Drone laws Hong Kong, you’ve probably realized that the drone laws in Hong Kong are not particularly clear or well-known. The drone laws in Hong Kong may be specific to Hong Kong, but there are some basic guidelines that can apply to any country with drone laws.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s most densely populated areas. As such, enforceable drone laws are needed to protect the entire population from potentially dangerous or intrusive use of the technology.
If you are planning to buy a drone in Hong Kong, the first thing you should be thinking about is the question “Is it legal?” Whether you want to fly a drone to take pictures, or even for fun, you first need to make sure that you are flying your drone legally within the spectrum of the laws.
The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has recently updated a new set of rules and regulations for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The CAD formed the regulations in order to comply with aviation safety regulations. While most of the rules and regulations are aligned with worldwide standards, there are a few that stand out from the rest.
Number Of Regulations Enforced By Cad
In Hong Kong, flying drones is subject to a number of regulations enforced by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) and other government agencies.
It’s important for users to understand the rules before flying a drone. Drones are regulated in Hong Kong and it’s necessary to be aware of these regulations when flying one.
The relevant government agencies are:
- the Civil Aviation Department;
- the Lands Department;
- the Police Force; and
- the Office of Communications Authority (OFTA).
Hong Kong’s Aviation Laws Require All Drones With Weight Of 7kg
- If you are operating a drone in Hong Kong, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China requires that your drone be registered and you have your registration with you.
- The registration fee is HKD 500 (about USD 64).
- To be eligible for registration, your drone must weigh a maximum of 7kg or less at takeoff.
Drones Must Not Be Flown In Most Parts Of Hong Kong
A general rule of thumb is that you should not fly your drone in most parts of Hong Kong. There are a few exceptions, such as the drone activity zones near the Science Park and the Hong Kong International Airport.
- You may not fly your drone near an airport or public buildings unless you have received prior consent to do so. The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has sole authority to grant this consent, and they require applicants to apply in writing at least seven days before they wish to fly their drones. Drone operators must submit their flight details along with information about their drones and their flight experience.
- Likewise, consent from the Lands Department will be required if you wish to fly your drone above public land that is designated as a building zone or urban development zone under the Town Planning Ordinance (TPO), i.e., land outside of country parks, restricted areas or marine parks (unless otherwise authorized by CAD). Consent from LandSd must be sought for each flight and submitted at least five days prior to its intended commencement date using Form DP(BZ)/DP(UDZ) 163A/163B.
Outdoor Drone Operators May Face Additional Charges
Respecting people’s privacy is important for all drone operators. You can face additional charges if you break privacy laws by taking pictures or videos of people without their consent.
You need to understand how local laws apply to your drone use so you can operate legally.
For example, in Hong Kong, the Privacy Ordinance protects people against intrusion into private life. This includes taking pictures or making an audio recording of a person in a public place with the intention of publishing them without their consent and when they have an expectation of privacy (such as when they are changing clothes).
It is illegal to take photos or videos and publish them online if:
- the person has an expectation of privacy, such as naked or changing clothes; and
- the activity involves an intrusion into private life; and
- it is offensive to a reasonable person.
Use Of Drones At Night Is Strictly Prohibited In Hong Kong.
You may only fly your drone at night in Hong Kong if you have a special permit from the Civil Aviation Department (CAD).
You must apply for this permit at least 21 days in advance of your flight and will not be granted approval for flights taking place over residential buildings or areas with dense populations. The CAD also reserves the right to deny any requests for flying at night on an as-needed basis.
If you are found to be flying your drone illegally and without permission, you will receive a warning letter from the CAD asking that you cease and desist all illegal activities. If they find that you have continued to operate drones illegally, they will issue a fine up to HK$100,000 (US$12,800) depending on the severity of the offense.
Police Can Impose Severe Penalties
Violators will have their drone confiscated and may be fined up to HK$50,000 or face imprisonment for up to two years. With these restrictions in place, it’s important to understand the rules that govern where and how you can fly your drone.
It’s Important To Understand The Rules
In Hong Kong, it’s very important to understand the rules that govern where and how you can fly your drone.
These different rules and regulations are not always easy to understand, so we will do our best to break them down into simple terms and keep you up to date as they change. We’ll also provide tips on how best to follow the rules.
Before you fly, visit our drone safety map here which provides details on some of the most common places where drones are restricted in Hong Kong:
- Can I fly my drone in this location?
