Drone Laws in Switzerland: What You Need To Know

drone laws switzerland

In January 2023, Switzerland updated its drone laws.

And that may mean that you are flying your drone against the law in Switzerland. I certainly was not aware of these changes until recently, so, I thought I would share the current laws with you.

Swiss Drone Laws

The Swiss Drone Laws in 2023 have changed and mean that you must do the following:

  • Register as a pilot of a drone
  • Complete the appropriate training & examination (category specific)
  • Be over 12 years old OR in the company of a qualified pilot 16 yrs or older
  • Keep the appropriate distance while flying (see Table 2 below)
  • Fly a maximum of 120m above the ground
  • Fly a CE-compliant drone (unless self-built)

The only exceptions to the above rules are if your drone:

  • is under 250g
  • does NOT have a camera

Other relevant rules from prior Drone Laws:

  • Be aware of the area restrictions
  • Always keep visual contact with my drone
  • Avoid other aircraft in good time*
  • Do not fly over assemblies of people
  • Respect the privacy of other people
  • Have sufficient insurance cover 

Drone Flying Distance Recommendations

Depending on your drone’s category, the Swiss Drone Laws have a range of requirements and recommendations regarding safe distances.

The following is copied from the drone law website from the Swiss government.

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CategorySafety distance
A1 < 250gFlying over people
I may fly over uninvolved persons, but should avoid doing so whenever possible.Flying over assemblies of people is prohibited.
A1 < 900gFlying over people
Before flying, I assess the area; I may only fly if it can be reasonably assumed that no uninvolved people will be overflown. If I do unexpectedly fly over uninvolved people, I steer the drone away from the people. Flying over assemblies of people is prohibited.
A2Flying close to people
Flying over uninvolved people is prohibited. The minimum horizontal distance to uninvolved persons is  30m without low speed mode  5m with activated low-speed mode (<3m/s)In addition, I must comply with the 1:1 rule. This means that the number of meters of horizontal distance must be at least equal or more than the number of meters of altitude (e.g.: If I fly at 40m height, I must fly at least 40m away from people).
A3Flying over people
I may fly over uninvolved persons but should avoid doing so whenever possible. Flying over assemblies of people is prohibited.

Sub-Categories of Drones In Switzerland

There are specific rules regarding training for various sub-categories of drones in Switzerland:

A1 < 250gC0Not required
A1 < 900gC0, C1A1/A3
A2C0, C1, C2A1/A3 + A2
A3C0, C1, C2, C3, C4A1/A3
Drone categories and training

You can find information about drone training and certification from the Swiss government here. FYI: For many people, it requires an at-home course and certification.

If your drone IS NOT CATEGORISED in the above categories, you can find transitional categories here.

If your drone is under 250g with a camera you only have to register it.

Swiss Drone Pilot Registration

The first part of the drone laws is to register your drone no matter what the specific class. You can do that here.

Swiss Drone Map

Swiss Drone Map
What the Swiss Drone Map looks like

It is also very helpful to know where you can and cannot fly your drone in Switzerland. There are a lot of airports, helipads and other restricted areas, especially around cities and built-up areas you should be aware of.

Always consult this map before you fly each time. And use common sense regarding paragliders in the mountains please. I have seen enough crazy drone pilots in the Alps to last me a lifetime!

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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