Flying Drones


Drones are an increasingly popular means of monitoring and capturing landscapes for photographic and surveillance purposes throughout Andalucia - spectacular scenery such as beaches, cityscapes, mountains, and rolling countryside filmed from 100 metres up in the air creates stunning bird's-eye visual images.

These remote-controlled aircraft are also used for more practical aims - checking and monitoring for engineering or agricultural purposes. In addition, many hobbyists simply enjoying flying them as a pastime. But, as with any aircraft, their use is regulated in Andalucia for safety purposes.

The regulations surrounding flying drones in Spain are fundamentally covered by the AESA (State Agency for Aerial Security) - AESA - Drones is the section of their in Spanish website covering Drones.

The official word used in Spain for a Drone or model aircraft is now the English acronym UAS (Unmanned Aircraft system) older documents refer to RPAS (remotely-piloted aircraft system, or in Spanish sistema aérea tripulado de forma remota).

European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019

With coming into force of the European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 on December 31, 2020, all Drones (Officially UAS - unmanned aircraft systems)

In addition to the general flight limitations, there are further limitations depending on the category of operation (‘open’, ‘specific’, ‘certified’). Geographical zones are also defined corresponding to volume of airspace in which UAS operations may be permitted, restricted or excluded.

UAS Spanish national legislation in the form of a Royal Decree is awaited. This will regulate in a single chapter the use of airspace and geographical zones by UAS. Until this legislation is approved, the conditions of use of airspace set out in Royal Decree 1036/2017 and Royal Decree 1180/2018 shall apply. These provisions set out the requirements for operations and equipment linked to UAS geographical zones.

Guidance on the transition from the current Royal Decree 1036/2017 and Royal Decree 1180/2018 to the future legislation can be read in Spainsh here.

Drone / UAS operator registration

Since 01-01-2021 all drone and model aircraft operators for both recreational and professional activities must register as an operator when using any of the following types of Drone:

  • Use in the 'open' category any unmanned aircraft:
  • With an MTOM weight of 250 g or more.
  • Equipped with a sensor capable of capturing personal data, unless it complies with Directive 2009/48 / EC (“Toys Directive”).
  • Use an unmanned aircraft of any mass in the 'specific' category.

A drone operator is a person or company who uses or intends to use one or more drone, both for professional and recreational purposes (including model aircraft).

Registration to obtain a Drone operator code must be carried out in the EU member state of operator’s residence or where the economic activity takes place, and it is not possible to be registered in more than one state at the same time.

Registration as a Drone (UAS) operator in AESA AESA (State Agency for Aerial Security) is free and is done through its online form.  The registration is automatic and immediate if a digital certificate is used.

Obtaining the Drone / UAS operator code is also mandatory for operators who were previously authorized based on previous Law 18/2014 and Royal Decree 1036/2017.

The generated Drone / UAS operator registration number must be visible on all operator drones.

Drone operators need to have an insurance policy that covers civil liability against third parties for damages that may arise during and due drone flights, both for recreational and professional purposes. More information on insurance in the section on European Regulations for drones / UAS

General Requirements under law 18/2017 and 1036/2018

  • The maximum flying altitude is 120m, and the drone must always remain in visual line of sight (VLOS). It is not advisable not to fly a drone during low-visibility weather conditions, such as rain and fog, since you must be able to see the drone at all times.
  • Drones cannot be flown at night unless they weigh less than 2kg (ie toy drones) in which case at a maximum altitude of 50m. If more than 2kg, special certification is required.
  • You must be 18 years old or under direct adult supervision to fly a drone.
  • Liability insurance is only required for commercial use. However, since you will be liable for any damage caused to third parties, insurance is recommended.
  • Generally, the maximum weight of a drone without special certifications is 25kg
  • Drones cannot be flown within 8km of an airport, airfield or where other low-altitude flight activities take place, such as paragliding, parachuting drop zones, heliports, etc.
  • Drones must be flown at a distance of at least 150m from built-up areas, or 50m from people (excluding the pilot and assistants), and they must not be flown near crowds of people. Additionally, military or restricted areas and controlled airspace must be avoided.
  • Flying your drone in national parks requires a permit. Restrictions in the natural parks of Andalucia and other protected natural monuments and spaces vary. Check with the park management and/or the Junta's Consejería de Agricultura, Ganadería, Pesca y Desarrollo Sostenible (Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing and Sustainable Development).
  • Don't forget that drone photography must be conducted within Spanish laws of data protection. The law protecting the rights of honour, personal privacy and one's own image is stricter than most. The publication of images of people or private space requires their authorisation.
  • Professional and amateur pilots must ensure that both their drone and remote control are clearly identified with the owner's name and contact details.

Guide to UAS flight requirements and limitations according to the intended location of operation Published by AESA (in English)

Requirements of commercial drone flying

A commercial drone pilot's license requires 60 hours' training and costs 500€ - 2000€ The certificate demonstrates attendance of theory classes, flight training hours and passing a test.

These pilots can fly over built-up areas and groups of people, and also at night, with the correct authorization. They can also fly closer to airports and in restricted/controlled airspace, with a permit. But they must always respect personal privacy of people and property.

More information

This is an interactive map Drone map by ENAIRE showing the different permanent and temporary areas that drones can not be flown Information form AIP spain, NOTAM, AESA.

The regulations surrounding flying drones in Spain are fundamentally covered by the AESA (State Agency for Aerial Security) - AESA - Drones is the section of their in Spanish website covering Drones.

Drone schools

There are a number of drone schools based around Andalucia, in Cordoba, Jaen, Jerez, Malaga and Seville.


Living in Andalucia