Drone Laws in New Jersey

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of New Jersey

Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/

NJ State Assembly – Regulates and prohibits certain operations of drones.

Updated January 11, 2023


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in NJ

Drone operation in New Jersey 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 New Jersey State legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to NJ drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below.

Are drones allowed in NJ State?

Drones are allowed in NJ State for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.

Specific additional drone use laws by New Jersey State legislature

Senate Bill SB 3370 (2017)

  • Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations are permitted consistent with federal law.
  • UAS owners or operators of critical infrastructure may apply to the FAA to prohibit or restrict the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) near their critical infrastructure.
  • Operating a UAV in a way that endangers the life or property of another is a disorderly person offense.
  • It is a crime if you “knowingly or intentionally creates or maintains a condition which endangers the safety or security of a correctional facility by operating an unmanned aircraft system on the premises of or in close proximity to that facility.”
  • It is a crime to operate a UAV that interferes with a first responder.
  • Operating a UAS under the influence of drugs or with a BAC of .08 percent is a disorderly person offense.
  • Keeps local governments from regulating UAS in any way that is inconsistent with the NJ State and federal law.

Specific additional NJ Drone laws (by local governments within New Jersey)

East Bay Regional Parks | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

This ordinance prohibits unmanned aircraft systems (UAV) from flying closer than 500ft above any of East Bay’s District parklands, as stated by Federal Regulations.

Borough of Franklin Lakes | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

Prohibits all drones from flying below 400ft in the Borough for the following situations:

  • Private property (unless permitted by the owner)
  • All streets, including side streets and alleys
  • All borough buildings and structures without prior permission
  • Between sunrise (dawn) and sunset (dusk)
  • Over persons not directly involved with controlling the UAV

Long Beach Township |Township Code (2015)

This ordinance bans all drone operations, including take-offs and landings, in the township. It also prohibits flying in airspace below 400ft ground level and township structures.

Middlesex County | County Ordinance

This ordinance bans drone operations from all non-designated areas in Middlesex County parks. Designated areas are publicly displayed under the authority of Middlesex’s Director of County Parks & Recreation.

Palisades Interstate Park Commission | Park Ordinance (2019)

This park ordinance bans drones and all other radio-controlled aircraft from flying within all commission-owned/managed parks and property.

The city of Ventnor | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

This ordinance bans drones from take-offs and landings on all government and public buildings. Moreover, UAS operators cannot fly under 400ft around the above structures. The ordinance also prohibits flying UAS in all city-run parks. The exceptions are for those with prior written permission, usually granted for special events from the Ventnor City Chief of Police.

Wayne Township |Township Code (1989)

This ordinance bans all UAV operations from Wayne Township parks outside of designated areas.

UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves

NJ State Park Service Policy (2015)

This NJ policy bans drone operations from all state-managed lands and waters that don’t have prior approval. Operators must submit applications to fly from the above to the Assistant Director (State Park Service) in accordance with N.J.A.C 7:2-1.4(b).

Specific additional NJ Drone Laws (in Jurisdictions within New Jersey)

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


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in New Jersey

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

Recreational drone operations (i.e.e, flying for recreational purposes) in New Jersey State are approved under Federal law, specifically the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

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

The law requires that all recreational flyers pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and provide proof of passage if asked by law enforcement or FAA personnel. The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) was developed to meet this requirement. 

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.

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 flying include things like taking photos to help sell a property or service, roof inspections, or taking pictures of a high school football game for the school’s website. Goodwill can also be considered non-recreational. This would include things like volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization. Remember, if you’re not sure which rules apply to your flight, fly under Part 107 (See below).
  2. Take TRUST
    • You may take the free online test through any of the FAA approved test administrators.
    • All FAA-approved TRUST test administrators offer the test free.
    • All test questions are correctable to 100% prior to issuing your completion certificate.
    • After completing TRUST, you’ll need to download, save or print your completion certificate.
    • If you lose your certificate, you will need to re-take TRUST.
    • View a list of TRUST Test Administrators
  3. Receive your certificate
    • After you pass the test, you will receive a certificate from the test administrator you selected.
    • Test administrators will not keep a record of your certificate. You must present a copy of your certificate if asked by law enforcement officers.

General Rules for Recreational Flyers

The Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809) is the law that 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).
    For more information on how to become an FAA-recognized CBO, read Advisory Circular 91-57C.
  3. Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with other aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below FAA-authorized altitudes in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and surface Class E designated for an airport) only with prior FAA authorization by 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. Drone pilots should always check for airspace restrictions prior to flight on our 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 registrationmark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you when flying.
    Note: Beginning September 16, 2023, if your drone requires an FAA registration number it will be also required to broadcast Remote IDinformation.
  9. Do not operate your drone in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system.

Recreational drone pilots should know that if they violate these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.

Hobbyist rules by Division of Parks and Forestry

The operation of a UAV is hereby specifically prohibited within all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service unless specifically approved by the Assistant Director, State Park Service. Accredited Universities may also request permission for the scheduled operation of a UAV for scientific research projects with a letter signed by the course instructor on official college letterhead. Requests must be made ninety (90) days prior to the intended date of use through a Special Use Permit (SUP), which can be coordinated through the park office. The Superintendent shall outline the safety zone within which only the persons associated with the UAV may be permitted.

