If you want to go pro and prove your skills, then you need to get certified and get a license
Anybody can buy a drone today and fly (with limits) – no license or training required.
It’s extremely easy to get into unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely piloted aircraft as a hobby because our drone laws in the Philippines are more lenient and generous than most other countries.
But if you want to get serious and promote yourself as a skilled professional pilot and operator, then you need to get certified.
What are the drone licenses and certificates in the Philippines?
Note that there is no formal “drone pilot license” in the Philippines. Instead, we have RPAS Certificates issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
There are currently 3 different certificates or “licenses” you can get:
RPAS Controller Certificate
This certificate is what you need to become a licensed UAV professional pilot.
The Civil Aviation of the Philippines (CAAP) awards this to any individual who completes formal drone pilot and safety training, and passes their knowledge and flight skills test.
RPAS Registration Certificate
This is the certificate you get when you register your aircraft and UAVs with the CAAP.
If you see a drone with big identification stickers and numbers like RP-0103819, that means the owner has registered that drone with the authorities. More info here.
RPAS Operator Certificate
You need this if you want to start your own business and earn money flying drones.
How do I apply for the RPAS Controller Certificate and become a licensed pilot?
The process to get your drone pilot license is actually easy and simple, but it takes time. Processing is only 5 days, but the whole process from start to finish might take 1-3 weeks from start to finish because you need to complete training, pass 2 exams, and make multiple visits to the CAAP office.
Here’s our step by step infographic guide to help you get your RPAS Controller Certificate:
Philippine Drone Network Guide to Drone Licenses
1. Complete training from an authorized drone operator in the Philippines and ask for a formal training certificate
- Make sure your trainer and their organization is recognized by the CAAP to provide commercial services. Ask them about their certifications.
- Training should cover modern drone applications, safety and emergency procedures, flight techniques, compliance with local laws and regulations, and drone mechanics
- It should include at least 5 hours of hands-on flight time
The Philippine Drone Network provides certified drone training on demand through our CAAP-authorized providers. Click here to inquire and get notified when public training opens again, or to schedule a private session for yourself or your group.
2. Fill out the CAAP Airman Personal License Form (also known as Form 542)
Download the form here from the CAAP website.
3. Print out the technical specifications and photos of your drone or UAV
Technical specifications can typically be found in your drone’s manual or downloaded from the manufacturer’s website (ex: DJI website).
Print at least 4 photos: top view, bottom view, side view, and front view.
4. Go to the CAAP office and submit your documents in person to the Licensing and Certification Department (LCD)
Compile your training certificate, filled out form, technical specifications, and photos in a folder to make it easy to check.
- Pay the necessary application fees (get drone certificate costs from the CAAP)
- The CAAP office is located at OLD MIA Road in Pasay City. You can contact them at [email protected] or +63 2 7944-2142 or 7944-2143
When you submit your documents, you will get a Routing Slip from the licensing staff. They are extremely helpful and will guide you through the next steps that includes taking the knowledge exam.
5. Pass the knowledge exam and schedule a day for your skills test
After you pass the written test, you will be given a Knowledge Test Report. Submit this report to get yout Skills Test Permit and schedule.
6. Show up on your scheduled day and pass the Skills Test.
Bring the same drone that you submitted specifications and photos of in step #3.
7. Apply for your RPAS Controller Certificate and wait 5 days for processing
After you pass both tests, return to the CAAP and bring the following to formally apply for your drone license certification:
- Knowledge Exam and Skills Test results
- 2 1×1 pictures
You can pick up your certificate after 5 working days. You are now a licensed drone pilot!
What are the benefits of getting certified as a pilot?
We always recommend all drone hobbyists to register with the CAAP and get their RPAS Controller Certificate. The advantages include:
- Get flight permits much easier in cities and provinces with local regulations that control who can fly or operate drones (ex: Boracay Island)
- Gain confidence in your skills by learning safety and emergency procedures
- Makes you understand the processes of the CAAP
- Helps you fulfill requirements to get the RPAS Operator Certificate so you can provide commercial services like aerial photography and drone surveys
- Helps you fill requirements to get the RPAS Registration Certificate so you can register your equipment and operate larger drones
May I use this infographic in my own website, social media, or publication?
Yes. You may display this infographic anywhere as long as you give proper credit.
Simply mention that this infographic was created by the Philippine Drone Network, and include a link to our website at https://philippinedronenetwork.com.ph.
We’re happy to help if you need extra clarifications or guidance. Leave a comment on this page or send us an email at [email protected].
You can also contact the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippine directly at +63 2 7944-2142 or 7944-2143.