Drone Laws in Spain

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Kingdom of Spain

Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aerea (AESA)

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

Updated August 29, 2022


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Spain

The Spanish agency responsible for drone safety, AESA, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying drones for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the links above.

Flying and operating drones in Spain are subject to European Union Regulation 2019/947. The Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aerea (AESA) supervises and implements the Regulation in Spain. This reform aims to create a truly harmonized drone market in Europe with the highest level of safety. In practice, it means that once a drone Οperator has received authorization from its state of registry, it will be allowed to circulate in the European Union freely. According to the level of risk involved, this new legal framework will introduce three categories of drone operations: Open, Specific, and Certified.

Drone operations are to be conducted according to the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 (as amended).

Are drones allowed in Spain?

According to AESA, drones are allowed in Spain, subject to AESA and EASA regulations. Read on for details.

Since 31 December 2020, the European regulations of UAS (drones) have been applicable. This standard affects all drones regardless of their use* (recreative or professional) or size/weight. This section collects the minimum obligations to be fulfilled before flying any drone:

  • Registration as operator: All users intending to fly a drone must register at the AESA website and obtain the operator number according to European regulations (UAS Operator Registration section). Once the operator number has been obtained, this number should be visibly included in the drone.
  • Training as a pilot: To fly a drone, you must have a minimum of qualifying training depending on the operational category in which it is operated. The training and examination of knowledge to operate a drone in an open category, subcategories A1 and A3, is accessible via the AESA website (UAS Pilot Training section). The training is telematic and free, and after passing the online exam, AESA will issue you a certificate.
  • Availability of compulsory liability insurance: an insurance policy covering civil liability against third parties for damages that may arise during and for the execution of each flight, both for recreational and professional purposes, must be contracted. More insurance information is in the section of European UAS/drone regulations.
  • Flight rules: The flight of drones is subject to general rules of operation conditioned, among others, by the drone’s weight, the presence of other people, and the proximity to buildings. You can consult the different operational categories in the section “UAS operations/drones”, where you also have a questionnaire that will help you to find out in which operational category the intended flights would be framed and instructions to carry them out (link to questionnaire)
  • Place of flight: In addition to the general rules of drone operation, there are limitations on drone flight at certain locations for different reasons: proximity of aerodromes, military zones, protection of critical infrastructure, environmental protection, etc. See the section “Flight with UAS/drones” for flight requirements in the different areas of Spain.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Spain:

Drone operators must register all drones in Spain. Following registration, you must adhere to the following rules.

  • Drones may fly up to 120 meters (400 feet). (The AESA may grant exemptions to operators of specific category drones.) 
  • Direct visual contact with the drone is required, and the operating distance should not exceed 500 meters. 
  • Avoid flying too close to residential areas or populated areas. 
  • Maintain a safety buffer zone of one kilometer around residential areas. 
  • Unless the owner/person consents, a safety distance of 500 meters from isolated buildings, people, vehicles, animals, and structures is required. 
  • Avoid flying near airports and heliports. Stay a minimum of eight (8) kilometers away from airports and three (3) kilometers from heliports for safety. 
  • At no time is it permissible to fly a drone at night. 
  • There shall be no flying over, within, or near military installations, public utility installations, archaeological sites, or public or private facilities.

Open Category

Given the low level of risk, neither prior authorization by the competent authority nor a declaration by the drone operator is required. The drone’s total takeoff mass must be less than 25kg, and it must be operated within a visual line of sight at a maximum altitude of 120m.

Specific Category

Considering the moderate level of risk involved, flights in this category require authorization before the operation. The permission is given considering the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment, except in specific standard scenarios where an operator declaration is sufficient.

Certified Category

Given the inherent dangers, certification of the drone and a licensed remote pilot are required. If your drone can carry people, you fall under the Certified category!

EASA Summary of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements
EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

Note for foreign operators

Operator Registration (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you are coming from a non-EU country and this is the first time you will fly your drone in an EU country, you MUST register as an Operator.
  • Upon registration, you will receive a unique Operator Registration number which you MUST attach to your drone. If you have several drones, the same number must be attached to all of them.
  • You are not allowed to fly in NO FLY ZONES, and you must keep away a minimum of 8km distance away from airports/heliports.
  • If you have already conducted operations in another EU country before going to Spain, you must not register again. You always register to the first non-EU country you have conducted flights.

