Drone Laws in Illinois Explained (2023 Regulations)


Drone laws in Illinois have become increasingly complex as federal, state, and local authorities strive to balance safety, privacy, and innovation. Commercial and hobbyist drone operators in Illinois must understand the legal landscape governing their aerial activities. 

Can You Fly a Drone in Illinois?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Illinois for both commercial and recreational use, permitting you to adhere to all federal, state-wide, and local regulations. Keep reading to learn more about flying a drone in Illinois. 

Federal Drone Laws in Illinois

Federal Drone Laws in Illinois

Want to fly a drone in Illinois? You must pass the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test and follow their recreational model aircraft rules.


Recreational drone flyers in Illinois are those who operate a drone simply for fun or pleasure, not for any profitable activity. To fly a drone as a recreational operator in Illinois, you must:


Flying a drone as a commercial pilot in Illinois means you are doing so for business purposes. To operate a drone as a commercial pilot in Illinois, you must:


Police, the fire department, and other government employees in Illinois can fly drones, however, they must:

Note: This content is accurate up to the date it was last updated, and drone regulations in Illinois may change over time. This is not meant to take the place of legal counsel.

State Drone Laws in Illinois

State Drone Laws in Illinois

Illinois has statewide laws for drone usage, including lenient regulations for law enforcement during emergencies, a ban on interfering with hunters and fishermen, and adult supervision requirements for children flying drones.

  • Law enforcement use during disasters and emergencies: Drones can be used by authorities to assist with disaster relief efforts and emergency situations.
  • Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act: Specific guidelines for law enforcement drone use. Law enforcement cannot use drones to gather information, aside from notable exceptions. For full details, view the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act
  • Prohibition on interfering with hunters and fishermen: According to 720 ILCS 5/48-3 Criminal Code of 2012., it is illegal to use a drone to disturb or harass individuals engaged in hunting or fishing activities within the state. 
  • Adult supervision requirements for children operating drones: Children under 18 must be supervised by an adult while flying a drone, or face fines up to $1,000. The FAA requires drone operators to be at least 16 years old. 

Local Drone Regulations in Illinois

Local Drone Laws in Illinois

Local drone regulations vary across different jurisdictions in Illinois. 

Park DistrictDrones cannot be launched or landed in certain parks without proper authorization.
Electric-powered model aircraftsThese drones can only be operated in designated areas following specific guidelines.
Village of SchaumburgDrone use is prohibited within 100 feet of the perimeter of any village property or the right-of-way during a special event according to the Village of Schaumburg Municipal Law (2016)
City of EvanstonThe City of Evanston prohibits drone use until more strict state and federal regulations are established. 
McHenry Country Conservation DistrictDrone operation on McHenry County Conservation District-owned property requires prior written permission from the Executive Director. 
Crystal Lake Park DistrictCrystal Lake Park District Park Ordiance (2015) prohibits on any Park District property except in designated areas. 

Special Events & Village Ordinances

Don’t fly your personal UAV system during special events like festivals or parades in Illinois villages. This includes the Schaumburg Village Center Complex area. The exception is for personnel monitoring/documentation purposes only. 

  • Schaumburg Village Center Complex area drone restrictions: Unauthorized drone usage is prohibited during special events within the complex.
  • Municipalities with additional local ordinances: Be aware of potential variations in rules and penalties among different jurisdictions in Illinois.

Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Illinois

Illinois Drone Law Penalties

Breaking drone laws in Illinois may lead to fines or legal penalties. You can face a $1,000 violation fee for each violation, including flying your drone without the correct registration or certification. Other illegal acts include damaging property, violating trespassing rules and flying in restricted airspace. To avoid fees or jail time, follow the federal, state, and local laws for drone use in Illinois.

Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Drone Laws

Can children fly drones in Illinois?

Yes, children over 16 can fly drones in Illinois as long as they are supervised by an adult. Children under 16 years old may be able to fly a drone if it is under .55 lbs and does not require FAA registration. 

Can I fly my drone in my neighborhood in Illinois?

Yes, you can likely fly your drone in your residential neighborhood in Illinois. However, be sure to respect the privacy of neighbors and do not photograph or capture video of anyone without consent. Furthermore, check your local regulations to ensure legal compliance. 

Can law enforcement in Illinois use drones?

Yes, Illinois law enforcement can use drones under certain conditions. They must follow the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act. Notably, the restriction loosens for law enforcement to use UAS during a public health emergency or disaster. 

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I’m a huge fan of drones, cars, and anything that moves fast! Having bought, tested, and raced drones over the years, tinkering and experimenting with different parts and types, my fascination with drone technology led me to start this blog. So if you enjoy drone content covering the latest drone reviews, recommendations for the best drones for certain uses, and informative content on programming drones and other fun areas, stick around!

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