Drone Laws in Saudi Arabia

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)


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



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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site 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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