Minnesota?

The FAA has partnered with Aloft to develop the B4UFLY mobile app. The app can tell you if there are any airspace restrictions where you want to fly.

If you are looking for a drone no-fly zone map, then B4UFLY is a good place to start.

The app provides situational awareness to recreational flyers and other drone users. You will need airspace authorizations to fly in controlled airspace. This app does not allow you to get airspace authorizations. Authorizations are available through the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC).

The B4UFLY app is available to download for free:

Get the B4UFLY at the App Store for iOS.  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/b4ufly-drone-airspace-safety/id992427109

Get the B4UFLY at the Google Play store for Android.  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.faa.b4ufly2&hl=en_US&gl=US

B4UFLY is also available as a desktop version for preflight planning and research. https://b4ufly.aloft.ai/ (“B4UFLY App | Federal Aviation Administration”)

How do I get authorization to fly in controlled airspace in Minnesota?

The FAA runs Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC). It is the only way to get permission to fly in controlled airspace.

LAANC is available to drone pilots. It applies if you are operating under the Small UAS Rule Part 107. And it applies if you are operating under the exception for Recreational Flyers.

You can get access through one of the FAA-approved LAANC UAS Service Suppliers. Some providers have apps that can be used to apply for approval in near-real time.

There are two ways to use LAANC:

  • Submit a near real-time authorization request for operations. Applies to flights under 400 feet in controlled airspace around airports. This is available to Part 107 Pilots and Recreational Flyers.
  • Submit a “further coordination request.” This applies if you need to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS Facility Map, up to 400 feet.
  • You can apply up to 90 days before a flight. The approval is coordinated manually through the FAA. This is available to Part 107 pilots only.

LAANC is available at 726 airports. Use the manual process to apply for authorizations for airports not offering LAANC.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Minnesota

If you have a small drone of less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following Drone Laws in the USA defined by 49 USC 44809.

In Minnesota, recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) are approved under law, specifically 49 USC 44809. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe. And that helps keep the airspace available to everyone.

All recreational flyers must pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test. The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) meets this rule. If law enforcement or FAA personnel ask, you must provide proof of passage. 

TRUST provides education and testing on important safety and regulatory information. If you fly your drone recreationally under the Exception for Recreational Flyers, you must pass the test before you fly. 

Note: If your drone weighs more than .55 pounds (lbs), you must register your drone through the FAA’s Drone Zone.

For a complete discussion on drone registration, see our Drone Registration Explainer.

To fly your drone as a recreational flyer, it’s as easy as 1-2-3

  1. Understand recreational flying requirements.
    • Note: Non-recreational drone use is when you fly drones for business or to help out, not just for fun. For example, real estate agents may use drones to photograph houses they sell. Roof inspectors might use drones to get a closer look at roofs. A high school might have someone fly a drone to record football games and post videos on their website. Doing volunteer work with drones also counts as non-recreational use. So, non-recreational drone use is any time you operate a drone for useful work. Or help others out. It is when you are not just doing it to enjoy flying it for hobby or sport. If you’re unsure which rules apply to your flight, fly under Part 107 (See below).
    • Visit the Recreational Flyers page to learn about the rules for recreational flyers.
    • Download the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app for more recreational drone flying resources.
  2. Take TRUST
    • You may take the free online test through any FAA-approved test administrators.
    • All FAA-approved TRUST test administrators offer the test free.
    • All test questions are correctable to 100% before issuing your completion certificate.
    • After completing TRUST, you must download, save, or print your completion certificate.
    • If you lose your certificate, you will need to retake TRUST.
    • View a list of TRUST Test Administrators
  3. Receive your certificate
    • After you pass the test, you will receive a certificate. The test administrator you selected gives you your certificate.
    • Test administrators will not keep a record of your certificate. If law enforcement officers ask, you must present a copy of your certificate.

General Rules for Recreational Flyers

USC44809 is the Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft. The law describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. Following these rules helps keep people, your drone, and our airspace safe:

  1. Fly only for recreational purposes (personal enjoyment).
  2. Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community-Based Organization (CBO). Read Advisory Circular 91-57C. It provides more information on how to become an FAA-recognized CBO, 
  3. Keep your drone within the visual line of sight. Or use a visual observer who is physically next to you and directly communicating with you.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with other aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below FAA-authorized altitudes in controlled airspace with prior FAA authorization. Controlled airspace is Class B, C, D, and surface Class E designated for an airport. Get your FAA authorization using LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Flying drones in restricted airspace is not allowed. Before the flight, drone pilots should always check for airspace restrictions. You can do so on the B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage when flying.
  8. Have a current FAA registration. Mark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number. And carry proof of registration when flying. Starting September 16, 2023, registered drones must broadcast Remote ID information. The FAA has delayed enforcement to March 16, 2024.
  9. Do not operate your drone in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system.

