The Royal Decree on the use of drones in the Belgian airspace has come into force on 25 April 2016. The Royal Decree authorizes the use of drones both for private and commercial purposes provided compliance with strict obligations.

Drones used in the private sphere cannot be heavier than 10 kg and cannot fly higher than 10 meters, while drones used for commercial purposes (i.e. for aerial photography, observation or land surveying) are divided into two categories, i.e. (i) Class 1 – drones of up to 150 kilos that are allowed to fly up to 90 meters; and (ii) Class 2 – drones of less than 5 kilos and that cannot fly higher than 45 meters. Other requirements, such as certificates, licenses and other types of mandatory training are imposed. Authorizations might also be required if the use of the drones is deemed to be too risky. In addition to these specific rules on the use of drones, the general rules on privacy and data protection apply. These further impact the ability to capture images or record voices of individuals.

This Royal Decree tries to provide a fair balance between the need to encourage the development of new technologies and the necessity to ensure that security and the protection of privacy are being legally protected.

Click here for the Royal Decree.