Drone Laws in Virginia (2023)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Virginia.
Virginia Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Virginia
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Virginia, and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Virginia (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 Virginia (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 Virginia (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 Virginia
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Virginia, and were created by the Virginia General Assembly.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia General Assembly, Virginia has five state-wide laws concerning the use of drones in the state.
This law makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to use UAS to trespass upon the property of another for the purpose of peeping or spying.
This law specifies that the fire chief or other officer in charge of a fire department has the authority to maintain order at an emergency incident, including the immediate airspace.
This law prohibits the regulation of UAS by local governments.
This law requires that a law enforcement agency obtain a warrant before using a drone for any purpose, except in limited circumstances.
This law prohibits drone use by any state agencies “having jurisdiction over criminal law enforcement or regulatory violations” or units of local law enforcement until July 1, 2015.
Code of Virginia 4VAC5-30-400 // 2010
This code prohibits drones from operating in Virginia State Parks or any DCR owned property without a special use permit issued from DCR. Only commercial or research-based drone operations are eligible to request a special use permit. More information regarding special use permits and operational limitations can be found here.
All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Virginia 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 Virginia? 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 Virginia 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 Virginia? To get great shots like these!
Local Drone Laws in Virginia
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Virginia, and were created by various authorities within the state.
Our team wasn’t able to pin down any local drone laws in the state of Virginia. If you know of one that should be listed here, please shoot us an email at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com.
Looking to get in more practice flying your drone? You can scout out safe and legal places to fly using our ‘Where to Fly’ guides.
Best Places to Fly a Drone:
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Virginia? Here you go: