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Instructions for those wanting to take aerial photographs

Taking photographs and inspecting military zones from the air requires authorisation. The targets inspected may be moving or shifting. Therefore, a permit is often needed for aerial photography. We will tell you, when you need a permit and how to obtain one.
You will need a permit for any extensive photography from an aircraft or a remotely piloted drone. The altitude or type of equipment does not affect the need for a permit. You always need one.

The permits are granted by the Defence Command Finland. The price of the permit is EUR 86 in accordance with Decree 1072/2022 of the Ministry of Defence.

You need a permit to photograph or otherwise store information from the air within Finnish territory

  • areas permanently restricted to aerial traffic (EFR11, 12, 35, 37, 43, 45 54, 100, 123, 124, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132 ja 133)
  • fortification areas, fortifications and garrisons
  • military ports or military air bases
  • Finnish Defence Forces' warehouses or storage areas
  • FDF signal stations, antenna sites and other defence equipment or materiel
  • FDF or Border Guard field exercises

You do not need a permit when

  • what you are photographing is already well-known and identified and when it does not include troops, buildings or vehicles mentioned in section 14 of the Territorial Surveillance Act.
  • photography is not extensive and focuses instead on a predetermined target, such as a narrow power line, block, park area, industrial area or area of forest, or an area that is less than 500 km2.
  • The flying of drones or flying in the area must be carried out according to current aviation laws and regulations.

You do not need a permit when recording information for private use while on board a civilian, commercial aircraft. You may, for example, take pictures from an airplane during a commercial flight.
If you are not sure whether you need a permit or you suspect that you may have taken pictures of targets that are named in the Territorial Surveillance Act, contact the Defence Command. We will gladly answer any question you have by e-mail.

How to apply for an aerial photography permit

Apply for the permit by email at [email protected]  or contact the Registry Office of Defence Command Finland.
The application must include the photographed area as an included map, and to include geospatial information (ESRI, shp, KMZ) or coordinate points. An aerial photography permit may still contain terms and conditions. The processing time for an application is approximately 14 days.
Aviation in areas permanently restricted to aerial traffic (H24 R areas) also require a flight permit. The application form can be found in the Finnish Defence Forces’ website.
The decision may still contain restrictions on the image quality, time frame of photography or contact with the photographed target. The permit issuing authority has the right to inspect the photographed material. Based on the inspection, the material may be given a security classification.

For more information