Drone Laws in Saudi Arabia

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)

Updated July 21, 2022


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian agency responsible for drone safety, GACA, 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.

Are drones allowed in Saudi Arabia?

According to the GACA, flying drones is legal in Saudi Arabia, 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 Saudi Arabia:

Drones are viewed as a serious threat to public security in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, the country has created an opportunity for private individuals to import and fly drones legally.

  • Avoid flying your drone directly over people or large crowds. 
  • Never fly your drone above 150 meters. 
  • Never fly your drone beyond your visual line of sight – you must always be able to see the drone in the sky. When flying your drone, respect the privacy of others. 
  • Avoid flying your drone over airports or in areas frequented by aircraft. You must fly during daylight hours and only in good weather. 
  • Avoid flying your drone over sensitive areas, such as government or military installations. Drones or camera drones are not permitted in these areas.

Drone Registration Requirements in Saudi Arabia?

Drones weighing 250 grams (0.55 lbs) and above require the operator to apply for a Certificate of Aircraft Registration to register the aircraft.

Drone registrations must be renewed every three years.

All drones must display a unique identification number issued by the Registry after the Certificate of Aircraft Registration has been approved.

The identification number must be affixed in a secure and easily accessible way and visible upon inspection.

How to apply for authorization to fly a drone in Saudi Arabia?

Applications for authorized operations must be submitted in a format and manner acceptable to the President of GACA, along with information about the UAS’s performance characteristics, communications, pilot documentation, and other critical operations data.

Notes for Foreign Operators

To obtain customs clearance, anyone wishing to import a drone must register the serial number. Saudi Customs will allow the drone into the country if it is registered. 

Your applications are handled by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA). It maintains an online portal through which you can easily apply for required documents. You’ll need some information about your drone, such as the serial number and model, as well as an identification document. 

Private users pay 250 SAR (approximately 60 euros) for registration, while commercial pilots pay 500 SAR (about 120 euros). Commercial use also requires training.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Saudi Arabia

Unless authorized by the President of GACA, a drone cannot be operated unless and until the following conditions are met:

  • The drone has an airworthiness certificate and is appropriately registered and marked following GACA regulations. 
  • No person may operate a drone unless the GACA Air Traffic Control provider authorizes the operation area. 
  • The President has delegated specific operating authority to the operator. 

Remote pilots must possess a current pilot certificate issued according to GACAR Part 61.

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


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Saudi Arabia

  • To operate commercially, you must possess a valid Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the GACA. 
  • You cannot operate a drone recklessly in a way that endangers another person’s life or property (this includes dropping objects from the aircraft). 
  • No person may operate a drone unless the GACA Air Traffic Control provider authorizes the operation area. 
  • You must conduct your flight during daylight or civil twilight.
  • You must maintain a visual line of sight between your drone and the ground (VLOS). 
  • The remote pilot can only fly one drone at a time. 
  • Drones cannot be used to transport hazardous materials. 
  • A drone cannot be flown directly over people. 
  • Unless authorized in advance by Air Traffic Control, no person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, C, or D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport (ATC). 
  • You must fly at or below 100 miles per hour (87 knots). 
  • You must fly at or below 400 feet above ground level (120 meters). 
  • You must give all manned aircraft the right of way. 
  • Unless you are in a sparsely populated area, you cannot fly from a moving vehicle.

Certification Requirements for Flying a Drone 

To fly a drone commercially in Saudi Arabia, a Remote Pilot Certificate from the GACA is required. The following requirements must be met to obtain a certificate:

  • You must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language (exceptions may be made if the person cannot meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment). 
  • To operate a small UAS safely, you must be in good physical and mental health. 
  • You must be at least 18 years old to participate. 
  • You must pass a knowledge test in aeronautics. 
  • You must obtain clearance from GACA’s Aviation Security Division.

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


Useful published information on flying drones in Saudi Arabia

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

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 (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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36 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Saudi Arabia”

  1. Hi, the only requirement for customs clearance is the drone registration? And given that the drone is already registered, will they ask for additional import fees upon arrival? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Lars, we understand there may be a path for this, but recommend you contact the regulator directly for guidance

      Reply
  2. Hello! I just received my UAS Unmanned Aircraft Registration Certificate. Took me 2.5 years for the approval from my the time of my application. Nevertheless, its better than getting rejected. I can not still fly it though, I still need an Operator Permit. Could you please let me know how to obtain it? I dont see it on the site. I have also ask GACA for my next step but was not responded yet.