If you have questions about whether there is any restriction for flying a drone in your area or at your planned flight location, contact the closest airport or local law enforcement agency.
Are Drones Allowed In Hong Kong
It’s Important To Get The Facts
If you’re planning on taking a drone with you to Hong Kong, it’s important to get the facts and the current situation so that you don’t have any problems.
As with all countries, there are rules around flying a drone in Hong Kong. If you don’t follow these rules then there is a good chance that local authorities will confiscate your drone and may even fine you or arrest you.
It is important that you understand where it is legal and illegal to fly your drone in Hong Kong as well as getting an understanding of the general laws around drones use in Hong Kong. You can find this information below.
This Article Will Be Covering Everything You Need
This guide has been updated to cover the rules and regulations surrounding drones in Hong Kong as of March 2019.
When you talk about drones, it’s likely that most people immediately think about the warzone-type drones that are used to bomb targets from above.
That’s definitely one type of drone (they’re called UAVs or UASs, for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Unmanned Aircraft Systems). But there are a number of other types of drones which are significantly less scary. They’re also super fun to fly!
There is an almost endless variety of uses for unmanned aerial vehicles and systems, including first-person view racers or even surveying hard-to-reach areas of the landscape. Just make sure you follow the laws and guidelines when using your drone so that you can keep it legal!
Note That The Information Below Was Accurate At The Time Of Publication
Please note that the information below was accurate at the time of publication, but new regulations and laws are coming into effect all the time.
You should check for the latest information before you travel.
You should also check for any restrictions on using your drone in Hong Kong hotels and venues before flying. Just because it’s legal to fly doesn’t mean they won’t stop you from flying your drone on their property.
For The Latest Information Check This Page.
- The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD)
- The Hong Kong Aviation Authority (AA)
- The Hong Kong Police Force
Drones Weighing More Than 250 Grams Must Be Registered
Drones in Hong Kong weighing more than 250 grams must be registered (this includes your drone and whatever attachments it has). This process is free; at the time of this writing.
You will need to provide your name and contact details along with information about your drone, including its dimensions and weight (all listed on the manufacturer’s label or accompanying documentation) when you register your drone online.
Once you have registered, you can fly a maximum of 5 drones at any one time in Hong Kong for personal use (for commercial purposes, you must apply for a license and follow additional rules).
When flying indoors, you do not have to register or apply for a license—or even seek permission from anyone—but do make sure that the total weight of all drones flown at once is less than 11 pounds!
You Also Need A License To Fly One As Part Of A Business
If you possess a drone for the purpose of generating income or producing content for a commercial entity, you will need to apply for a license from the Civil Aviation Department (CAD).
This rule applies whether you’re operating your drone in Hong Kong or not. If you fly it without one, there is a fine of HK$5,000 and up to three months in jail.
The information that needs to be submitted with your application includes:
- details about yourself
- details about the drone you will be using
- evidence of your work as an aerial photography operator
Getting This License Is Not Too Difficult
The good news is that getting this license is not too difficult, but it does require some work on your part and careful reading of the rules.
Drones Require Registration And Licensing In Hong Kong
As of June 2018, in order to fly a drone in Hong Kong, you must register it with the Civil Aviation Department as well as obtain an unmanned aircraft pilot license.
You’ll need to download an application form at this link, fill it out and submit it by post or in person. You can also apply online here. If your application is approved, you’ll be required to pay a fee of 300 Hong Kong dollars (approximately 40 U.S.) annually to renew your registration and license each year.
Bear in mind that these rules are subject to change, so keep tabs on the latest regulations by checking this page regularly.
How To Register Drones In Hong Kong
How Do I Register My Drone In Hong Kong?
To register your drone, you will need the following:
- a valid Hong Kong ID card or passport;
- documents proving ownership of your drone.
If you own multiple drones, you must submit the registration form separately for each one. The same goes if you share ownership of a drone with another person—each owner must submit their own form.
When registering your drone in Hong Kong, remember to keep in mind the restrictions and guidelines that regulate where you’re able to fly it. It’s crucial that you understand these rules before taking to the skies!
What Do You Get After Registering Your Drone?
After you register your drone, you will receive a registration certificate issued by the civil aviation department, a registration card, and proof of insurance for your drone. A basic safety and knowledge course will also be required for all users.
Can I Fly A Drone Without Registration?
You may not fly a drone without registration. It is illegal to fly a drone without registration, and you could face a maximum fine of HK$100,000 (US$13,000) or imprisonment of six months if convicted. The same penalties apply if you use an unregistered drone to capture aerial photography for commercial purposes.
