🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all law links and known rules about recreational and commercial drone use in Switzerland (Zurich & Geneve). 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 Switzerland
Switzerland does not seem to differentiate commercial & recreational drone use - see our post to differentiate recreational vs commercial drone usage. However both are subject to restrictions and code of conduct. Additionally, depending on your drone's weight and where you want to fly your drone, different rules will apply.
✅ In Switzerland, drone regulation falls under Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), & they can be contacted anytime via:
Email: email@example.com 🕔 Allow 10 working days for any FAQ response.
Phone: due to the number of queries, they will not answer FAQ so we will not display it
Can I bring my drone to Switzerland?
✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within Switzerland as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person).
🚨 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 Switzerland?
✅ Switzerland built a map for drone flight zones within the country. The map is organised in a 3 color scheme to help drone owners to fly responsibly and safely:
Purple = no fly zones (near airports & heliports)
Blue = limited fly zones (150 m height maximum)
Yellow = nature reserve (no flight permitted without authorisation).
The map also showcases also has several other layers that might become handy for you when visiting the country such a public transport stops or hiking trails, etc.. "Really Cool!"
🚨 Each council of Switzerland is able to make their own rules above their skies, we know from bloggers that Zurich & Geneva have local restrictions for instance. Best is to always ask locally before taking off near urban areas. It seems local restrictions also apply in Lucerne, Zermatt & Interlaken but we didn't get an official response yet.
🦅 Switzerland is very respectful of mother Nature and they will remind you such. You're not allowed to fly within any Nature reserves or use your drone for hunting purposes. 😍🌲
Recreational & Commercial Drone use in Switzerland
✅ Good things first, you will not need a license or permit to fly your drone in Switzerland as long as you do not fly near airports or within nature reserves.
Within the permitted zones, you will need to follow a few rules:
fly your drone at a maximum altitude of 150 m above the ground within restricted area
fly a drone that weights less than 30 kg (If heavier than 30 kg, check here).
fly your drone always in sight (the use of 3D helmets is prohibited unless a co-pilot is watching your drone & holds a remote capable of taking control in case of need).
fly away from people or large crowds (24 people or more = 100 m distance to respect unless pre-coordination with the crowd or organiser) & respect individuals' privacy.
fly at least 5 km away from airports & give priority to all other categories of aircraft. If you see a plane or helicopter during your flight, land immediately your drone.
do not fly your drone if equipped with a camera over military areas.
it is advised to subscribe to an insurance covering all risks.
do not fly near a natural disaster or somewhere emergencies will need to intervene.
for drones over 500 g, you will need an insurance covering you for 1 Million Francs.
🚨 If you desire to fly your drone in any other conditions than the very flexible ones offered by Switzerland, you will need to apply for a permit to register your drone.
How to register my drone in Switzerland?
✅ To qualify for an exemption from the FOCA & register your drone, a safety test is required. However procedures are constantly changing according to their website and you can find them here anytime. For operations that cannot qualify for a standard procedure, a complete safety test in accordance with the JARUS Guidelines on Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) is required.
In this case, you should include:
a description of your planned flight & drone used for it
a risk assessment & the measures that will be taken to ensure the safety for all (including for mother nature 🦅)
if any auxiliary devices are to be used along a description of your plan if your equipment goes down during the operation & an assessment of its current reliability.
💲 Depending on the test & scope of your operation, it will cost you between 50 & 5,000 Swiss Francs to get your drone certified.
🕔 Allow a minimum of 3 month for any permit to be delivered.
✅ If you need help with your registration, you can always contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in Switzerland?
🚨 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.
Once you got everything in order, you can start flying above Switzerland's awesome landscapes and create videos like this one:
✅ Please leave a comment or update in the Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in Switzerland! Have fun and 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.