Drone Laws in Latvia

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Latvia

Civil Aviation Authority of The Republic of Latvia (CAA)

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Latvia

The Latvian agency responsible for drone safety, CAA, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.

Flying and operating drones in Latvia is subject to European Union Regulation 2019/947. The Latvian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) supervises and implements the Regulation in Latvia. This reform aims to create a truly harmonized drone market in Europe with the highest level of safety. In practice, it means that once a drone Οperator has received authorization from its state of registry, they will be allowed to circulate in the European Union freely. According to the level of risk involved, this new legal framework will introduce three categories of drone operations: Open, Specific and Certified

Drone operations are to be conducted according to the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 (as amended).

Are drones allowed in Latvia?

According to CAA, drones are allowed in Latvia, subject to CAA and EASA regulations. Read on for details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Latvia:

Drone operators must register all drones in Latvia. Following registration, you must adhere to the following rules.

  • Drones may fly up to 50 meters (170 feet) above ground or sea level in the Open category and up to 120 meters (400 feet) in the Special category. (The CAA may grant exemptions to operators of special category drones.) 
  • Direct visual contact with the drone is required, and the operating distance should not exceed 500 meters. 
  • Avoid flying too close to residential areas or populated areas. 
  • Maintain a safety buffer zone of one kilometer around residential areas. 
  • Unless the owner/person consents, a safety distance of 500 meters from isolated buildings, people, vehicles, animals, and structures is required. 
  • Avoid flying near airports and heliports. Stay A minimum of eight (8) kilometers away from airports and three (3) kilometers from heliports for safety. 
  • At no time is it permissible to fly a drone at night. 
  • There shall be no flying over, within, or near military installations, public utility installations, archaeological sites, or public or private facilities.

Open Category

Given the low level of risk, neither prior authorization by the competent authority nor a declaration by the drone operator is required. The drone’s total takeoff mass must be less than 25kg, and it must be operated within a visual line of sight at a maximum altitude of 120m.

Special Category

Considering the moderate level of risk involved, flights in this category require authorization before the operation. The permission is given considering the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment, except in specific standard scenarios where an operator declaration is sufficient.

Certified Category

Given the inherent dangers, certification of the drone and a licensed remote pilot are required. If your drone is capable of carrying people, you fall under the Certified category!

EASA Summary of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements
EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

Note for foreign operators

Operator Registration (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you are coming from a non-EU country and this is the first time you will fly your drone in an EU country, you MUST register as an Operator.
  • Upon registration, you will receive a unique Operator Registration number which you MUST attach to your drone. If you have several drones, the same number must be attached to all of them.
  • You are not allowed to fly in NO FLY ZONES, and you must keep aways a minimum of 8km distance away from airports/heliports.
  • If you already conducted operations in another EU country before going to Latvia, you must not register again. You always register to the first non-EU country you have conducted flights

Remote Pilot Certificate (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you want to fly your drone in Latvia and live in a non-EU country, you must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate issued from an EU country.
  • You can get the A1/A3 Certificate by registering with the online Remote Pilot School.
  • The online training and exam are required for those who want to fly a drone in the ‘Open’ category in subcategories A1/A3.
  • The pass mark is 75%, and you have 3 tries in total to pass.
  • Once you pass your exam, you will receive your remote pilot certificate. Its validity will be 5 years.
  • You must have your Remote Pilot Certificate in your possession whenever you plan to perform drone operations in Latvia and present it when asked by the authorities

How to register as a drone pilot or operator in Latvia?

According to European Regulation (EU) 2019/947, registration is mandatory for UAS operators (not for UAS themselves).

The UAS Pilot, also known as the Remote Pilot (RP), is the person physically behind the UAS flight controls. They are fully responsible for the safety of the flight throughout operations.

The UAS Operator is the person or company who oversees operations and gives flight instructions. This person or legal entity bears all responsibility for the operations of the drone (s) on their behalf. Very often, in the OPEN category and as an individual, the Pilot and the Operator are the same person.

Who should register?

As part of the OPEN category, registration is compulsory for operators:

  • UAS that have a mass of 250 g or more; 
  • UAS that have a mass of less than 250 g but: 
    • are able to operate at speeds greater than 90km / h 
    • are equipped with a camera or a microphone, if these UAS are NOT toys * 

* A UAS is a toy when a manufacturer intends it for children under the age of 14 and meets the minimum safety criteria required to be so named. Compliance with these standards naturally limits the capabilities of the UAS (size, weight, non-dangerous spare parts, no powerful motor, etc.): see Directive 2009/48 / EC of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys

Under the SPECIFIC category, registration is compulsory for all operators.

Natural persons can only register in the country where they reside.

Legal persons must register in the country where their principal place of business is located.

Registration can only be done in one Member State at a time.

How do you register in Latvia for drone operations?

