Drone Laws in the Philippines

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of the Philippines

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)

CAAP RPAS Regulation Section

Updated November 1, 2022


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in the Philippines

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

Are drones allowed in the Philippines?

According to CAAP, drones are allowed in the Philippines, subject to CAAP regulations. Read on for more details.

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

  • To fly a drone commercially or fly a drone weighing more than 7 kilograms (15 pounds), you must obtain a CAAP certificate. For additional information, see the section below. 
  • Fly only during daylight hours and in good weather. 
  • Allow the drone to remain within your visual line of sight. 
  • Avoid flying over densely populated areas, such as schools or markets. 
  • Never fly higher than 400 feet above the ground. 
  • Keep a safe distance of at least 30 meters (98 feet) from people not involved in the drone’s operation. 
  • Avoid flying within a radius of 10 kilometers (6 miles) of airports. 
  • Avoid flying near disasters, such as fires.

Certification Requirements for Flying a Drone in the Philippines

Large drones weighing more than 7 kilograms (15 pounds) and drones intended for commercial use require a CAAP UAV certificate. The authorization is divided into three sections: 

  • Certificate as a UAV Controller / Pilot 
  • Registration of unmanned aerial vehicles 
  • Certificate of UAV Operator 

To earn the UAV Controller / Pilot Certificate, you must complete a training course, pass an exam, and demonstrate proficiency in flight. This certificate is valid for five years. The UAV Operator Certificate is valid for three years and requires a letter of intent and detailed operations specifications. 

Following registration, the required registration marks must be visible on the UAV.

RPA Controller Certificate

APPLICATION FOR RPA CONTROLLER CERTIFICATE

  1. The application for RPA Controller’s Certificate shall be made in writing, signed and sworn to by the applicant. The application shall also state the following:
    1. The date and place of filing;
    2. The name of applicant;
    3. The address of the applicant;
    4. The intended RPA to be controlled;
    5. Details of any flight crew license, air traffic control license or operations officer license that the applicant holds (include details of ratings, endorsements and qualifications);
    6. Details of applicant’s experience in operating RPAs.
    7. Evidence of the completion of any training course in RPA operation that the applicant has undertaken.
  2. The Authority may refuse to consider, or cease considering, the application until the applicant gives the information or a copy of it.

ELIGIBILITY FOR RPA CONTROLLER CERTIFICATE

  1. No person is eligible for the issuance of an RPA Controller Certificate unless he or she:
    1. Has completed an RPAs training course as conducted by the RPA manufacturer in the operation of the type of RPA that he or she proposes to operate; and
    2. Has at least five (5) hours experience in operating RPAs outside controlled airspace.
    3. Has Passed RPAS Exam.
    4. Has passed the demonstration flight conducted by the authorized personnel of the Authority.

VALIDITY OF RPA CONTROLLER CERTIFICATE

  1. An RPA Controller Certificate issued by the Authority is effective for a period of five (5) years from date of issuance and remains valid until:
    1. The Authority amends, suspends, revokes or otherwise terminates the certificate;
    2. The RPA Controller surrenders it to the Authority.

VALIDATION OF FOREIGN RPA CONTROLLER CERTIFICATE, LICENSE OR AUTHORIZATION

  1. A person who holds a current and valid RPA Controller Certificate, License or Authorization issued by another Contracting State may apply for a validation of such license or authorization for use on Remotely Piloted Aircraft registered with the Authority.
  2. The Authority shall verify with the authenticity of the license/authorization and ratings with the issuing state.
  3. A validation certificate will be issued, provided:
    1. that the applicant shall present to the Authority the foreign issued license/authorization.
    2. that the foreign issued license/authorization is current and valid.
  4. A validation certificate, based upon the relevant foreign issued license/authorization, will be issued provided the following requirements are met:
    1. The applicant for the validation certificate shall present to the Authority the foreign license/authorization and evidence of the experience required by PCAR Part 2; 2.13.3.
    2. The validation certificate will be valid for one (1) year, provided that the foreign license/authorization are still current and valid.
    3. The applicant for the validation certificate shall:
    1. have completed RPA training course conducted by the RPA manufacturer in the operation of the type of RPA that he or she proposes to operate;
    2. have at least five (5) hours experience in operating RPAs.
    3. pass the demonstration flight conducted by the authorized personnel of the Authority.

Note for Foreign Operators

Importing UAVs into the Philippines

It is recommended that you obtain a “Carnet” or Merchandise Passport for your UAV equipment before entering the Philippines. This may prevent the need for lengthy customs procedures and may even eliminate the need to pay import taxes. While the Philippines is a non-carnet country, the Philippine Bureau of Customs may accept it as documentation. 

