El Salvador

Contributor: Alina Nassar


1. Are UAS considered as “aircraft” in your country?

According to the Regulation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (RAC- VANT), issued on April 27th 2017, UAS are aircraft, including those with fixed wings and rotary wings and unmanned blimps, to be used in aerial work, experimental and recreational flights different from aircraft modeling.

2. Which bodies regulate the remotely-piloted and/or unmanned aircraft operations in your country, under what basic laws?

The Civil Aviation Act N° 582 (October 19th 2001) and the Technical Regulation N° 04 (January 11th 2008) are the laws that regulate aviation activities. The Civil Aviation Authority (AAC by its acronym in Spanish) is the entity that controls UAS through the Regulation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, which is applicable to UAS operated remotely or autonomously. It excludes from its application all UAS heavier than 25 Kg, UAS operating in closed spaces, grounded balloons, fireworks, kites and State-owned Aircraft.

3. Is there a distinction between “State UAS” and “Private UAS”?

Yes. The RAC-VANT is not applicable to State-owned UAS such as those used for activities and operations from the Armed Forces, National Police, and International Airports.

4. Is there any distinction between public, leisure and commercial UAS? What regulations are provided for UAS operations in each group?

State-owned UAS are excluded from the application of the RAC- VANT. The Regulation also distinguishes leisure and commercial UAS. Commercial UAS and UAS for private use (non-recreational) must obtain a Certificate and register the aircraft, while leisure UAS only need to be registered at DGAC.

5. Is there a distinction, in terms of regulation, between completely autonomous UAS and remotely-piloted UAS?

No. According to the RAC-VANT, UAS are all unmanned vehicles remotely piloted or autonomous.

Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Operations - Safety

6. How are UAS operations regulated in terms of safety?

UAS operators are responsible for inspecting the aircraft before each flight, to ensure it is functioning and safe.

7. Is the applicable regulation considering the rule of 1 UAS = 1 pilot?

The RAC-VANT only makes a reference to “one pilot”, however AAC may issue a permit under certain conditions.

Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") Operations - Licensing

8. What procedures are there to obtain licenses or the rights to operate UAS?

To obtain an authorization to operate UAS, the aircraft and the operator must be registered before AAC.

The application to register the UAS must contain the following information: owner’s name and ID number, contact information (telephone number and email address), UAS’ manufacturer, model and serial number, Remote Pilot Station or remote-control device serial numbers, radio frequency control, and any other information requested by AAC. Each UAS will have a unique ID number to identify them.

UAS operators must file a form with the following information: name and ID number, contact information such as mail address, telephone number and email, the aeronautic licenses and any other information AAC may request. The registration of operators is only for census and does not ensure the competence or expertise of the operator.

9. Are there any kind of taxes or fees regarding the licensing procedure?

According to AAC the following are the current fees:

Description Amount
Registration of UAS $20,00
Registration of UAS operators (per UAS). $20,00

10. Is a Certificate of Airworthiness mandatory to operate a UAS?


11. Is access to the market for the provision of UAS operation services regulated and, if so, how?

Access to the market is not regulated.

12. What requirements apply in the areas of financial strength and nationality of ownership regarding control of UAS?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

13. Is drone transport permitted / regulated in your country?

Yes, but the RAC-VANT forbids the transport or storage of dangerous goods.

Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") - Operations - Others

14. Is there a specific Data & Privacy Protection regulation applicable to UAS operations?

There is not an express regulation regarding data protection in RAC-VANT. However, there are laws regarding privacy protection, so in order to operate above private property, the operator must have a written authorization from the owner. UAS cannot be operated in a radius of 2 km from authorized private runways.

15. Is there a specific control-link interference regulation applicable to UAS operations?

If UAS are operated at less than 400 feet, UAS operator must inform the operator of manned aircraft in order to avoid collisions or interferences. In addition, UAS operator must verify that other radio frequencies and transmissions do not interfere with the control of the aircraft.

16. Do specific rules regulate UAS manufacturers?

There are not specific rules for manufacturers.

17. What requirements must a foreign UAS operator satisfy in order to operate to or from your country?

All UAS’ operators and aircraft must be registered before AAC. Foreign operators must file a copy of the passport to obtain the license and the registration authorization.

18. Are fares or pricing of UAS operations regulated and, if so, how?

Fares and pricing are not regulated.

The Aircraft (“UAS”)

19. Must UAS be registered in any particular register?

As it was mentioned before, UAS must be registered before AAC and have an identification number that will be assigned by the authority. This number must be placed in the UAS.