Remote Pilot Certificate (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you want to fly your drone in Spain and live in a non-EU country, you must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate from an EU country.
  • You can get the A1/A3 Certificate by registering with the online Remote Pilot School.
  • The online training and exam are required for those who want to fly a drone in the ‘Open’ category in subcategories A1/A3.
  • The pass mark is 75%, and you have 3 tries to pass.
  • Once you pass your exam, you will receive your remote pilot certificate. Its validity will be 5 years.
  • You must have your Remote Pilot Certificate in your possession whenever you plan to perform drone operations in Spain and present it when the authorities ask.

How to register as a drone pilot or operator in Spain?

According to European Regulation (EU) 2019/947, registration is mandatory for UAS operators (not for UAS themselves).

The UAS Pilot, also known as the Remote Pilot (RP), is the person physically behind the UAS flight controls. They are fully responsible for the safety of the flight throughout operations.

The UAS Operator is the person or company who oversees operations and gives flight instructions. This person or legal entity bears all responsibility for the operations of the drone (s) on their behalf. Very often, in the OPEN category and as an individual, the Pilot and the Operator are the same person.

Who should register?

As part of the OPEN category, registration is compulsory for operators:

  • UAS that has a mass of 250 g or more; 
  • UAS that has a mass of less than 250 g but: 
    • can operate at speeds greater than 90km / h 
    • are equipped with a camera or a microphone, if these UAS are NOT toys * 

* A UAS is a toy when a manufacturer intends it for children under 14 and meets the minimum safety criteria required to be so named. Compliance with these standards naturally limits the capabilities of the UAS (size, weight, non-dangerous spare parts, no powerful motor, etc.): see Directive 2009/48 / EC of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys

Under the SPECIFIC category, registration is compulsory for all operators.

Natural persons can only register in the country where they reside.

Legal persons must register in the country where their principal place of business is located.

Registration can only be done in one Member State at a time.

How do you register in Spain for drone operations?

The operator registration procedure begins at the online AESA registration link.

This UAS operator registration number is valid for one year and must be renewed periodically following the same procedure. The operator, therefore, always uses the same number unless the latter is permanently deregistered from the register.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Spain

Minimum documentation required to carry out operations with UAS in the ‘open’ category

Any operator intending to carry out operations in the ‘open’ category shall have the following documentation:

  • Certificate of registration or proof of UAS operator registration (link to registration section). The operator registration number should be indicated for all UAS operated so that it can be read with the naked eye when the drone is tracked. The registration number may be indicated in the battery compartment if the size of the UA does not allow it to be displayed on the outside or if it is a replica aircraft model of an actual aircraft, and indicate the operator registration number in the fuselage could affect the realism of the representation.
  • The operator’s pilots must be certified as remote pilots A1/A3 (and A2 as appropriate). More information in the section Training of UAS/drone pilots in the ‘open’ category
  • Liability insurance policy as indicated in the previous point.
  • Where the operator has more than one remote pilot, it shall have procedures to coordinate activities among its employees and establish and maintain a list of personnel and assigned tasks.

UAS/drones without class marking

The special provisions concerning using certain UAS in the ‘open’ category are in Article 20 of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947. US, which is not privately manufactured and complies with the Directive on the placing on the market of products currently applicable in the European Union (Decision 768/2008/EC), but does not belong to one of the Classes CO, C1, C2, C3 or C4 laid down in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945, may continue to be used if they have been placed on the European Union market before 1 January 2024 as follows:

  • If the maximum take-off mass of the unmanned aircraft is less than 250 g, including payload, operation is in subcategory A1.
  • If the maximum take-off mass of the unmanned aircraft is less than 25 kg, including fuel and payload, operation is in subcategory A3.

See general rules above.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Spain

In Spain, all commercial users of drones must obtain a permit to conduct aerial work.

To obtain a permit to fly a drone, applicants must pass a theoretical and practical examination. 

To pass the theoretical exam, at least 75% of the questions in each subject must be answered correctly.

