Permits for the operation of drones

Drones and model aircraft may not be operated near gatherings of people or beyond direct eye contact. However, the FOCA may issue a permit for such flights under certain circumstances. Here it is essential to allow sufficient time for preparing an application and submitting it to the FOCA as early as possible.

For safety reasons, it is prohibited to operate drones and model aircraft within a radius of 100 metres from gatherings of people (i.e. groups of several dozen people). Operating a drone beyond direct eye contact (e.g. equipped with devices such as binoculars or video goggles) is also prohibited.

To qualify for an exemption from the FOCA, a safety test is required. Standard procedures may be applied for certain operations, and these procedures are being constantly supplemented. 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. 

Depending on how much processing is required, a permit costs between 50 and 5,000 Swiss francs. Due to the high demand for permits, applicants should allow for a processing time of at least three months.

Further information


Federal Office of Civil Aviation

Mühlestrasse 2
3003 Bern

Print contact

Please note: FOCA is not responsible for dealing with drone-related issues that are subject to private law and data protection
legislation, e.g. disturbance of the peace, undesired filming, protection of privacy.

The Drone guide

helps to identify drone pilots whether they are allowed to fly in desired zones without restrictions. In addition, it also indicates which permits may have to be obtained.