Drone laws and regulations in Germany

Dimitri Wolf Von Dimitri Wolf 4 Min. Lesen
Where can I fly a drone? We answer this question for you in this article.

What drone laws and regulations apply in Germany 2024? Where am I allowed to fly a drone in Germany? What do I need to bear in mind and where can I get the information? We answer these and other questions in the following article.

💡Whatyou need to know

  • The EU Drone Regulation provides the basis for the laws and regulations in Germany
  • Drone flights are divided into operating categories based on the flight location, the drone and the resulting risk
  • Insurance is mandatory
  • Registration is mandatory for camera drones regardless of weight

👉 This is how you proceed

  • Use this article to familiarise yourself with the basics of the laws in Germany (keyword: EU Drone Regulation and Section 21h of the LuftVO)
  • Understand the conditions of the respective operating categories
  • Find out about the mandatory drone insurance
  • Find out where to register as a drone operator
  • Check whether you need a drone licence
  • Use drone maps to check the situation on site before each flight

Drone laws 2024 – General information

The EU Drone Regulation has also been in force in Germany since 31 December 2020. This defines all regulations for the operation of drones. These requirements have been and are gradually being adopted into national law by the member states. In Germany, this already happened in 2021, meaning that the requirements of the EU regulation define the drone laws for the respective country, in this case Germany.

We recommend reading through the following article, even if we briefly summarise the content in the later paragraphs. This is the only way to get a complete understanding of the laws and regulations. You are also welcome to read them after this article or when we address them in the respective paragraph.

Let’s summarise the most important points for drone flights in Germany.

Operating categories

According to the EU Drone Regulation, drone flights are divided into operating categories. Roughly speaking, it states that the heavier the drone and the closer you fly to uninvolved people, the greater the risk and therefore more requirements. The following categories exist:

  • Open
    • Flights possible without authorisation and therefore the most interesting. Consists of the following sub-categories, each of which has its own requirements for the flight and the drone (see graphic below)
      • A1 = Flight close to people
      • A2 = Flight close to people (30m)
      • A3 = Flight at a great distance from people and residential areas (150m)
  • Specific
    • Drone flights automatically fall into this category as soon as they do not fulfil at least one of the Open conditions. A risk analysis and application for authorisation for the drone flight is then required (see SORA topic).
  • Certified
    • Groove relevant for the transport of people and dangerous goods

For the majority of drone pilots, the Open category is the most interesting, as it allows flying with the fewest requirements and without official authorisation. The following diagram illustrates the subdivision of the Open category into its subcategories A1-A3 with the respective requirements.

Overview of the regulations mentioned here for the Open application scenario and the subcategories A1 to A3 with the drone risk classes C0-C4. Information without guarantee.

Operating licences

If one of the requirements for the Open category no longer applies, you slip into the Specific category. Drone flights that fall into this category are only permitted with an operating licence in Germany. Information on applying for such an operating licence can be found on the website of the Luftfahrt Bundesamt (LBA).

Further information on the different operating categories can be found in one of the links in the first paragraph above.

Insurance obligation

In accordance with the EU Drone Regulation, drone operators must also have appropriate drone liability insurance in Germany in order to be legally authorised to fly drones. Details and requirements for drone insurance in Germany can be found in our article Drone liability insurance. We can recommend the drone liability insurance from helden (part-time) or the commercial drone liability insurance from helden.

Obligation to register

Since 31 December 2020, all drone operators whose drone has a camera or weighs more than 250g must register. In practice, this means that basically every owner of a drone is obliged to register. Ultimately, only toy drones without a camera are exempt from this.

Registration as a drone operator in Germany is possible for a fee at the LBA. The costs are a one-off fee of €20 for natural persons and €50 for legal entities. We have summarised the details and further links for registration in the linked article.

Note: If you are already registered as a drone operator in another member state in accordance with the EU Drone Regulation, you do not need to register again in Austria. The registration is valid throughout the entire scope of the EU regulation. The same also applies to the EU drone operator licences from the following paragraph. So if you are on holiday in Austria, you can also use your existing registration here.

Drone licences

As can be seen in the graphic above, there is also an obligation to obtain an EU drone pilot licence under certain conditions. There are two types of licence:

  • EU proof of competence (“small EU drone licence”)
  • EUremote pilot certificate (“large EU drone licence”)

You can find out when which certificate is required, including further information, in our article EU drone driving licence – all the information you need.

The EU licence of competence can be obtained directly from the LBA. The cost is €25. If you would also like to obtain an EU remote pilot certificate, you must do so from one of the officially recognised bodies. The prices vary from provider to provider.

Minimum age

The minimum age for drone pilots in Germany is 16. However, younger drone pilots can also fly under certain conditions. We have compiled details on this in the linked article.

Where am I allowed to fly drones in Germany?

In addition to the general laws and regulations on drone flying in Germany mentioned above, there are also national GEO zones. These zones define where drone flights are only permitted under certain conditions.

You can easily find out exactly where these areas are with the help of official drone maps. We have also written a separate article about this: Where am I allowed to fly my drone?

These restrictions on drone flights are based on Section 21h Regulations on the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles in geographical areas in accordance with Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, which provides a clear and detailed overview of where drone flights are permitted and under what conditions.

Further information

Dimitri is the founder of DeinDrohnenpilot.de and has been working at skyzr since 2021. He has been fascinated by the topic of drones since 2016. When he is not flying a drone, he is responsible for planning and developing new concepts for the platform as well as writing and creating content. He is also responsible for the technical implementation and maintenance. His training as an IT specialist for system integration and his bachelor's degree in media informatics help him with this.
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