In Latvia, all drone pilots must register as an operator with the CAA.

Recreational pilots with drones weighing less than 250 grams are exempt. However, the regulation specifies that all drones with an HD camera or other equipment that could potentially invade the privacy of others must be registered, including those weighing less than 250 grams. 

This UAS operator registration number is valid for one year and must therefore be renewed periodically following the same procedure. The operator therefore always uses the same number unless the latter is permanently deregistered from the register.

Special requirements in Latvia

In Latvia, the minimum age for piloting drones is 18. Metal propellers are prohibited. 

Drones must bear the owner’s name, address, and phone number on them. In addition, throughout the flight, the operator must identify themself as a drone pilot by wearing a hat, shirt, or similar item. Additionally, drones in Latvia must be capable of landing autonomously in a radio link failure (failsafe function).

You also need to take out liability insurance. The minimum liability limits are defined according to the copter’s starting mass:

  • 250 – 1500 grams: 150,000 euros
  • 1501 – 5000 grams: 500,000 euros
  • over 5000 grams: 1,000,000 euros

Unmanned aircraft are limited to a maximum weight of 25 kilograms.

Temporary rules to know for flying a drone in Latvia:

  • Each drone must bear the owner’s name, address, and phone number. 
  • Drone pilots must identify themselves as such through the use of a hat, shirt, or other means. 
  • Drones may not be flown over crowds, crowd-related events, or people. 
  • Drones are not permitted to be flown near aircraft, airports, prisons, military facilities, or other critical infrastructure. 
  • Drones weighing more than.5 kilograms (1.1 pounds) may be operated by a drone pilot under 18 only under adult supervision. 
  • Insurance coverage is required when flying a drone weighing more than 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). 
  • Drones are not permitted to be flown at night. 
  • Operators must wear distinctive clothing to ensure their visibility from afar. In addition, they are not permitted to operate drones while impaired by alcohol or drugs. (Id.) 
  • The maximum altitude at which a drone may operate is 120 meters. 
  • Drones weighing less than 25 kilograms are permitted to be operated without a permit outside populated areas and aerodromes; drones weighing less than 1.5 kilograms are also allowed to be used without permits within populated areas. In all other cases, a permit from the civil aviation agency is required. (Id.) 
  • Drone operations are prohibited at night and over specific government buildings, including prison and military facilities, the Bank of Latvia, police stations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Council of Ministers’ building, and the Parliament.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Latvia

Private drone flying is allowed in Latvia. You must follow the rules listed below:

Not used for commercial purposes

You must:

  • Adhere to Regulation N0 737, titled “Regulations governing unmanned aircraft and flying devices that do not qualify as aircraft.” 
  • Utilize a drone equipped with a safe landing system in the event of a loss of control. 
  • Make a note of your name, address, and phone number on your drone. 
  • If your drone weighs more than 1,5 kg, you should carry liability insurance as well as additional third-party liability insurance. 
  • Maintain a line-of-sight with your drone (500m horizontally measured) 
  • Maintain a safe distance between your drone and people and property at all times. If your drone weighs more than 250g, you should maintain a minimum distance of 50 meters from people, property, and public events. 
  • Keep a safe distance from sensitive infrastructure (prisons, military areas, ports, etc.) 
  • If you are under the age of 18, have an adult monitor your flight. 
  • Maintain an altitude of less than 120 meters 
  • Wear distinctive clothing to ensure your visibility to others.

You must not:

  • Operate at night or in areas with limited visibility 
  • Contravene the law or face a fine of up to 300 EUR (per person) or 1,000 EUR (companies)

See general EASA rules above.


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Latvia

Commercial drone flying is allowed in Latvia. You must follow the rules listed below:

Used for commercial purposes in connection with a business activity

You must:

  • Adhere to Regulation N0 737, titled “Regulations governing unmanned aircraft and flying devices that do not qualify as aircraft.”
  • Utilize a drone equipped with a safe landing system in the event of a loss of control. 
  • Make a note of your name, address, and phone number on your drone. 
  • If your drone weighs more than 1.5 kg, you should carry liability insurance as well as additional third-party liability insurance. 
  • Maintain a line-of-sight with your drone (500m horizontally measured) 
  • Maintain a safe distance between your drone and people and property at all times. If your drone weighs more than 250g, you should maintain a minimum distance of 50 meters from people, property, and public events. 
  • Keep a safe distance from sensitive infrastructure (prisons, military areas, ports, etc.) 
  • If you are under the age of 18, have an adult monitor your flight. 
  • Maintain an altitude of less than 120 meters 
  • Wear distinctive clothing to ensure your visibility to others.

You must not:

  • Operate at night or in areas with limited visibility 
  • Contravene the law or face a fine of up to 300 EUR (per person) or 1,000 EUR (companies)

See general EASA rules above.


Useful published information on flying drones in Latvia

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Latvia…

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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