I live in Germany but I travel a lot around the world; my new hobby is aerial photography, for this I am considering buying a drone.

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Since Germany has some rules about drones, can I have a drone in Germany without a "mandatory label marking," "without insurance," etc?
I mean, the rules are clear to me IF AND ONLY IF I am flying the drone in Germany, but what if I use it only when on vacation in other countries? Am I breaking any rules?

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    $\begingroup$ I realise the intention to use the drone while travelling, but the actual question is just whether or not you're required to follow the German drone marking and insurance requirements if the drone won't be used. That you intend to use it in other jurisdictions where those requirements don't apply isn't relevant. $\endgroup$ – Chris H Jun 29 '20 at 9:32

According to the rules you linked to, the only thing you are required to do is stick a label on your drone with your contact details, so stick a label on!

All the remaining rules relate to when, where and how you fly, and what certificates you might need to do so. Since you won't be flying, none of these apply.

Nowhere is there any prohibition on simply owning a drone.

However, since this is your new hobby I find it unlikely that you won't want to fly in your home country. You'd need a 'certificate of knowledge' which doesn't seem to be too hard to get, and permission if your drone is over 5kg. Why not just get what you need and fly in Germany?

Note that flying drones in other countries may have rules that are much more stringent than Germany. Don't expect to just rock up on some foreign beach and fly.

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    $\begingroup$ "According to the rules you linked to, the only thing you are required to do is stick a label on your drone with your contact details[...]" This is not true – liability insurance is also required to fly a drone in Germany, at least if it weighs more than 250g! $\endgroup$ – lxgr Jun 30 '20 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ @lxgr Only one of you can be correct, it would be great if either of you could add a source so we know which one. $\endgroup$ – Mast Jun 30 '20 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ The linked source has the title "Clear rules for the operation of drones". Nothing of that applies if you don't fly the thing. $\endgroup$ – I'm with Monica Jun 30 '20 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Mast isn't the source the one linked in the question? If you look at "How is liability regulated?" in the questions at the bottom of the page, you'll see that liability insurance is indeed required to fly a drone in Germany. On the other hand, this answer is about requirements for possessing a drone in Germany without flying it there. $\endgroup$ – phoog Jun 30 '20 at 17:45

Most consumer (and many professional) photography drones weigh less than 5kg - which is the limit Germany has set for the majority of their rules - so you should consider a drone that fits this weight category. Also, as you plan to travel with it a lighter drone will be more convenient in your luggage!

Labelling the aircraft with your contact details is still required, but is a good idea regardless; even if it is not required in countries you travel to, if it gets lost then this increases your chances of getting it back. Just make sure the details you use are meaningful outside Germany:

  • consider including "Germany" (in the local language) on any address
  • include +49 on any phone number
  • indicate your preferred language(s) next to phone numbers (again, in their language) to try to avoid difficulties (an email or letter can easily be translated online.)

I would say that for the sake of a sticker, it would be worth making your drone legal.

Finally, be sure to check and comply with all laws in your travel destination as well as restrictions by airlines and other travel operators, particularly with regards to lithium batteries.


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