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Can You Bring a Drone to Ireland?  

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The Republic of Ireland (not to be confused with Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK), is a part of the European Union. As such, regulations relating to drone use are similar to what you will find in any of the other countries of the EU.

You may bring a drone with you on your travels to Ireland. First, you need to register as a Drone Operator, and in addition, you will need to obtain a Remote Pilot’s License for non-EU residents. Both of these things can be done online before you plan to travel to Ireland.

You will then need to adhere to the rules set forth by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

What are the steps for bringing a drone through customs in Ireland? #

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has created a list of steps to follow to bring your drone through customs in Ireland.

  1. You need to register your drone with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) before it arrives in Ireland.
  1. You will have to get an Irish aviation license for the drone, which is valid for three years.
  1. The registration process will cost €150, and you should allow up to four weeks to complete the process.
  1. You should also get a temporary certificate of registration, which is valid for two weeks. This costs €10 and can be done online or at any IAA office in Dublin Airport, Cork Airport, Shannon Airport, or Knock Airport.
  1. If you are from Ireland and you want to use your drone outside of the EU, you will need an export certificate from the IAA before traveling outside of Ireland or the EU. This costs €100 and can be done online or at any IAA office mentioned above.

Operational categories for drones in Ireland #

Three operational categories influence drone laws in Ireland. Which category you fit into will be based on the weight of your drone and the intended use.

All drones in Ireland must be registered by their operators. The following regulations must be followed after registration.

  • In the Open category, drones are allowed to fly up to 50 meters (170 feet) above ground or sea level, and in the Specific category, up to 120 meters (400 feet).** (**The IAA may have specific drone exemptions in some circumstances, depending on the type of drone you have.)

  • The drone must be in your direct visual line of sight, and your operating distance shouldn’t go above 500 meters.

  • Stay away from flying too close to inhabited areas or homes.

  • Keep a kilometer-long protective perimeter around residential areas.

  • A safety gap of 500 meters must be kept between isolated structures, people, vehicles, and animals unless the owner or person consents.

  • Don’t fly close to heliports and airports. Keep at least three kilometers from heliports and eight kilometers from airports.

  • Do not fly a drone at night.

  • No flying is permitted over, inside, or close to military institutions, utility infrastructures, archaeological sites, or other public or private structures.

Open Category #

Since there is little risk involved, neither previous authority approval nor a drone operator statement is necessary.

The drone must be flown within a visual line of sight at a maximum height of 120 meters, with a total takeoff mass of fewer than 25 kilograms.

There are three divisions within the Open category. The lowest-risk operations are A1 and A3, while the highest-risk operations are A2.

The A1 and A3 are typically not very useful for drone surveys. Most operations demand that the pilot have a minimum A2 level of training.

  • A1 – Drone operations that provide a very low danger and weigh less than 250g. This grants the ability to soar above humans, barring big crowds. A1 simply needs a fundamental understanding of MySRS.

  • A3 – Operations carried out in remote locations from populated areas, businesses, parks, residences, and industries, away from all non-participants. A3 simply needs a fundamental understanding of MySRS.

  • A2 – Higher risk drone operations at least 30 meters away from people and weighing less than 4 kilograms (down to 5m if low speed mode is selected).

Specific Category #

The operation of flights in this category requires authorization due to the moderate level of risk involved.

Except in some typical cases where an operator statement is sufficient, the permit is granted, taking into account the mitigation measures indicated in an operational risk assessment.

Certified Category #

A drone must be certified, and a remote pilot must be licensed, due to inherent risks. You are in the Certified category if your drone can transport passengers.

Registration of Operators (Non-EU Residents) #

You must register as an operator if this is your first time flying your drone in an EU country and you are traveling from a non-EU nation.

You will obtain a special operator registration number after registering, and you must connect it to your drone. The same number must be assigned to each drone if you have more than one.

No-fly zones are off-limits to flying, and heliports and airports must be kept at least 8 kilometers away.

Before traveling to Ireland, if you had performed operations in another EU nation, you cannot register again. You always register with the first non-EU nation where you have flown.

