Drone regulations in Croatia

Flying drones in Croatia

The legal situation in Croatia is rather difficult for drone pilots. In this post, we’ll explain to you which requirements you need to consider.

The EU Drone Regulation has been in force in Croatia since December 31, 2020. This has largely harmonized the rules for remote pilots. You only have to register as an operator in one European country and your EU drone license is also recognized across countries.

If you want to register in Croatia, you can do so via this link.

Important:  Although many rules in Europe are now standardized, the countries can retain their own rules. In Croatia, for example, there is still an obligation to obtain a permit for aerial photography. We have compiled information on this below.

Overview of the European rules that apply in Croatia

In Croatia, the regulations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) apply. The following is a summary of the key facts. For a complete overview, read our article on the new EU drone regulation.

Is registration necessary? Registration is mandatory for all drone operators, unless the drone weighs less than 250 grams and is NOT equipped with sensors to collect personal data (e.g. camera, microphone). Drones that fall under the EU Toys Directive are also exempt. The registration is recognized in all countries that have also introduced the EU Drone Regulation.
LabelsAll drones must be visibly marked with the individual registration number (e-ID). If available, the number must also be loaded into the drones remote identification system. More info on drone badges
Drone license:Depending on the category, pilots must take exams to obtain the EU drone license. These are recognized in all countries that have also introduced the EU Drone Regulation.
Differentiation by category: Open Category (with three subcategories), Specific Category and Certified Category; no distinction between private and commercial pilots.
Maximum Altitude:120 Meter in uncontrolled airspace in Open Category.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people

National peculiarities in Croatia

Each country can define certain aspects of its drone regulations. For Croatia, the following requirements apply in addition to the European regulations.

Is drone insurance mandatory? Yes, for private and commercial drone flights. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Minimum age for remote pilots16 years
Contact information

State Geodetic Administration: [email protected]

Altitudes and safety distances in Croatia

In uncontrolled airspace, drones can fly up to 120 meters above ground. In controlled airspace (i.e. around airports) your drone may rise to 50 meters as long as you consider a minimum distance of five kilometers to the airport. The 79-joule rule used in the past no longer matters.

Other requirements for drone pilots in Croatia

First and foremost, you have to take out drone insurance that is valid in Croatia and that covers any third-party damage that may occur. You should always have proof of this insurance with you (if possible in English).

If you want to acquire a drone driving license in Croatia, you can do so via this link at the CAA.

Are aerial photographs allowed in Croatia?

The rules described so far relate solely to flying a drone in Croatia. But if you want to take aerial photos and videos with your drone, then you also need a permit from the State Geodetic Administration (SGA, contact [email protected]). The applications are treated very differently, and so far it has not been possible to determine the criteria for the approval of the authority.

At first there was a slight glimmer of hope in 2019 when a new decree on aerial photography was passed, which allowed recordings on the company’s own property. This was replaced by a new decree in July 2020 , which worded it a little differently (automatic translation):

(1) Targeted air surveys in isolated locations and buildings that are carried out exclusively for the needs of the owner or user can be carried out by unmanned aerial vehicle systems without the authorization of the air survey.

This means that holidaymakers in Croatia are prohibited from taking pictures with a camera drone. Several readers of our blog have already reported in the comments about answers like this from the SGA.

Legitimate applications for commercial purposes to the SGA are partly coordinated with the Ministry of Defense and air traffic control. The processing time can therefore be significantly more than four weeks. So I recommend that you get all the permits three months in advance. To apply to the SGA, you have to prove that you are already working as a photographer in your home country.

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Croatia to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Croatia!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

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  • ivan | 08.06.2020

    If things were not clear enough,
    I was just told by the DGU (Sate Geodetic Administration) that any form of areal photography or videography, even from a height of 1m with a 0.3MP camera is not allowed anywhere in Croatia (apparently for reasons of national security!). You can apply for a permit, but only if you have a registered commercial activity (there is no way to even get the permit as a private individual). There are no exceptions for private use ony. The only exception is photographing your own property. I am from Croatia and I feel ashamed of these draconian and completely archaic laws for a country that prides itself as a popular tourist destination.

  • Francis | 19.08.2020

    Hi Ivan, That sounds so silly, especially in this times of google maps, and technology, any one can literally zoom anywhere in Croatia and even use street maps on google but Drone photography is not allowed, sigh. no wonder Croatia is voted as the most stupid country on earth when it comes to rules and laws. I just wonder if the laws are so strict how come so many videos on YouTube are there, some of them are shot even in 2020. there are tons of videos since the introduction of drones . i’m confused.

  • Kate | 08.09.2020

    You live in your own bubble. How about my rights as a tourist? maybe I don’t want to be spied on by your stupid drone! And maybe I dislike my quiet moment in a beautiful location ruined by the horrid sound of your buzzing child’s peeping toy!
    Thank goodness some counties realize that there are still rights of privacy that need to be respected–even if drone “enthusiasts” don’t.

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