Drone Laws in the United Arab Emirates

Drone regulations and links for people flying drones in the United Arab Emirates.

drone laws in United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates Drone Regulations

According to the United Arab Emirates’ national aviation authority, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), flying a drone is legal in the United Arab Emirates, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.

If you’d like to contact the GCAA directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: drones@gcaa.gov.ae / +97 142 111 710 / 142 111 526

flying a drone in U.A.E.

Why fly a drone in the United Arab Emirates? To get great aerial shots like these!

General Rules for Flying a Drone in the United Arab Emirates

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

Recreational (i.e., Flying for Fun)

  • The user and the drone must be registered with the GCAA before flying. Register here.
  • All drones weighing 5 kilograms (11 pounds) or less shall only be allowed to fly in the approved flying zone (i.e the green zone).
  • No video or image capturing devices shall be used when flying the drone (Drone pilots with an Emirates Id that is registered with the GCAA can shoot videos and take photographs using drones in locations permitted and at heights specified by the local authorities. Use the UAE My Drone Hub app, available in the Android and iTunes app store, to determine where you may and may not take photos or record video with a drone.).
  • No drones shall be equipped with drop or release devices;
  • Drones’ flying range shall be within line-of-sight and not more than 122 meters (400 feet) above ground level.
  • Drones shall fly only during daytime and in good weather conditions;
  • Drones shall not be flown near public and/or private property.
  • Drones shall now be flown within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of UAE airports outer fence, Heliports, Helicopter landing Sites, and airfields or in controlled zones.
  • Direct radio control link shall be maintained between the drone pilot and the drone while in flight.
  • Drones pilots shall avoid collisions with people, objects, other manned and unmanned aircraft.
  • Drones user shall not harass or endanger people or threaten to damage property.
  • Drone pilots are responsible for informing the GCAA through the GCAA website when they intend to resell their drone(s).
  • If a drones accident or loss of control occurs the pilot must immediately report the incident/accident to the GCAA on hotline: +971506414667 and E-mail: aai@gcaa.gov.ae ;
  • The minimum age to fly drones weighing more than 25 kilograms (55 pounds) is 21 years.

Commercial (i.e., Flying for Work)

  • Commercial drone operators must pass the UAS GCAA exam.
  • All Organizations/Operators who intend to operate drones in the UAE for commercial or special operations are required to hold a GCAA drone Registration Certificate. Special Operations include these types of uses: Aerial Work, Agriculture, Air Show, Fire fighting, Inspection, Media, Petroleum, Surveillance, Weather forecasting. Apply for a Registration Certificate here.
  • All Organizations/Operators holding a GCAA drone Registration Certificate are required to obtain operational approval before commencement of each flight. Apply for operational approval here.

For more information on the United Arab Emirates’ drone laws, see this page on the GCAA website. Make sure to check for regulations or limitations on drone use specific to each emirate.

Drone Laws in Dubai

Dubai is an emirate in the UAE. In addition to the rules for RPAS established by the GCAA above, anyone who wishes to fly a drone in Dubai must also follow the rules for RPAS established by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA).

To fly a drone in Dubai, you must:

  • Register for an operator training certificate program endorsed by the DCAA to provide RPAS certifications. Sanad Academy and Exponent are two approved training providers.
  • Register your drone with the DCAA. The following documents are required at registration: Company name and address, company trade/commercial license, name and contact details of RPAS, operator’s Emirates ID, passport copy with visa page (non-national), passport size photo (white background), RPAS type/model, RPAS photo, RPAS serial number, operator training certificate, insurance, national ID for tourist, flight booking for tourist. Complete DCAA registration here. Apply as a tourist here.
  • Obtain a no objection certificate from DCAA. Apply here.
  • Avoid collisions with people, objects and other aircraft.
  • Do not harass or endanger people or threaten to damage property.
  • Do not operate your drone over congested areas or over public or private properties.
  • Do not operate your drone near, around, or over airports.
  • Do not fly in no-fly zones. Use the UAE Drone Fly Zone Map app, available in the Android and iTunes app store, to determine where you may and may not fly your drone.

Know something we don’t about drone laws in the United Arab Emirates? 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 the United Arab Emirates 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 the United Arab Emirates? Here you go: