Do I need a drone license in the Philippines to shoot videos for my blog and Youtube channel?Drei from the Philippine Drone Network
Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now so popular that you’ve probably seen people post drone photos on their blogs or watched aerial videos on your Facebook feed.
But is that actually allowed? Do you need a license to fly a drone in the Philippines?
This is a question we get a lot – not only from newbies, but also from professional photographers who want to provide aerial services to clients.
To answer that, we need to clarify one thing first.
The Philippines does not have a “drone license”. We give Certifications instead.
As of 2021, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) awards different kinds of certificates for drone operators and UAV pilots.
You can apply for any of these 3 certifications:
- RPA Controller Certificate – Given to individual pilots. This is the closest thing we have to a “license”
- RPA Registration Certificate – This is what you get when you register your actual drone
- RPA Operator Certificate – Given to businesses who want to charge money for commercial services
Note: RPA stands for “remotely piloted aircraft”
Read more here: 2021 Updated Guide on Philippine Drone Laws and Certificates
You don’t need to be certified to fly a drone recreationally or as a hobby
It is perfectly fine to fly, take photos, and shoot videos for your personal blog or Youtube channel because this is considered non-commercial use.
But there are drone laws, rules and limitations you NEED to follow.
Section 11 of the latest Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR) says you don’t need any RPA certificate as long you follow these rules:
- Maximum flight altitude or height of 400 feet or approximately 122 meters
- Must always have visual line of sight (do not go behind buildings, billboards, clouds, or anything that blocks your view to the drone)
- Drone must weigh 7kg or less (common models like the DJI Mavic Mini, Mavic Pro, Spark, etc are all ok)
- Keep your drone at least 30 meters or 98 feet from other people
- Not allowed near emergency situations (ex: fires)
- Not allowed during night time (fly in daylight hours only)
- Not allowed in populated areas (malls, schools, etc.)
- Not allowed in restricted airspace (10km from airports, government/military buildings)
And of course, respect private property and follow the rules set by the owner.
You don’t need a certificate as long as you operate your drone or unmanned aerial vehicle within the rules above.
Source: Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations Article 11.11.3, 11.11.4, 126.96.36.199, and 11.11.7.
But you do need to be certified first to fly drones commercially or as a business
If you want to make money with your skills as a UAV pilot, then you need to apply and get a certificate from the CAAP first.
This includes professional services like:
- Aerial photography and videography
- Drone surveys for construction and real estate
- Crop spraying and health monitoring for agriculture
Source: Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations Article 11.11.4
How do you apply to get an official drone certificate from the CAAP?
All certifications are awarded only by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. We made an application guide with steps you need to get certified in the Philippines:
- To apply for the RPA Controller Certificate (aka the “drone pilot license”), follow our guide here:
How to Apply for a Drone License Certificate in the Philippines
To apply for the RPA Operator Certificate (aka the “drone business license”), follow our guide here:
How to Start Your Drone Business in the Philippines
To register your drone and get a RPA Registration Certificate, follow the steps on
question 15 in our frequently asked questions.
Reminder: there are local laws that require extra drone permits
There are many cities and regions in the Philippines that have their own regulations in addition to the CAAP rules.
For example, Davao City and Boracay have local laws where you need to get local government permission before operating a drone.
If you’re planning to shoot videos for your travel blog, then call their tourism office ahead of time to check if they require special permits for operating UAVs.
Have questions about flying drones in the Philippines?