Applying for a pilot licence or operator number for a drone

In many cases, you have to apply for a pilot licence or an operator number when you want to fly a drone or another unmanned aircraft. Sometimes you need both. See what the conditions are and how you can apply. 
  • Requirements for applying for a pilot licence:

    • A pilot licence is required if the (toy) drone or unmanned aircraft you are flying weighs 250 g or more.
    • You can only apply for the pilot licence if you have taken an online knowledge test. You can take this exam at a recognised Dutch flight school.
    • You have a DigiD and you are registered (as a Dutch resident) in the Personal Records Database (BRP).

    Requirements for applying for a drone operator number:

    • You need an operator number if you are the owner (operator) of a drone or an unmanned aircraft with a camera or a weight of 250 gram or more. Do you have a toy drone? Then an operator number is only obligatory if it weighs 250 grams or more. In that case it does not matter if the drone has a camera or not.
    • You are registered (as a Dutch resident) in the Personal Records Database (BRP). 

    Are you the pilot and also the owner (operator) of a drone?

    Then you need both pilot licence and operator number. To apply for your pilot licence, see ‘how to apply for your pilot licence’’. To apply for your operator number, see ‘how to apply for your operator number’

  • You need a pilot licence if your drone weighs 250 grams or more. At RDW you can apply for a pilot licence for subcategory A1/A3 and subcategory A2. For more information about subcategories, go to the website of the Dutch government.

    1. You take an exam with a recognised Dutch flight school. This can be an exam for the A1/A3 category or for the A2 category.
    2. Did you take the A1/A3 category exam abroad and the A2 category exam in the Nederlands? Then you need to upload your foreign A1/A3 pilot licence with your application.
    3. After you passed your exam, the flight school will send you an e-mail. This e-mail has a unique link that you can use to ask RDW to send you your pilot licence online.
    4. Through the link in the e-mail of the flight school, you log in via DigiD and enter the application page. If you have a foreign A1/A3 pilot licence, you can upload it here. You pay the costs by using iDEAL.
    5. After you paid, we will send you the pilot licence by e-mail.
    6. For the A1/A3 category, you receive a European pilot licence called ‘certificate of completion of theoretical exam’.
    7. For the A2 category, you receive a European pilot licence called ‘certificate of competency’.
    8. Handle your pilot licence with care. You need this pilot licence when flying (printed out or on your mobile phone).
    9. Are you also the owner of a drone? Then you need an operator number. You will find more information under ‘how to apply for your operator number'.
  • You need an operator number if you are the owner of 1 or more drones with a camera or a weight of 250 g or more. When you apply for an operator number, you will be registered with us as the owner (operator).

    You only need 1 operator number, even if you have more than one drone.

    1. You apply for an operator number by using the button ‘Apply for an operator number'. You log in via DigiD and pay the costs using iDEAL.

    Do you make the application on behalf of your company? Then you must log in with eHerkenning. And keep your branch number on hand. You can find this number on your company registration certificate or on the website of the Chamber of Commerce. You pay the costs by using iDEAL. 

    Are you self-employed? Then you can only log in via DigiD.

    2.  You will receive the operator number by e-mail. You must make sure that part of the operator number is visible on the outside of the drone(s). For more information, go to 'What to do next' on this page.

    3.  Are you also the pilot of a drone? Then you need a pilot licence. You will find more information under ‘how to apply for a pilot licence'. Applying for an operator number using DigiD Applying for an operator number using eHerkenning

  • Do you want an operator number and you do not use DigiD or eHerkenning?

    1. Then use the form 'Drone operator number application form' (pdf, 559kb) for a drone operator registration number. 
    2. You can read on the form what to do and what to submit.
    3. Please keep in mind that it will take a minimum of 10 working days before you receive your operator number from us. 
    • Handle your pilot licence with care. You must be able to show this when you are flying a drone (printed or on your mobile phone).
    • As the owner of the drone, you received an operator number from us. Part of this number must be made visible on your drone and programmed. The operator number consists of letters and numbers. Example: ''NLD87astrdge12kc - xyz''.
    1. Make sure that the code (only the part before the dash) is clearly visible on the outside of the drone (for instance by using a sticker). Leave the last 3 letters out, to prevent that others abuse your operator number.
    2. Do you have several drones? The operator number is valid for all your drones and must show on all your drones.
    • Young people under the age of 16 with a pilot licence may only fly a drone when accompanied by someone older than 16 with a pilot licence.
    • See what rules there are for flying a drone and whether your drone must be insured. For more information about obligations and insurance, visit the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) website.
  • Requirements for an operator number application

    You can only apply for an operator number with us if you live outside the European Union and want to fly mainly in the Netherlands. 

    1. Send an e-mail to [email protected] and ask for the form 'Drone operator number application form'. We will send you the form by e-mail within 5 working days. You can read on the form what to do and what to submit.
    2. Keep in mind that it takes about 10 working days from the day we received your application to send you your operator number.
    3. Are you also the pilot of a drone? Then you need to take an exam with a recognised Dutch flight school to get your pilot licence. You will find more information under ‘how to apply for a pilot licence'.
  • Pilot licence:

    The pilot licence is valid for 5 years from the date you passed the online theory test. After 5 years, you take another test and apply for a new pilot licence.

    Operator number:

    The operator number is valid for 1 year. You will receive a reminder email 6 weeks before it expires.

  • Operator number application €23,00
    Extending your operator number €13,00
    Pilot licence application €10,00
  • Whether you need to insure the drone depends on where and what type of drone you are flying. We strongly recommend that you take out insurance for physical or material damage to third parties due to accidents with drones. Check whether your liability insurance covers damage caused by drones.

    For private users with a drone weighing 20 kg or more, insurance is mandatory based on EU regulations. For more information about obligations and insurance, visit the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) website. 

    Adding insurances to your operator data registered with RDW

    Is insurance mandatory for you? Then you must add the insurance details to the operator data registered with us. You can also add your insurance details if insurance is not mandatory for you.

    You can add an insurance number using the button 'Exploitantgegevens aanpassen' (Change Operator data). Is the operator number registered to your company? Then you must log in with eHerkenning.

    • Changing the drone operator data using DigiD.
    • Changing the drone operator data using eHerkenning. 
  • You do not need a flight authorisation to fly your drone in the open category. You do need a flight authorisation to fly your drone in the specific category. More information on flight authorisations? Contact the Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).

    Adding permits to your drone operator data registered with RDW

     If you have a flight authorisation, you must add the flight authorisation number to your operator data that are registered with us. You can add flight authorisations using the button 'Exploitantgegevens aanpassen' (Change Drone Operator data). Is the operator number registered to your company? Then you must log in with eHerkenning.

    • Changing the drone operator data using DigiD
    • Changing the drone operator data using eHerkenning