20. Who is entitled to be mentioned in the UAS register?

The owner´s information is mentioned in the UAS registry.

21. Do requirements or limitations apply to the ownership of a UAS listed on your country’s register?


22. Do specific rules regulate the maintenance of UAS?

Yes, according to Article 3.025 of the RAC-VANT there must be    a preventive and corrective maintenance, to assure the UAS’ airworthiness and to prevent accidents. The maintenance must follow the manufacturer’s dispositions in the way and frequency established.

Operation Zones

23. Which are the operational and distance limitations for an aerial work with a UAS? Is there any kind of certificate or permission to operate beyond those limitations?

The UAS’ limitations are established in the Article 3.005 of the RAC-VANT. UAS operations are not allowed when: its maximum take-off weight is higher than 25 Kg; if UAS are over the pilot’s visual range; 400 feet above ground level, when the speed of   70 km per hour is exceeded; if there are not minimum visual conditions or it is nighttime; the distance from international airports is less than 6 kilometers; the distance from private runways is less than 2 kilometers; the distance from heliports are less than 250 meters; UAS constitutes an obstacle for another aircraft; over military facilities, voting centers, prisons, judicial courts, electric stations, hydroelectric and geothermal plants, maritime ports, hospitals, embassies, frontier zones and other restricted areas published in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP); over private property and meetings of people; when two or more UAS are operated at the same time; from a moving platform; when the operator transfers the command of the UAS during the flight stage; there is not an appropriate and safe landing and takeoff zone; UAS transport dangerous goodsor are going to drop any type of object or substance. All these actions are prohibited according to RAC VANT.

The only exception mentioned in RAC VANT applies to flights over private property, which can be performed if UAS operator has a prior written authorization from the owner. There is also the possibility of obtaining a special permit from ACC in order to operate beyond those limitations.

24. Are UAS obliged to take off from and/or land in specific facilities?

Yes, UAS are not allowed to operate if there is not a safe and appropriate landing and take-off zone. In addition, it is mandatory for the operator to follow the UAS’ Manufacture Manual to operate.

25. Which kind of airspaces are UAS permitted to operate with?

UAS can operate in airspaces not considered restricted areas and according to the limitations mentioned in answer to question No. 23.

26. Which airspaces are restricted for UAS?

The airspaces mentioned in answer to question No. 23.

27. Which zones are UAS operations banned?


28. Who provides air traffic control services for UAS in your country?

Air Traffic Control services are provided by AAC.

Liability and Accidents

29. Are there any special rules in respect of loss or damage to cargo?

No, according to RAC-VANT there is not an express regulation on this matter.

30. Are there any special rules about the liability of UAS operators for surface damage?

The RAC-VANT establishes that UAS’ registered owner will assume civil or criminal liability for damage caused to properties or persons in the surface or during the flight.

31. Is there a mandatory accident and incident reporting system and, if so, how does it operate?

Yes, according to Article 4.010 of the RAC-VANT, the owner, the operator, or any witness must inform the AAC about any accident or incident within 72 hours of the occurrence. AAC will be in charge of the investigation.

32. What system and procedures are in place for the investigation of UAS accidents?

According to the Aeronautical Regulation No. 13 (August 10th 2015) the notification will be sent to the AAC with the following information: aircraft information; owner and operator’s name and license, date and time of the event, last takeoff point and scheduled landing of the UAS, UAS’ geographic position, information about the event, physical characteristics of the place of the accident, and owner or operator’s contact information.

33. Are UAS operators obliged to have insurance for their operations? If so, which are their main features?

Every UAS’s operator that intends to carry out aerial work must have an insurance policy on the UAS with a minimum coverage of $ 1,000,000 (one million dollars of the United States of America) for civil liability (in case of damages to third parties or private property) and coverage within the territory of El Salvador. Private UAS operators for non-recreational purposes must have a policy with the same characteristics.

34. What is insured? The operator, the business or the aircraft?

The aircraft.

Financial Support and State Aid

35. Are there sector-specific rules regulating direct or indirect financial support to companies by the government or government-controlled agencies or companies (state aid) in the UAS sector? If not, do general state aid rules apply?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

36. What are the main principles of the stated aid rules applicable to the UAS sector?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

37. Are there exemptions from the state aid rules or situations in which they do not apply?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

38. Must clearance from the competition authorities be obtained before state aid may be granted?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

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