All requests to launch, land, or operate a UAV on lands or waters administered by the State Park Service will be adequately evaluated as to the appropriateness of the requested activities and whether the use of a UAV will result in unacceptable impacts to park resources and visitors.

For more details see the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, State Park Service Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Policy


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in New Jersey

If you have a small unmanned aircraft 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 NJ State are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

There are three main steps drone owners must follow To fly under Part 107 rules:

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 that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines. To fly under Part 107 rules, there are 3 main steps.

Step 1: Learn the Rules

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

If you are not sure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended operation check our user identification tool.

Some operations will require 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 because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that drone operators must avoid manned aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment.

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

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

Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)

Schedule an Appointment

Complete FAA Form 8710-13

Step 3: Register your Drone with the FAA

Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy in order 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 in case it gets lost or stolen.

Commercial rules by Division of Parks and Forestry

The operation of a UAV for commercial purposes is hereby specifically prohibited within all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service unless specifically approved by the Assistant Director, State Park Service.

Accredited Universities may also request permission for the scheduled operation of a UAS for scientific research projects with a letter signed by the course instructor on the official college letterhead. Requests must be made ninety (90) days prior to the intended date of use through a Special Use Permit (SUP), which can be coordinated through the park office. The Superintendent shall outline the safety zone within which only the persons associated with the UAV may be permitted.

All requests to launch, land, or operate a UAV on lands or waters administered by the State Park Service will be adequately evaluated as to the appropriateness of the requested activities and whether the use of a UAV will result in unacceptable impacts to park resources and visitors.

For more details see the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, State Park Service Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Policy


Useful published information on flying drones in NJ

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 NJ State Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.

Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists

NOTE: 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, toy, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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7 thoughts on “Drone Laws in New Jersey”

  1. I don’t see how the state of NJ has any authorization to mandate where a drone can or cannot fly without coordinating with the FAA. The FAA, per a congressional mandate, regulates the airspace in the USA, not states. If the state, county or township coordinates any restrictions they seek with the FAA, these restrictions can be put on the “B4UFLY app utilized by drone pilots. Again, sUAS (drones) are considered aircraft and cannot be regulated by states, counties or townships.

    Reply
    • We are not taking a position on the legality of local regulations, merely reporting them and advising operators to fly safely and within the regulations.

      Reply
      • This creates a major problem, for which some drone operators have suffered the consequences! States and municipalities creating laws that they have no authorization to do. Local police follow the ordinances of their respective towns, thinking these laws were passed correctly, which they are not. This opens towns up to unnecessary law suits. There have already been cases of individuals flying safely and within the rules of FAA Part 107 that have been given tickets by local/state police. As far as state regulations, if they are not coordinated with the Federal Government, they hold no weight and are non-binding.

        Reply
        • We understand there are pros/cons on both sides of this issue. You just need to read through some of the comments we receive from citizens that a re upset with their privacy being clearly violated, and operators who are unfairly hassled. On this site, we are not advocates for any position other than safe drone operations for the benefit of all.

          This will get decided by the regulators, and we will inform as those decisions are made.

          Reply
  2. As retired seniors with hearing disabilities, we walk at Monksville Reservoir for exercise that is beautiful and quiet.
    (The open damn is flat, breezy, and almost bug free.)

    We have seen local families enjoy the view and birds.

    We do not believe drones should be flown there for following reasons:

    Believe only allowed in designated locations like Garrett mountain.
    1. Over Reservoir water for thousands of taxpaying families needs
    2. Over boaters
    3. Near powerlines
    4. Noise pollution
    5. Litter from spectators who fish from damn. Most likely without fishing permits…right near the small sign saying no fishing!

    Signage needs to be
    Clearly posted for the sake of preserving this natural treasure.

    Note: frequently seen at dusk

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment Warren. You can contact the local Parks organization and request they place the Reservoir on a do not fly list.

      Reply
    • Hello Warren,
      I just have read your post/reply on : “Thoughts on Drone Laws In N.J.” and I thank you for your interest in Drones & Drone safety. I also have similar interests and am in the process of forming a none for profit organization to help under privileged children and handicapped persons to enjoy our state and its resources , including enjoying our state & federal parks and the new hobby of Drone Flying. As it is – to purchase a personal drone is relatively inexpensive … to most of us. That said , for many people its not. I see that you indicated that you are hearing impaired , and i was wondering if, because the hearing condition you feel unsafe with drones operating in the vicinity of where you take your walks. ? … (( I would understand such a fear of not being able to here a drone near you – I also am physically challenged but could not imagine not being able to hear and may god bless you)) … I also would like to know your concern of a predator such as a bear or bobcat stalking you or others during walks/visits in a state park or not. I mean no disrespect to you or others by making the above possible nexus . My question presented to you is : Would you be less concerned of harm to persons or park ecosystems if any operations of drones were conducted with the help, overseeing and management of State Certified Professional Unmanned Drone Operators ? Lastly Could you please tell me your concerns of any drone operations doing harm to the parks or its inhabitants . I sincerely THANK YOU for both your post and also in advance to your kind anticipated reply to mine = C.Green

      Reply

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