🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all law links and known rules about recreational and commercial drone use in El Salvador (San Salvador). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in The Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our ability & does not replace official sources & your own research.
Recreational vs Commercial drone use in El Salvador
El Salvador differentiates commercial & recreational drone use - see our post to differentiate recreational vs commercial drone usage. However, both are subject to restrictions & a strict code of conduct. Additionally, depending on your drone's weight & your destination within the country, different rules will apply.
✅ In El Salvador, drone laws falls under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCA) & they can be contacted anytime via:
Phone: (+503) 2295 0433
Can I bring my drone to El Salvador?
✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within El Salvador or at San Salvador Airport as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person).
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
Where can I fly my drone in El Salvador?
✅ We did not find an official fly zone map for drones in El Salvador "If you have more information about this, please share it in the Forum". Thankfully in the meantime, app.airmap.io has listed all flight zones in a convenient way organised in a 3 color legend.
El Salvador drone fly map
🚨 You should not fly above or near military installations & strategic infrastructure. Fly away from airports & any aerodromes or airports in the country. Do not fly over vote centers, prisons, justice & government buildings (including consulates & embassies), energy infrastructures, seaports & hospitals.
🚨 Fly away from the countries' borders & no international drone flights are allowed (do not fly from El Salvador to Nicaragua or vice versa for e.g).
🚨 Do not fly over private property without permission of the owner.
🦅 National parks & reserves might be on a case by case permission & you might need to check directly with the local park or reserve authorities.
Recreational Drone Use in El Salvador
✅ Good things first, you will not need to register or have a license to fly your drone in El Salvador for recreational use as long as you do not fly within restricted or controlled airspace. This said, there rules while you're up there as you must fly:
a drone lighter than 7 kg & during day time only.
at a maximum altitude of 122 m & within sight at all times.
at a maximum speed of 70 km/h & in good weather only.
a drone that weights less than 25 kg (if heavier than 2 kg, you will have to register it).
away from crowds or congested areas.
only one drone at the time & from a fix point (don't be in a car when flying).
at least 6 km away from public airports, 2 km away from private airports, 250 m from heliports & give way to all other type of aircraft.
without carrying, pulling or throwing anything with your drone.
away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders.
avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.
Commercial Drone Use in El Salvador
✅ First things first, to fly a drone for commercial purposes in El Salvador you will need a license as an operator, an insurance & to register your drone with the Civil Aviation of El Salvador before taking in the country's skies.
💡 Note that the insurance cover amount is the highest we came across so far as you need to be insured for a minimum liability amount of 880,000€ 😲
How to register my drone in El Salvador?
✅ Good new first, if your drone weights less than 2 kg, you won't need to register it. If on it is heavier, you will need to complete this form. To complete your application, you will need to provide:
your full personal information & contact details
a copy of your passport
the technical information about your drone including manufacturer, model, serial number (the drone & the remote)& its radio frequency used
a copy of the invoice proving your ownership
The code given will be in this format YSXXXX-NT with YS standing for your nationality & confirm that it isn't coming from El Salvador, XXXX standing for your drone's ID number & NT for No Tripulado (which means unmanned aerial vehicle). You will need to display it on your drone & its remote control.
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally El Salvador?
The amount & scope of the fine will depend on the nature & severity of your infraction. The judges will also evaluate if you intentionally committed the infraction and/or if you had any commercial purposes to do such.
Once you've got everything in order, you can start flying above El Salvador's awesome landscapes and create videos like this one:
✅ Please leave a comment or update the Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in the El Salvador! Have fun and safe flight!
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone regulations.