On 31 December 2021, the Netherlands Remote Controlled Aircraft Regulations, also known as the ROABL, will finally come to an end. From 1-1-2022, all (professional) drone operators must start working in accordance with European regulations. This has quite a few consequences for ROC-light or ROC licence holders and drone pilots who hold an RPA-L certificate. Skytools lists the most important changes.

Mandatory registration as an operator

This article is brought to you by Skytools

As of 1-1-2022, as an operator, you are obliged to have registered with the RDW. After registration, you will receive an operator number, which must be mentioned on each drone you fly with. (So you don’t have to register the drone (s) yourself.) The costs for registration are 23 euro. After a year, you will need to renew registration. The cost of renewal is 13 euro.

Register as an operator with RDW via this page.


Apply operator number to your drones (by means of sticker or burn plate).

PH registration and s-BvL expires

On 31-12-2021, the registration of business drones in the aircraft register (except drones from so-called state actors) will come to an end. This means that the PH registrations will expire. You must remove these from your drones. The possibly provided s-BvL documents also lose their validity. PH numbers can also no longer be used as a call sign during communication with the air traffic control.

Remove any PH numbers from your drones.

RPA-L & ROC-light: over to Open category A1, A2 or A3

Are you still flying under the ROC-light regime, or do you have an RPA-L certificate? Then you will have to work on a European drone ticket before 31/12/2021, unless you fly with a drone that weighs less than 250 grams. Depending on the weight of your drone and the type of operations you want to perform, you will end up in Open category A1, A2 or A3. It does not matter if you fly professionally or recreatively.

Unfortunately, it is currently no longer possible to have your ROC-light or RPA-L converted into a European flight ticket for Open Category A2 — the deadline for this was 31 October. This means that you will still have to go through an education and exam.

Wait a result conversion ROC-light/RPA-L to A2 (if you had registered for this via roclightomzetting.nlr.nl).



A1/A3 flight ticket, possibly supplemented with A2 flight ticket. You can contact Skytools for this: see our training page.


Check if you are insured for liability if you are operating with drones.

ROC: over to operating license

The biggest change is coming for ROC licensed drone operators. The ROC, RPA-L/LAPL and the special BvL will be replaced by a European operating licence. With an operating license, you can fly in the Specific category.

For instructions on the conversion, please visit the website of the Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). Most of the work is in describing your operational manual. In principle, this process must already be in motion, if the transposition can be dealt with by the ILT before 1 January.

  • Request operator number from the RDW (if you hadn’t already).
  • Modify the operational manual.
  • Complete

  • Conversion Request Form ROC and send it to the ILT.
  • Remove PH numbers from your drones and mention operator number.

Starting in the Specific category (as a new operator, or from ROC-light)

Does the Open category offer too few options for you, or do you want to start as a new operator in the Specific category? Then it’s good to know that Skytools, in collaboration with Dutch Drone Academy, offers a workshop that provides students with the tools to work independently with the permit application.

  • Register as an operator with RDW via this page.
  • Apply operator number to your drones (by means of sticker or burn plate).
  • Follow pilot training for Specific category (STS-01). Check out our offer.
  • Follow specific category operations workshop.
  • Prepare an operational manual and apply for operating license from the ILT.
  • Arrange liability insurance.

Further questions

Do you have questions regarding the above? Don’t hesitate to contact us.