Your drone may soon be grounded if you don't have a licence – here's how to get one

Boy flying drone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you own a drone that weighs over 250g, you have until the end of November to register it with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). After the deadline, flying it without a license will be illegal, and you could be fined up to £1,000 for doing so.

The new DJI Mavic Mini just scrapes under the weight limit at 249g, which is no accident, but most other consumer drones (including the DJI Mavic Air, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, and even the little DJI Spark) need to be registered.

The CAA hopes the law will not only make sure people know how to fly their drones safely, but will also help recover lost drones. Each registered drone must display an Operator ID, which can be used to identify its owner if it goes astray.

How to register your drone

If you want to fly a drone weighing over 250g, you'll need to obtain a Flyer ID by completing an online theory test containing 20 multiple choice questions. The pass mark is 16, but you can take the test as many times as you like and it's free to do so.

The test covers all aspects of the Drone and Model Aircraft Code, including flying safely and responsibly, knowing where you can fly, and protecting other people's privacy.

If you own a drone, you'll also need an Operator ID, which costs £9 and must be renewed annually. You can apply for your Operator ID when you've passed the theory test.

Your Operator ID must be displayed clearly on all your drones. It should be visible clearly without special equipment (so you can't use a QR code, or stick a label inside), be written in block capitals larger than 3mm, be somewhere on the main body that's unlikely to be damaged, and be easy to read when the drone is on the ground.

For more information, check the Drone Safe website.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)