Recreational drone pilots must not violate safety requirements. Nor should they operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly. You could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties if you do.

You do not need a drone license if your drone use is recreational and falls within the scope of 44809. But, to fly your drone commercially, you must first get a Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC). This is also true for flights under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107). The RPC is also known as a drone license or a Part 107 certificate. You may want to get your drone license for the flexibility it allows in your drone flights.

For more details on drone licensing, please see our Drone License Explainer.

It is recommended that recreational drone operators consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations on the proper use of recreational drones and use common sense when operating these devices around crowded public areas, wildlife, or historic resources.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Minnesota

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Commercial drone operations in Minnesota are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements. Please see Minnesota-specific rules above regarding commercial drone operational requirements.

For a complete review of the FAA Part 107 regulation, please see our comprehensive FAA 107 Explainer.

Note: The Operations Over People rule became effective on April 21, 2021. Drone pilots operating under Part 107 may fly at night, over people and moving vehicles without a waiver as long as they meet the requirements defined in the rule. Airspace authorizations are still required for night operations in controlled airspace under 400 feet.

If you have a small drone of fewer than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines. There are three main steps to fly under Part 107 rules.

Step 1: Learn the Rules

Ensure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules.

If you are unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended operation, check our user identification tool.

Some operations will need a waiver. Here are the regulations specified in §107.205 that are subject to waiver:

Learn more about Part 107 Waivers.

Drone operators should avoid flying near airports. It is difficult for crewed aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the drone operator must avoid manned aircraft. You are responsible for any safety hazard your drone creates in an airport environment.

Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test

For more details on drone licensing, please see our Drone License Explainer.

To be eligible to get your Remote Pilot Certificate, you must be:

  • At least 16 years old
  • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS

Study for the Knowledge Test

Get an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)

Schedule an Appointment

Complete FAA Form 8710-13

Step 3: Register your Drone with the FAA

For a complete discussion on drone registration, see our Drone Registration Explainer.

Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy to register. Learn more about registering your drone.

  • Create an account and register your drone at FAADroneZone. Select “Fly sUAS under Part 107.”
  • Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number. The number will be helpful in case it gets lost or stolen.

Useful published information on flying drones in Minnesota

We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to Minnesota Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly


Authoritative Sources of Information on Minnesota Drone Laws

We will attempt to keep an updated list of online authoritative links to regulators and other official websites here:



NOTE: This page is about the Regulation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model Aircraft, toy, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


Find out why

We think you must use a Drone Preflight Checklist

And a Drone Post-flight checklist

Free Drone Flight Checklist PDF

This Drone Flight Checklist is better than others.

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It includes both the preflight checklist and post-flight checklist

It’s an easy-to-use printable PDF that covers all your bases.


Traveling with a Drone?

Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone.



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6 responses to “Drone Laws in Minnesota”

  1. Dee Potter

    Why is it that any new invention, meant for fun and recreation, always ends up in the hands of creeps who ruin it for everyone?! The internet is a good example of that, as well. I think there should be a way to restrict drone use within so many feet of private residences. I know that’s a tough one, since people could be on their own property and have zoom capabilities. I think we all saw this coming, however, and should probably get better window coverings.

    1. Merlin at Drone Laws

      We have seen lots of comments that agree with you. We agree improvements are needed

  2. Michael D. Jackson

    Peeping Toms are using drones in my town. I recently witnessed a small drone hovering outside the bedroom window of a lady friend. What can legally be done about this?

    1. Merlin at Drone Laws

      We recommend contacting your local law enforcement

  3. Aaron

    I’m telling you again to delete that post. It accomplished nothing and is putting the only option for resolving the problem in jeopardy.

    1. Merlin at Drone Laws

      Aaron, we did not see a previous request, but have removed your original post.

Leave a Comment

6 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Minnesota”

  1. Why is it that any new invention, meant for fun and recreation, always ends up in the hands of creeps who ruin it for everyone?! The internet is a good example of that, as well. I think there should be a way to restrict drone use within so many feet of private residences. I know that’s a tough one, since people could be on their own property and have zoom capabilities. I think we all saw this coming, however, and should probably get better window coverings.

    Reply
  2. Peeping Toms are using drones in my town. I recently witnessed a small drone hovering outside the bedroom window of a lady friend. What can legally be done about this?

    Reply
  3. I’m telling you again to delete that post. It accomplished nothing and is putting the only option for resolving the problem in jeopardy.

    Reply

Leave a Comment