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Drone regulations: where can you use them in 2022?

In this article, you will find useful resources to find out if you can use your drone abroad and in Italy.

In recent years drones (also called UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) have become more affordable and thus very popular. At the same time, however, the number of accidents involving drones has also increased. Governments all around the world have started to impose stricter regulations and, in some cases, even completely banned the use of drones.

Keeping an updated list with all the limitations for every single country is honestly not possible for a single person. This is why several websites have started to collect feedback from photographers all around the world regarding their experiences when using drones.

A very useful tool is this Google map where you can find information regarding the use of drones for most countries. The map is regularly updated (click here to open it).

mappa droni

As you can see there are 4 different colored icons.

  • Green: you can use the drone but there are still some limitations.
  • Yellow: to use the drone is usually required registration and a certificate.
  • Red: there are strict limitations (e.g., on maximum weight) or in some cases, it’s not possible to use it at all.
  • Grey: There are no clear data or laws regarding the use of drones

Please note that most of the information on the map is collected by other people and does not necessarily perfectly reflect the legislation of each country. I recommend that you always check the official sites of the various aviation authorities before taking your drone abroad.

General information on the use of Drones abroad

Although drones are increasingly common, there is still a lack of clear legislation in many countries at the moment. Out of more than 200 countries in the world, about 70 do NOT have a specific law to regulate them.

Contrary to what one might think, only a handful of nations completely ban the use of drones: only 15 nations at the moment. In the list below I have included 39 countries because even though drones are not technically prohibited, obtaining permits is so difficult, especially for those who travel for tourism, that it’s as if drones were actually banned.

Countries where Drones CAN NOT be used or there are severe limitations

paesi in cui non si possono usare i droni

This is the list of countries where drones are NOT allowed

  • Algeria
  • Antarctica
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Brunei
  • Bhutan
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Kuwait
  • Madagascar
  • Morocco
  • Nicaragua
  • North Korea
  • Senegal
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Uzbekistan

This is the list of countries where there are severe limitations to the use of drones:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Gibraltar
  • India
  • Israel
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon
  • Montenegro
  • Munich
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Thailand
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela

Several countries have limitations based on weight (usually under 250 grams the rules are much less strict). That’s why DJI released the Mini 3 Pro which officially weighs only 249g.

What about Italy?

This is the official website where you can find updated information. I have summarized some of the most common questions for those who want to use the drone for recreational purposes in Italy.

Do you need ENAC (National Aircraft Registry)clearance to use a drone?

Registration is required from July 1st, 2020 for drones with a weight of 250 grams or more. In addition, by that date, the pilot will need to obtain a certificate.

Is insurance required to use the drone?

Insurance is compulsory for any type of drone for any use.

Does the authorization or declaration also apply when flying in open private areas?

Yes as the overflight area is private while the Airspace used is a public good.

Is it possible to film internal/external ceremonies/private events with a drone?

You can shoot externally as part of critical operations if you comply with the limitations applicable to “standard” scenarios. In the context of internal filming, the Remote Control Aircraft Regulations do not apply, except for the prohibition of overflying groups.

Can you carry the drone in your hand luggage?

I suggest you contact the airline to find out the conditions regarding baggage size as well as the restrictions established for lithium batteries which are considered dangerous goods.

Remember that this article, and other similar resources, are only to be taken as a starting point to do further research on the official websites where you will find the correct and updated information.

Another thing to remember is that laws often change even within the same country. In the United States, for example, there are different laws in each state. That is why it is good to do all your research before leaving, to avoid bad surprises or even having your drone confiscated at the airport.

If you are interested in learning to fly a drone and how to sell stock footage check out my review of Aerial A to Z.

On this page, you will find my guide on how to sell your photos. Here are some pictures I took with the drone of the beautiful Jacaranda trees in Yunnan, China.

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