Remote pilot’s license (non-EU residents) #

  • You need a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by an EU nation if you want to operate your drone in Ireland but reside in a non-EU nation.

  • You can enroll in the online Remote Pilot School here to obtain the A1/A3 Certificate.

  • For people who want to operate a drone in the “Open” category, online training and an exam is necessary.

  • You have a total of three chances to pass, and the passing score is 75%.

  • Your remote pilot certificate will be given to you after you pass your exam. It will be good for five years.

  • When performing drone operations in Ireland, you must always have your remote pilot certificate on hand and show it when requested.

Obtaining insurance for your drone in Ireland #

One of the most important things to do before registering your drone is to make sure you have insurance.

The first thing you need to do is research and find a provider that offers drone insurance in Ireland.

There are many providers out there, but some of the most popular ones include:

The next step is going through the application process for the provider that you chose.

This includes filling out an application form and providing them with information about your drone, such as its make and model number, as well as any other relevant details about it, such as whether or not it has been modified or has had any accidents in the past.

After submitting your application form to the provider, they will review it before making a decision.

How do you register to use your drone in Ireland? #

The online IAA registration site here is where the registration process begins.

This UAS operator registration number is only good for a year, so it must be renewed regularly using the same process. Therefore, unless the number is permanently removed from the register, the operator always uses the same number.

Registration and permit for drones for recreational use #

In Ireland, obtaining drone authorization is an easy procedure. You must first register your drone on the official website of the Ireland Civil Aviation Authority (IAA).

Drones must be registered with the aviation authority if they weigh more than 1 kilogram but less than 25 kg. Additionally, registration is required for light drones that fly 15 meters above the earth.

Make sure you meet the following criteria when applying for drone permission to fly in Ireland:

  • You have valid insurance for your drone
  • You have a license verification document

Create a MySRS Account #

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is the supreme authority in Ireland for all matters pertaining to aviation.

A website named MySRS has been developed by the IAA. All operators are required to register on MySRS, the preferred website for applications for basic training and licenses.

The “Declared UAS Training Organizations” (DUTO) is the preferred training institution in Ireland.

Joining MySRS is simple; just provide your email address. The next step is to “verify your identity.” This simplifies all of your upcoming dealings with the IAA. This will only need to be done once.

Obtain training online #

  • Once you have set up MySRS, you should complete the online training, which can be done here. It only takes a few minutes and is free. You will view a brief film, then answer 40 straightforward questions. You’ll receive a “Proof of Online Training” certificate once you pass.

  • You must register as a drone operator under the new legislation. Instead of registering the drone itself, you now register yourself as the operator.

Competency certificate #

You will need an additional pilot competency certificate if the weight of your drone exceeds a certain threshold or if you want to fly a certain kind of drone.

You will apply to start this training via MySRS, but to finish it, you must go to a designated UAS training organization, or “DUTO.”

You may only need your online training, or you may need further training depending on the size of your drone or the type of flying you intend to conduct. Similar to a pilot!

The procedure for commercial drone flights in Ireland #

Similar steps to drone recreational use are required for commercial drone use.

You need to make an MySRS account on the IAA website by providing your email address and confirming your identity. This simplifies all of your upcoming dealings with the IAA and will only need to be done once.

  • You should first complete the online training, which can be done here. It only takes a few minutes and is free. You will view a brief film, then answer 40 straightforward questions. You’ll receive a “Proof of Online Training” certificate once you complete this.

  • You must register as a drone operator under the new legislation. Instead of registering the drone itself, you now register yourself as the operator.

  • Depending on the sorts of operations, the workers who fly drones for a firm should complete the online training and/or receive a pilot competency certificate if the company has drones.

  • You must first “verify” your business on MySRS to receive an operator ID for your organization. Logging in and submitting a form stating that you are an authorized official or agent of the company and wish to utilize IAA services on its behalf is a straightforward procedure.

  • You can then apply to get an Operator ID for business after your company has been authenticated.

  • As an operator, your company is responsible for ensuring that any employees who operate the drone have the necessary skills (this may require them to get a Remote Pilot Competency certificate).

References:European Union Aviation Safety Agency (link)Irish Aviation Authority (link)


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