Drone Laws in the UAE

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the United Arab Emirates

UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in the UAE

The Emirates agency responsible for drone safety, GCAA, 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 the UAE?

According to GCAA, drones are allowed in the UAE, subject to GCAA regulations. Read on for more details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in the United Arab Emirates:

The UAE provides separate regulations based on types of users defined as:

a) Individual/Private (Recreational)

  • This category is for all individual/private users who would like to fly UAS/drones in the UAE for leisure (hobby).

b) Organization/Operator (Commercial & Non Commercial)

  • This category is for all organization/operators who would like to operate UAS/drones in the UAE for commercial purposes or for special operations e.g. photography, aerial survey, etc.

Specific guidance is provided in each section below.

UAS/Drones Flying Zones

  • To learn regarding allowable flying zones in the UAE airspace, you can download the Mobile App “My Drone Hub” for Android or iOS phones or download the KMZ file here.

For UAS/drones inquiries please contact the following:

  • For registration and requirements contact the GCAA Aircraft Registry Unit by email at drones@gcaa.gov.ae or by telephone at 8004466 (Sunday – Thursday, 8am – 2pm)

NOTE: Dubai has additional requirements which are provided on the separately linked Dubai Drone Laws page.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in the UAE

Requirements for an Individual/Private User (Recreational)(Click to Apply)

  • The user and UAS/drone shall be registered with the GCAA before flying;
  • All UAS/drones weighing 5kgs or less shall only be allowed to fly in the approved flying zone indicated in my drone hub mobile application (i.e the green zone);
  • Camera usage is only allowed in the flying zones. Drone users must not violate relevant UAE laws while using the camera;
  • No UAS/drones shall be equipped with a drop or release devices;
  • UAS/drones flying range shall be within line-of-sight and not more than 400 feet above ground level;
  • UAS/drones shall fly only during day time and in good weather conditions;
  • UAS/drones shall be used for fun and not for commercial purposes;
  • The user shall be responsible to ensure the UAS/drones is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and it is inspected before the commencement of flight;
  • No user shall fly the UAS/drones near public and/or private property;
  • No user shall fly the UAS/drones within 5 km of UAE airports outer fence, Heliports, Helicopter landing Sites, and airfields or in controlled zones;
  • Direct radio control link shall be maintained between the user and the UAS/drones;
  • Frequency Band Restrictions (29.7-47.0 MHz max power 10 mW, or 2400-2500 MHz max power 100 mW) shall be maintained;
  • UAS/drones user shall take into consideration the effects on radio communication, interference of the frequency used;
  • UAS/drones user shall avoid collisions with people, objects, other manned and unmanned aircraft;
  • UAS/drones user shall not harass or endanger people or threaten to damage property;
  • UAS/drones owner shall be responsible to inform the GCAA through the GCAA website when he/she intends to resell the UAS/drones;
  • If a UAS/drones accident or UAS/drones loss of control has occurred, the user shall immediately report the incident/accident to the GCAA on hotline: +971506414667 and E-mail: aai@gcaa.gov.ae ;
  • All UAS/drones weighing above 5kgs and/or equipped with gas engine shall only operate within the GCAA approved flying clubs;
  • The minimum age to fly UAS/drones weighing more than 25Kgs is 21 years;

Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in the United Arab Emirates

Registration Requirements for an Organization/Operator (Professional use)

Step 1: Register the organization and obtain the Unmanned Aircraft Operator Authorisation (UOA)

All Organizations/Operators who intend to operate UAS/drones in the UAE for professional use or special operations are required to submit the following documents:

SLA: Time it takes to obtain Unmanned Aircraft Operator Authorisation (UOA) is 3 weeks subject to meet GCAA requirement.

Note: Obtaining UOA does not authorize the operator to fly the drone, please follow step 2 to obtain operational approval

Step 2: Apply for operational permission

  • Once UOA is obtained from GCAA, organization/operator will need to apply for unmanned aircraft operation permission for each drone flying activity in red zone. (click to apply)

SLA: 14 working days 

Note: (for further clarification regarding operational approval please contact ANA team on Tel: +97124054257 or E-Mail: ana.approval@gcaa.gov.ae)

Example of Special Operations allowed for this category:

  • Areal Work
  • Agriculture
  • Air Show
  • Fire fighting
  • Inspection
  • Media
  • Petroleum
  • Protecting Wildlife
  • Screening
  • Surveillance
  • Survey
  • Weather forecasting

Useful published information on flying drones in the United Arab Emirates

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

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.


Traveling with a Drone?

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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