🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone law links & known regulation around recreational & commercial drone use in China (Shanghai & Hong Kong). 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 China
China differentiates commercial & recreational drone use - see our post to differentiate recreational vs commercial drone use. Both are subject to restrictions & a code of conduct.
✅ The use of drones in China is under the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) & they can be contacted via:
Phone: (+86) 010 6409 1288
✅ China differentiates drones from their weight (empty weight vs full weight) into classes:
Class 1 = less than 1.5 kg
Class 2 = between 1.5 kg & 4 kg (empty) or 1.5 kg & 7 kg (full)
Class 3 = between 4 kg & 15 kg (empty) or 7 kg & 25 kg (full)
Class 4 = between 15 kg & 116 kg (empty) or 25 kg & 150 kg (full)
Can I bring my drone to China?
✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within China as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person). We've just returned from Beijing Airport (15/07/19) and other than over scanning your bag and asking systematically about your batteries if being below 100W, we didn't had any issues.
💡 If you have your drone in your carry on, make sure to pack it for an easy access as security will likely want to read its specs and your battery's voltage.
🚨 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 China?
✅ We did not find an official fly zone map for drones in China "If you have more information about this, please let us via the Forum". Thankfully, DJI has listed what is considered as no fly zones in China & this should automatically transmit into each DJI remote/app when using on of their drones such as the Mavic Pro 2
China Drone Fly Map
🚨 As the map suggests above, you should not fly above Beijing without permission.
🦅 National parks & reserves are on a case by case permission & you might need to check directly with the local park or reserve authorities. 🐢🦎
Since May 2020, flying a drone is now forbidden in the following areas in Shanghai:
Clearance zones of military airports and restriction zones of the Shanghai Pudong Int, Hongqiao International, Longhua Helicopter and Gaodong Helicopter Airports.
500 m away from military and research protection zones.
100 m away from military administration zones, and city, national CPC and government organs and other places under their supervision.
100 m away Nuclear facility control areas under Level I and II protection standards, large enterprises which produce and store dangerous inflammable and explosive materials and large warehouses and bases which store inflammable materials.
50 m away from energy infrastructures, large transport stations, wharf and seaports.
100 m away high-speed railway and Metro’s non-underground rails.
50 m away national & provincial rail/expressways.
Recreational Drone use in China
✅ Good things first, you will not need a permit or a license to fly a drone in China. However if your drone weight more than 250 g, you will need to register your drone prior taking off in China.
With this in mind, within the permitted zones, you will need to follow a few rules:
fly at a maximum altitude of 120 m & 500 m away from you max.
fly away from clouds (120 m) & within sight at all times
fly at less than 100 km/h "You should be fine with that" 👍
fly a drone that records your flight path in an electronic way.
avoid flying near urban centers & near crowds (30 m away & 10 m vertically).
fly a drone weighting less than 7 kg (you will need a license above that).
fly away from airports, heliports & give priority to all other categories of aircraft. If you see an aircraft during your flight, land immediately.
it is advised to subscribe to an insurance covering all risks.
ask before flying any governmental, religious, police & military sites.
have a third party insurance for your drone.
do not fly your drone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
How to register my drone in China?
💡 If you own a DJI drone (Chinese Manufacturer), the process is very simple as your app to log in will 'force you' to register your drone before taking off (see image on the right). To do such, you will need a Chinese mainland number and follow these steps:
enter your Chinese mainland phone number in the DJI app
you will receive a code, enter it in the verification box
confirm your email
once completed, your DJI app will unlock and you can fly as usual
✅ For all other drones, the Civil Aviation Administration of China created an online portal (in Chinese) for you to register your drone directly online via this link. You will need your basic personal information (you will need a Chinese phone number) as well as all the technical details of your drone handy to complete the registration.
Once completed, you will receive a QR code to stick to your drone prior taking off which will essentially become your Identification Number for the Chinese relevant authorities.
What do I risk for flying my drone illegally in China?
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 &/or if you had any commercial purpose during your flight.
Commercial Drone use in China
✅ To operate a drone for commercial use in China, you will necessarily need a license to fly your drone and make money out of your aerial content. "Unfortunately we did not find further information o how to obtain it, if you know anything else here.. please share".
🍃 Be aware that if you intend to spray anything from your drone, there is a long & detailed rule paragraph (16) to follow & respect. For example, your drone will need to weight less than 5,700 kg 😨 & fly lower than 15 m from the sprayed surface).
Once you got everything in order, you can start flying above China's awesome landscapes & 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 China! Have fun & 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.
Light and small drone operation regulations (in Chinese, from CAAC)
Flying a drone in China (cool blog post)