Additional requirements vary according to the nature of your intended operations. Check the AESA section for Drone Operations details

See general rules above.


Useful published information on flying drones in Spain

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Spain…

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 aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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



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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site (The latest Drone Laws/Drone Regulations) is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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13 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Spain”

  1. Hey, I am planning my first trip in Spain – Andalusia (Malaga, Marbella, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz, Alicante, Valencia..), and I want to shoot some videos there with my DJI Mini 3 Pro, I have a license A1/A3 category and the drone is registered in Italy with a label. So, I found a map that gives you info (https://drones.enaire.es/) where you can fly your drone and the interesting part is all of this mentioned cities above are marked with red which means you can not fly a drone there. Can someone please give me more info, advice and help on where can you fly a drone recreational use, where can I check that?

    Reply
  2. Hello I’m new to drones and live in Spain,
    I just want to know how to get started as I don’t know the regulations,
    I have got a drone for the first time, its an old Mavic pro, but thought it might be better than spending on a new one,
    Just dont know what I need to start flying it.
    I have a large garden and wondered if it would be ok to practice there,
    Looking forward to your reply

    Reply
    • Congratulations on your interest in drones. Although most drones are relatively easy to get started using, we always recommend finding a training school or someone who has flown drones who can give you some starter lessons.

      The most important rules are found on this page. You should have no problem practicing in your garden, unless your home is close to one of the restricted zones (airport, military facilities, etc.)

      Best wishes

      Reply
  3. I have completed the application online twice with no response. I sent an email asking about the delay. No response. I had a friend in Spain contact them, and they said I failed to add a letter at the end of my passport number. I tried again, and I can’t complete the application because I get an error message that tells me to go to a site for help but that site tells me I don’t have permission to enter the site.

    Is there a phone number I can call?

    Reply
  4. As a natural person (tourist) I arrived on holiday in Spain
    I registered my 249g drone in Romania – should I register it in Spain with AESA?
    DJI Mini 3 Pro
    I tried to register with AESA (with Romanian UAS ID), but I think that their site is broken because I do not receive any email feedback after registering five times in the last 30 days.
    I even opened a ticket on AESA site, but they do not talk with each other, and nobody knows what is happing inside AESA
    ….
    Your site is broken too – I used the menu Contact and at “Send Message” it is an error saying “You are not allowed to modify the site drone-laws”
    My impression is that both you and AESA have the same software programmer

    Reply
    • Dorin, whether you were an EU resident, or a non-EU resident, having registered in Romania (an EASA location), you are good to go.

      Please provide any additional information on the error you encountered on our website.We could not replicate this problem

      Reply
  5. The EASA UAS regulations are complicated – trying to put them into a flow chart would result in something resembling a bag of Scrabble tiles. But the Spanish AESA implementation of the EASA rules takes obfuscation to a whole new level of confusion. That, coupled with the art form of Spanish Bureaucracy and awful online forms makes UAS operations in Spain a complete nightmare. I’ve been trying to operate here for nearly three years, but the arcane processes only get worse. The tragedy is that the ordinary people are entirely benevolent and seemed intrigued by UAS ops.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for a very useful document. There is one apparent anomaly that I would like clarified:
    The first bullet point under “Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Spain” says:
    “Drones may fly up to 50 meters (170 feet) above ground or sea level in the Open category” The table under “EASA Summary…” for all A sub-categories says:
    “Max height 120m”
    Has Spain (AESA) reduced the EASA height limitation?

    Reply
    • Robin, thanks for pointing this out. We changed above. The EASA says:
      Your maximum flight height is generally 120 m from the earth’s surface. Please check whether the National Aviation Authority imposes a geographical zone with a lower limit in the area where you fly. If you need to fly over an obstacle taller than 120 m, you are allowed to fly up to 15 metres above the height of the obstacle, but only if there is an explicit request from the owner of the obstacle (e.g. a contract with the owner to perform an inspection). In such a case, you may fly within a horizontal distance of 50 metres from the obstacle.

      Reply
  7. Hello, do drones weighing under 250 grammes require a fireproof label or is this for drones over 250 grammes only?
    I understand that a label containing certain info is required but the issue is does it have to be fireproof?

    Reply

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