How Much Does It Cost To Register A Drone In Hong Kong?
It costs HKD$100 (around USD$13) for each drone you register, and you can register up to five drones at once. You can pay the fee in cash or by credit card.
Registration is valid for two years, and you can renew it on your own online.
How Do I Renew My Registration Every 2 Years?
To renew your registration, go to the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department website and fill in the renewal form. The fee for renewal is HKD100 (USD 13). Print out the form afterwards and bring it to one of the following areas:
- General Post Office — Central
- Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office
- Mongkok Post Office
- Tuen Mun Central Post Office
- Shatin Central Post Office
- Tsuen Wan Post Office — Ho Pui Street
In order to complete your payment, you’ll need to bring these two things:
- Original copy of a drone registration certificate from within two years from the date of renewal. This can be printed out by yourself if you have access to an electronic receipt issued during initial registration, or found on your mobile device if you used e-service for initial registration.
- If neither are viable options for you, you can request that a hard copy version be sent to one of the post offices mentioned above by mailing this completed application form with a stamped, self-addressed envelope included. You should receive a response within 3 weeks.
- HKID card or passport as proof of identity
Once payment has been made at one of these post offices, send back your original receipt and completed renewal form here:
Keep The Registration Card With You When You Fly!
It’s always important to make sure that you’re following the correct rules and regulations any time you fly your drone, and in Hong Kong, this means ensuring that your drone is properly registered.
If you’d like to fly a drone in Hong Kong for fun or for commercial purposes (whether it’s your own drone or one that you’re renting) then be sure to read on about exactly how to register a drone in Hong Kong for both recreational and commercial use.
Drone laws and commercial drone regulations for Hong Kong vary depending on the intended use. In general, most flying is prohibited, but strict rules apply to professional users and public safety is the top priority.
A registration number must be displayed on all drones; and you may be required to get a license if you intend on using your drone for fun.
Frequently Asked Questions (drone Laws Hong Kong)
Are Drones Legal In Hong Kong?
Yes, drones are legal in Hong Kong. However, you need to follow the rules when flying your drone. You can fly a drone in Hong Kong as long as it is not over 400 feet high and it does not fly in a restricted area or near an airport. You also have to make sure that your drone has the right equipment for safe operation such as lights and bells/horns (if applicable).
You can fly your drone inside a park or playground if:
- The park or playground has no restriction on drones
- Your drone does not exceed certain dimensions (length x width x height)
Can I Fly A Drone At Night In Hong Kong?
No, you cannot fly a drone at night in Hong Kong.
- You are not allowed to fly your drone over people, buildings, vehicles or crowds.
- You must not fly in built-up areas with a population density of 2,500 or more per square kilometre unless the area is less than 30 metres above ground level and within 400 metres of yourself (and the pilot).
- You must not fly within 1km from an airport without permission from air traffic control (ATC). If you do decide to risk breaking this rule and fly too close: don’t worry about the police because they will come after you! The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said it will take action against anyone who violates certain rules such as flying near an airport without approval.
Can I Fly My Drone In Hong Kong With A Propeller Guard?
You do not need to use a propeller guard in Hong Kong. It is not required by law, and it is not required by the Civil Aviation Department of Hong Kong (CAHK). The CAHK does recommend that you use one, but they are not demanding it as a requirement.
Can I Fly My Drone Inside A Hong Kong Park Or Playground?
Yes, you can fly drones in parks in Hong Kong. However, you have to follow the rules and regulations set by the government. You must fly your drone at least 50 meters from any beach or playground area, and do not let your drone come within 150 meters of an airport.
In addition to these guidelines, keep in mind that it is illegal to fly a drone over private property without obtaining prior permission from the owner.
Can I Fly My Personal Drone Over Private Property In Hong Kong?
The answer is not as simple as “yes” or “no”.
The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of Hong Kong has set out guidelines for flying drones in the city, with specific rules depending on the size of your drone and whether you have permission to fly over private property.
If you are flying over private property, it is important that you seek consent from the owner first. You must also keep your drone within sight at all times and maintain a distance of 50m from any other people or vehicles below.
On top of this, there are several areas where drones cannot be flown at all: within 1km radius of an airport; between 7am and 10pm; in built-up areas within 500m radius of an airport; or above 150m altitude (drones with cameras attached are required to stay below 120m).