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European drone laws and regulations



The Open-category is the category in which flights that are characterized by a low risk profile take place. The Open-category is then further divided into three subcategories, based on the weight of the drone you are flying (0-25 kilograms) with:

  • Subcategory A1

  • Subcategory A2

  • Subcategory A3

To fly with drones within these three categories, it is mandatory for the pilot to be in possession of the EASA A1/A3 certificate. For subcategory A1/A3 you need to take an (online) training and theory exam. If you want to fly in subcategory A2, then an additional theoretical part + exam is required and you must also submit a practical self-declaration. Please note, the training obligation only applies to pilots flying drones heavier than 250 grams. 



Owners of drones heavier than 250 grams or owners of drones equipped with a camera, must be registered as an operator at the national CAA. After registration you will receive a unique number which must be visibly pasted on your drone.


In addition to registration, all drones will be provided with a CE-label in the future. Based on different specifications of the drone, such as the weight, six different classes have been created from C0 to C6. These classes are divided into three subcategories. To date, however, no drones have been provided with this CE label. That is why people still speak of so-called 'legacy' drones. A different weight distribution applies to these drones compared to future drones with a CE label. After January 1, 2024, all legacy drones heavier than 250 grams fall into subcategory A3.


This subcategory includes drones with a CE mark of C0 (up to 250 grams) or C1 (up to 900 grams). Pending these CE marks, it is allowed to fly current drones up to 500 grams in subcategory A1 until January 1, 2024. This subcategory is classified as very low risk, therefore it is allowed to fly over people only with drones lighter than 250 grams (not crowds). 


This subcategory is classified as the subcategory with the highest risk profile. Drones with a CE mark C2 (up to 4 kilograms) fall into the A2 subcategory. With this type of drone you have to keep a distance of at least 30 meters from people unless you fly slower than 3 m/s, then the distance may be shortened to 5 meters. Current drones without a CE mark from 500 grams to 2 kilograms also fall in this subcategory, but you should keep a 50 meters distance from people instead of 30 meters.


Subcategory A3 has the same risk qualification as subcategory A1, a low-risk profile. In this subcategory you must keep a minimum distance of 150 meters from buildings, industry and recreational areas. In this subcategory you are allowed to fly with CE-marked drones C2 (up to 4 kilograms), C3/C4 (up to 25 kilograms). The current drones without a CE mark from 2 kilograms to 25 kilograms also fall into this subcategory.


  • Never fly higher than 120 meters above the ground.
  • Respect people's privacy.
  • Keep the drone in sight of the pilot at all times.
  • Register with the national CAA.
  • Take no-fly zones into account.
  • Take out proper insurance
  • Flying with a drone that is heavier than 250 grams? Then make sure you have at least the EASA A1/A3 certificate.


For more information about the courses for the Open-category, click below.




DronePilot | BASIC LIGHTMore information
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