NYPD Announces New Rules Concerning Unmanned Aircraft

July 21, 2023

Applications for Unmanned Aircraft (UA) take-off/landing permits area now being accepted

As of July 21, 2023, new rules are in place governing the take-off and landing of unmanned aircraft, including drones, in New York City. In collaboration with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is now accepting applications for Unmanned Aircraft (UA) Take-off/Landing permits. The permit process considers the requirements of federal, state, and local laws, and balances the ever-present safety and privacy concerns inherent in widespread use of drones against the important benefits this modern technology offers. Prior to launching or landing a drone within the City, operators must have applied for and been granted a permit.

Previously, drone take-offs and landings were limited to locations designated by DOT and to model aircraft fields designated by the Department of Parks and Recreation. In June 2023, the City of New York proposed changes to The Rules of the City of New York (38 RCNY Ch. 24) that would allow the public to request other locations within the City be temporarily designated for the take-off or landing of unmanned aircraft. The proposed rules were available for public comment online and by email as of June 6, 2023, and a public comment hearing was held on July 7, 2023 at the 1 Police Plaza.

Under the new permitting process, applicants are required to submit applications to take-off or land unmanned aircraft within the five boroughs through the NYPD Online Services Portal website: http://www.nyc.gov/dronepermits. Each application must contain proof that each proposed operator is licensed to fly unmanned aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Except in limited circumstances, applications must be submitted 30 days in advance of the earliest proposed take-off or landing. Applicants will receive an email notification when their applications have been processed, and permits will be made available to approved applicants electronically, forty-eight (48) hours before a scheduled/approved flight.

When flying a drone in New York City with a permit, operators are required to have the necessary documentation readily available and to present this documentation for inspection upon request by law enforcement, including:

  • The City-issued UA Take-Off/Landing permit
  • A copy of their insurance policy
  • Documentation of FAA authorization to operate a drone
  • A copy of the FAA registration certificate for the drone(s) being flown

The operator must abide by all FAA, city, state, and federal regulations.

At any time, the City of New York may alter, postpone, or cancel flights as necessary. All attempts will be made to appropriately notify operators in a timely manner in the event of a cancellation. It is the responsibility of the operators to check the status of their permits prior to launching or landing flights within New York City.

If a drone operator operates a drone without a permit, operates the drone in a reckless or dangerous manner, or uses the drone in the commission of a crime, the operator may be issued a summons or subject to arrest, and the drone may be seized. Members of the public can call 911 if a drone is operated in a manner that is deemed harassing or reckless, or if the drone causes an injury to a person or property damage.

Applicants who have had an application denied and want to submit an appeal application can find the instructions for filing an appeal on the NYPD Online Services Portal.

The NYPD has provided an email address for the public to contact with questions about drone permits.

Notice of Adoption of Final Rule for Unmanned Aircraft