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Drone Laws in Saudi Arabia

Drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Saudi Arabia.

drone laws in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia Drone Regulations

According to Saudi Arabia’s national aviation authority, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) flying a drone is legal in Saudi Arabia, but we do recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the GACA directly with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: gaca-info@gaca.gov.sa / +966 11 525 3222 / 525 3111

fly drone in Saudi Arabia

Why fly a drone in Saudi Arabia? To get great aerial shots like these!

General Drone Rules for Flying a Drone in Saudi Arabia

Based on our research and interpretation of the laws, here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Saudi Arabia.

  • A drone must be operated in a manner that reduces the risk of hazards to people, property, and other aircraft and in accordance with operating limitations established by the GACA.

Registration Requirements:

  • Drones weighing 250 grams (0.55 lbs) and above require the operator to submit an application for a Certificate of Aircraft Registration in order to register the aircraft.
  • Drone registrations must be renewed every three years.
  • All drones must display a unique identification number, which is issued by the Registry after the Certificate of Aircraft Registration has been approved.
  • The identification number must be affixed in a way that is secure and easily accessible and visible upon inspection.

Recreational Operations – Flying for Fun:

Unless authorized by the President, a drone cannot be operated unless:

  • The drone has been issued an airworthiness certificate, is registered and marked correctly according to GACA regulations.
  • No person may operate a drone unless the areas of operation are within authorized
    areas determined by the appropriate GACA Air Traffic Control provider.
  • The operator has received specific operating authority from the President.
  • Remote pilots hold a valid pilot certificate issued under GACAR Part 61.

For all recreational regulations, refer to this page on the GACA website.

Application:

  • Applications for authorized operations must be made in a form and in a manner acceptable to the President and submitted with the information regarding UAS performance characteristics, communications, pilot documentation, and other critical operations information.

For all application requirements, refer to this page on the GACA website.

Commercial Operations – Flying for Work:

  • You must hold a valid Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the GACA to operate commercially.
  • You cannot operate a drone in a reckless manner that endangers the life or property of another (this includes dropping objects from the aircraft).
  • No person may operate a drone unless the areas of operation are within authorized
    areas determined by the appropriate GACA Air Traffic Control provider.
  • You must fly during the daylight or civil twilight.*
  • You must keep your drone within Visual-Line-of-Sight (VLOS).*
  • Only one drone can be flown at a time by the remote pilot.*
  • Hazardous materials cannot be transported via drone.
  • You cannot fly a drone directly over people.*
  • No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, C, D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).*
  • You must fly at or under 100 mph (87 knots).*
  • You must fly at or below 400 feet AGL (120 m).*
  • You must yield the right of way to all manned aircraft.
  • You cannot fly from a moving vehicle, unless in a sparsely populated area.*

*Some of these restrictions can be waived if after you submit a waiver application and if the President finds that a proposed small UAS operation can safely be conducted under the terms of that Certificate of Waiver.

Certification Requirements for Flying a Drone in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

To fly a drone for commercial purposes in Saudi Arabia, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the GACA. Here are the requirements for obtaining a certificate:

  • You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment).
  • You must be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test.
  • You must be cleared through the GACA Aviation Security Division.

For all commercial regulations, refer to this page on the GACA website.

Know something we don’t about drone laws in Saudi Arabia? Send us an email at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com. We are not international aviation attorneys and do our best to keep this page up-to-date for drone pilots, but the reality is that given the pace of the small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industry and how governments are responding, drone regulations in Saudi Arabia can change throughout the year, and those changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.

Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Saudi Arabia? Here you go:

Saudi Arabia from Above - An Aerial Drone Film المملكة العربية السعودية جوي طائرة بدون طيار فيلم