In some instances, the Bureau of Customs will require an “Import Bond” to ensure that the UAV equipment is not resold into the market. The cost is determined by the declared value of the unmanned aerial vehicle being imported.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in the Philippines

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.

You do not need a license or a permit to fly a drone for recreational purposes if it weighs less than 7 kg and you fly keeping within the following rules: 

  • at a maximum altitude of 122 meters above the surface of the earth. 
  • at least 30 meters away from people or large crowds and respect the privacy of individuals. 
  • at least ten kilometers from airports 
  • It is prudent to obtain insurance that covers all risks. 
  • away from areas where its use could jeopardize the work of law enforcement or first responders. 
  • At all times, fly in daylight and within your line of sight. 
  • If your drone weighs more than 7 kg, or if you violate any other provision of the preceding code of conduct, you must follow the commercial use rules outlined below. 

Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in the Philippines

Commercial drone use is prohibited in the Philippines without a permit. 

An operator shall not conduct aerial work unless they possess a valid authorization certificate issued by the Authority. 

Each applicant must apply for the initial issuance of a certificate of authorization at least 90 days before the intended date of operation. 

The Authority may issue a certificate of authorization if it determines that the applicant is: 

  • a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.
  • that the applicant’s principal place of business and registered office, if any, are located in the Republic of the Philippines.
  • that the applicant complies with all applicable regulations and standards governing the holder of a certificate of authorization; and 
  • that the applicant is appropriately and adequately capitalized. 

The Authority may deny an application for a certificate of authorization if it determines that the applicant is not properly or adequately equipped or capable of conducting safe aerial work operations:

  • the applicant previously held a certificate of authorization that was revoked; or 
  • the applicant previously had a certificate of authorization that was revoked. 
  • A person who contributed to the circumstances that resulted in revoking a certificate of authorization acquires substantial ownership or is employed in a position required by this country’s regulation. 

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.


Useful published information on flying drones in the Philippines

Here is a video provided by CAAP regarding the general regulations of drone flights in the Philippines…

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.


Traveling with a Drone?

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



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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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29 thoughts on “Drone Laws in the Philippines”

  1. my wife and i will be going to the Philippines for vacation, we would like to be able to take our drone with is so we can take pics and video while on vacation there. i have looked, but seem to be getting conflicting info. what do i need to do so i can take it there ? for PAL, i could put it in my hand carry if need be. do i need any documentation for customs ? any help would be great, thanks

    Reply
    • We have heard mixed feedback regarding taking a drone to the Philippines. Officially you should declare the drone and register it before flying there. You must also have your drone license approved for use there

      Reply
  2. Hello,

    I’ll be flying from Switzerland to Manilla with two sub 250g drones (AVATA and mini pro 3). I am flying for fun only, do I require a permit ? Am I even allowed to bring drones with me in the airplane or will the custom at the Manilla airport restrict my drone ?

    Reply
  3. Are foreigners on a permanent residency visa, allowed to operate a drone commercially, or only Philippines citizens are allowed?

    This website mentions that the Authority may issue a certificate of authorization if it determines that the applicant is:
    a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.

    Reply
    • Yes. In fact if you are licensed in aa foreign approved state, your license can meet the experience requirements for CAAP certification. We have added some links and information above.

      Reply
  4. I have a 249g drone for recreational use only. I am planning to use it at the Dolomite beach. Do I need to secure a permit before I can use the drone?

    TIA

    Reply
  5. I have a dji mini se and weighs below 250 grams here in the US we do not need to register or need a license to fly. does Philippines have the same rules

    Reply
    • The Philippines has its own rules, which are different from US rules. You would not need to register or get a license to fly that drone if you are a Philippines citizen. Else, you must follow the section on foreign operators above.

      Reply
  6. Hello,. I just wanna know if land owners in the Philippines or any person owning some property like a house can RESTICT the airspace above their property and can they actually file a case against us ( drone owners ) if we fly our drone above their property or even just to fly pass it,.. PLEASE, this is important for us drone owners because alot of people hates us whenever we fly our drones,..

    Reply
    • Real estate owners in the Philippines have rights over their land surface, above and below the ground. The owners have the right to use and control the air space over his land subject to the requirements of aerial navigation, laws, or contract.

      Reply
  7. Public places should be more spicific if we can fly rec drone in those places (Dolomite Beach). Posters should be posted in visible places. Was accousted by maritime guard while flying my drone and said out to bring down the drone ASAP.

    Reply
        • Mary, you do not require a CAAP certificate to fly this drone. But you may need permission depending on where you will be flying, or if you are using it for commercial activity. You can follow the link to the regulator website for additional information

          Reply
          • Can I fly a drone owned by a government agency? I used drones in my job flying along the highway and rivers and some places for site validation.

          • Government agency drone use follows a very specific approval process which is beyond the scope of our site. Please contact the regulators

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