Drone Laws in Sri Lanka

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Drone Regulator in Sri Lanka: Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL)

Link to Sri Lanka Drone Laws: Sri Lanka Drone Regulations

UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan agency responsible for drone safety, CAASL, has provided several details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.

Are drones allowed in Sri Lanka?

According to the CAASL, flying drones is legal in Sri Lanka, 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 Sri Lanka:

Drones are divided into four Mass Categories under the current regulatory framework.

  • Category A – 25 kg (55 lbs) or above
  • Category B – Above 1 kg (2.2 lbs) but below 25 kg (55 lbs)
  • Category C – Above 200 g (0.44 lbs) but at or below 1 kg (2.2 lbs)  
  • Category D – 200 g (0.44 lbs) or below          

The individual categories are subject to specific compliance requirements.

  • Any drone (regardless of mass category) equipped with data capturing sensors (i.e., Cameras) that could pose a safety or security threat shall not be flown without prior authorization from the area’s local police. 
  • Prior authorization from the local police is not required if the operator obtains written approval from the airport in that region or if the aircraft is operated under the supervision of a CAASL-authorized person. 
  • Drones in categories A and B with data-collection sensors must be registered with the CAASL. 
  • A Category C drone without data-collection sensors must be registered with a certified vendor. 
  • A Category D drone not equipped with data-collection sensors is exempt from registration requirements. 
  • Drones cannot fly at speeds greater than 87 knots (100 mph). 
  • The remote pilot must always maintain a visual line of sight (VLOS) and be aware of their surroundings. 
  • A drone operation should not be conducted in inclement weather or with less than 5 kilometers of visibility (3 miles). 
  • A single drone may be operated concurrently by the same remote pilot. 
  • Operating a drone from a moving vehicle, boat, or other moving platforms is prohibited. 
  • Remote pilots must always yield to manned aircraft and other human-powered vehicles. 
  • A drone should keep a safe distance from people, birds, and property. 
  • Drones are prohibited from operating at night between 20 minutes after sunset and 20 minutes before sunrise. 
  • Drones classified as Category A, B, or C must be insured. 
  • Without prior authorization, operating within Sri Lanka’s territorial waters is prohibited. 
  • A drone cannot operate within Class C, D, or E airspace or five miles of any airport without prior ATC authorization.

Registration Requirements for Drone Flying in Sri Lanka?

Drone Registration

  • It is a prerequisite for the OPERATION of a drone. You can register using the CAA online Drone Registration system. You can register your drone by sending completed Registration form to drone@caa.lk
  • Except for Temporary Certificates, an Unmanned Aircraft Registration Certificate is valid for two years and must be renewed every two years. 
  • During an operation, the drone’s operator must carry their Registration Certificate. 
  • Before registration, drones equipped with sensors that could pose a safety or security threat may be subject to an inspection by the CAASL. 
  • If the drone is no longer operational or will cease to be operated within the country, it must be de-registered by notifying the Director-General of Civil Aviation.

Pilot Registration

  • A remote pilot operating a Category A, B, or C aircraft must obtain registration from the CAASL after passing a Competency Check conducted by the CAASL or an authorized third party. 
  • To obtain a registration, the operator must be at least 18 years old unless otherwise authorized in writing by the Director-General of Civil Aviation. 
  • A remote pilot operating a Category A, B, or C aircraft must renew their Authorization Certificate every two years. 
  • Only Sri Lankan citizens can apply for a standard registration; non-citizens may apply for a Temporary Registration.

Identification Stamp

Drones classified as Category A, B, or C must bear an identification stamp issued by the Director-General of Civil Aviation that includes the registration number, the owner’s issued photo identification, and emergency contacts.

Special rules for drone flying in Sri Lanka

Drones should not exceed 87 knots (approximately 160 km/h). 

The CAA must also approve flights within buildings. 

Additionally, operating drones from a moving object (car, boat, etc.) or an elevated position are prohibited (such as a roof). 

Avoid flying over roads, rails, power lines, or near communication towers. Controlling the drone while under the influence of intoxicants is prohibited. 

When flying over private property, obtain the owner’s permission. 

Keep an eye out for signs indicating “No Drone Zones.” Often, these areas are subject to stringent controls.

Note for Foreign Operators

Before importing a drone into the country, you are required to obtain necessary permission/no objections from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL), Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), and Import & Export Control Department.

If you are engaged in drone importation as a business, you must obtain a permit from CAASL. To obtain a permit, please click here.

The following steps describe the drone importation process.

Sri Lanka Drone Import Flowchart
Sri Lanka Drone Import Flowchart

Step 1 (Check the Drone Type is Approved or Not)

Check whether your drone type is on the approved list to be imported to the country.

