Drone Laws in Illinois (2023)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Illinois.
Illinois Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Illinois
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Illinois, and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Illinois (i.e. for work / business purposes) you are required to follow the requirements of the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes passing the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.
To fly a drone as a hobbyist in the state of Illinois (i.e. for fun / pleasure) you are required by the FAA to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). You are also required to follow the FAA’s recreational model aircraft rules. One of those rules is that if your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs (250g), you’ll need to pay $5 to get it registered. There are additional rules when it comes to airspace and altitude, keeping your drone within line-of-sight while you’re flying, and more.
To fly a drone as a government employee in the state of Illinois (i.e., for a police or fire department) you may either operate under the FAA’s Part 107 rule or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA).
Note: The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only, and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel.
State Drone Laws in Illinois
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Illinois, and were created by the Illinois General Assembly.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois General Assembly, Illinois has three state-wide laws concerning the use of drones in the state.
This law loosens regulations around law enforcement’s use of UAS during a disaster or public health emergency, and creates regulations for how law enforcement can obtain and use information gathered from a private party’s use of drones. This law also requires law enforcement to follow warrant protocols to compel third parties to share information, and if the information is voluntarily given to police, authorities are required to follow the state’s law governing drone data retention and disclosure.
This law prohibits anyone from using a drone to interfere with hunters or fisherman.
This law allows drones to be used by law enforcement with a warrant to counter a terrorist attack, to prevent harm to life, or to prevent the imminent escape of a suspect. If a law enforcement agency uses a drone, the agency must destroy all information gathered by the drone within 30 days, but a supervisor at the law enforcement agency may retain particular information if there is a reasonable suspicion that it contains evidence of criminal activity.
This law states that the State of Illinois has the sole authority to pass drone laws. Cities, towns, and other municipalities may not enact regulations or restrictions on the usage of drones. A special exemption is granted for municipalities with over 1,000,000 residents.
All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Illinois are subject to the FAA’s Part 107 rules. Learn more about the FAA’s certification process to obtain a commercial drone license in this free guide.
Know something we don’t about drone laws in Illinois? Send us an email at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com. We do our best to keep this list up-to-date, but the reality is that given the pace of the small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industry and how municipal governments are responding, drone regulations in Illinois can change throughout the year, and changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.
Why fly a drone in Illinois? To get great shots like these!
Local Drone Laws in Illinois
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Illinois, and were created by various authorities within the state.
Village of Schaumburg—Municipal Law // 2016
This city ordinance prohibits the use of drones within 100 feet of the perimeter of any village property or on any village right-of-way during a special event.
City of Evanston—Municipal Law // 2016
This city ordinance establishes a moratorium on drone use until reasonable state and federal regulations are enacted.
McHenry County Conservation District—County Ordinance
This county ordinance prohibits drones from making any operating within any property owned by the district without prior written permission of the Executive Director.
Crystal Lake Park District—Park Ordinance // 2015
This park ordinance prohibits the operation of drones within any of the Park District properties, except when and where such use has been permitted by the special Parks Districts program or in designated areas.
Take a Drone Flight Training Class in Illinois
UAV Coach offers in-person training in select cities in Illinois. The 2-hour, in-person training class provides hands-on flight time with an instructor, practice with intelligent flight modes, and education on what to do before, during, and after a flight mission to stay compliant and safe. During the class, you’ll also get a chance to ask your questions about regulations, software, flight operations management, checklists and more.
Sign up for an in-person drone flight training class in Illinois.
Looking to get in more practice flying your drone? In addition to taking a drone flight training class with one of our trained instructors, you can also scout out safe and legal places to fly on your own using our guide to the Best Places to Fly a Drone in Chicago.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Illinois? Here you go: