Drone Laws in South Korea

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Korea (South Korea)

South Korea Office of Civil Aviation (KOCA)

MOCA Dedicated Drone Website (Korean Language)

Updated July 21, 2022


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in South Korea

The South Korean agency responsible for drone safety, KOCA, has provided several details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.

Are drones allowed in South Korea?

According to the KOCA, flying drones is legal in South Korea, but certain regulations must be strictly followed. Read on for more details.

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

  • You are not permitted to fly higher than 150 meters (492 feet) 
  • You are not allowed to fly within 5.5 kilometers of airports or in areas where aircraft are operating. 
  • You must fly during daylight hours and only in favorable weather. 
  • When flying your drone, avoid flying over people or crowds and show respect for others’ privacy. 
  • You cannot fly when visibility is poor or when yellow dust is present. 
  • Never fly your drone beyond visual range. 
  • You are not permitted to fly near Seoul Plaza, military installations, government facilities, power plants, or areas of national security facilities.
  • Aerial photography using an unmanned aerial vehicle is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Defense and requires prior permission for aerial photography.

The regulations specifically answer the question: What are the rules that the pilot must observe?

The Aviation Safety Act stipulates safety rules that all pilots must follow, even for simple hobby drones (unmanned aerial vehicles), and the pilots must follow them.
The pilot compliance applies to anyone operating an unmanned aerial vehicle, regardless of the weight or purpose of the vehicle. Violation of the pilot’s regulations may result in a fine of up to 2 million won in accordance with the Aviation Safety Act.

  • Observances of the pilot (Article 129 of the Aviation Safety Act, Article 310 of the Enforcement Rules) △ No-fly time zone: Night flight (* Night: after sunset to before sunrise) △ No-fly places
    (1) within a radius of 9.3 km from the aerodrome
    → There is a risk of collision with aircraft taking off and landing in a place called the “control area.”
    (2) No-fly zone (near the demarcation line, part of the sky above downtown Seoul)
    → Places where flying is prohibited for national defense and security reasons
    (3) Altitude above 150m
    → Airspace where aircraft flight routes are installed
    (4) Over a densely populated area or a place where a lot of people gather (* Ex: a place where a lot of people gather, such as a sports stadium, various festivals, etc.)
    → If the aircraft falls, there is a high risk of personal injury ※. If you want to fly in a no-fly area, you need permission from the local Aviation Administration or Ministry of National Defense (if there is no problem after reviewing the safety issues in the relevant airspace). Prohibited actions while flying
  • Prohibition of dropping objects that may endanger life or property, prohibition of flying in a manner that may endanger life or property in densely populated areas such as residential and commercial areas or other crowded places, Prohibition of flying close in a way that may collide with buildings, Prohibition of flying while the driver is intoxicated
    → There is a high risk of damage to people and property if the aircraft collides
  • Do not fly when the pilot cannot see the device directly with the naked eye (* For example, when the visibility is poor due to fog, yellow sand, etc., or when flying far to a place where the eyes cannot directly see) △ Protection of personal information
  • In the case of collecting or transmitting information related to an individual’s public/private life using an unmanned aerial vehicle, if the freedom and rights of others are violated, you may be punished according to relevant laws such as the Personal Information Protection Act.

Registration Requirements for Drone Flying in South Korea?

Any drone that weighs more than 250 grams must be registered. 

Drones weighing less than 2 kilograms, but more than 250 grams must also complete a mandatory online course. 

Operators of drones weighing between 2 and 7 kilograms must pass a written examination and have six hours of drone experience. 

For weights greater than 25 kilograms, you must have over 20 hours of flight experience in addition to passing several other tests.

Compulsory insurance

If you are required to register your drone in South Korea, you must purchase drone insurance with a minimum coverage amount of KRW 150,000,000.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in South Korea

Private drone flying is permitted in South Korea, but only under the conditions outlined below. 

Permission is not necessary. 

Maximum Height Maximum 150m / 492ft > 150m / 492ft requires permission 

There is no maximum distance, but the aircraft must always remain within the operator’s line-of-sight unless approval for a beyond-line-of-sight flight has been granted. 

There is no upper limit on take-off weight. 

Unless prior approval has been granted, operations must be conducted during the day. 

There are no labeling requirements. 

While liability insurance for drones is not required, it is strongly recommended.

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in South Korea

Commercial drone flight is permitted in South Korea, but you must adhere to the below rules. 

Permission is required from the South Korean Aviation Authority. 

When using the unmanned powered flying device for commercial purposes, an application for business registration is required.

Maximum Height Maximum 150m / 492ft > 150m / 492ft requires permission

There is no maximum distance, but the aircraft must always remain within the operator’s line of sight unless approval for a beyond-line-of-sight flight has been granted. 

There is no upper limit on take-off weight. 

Permission must be obtained from the South Korean Aviation Authority. 

Unless prior approval has been granted, operations must be conducted during the day. 

There are no labeling requirements. While liability insurance for drones is not required, it is strongly recommended.

Authorization and licensing are complex processes. Please check with the KOCA directly for specifics.


Useful published information on flying drones in South Korea

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

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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Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone



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The content on this site (The latest Drone Laws/Drone Regulations) 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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19 thoughts on “Drone Laws in South Korea”

  1. I have to say that almost everything in this article is wrong and I got in trouble in South Korea. Basically all cities are completely off limit and you are not allowed to fly drones there. There is a 2000 USD fine. Everything is with CCTV and if you start your drone, the police will be there immediately. I got in trouble and I was very unhappy because I did my research.

    You should update your page!

    Seoul and metropolitan area, including and north to the Han River and near to the airports at Gimpo and Seongnam, are strictly off-limit areas subject to the permission of the Capital Defense Command (CDC, 수도방위사령부) or the nearby airport authorities.

    Reply
    • Mathias, we always recommend contacting the regulators for the most recent information. We have updated the regulations above to the latest provided by the regulators.

      Reply
  2. As I can see many foreign people are flying their drones in Seoul without any permission and are being investigated by the police and military these days, people MUST know that 99% of Seoul are no-fly zone even though the map suggests it’s not. They MUST first obtain permission from CDC(Capital Defense Command) on the drone.onestop.go.kr.

    Reply
  3. I live at the edge of a 비행승인 필요 area. Can you receive long-term permission for restricted areas at drone.onestop.go.kr/? For instance, can I get permission to fly in the woods near my house for 6 months or do I have to request permission each time, 15 days in advance?

    Reply
  4. Hey!

    Do you think that permission to fly drones weighing more that 250grams and less than 2kg are hard to get or it’s just formality?

    Great guide!

    Reply
  5. Can I bring my mavic mini 2 in the airport?i only drop by because i work on a ship. But don’t worry my drone is inside my luggage.its that okay to bring? thanks

    Reply
    • Mark, you should be allowed to take your drone. Declare it properly on arrival and explain what you are doing

      Reply
  6. I have a DJI mavic mini, no need to be registred, right?
    Did you have a map website or app to know where we can use our drone ?
    thank you

    Reply
    • If the DJI Mavic Mini is under 250 grams it will not need to be registered.
      We recommend you contact KOCA for information on approved areas.

      Reply
  7. i have just bought my first fpv drone named firefly baby quad 1.6 which is microdrone. it is less than 250 grams with the insta360 camera. do i have to register it and is there any limit of frequency to fly fpv.

    Reply
    • Less than 250 grams are not required to be registered. We are not aware of any FPV restrictions. We recommend contacting the regulator to be sure

      Reply

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