If the type is not in the approved type list, you must apply for type approval from CAASL using the following application CAA/AU/019.

(Please note that it may take up to 7 working days, and you should submit any details upon the request of CAASL)

Once you obtained permission for your drone type from CAASL, you may apply for security clearance from MOD and follow the rest of the steps per the flow chart above.

If your drone is on the Approved List, no objection from CAASL is not required. You may apply for the security clearance from MOD and follow the rest of the steps per the flow chart above.

Step 2 (Obtaining Security Clearance from the Ministry of Defence)

Apply for security clearance from the Ministry of Defence to import a drone into the country using the below contacts;

Email – modtechnical.branch@gmail.com
Website – http://www.defence.lk

Step 3 (Obtaining Spectrum Clearance from Telecommunication Regulatory Commission)

After obtaining the MOD security clearance, apply for spectrum clearance from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka.

Email – smind@trc.gov.lk 
Telephone Number – 0112 689 345; Extension: 4122 
Contact Person – Ms. Hiranya Kumarasiri 
Website – http://www.trc.gov.lk/

Step 4 (Obtaining Import Control License)

After obtaining the above approvals, you are required to obtain Import Control License to clear your units from the Sri Lanka Customs

Website – http://www.imexport.gov.lk/index.php/en/

Step 5 (Collect your item from SL Customs)

You may clear your items from Sri Lanka Customs upon completion of the above steps.

You also required to register your drone with CAASL and obtain flying permission. All the process are same for both Sri Lankan residents and foreigners.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Sri Lanka

All drones in Sri Lanka must be registered; any drone over 1,000 pounds requires a permit. 

The following entities must approve: 

Registration of drones with aviation authorities 

Deputy Chief of Defense Staff – Flight 

Appropriate authorization from the aviation authorities (different from the registration) 

For this reason, we recommend that you apply for a permit at least four weeks in advance.

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

Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Sri Lanka

A permit is required for commercial drone use in Sri Lanka.

Approvals are required from the following entities:

  • Drone registration with aviation authorities
  • Chief of the Defense Staff -Flight
  • Permission of the aviation authorities (different from the registration)

Authorization and licensing is a complex process. Please check with the CAASL directly for specifics.

Useful published information on flying drones in Sri Lanka

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

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, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.

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Traveling with a Drone?

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


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The content on this site (The latest Drone Laws/Drone Regulations) is collated by volunteers from public general information. It is based on user experience, our own research, understanding, and interpretation of the laws. We always go back to the regulatory source as a starting point and apply our expertise in simplifying where possible what the authorities publish. To that understanding, we add our own first hand experience, and users experience to build a more complete picture.

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.

When your experience is different, we want to know. We welcome any feedback, corrections, or updates that can be shared with our community.

Finally, we urge you to operate your drone safely and to follow the drone laws of the location in which you are flying!

The contents of this website are open-sourced and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC By-SA 3.0 US). Feel free to share, remix, or otherwise.

5 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Sri Lanka”

  1. All of this info copy pasted and still not don’t know all the steps I need to take to be able to legally fly a drone as a recreational pilot. You should be more clear with specified links and steps how to be able to fly the drone.

    1. How do I do the Pilot Registration? Is there a link?
    2. How do I get an Identification Stamp? Is this a stamp that needs to be issued in Sri Lanka or is it my local country’s UAS number?
    3. Do I need insurance to be able to reguster?
    4. Is the following rule just for drones over 1,000 pounds or does it apply to all drones?’ The following entities must approve: Registration of drones with aviation authorities & Deputy Chief of Defense Staff – Flight’. If it applies to all drones how do we get these entities to approve?
    5. What is the summary of the steps needed? I don’t get if I just need pilot and drone registration, or if extra red tape steps are needed for recreational flying.

    These rules basically tell you ‘we don’t want drone pilots in Sri Lanka’, instead of promoting the use of drones.

    • Thank you for your feedback. We are not related to the regulator. We are a volunteer organization trying as best we can to interpret what we understand the regulations to be. Perhaps you will share what you find out with our audience here or may even consider volunteering to help.

  2. So tourists who arrive and want to use their drones to take home some beautiful memories and promotional material to encourage more tourists to come ,are criminals ,even if they use a drone that is acceptable throughout the rest of the world.WoW ! …you sure do drive people away into the arms of Thailand ,Vietnam and Indonesia

    • Cristo, we are not related to the regulators, merely a volunteer group sharing the laws as we know them. That said, each country and sometimes local areas/cities/states may have strict regulations for security purposes that should be respected and followed.


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