    Reply
    • Alfred, you will have to call GACA, visit a GACA location, or wait for their reply. Follow the links at the top of the page to their website to find the contact us page

      Reply
  3. Hello, I have just tried to bring a Mini 3 in and customs have held it. I have spent several hours there today and tried telling them it was under 250 grams so I don’t have to register but they did not seam to know if this was correct or not. After speaking with the manager he said this is only applicable to drones without cameras and as mine has a camera I have to register it. Now trying to register it, the link doesn’t work and customs said I have 10 days before they dispose of it. Can you suggest what I should do next?

    Reply
    • David, Our recommendation for foreign operators, above, recommends registering the serial number with GACA before arrival.
      Have you tried the GACA site (link at the top of this page), which has a drone registration link? It works for us.
      We suggest you get in touch with GACA directly

      Reply
  4. Hi i have a dji mavic mini drone less then 250g can i fly it in saudi without licence and regeneration? Please advise.

    Reply
      • Hello Merlin,

        Would you be kind to let us know how do we submit a fly for approval?
        I have the Mini 2 registered in GACA, so I just need to let them know everytime I want to fly, is that correct?

        Thanks for the amazing blog!

        Reply
        • Unfortunately, there is no online method for doing so, and for now the regulation is unclear whether authorization is required each time. In addition to authorization, you will need flight clearance from traffic control if its in certain areas.
          Please follow the link at the top of this page to get to GACA website and find the contact us section. Someone there will be able to help you prepare the written request for authorization.

          Reply
  5. Hi I want to bring my mavic mini 2 drone from Pakistan to saudi Arabia on saudia airline. Can you please guide me how to pack my drone accessories to avoid any problem on airport.

    Reply
    • Ghulam, we wrote an article just for these situations. Please follow the link on the section traveling with a drone. Best wishes

      Reply
  6. Hello, do i understand that registration is required on GACA for flying the drone within KSA and a custom clearance is also require for bringing it within the kingdom? I plan to arrive with the drone(DJI Spark – 300g) in my luggage but i can’t find any suitable information about the custom clearance process. Any guidance, please?

    Thanks.
    Sylvo

    Reply
  7. Hi, thank you for providing the above information.

    Do you know if, as a registered Drone Operator in the UK, with a Pilots license and a permit to work approved from the CAA.

    Are these documents and licenses transferrable to the GACA and mean I can commercially operate a drone in Saudi Arabia, once I’ve registered the drone and myself with the GACA? Or do I need to complete additional training through the GACA to be able to operate drones commercially in Saudi Arabia?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Andy, registration and training are required. It is possible that GACA may accept your CAA licenses. To operate commercially, you will require the GACA security division authorization so they can provide details. Use the links to GACA at the top of the page

      Reply
  8. Do we need to register the drones which are under 250g Or we can fly it without registration ?

    ,And if not required can we bring it via airport without registration ?

    Reply
    • Waleed, the regulations state that registration is not required for a 250g drone, but you will still need the authorization to fly. Please contact GACA for import questions.

      Reply
    • Qadershah, we only cover drone laws. We recommend you buy a commercially available drone or find a site with instructions on how to build drones.

      Reply
    • Harishankar we are unable to provide you any guidance with such a broad question. Are you a retailer, trying to sell a new model, trying to sell a drone privately? In any case, you are better off contacting the regulators using the above links for specific questions.

      Reply
  9. Dear GACA Customer Support,

    I’ve following questions to apply for Remote Pilot Certificate:

    -Is a Saudi Iqama required?
    -How long does it take to issue the license using the online application?
    -Is there any other requirements from GACA to obtain the certificate?

    Reply
    • Rizwan, this website is not related to GACA, we are an independent site. Please contact GACA directly with your questions. You can follow the link at the top of the page to find GACA contacts.

      Reply
    • Regarding the length it takes to issue the license, I called their helpdesk today (+966 12684 7999) and the customer agent said it usually takes a month to be processed because the application is sent to the Ministry of Interior for screening and approval first. Once you receive their update, then you will be directed to pay for the license.

      Reply

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