countries-where-drones-are-banned

16 countries where Drones are Banned (updated for 2020)

According to the World Economic Forum, drones have been touted as a technology that will feature prominently in the fourth industrial revolution. Apart from the military aspect of the technology, they are being used by recreationists and commercial businesses. Thus far, the opportunities we know are but a drip in the ocean. 

 

The transformational impact of drones is being felt across industries such as agriculture, delivery, conservation, logistics, photography, surveying, real estate, law enforcement, and much more. Despite most countries in the world adopting drone use, and regulating it, some have decided not to use it altogether. 

Why ban drones?

drone laws by country updated map

In my opinion, the leading reason for drone bans is related to security. Most countries that are at war or face widespread instability do not allow their use. Alternatively, a fragile security situation means government institutions do not have the capacity or transparency to monitor the use of drones adequately. In other countries, they do not have the right legislation so they ban it altogether.

Recreational drone rules

There are special situations where the regulations set are so stringent so as to discourage the adoption of drones altogether. 

 

Here are the top 16 countries where drones are banned altogether. I  have also listed their contact so you can inquire to see if the situation has changed.

 

1.Barbados

Barbados Civil Aviation Department, BCAD

Contact: civilav@caribsurf.com   

Phone +1 246 535-0001

 

2.Algeria

Directorate of Civil Aviation and Meteorology of Algeria, DACM

Contact: dg@egsa-alger.dz   

Phone +213 2 74 06 99

 

3.Cote d’Ivoire

National Authority of Civil Aviation, ANAC

Contact: anacsvat@anac.ci   

Phone +225 21 58 69 00

 

4.Senegal

Senegal National Agency of Civil Aviation (ANAC)

Contact: anacim@anacim.sn   

Phone +221 33 865 60 00

 

5.Syria

Syrian Civil Aviation Authority, SCAA

Contact :  

Phone: 963 11 333381

 

6.Iraq

Iraq Civil Aviation Authority, ICAA

Contact: dg@iraqcaa.com   

Phone +964 1 813 3370

Here's my more detailed cover on the drone laws in Iraq.

 

7.Iran

Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, CAOI

Contact: info@cao.ir  

Phone +98 21 603 6341

 

8.Kenya

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, KCAA

Contact: dca@insightkenya.com   

Phone: +254 20 824 4722

 

9.Kuwait

The Kuwaiti Directorate General of Civil Aviation, DGCA

Contact: dg@dgca.gov.kw 

 

10.Kyrgyzstan

Civil Aviation Authority of Kyrgyzstan, CAA

Contact: mail@caa.kg   

Phone +996 312251619

 

11.Morocco

Morocco Directorate of Civil Aviation, DCA

Phone +212 3 773 242

 

12.Madagascar

Civilian Aviation Directorate of Madagascar, CAD

Contact: acm@acm.mg   

Phone +261 20 222 2438

 

13.Nicaragua

Nicaraguan Institute of Civil Aeronautics, INAC

Contact : divulgacion@inac.gob.ni   

Phone +505 2276 8580

 

14.Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan Civil Aviation Administration, UZCAA

Contact: uab@uzcaa.uz  

Phone +998 71 133 2313

 

15.Cuba

Civil Aviation Institute of Cuba, IACC

Contact: webmaster@iacc.gov.cu 

 Phone: +53 537 834-4949

 

16.Brunei

Brunei Department Of Civil Aviation, DCA

Contact: info.dca@civil-aviation.gov.bn 

Phone: +673 7292187

 

Commercial drone rules

For commercial purposes, it will be a different set of rules you’ll gonna have to follow. 

But the first thing you should take note is the weight of your drone. 

  • Below 250 grams 
    • no certification is needed 
    • e.g. DJI Spark 2 
  •  Under 55 lbs and Over 250 grams 
    • Part 107 certification (to be discussed later) 
  • Over 55 lbs
    • Authorization permit from Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Systems from the Secretary of Transportation 

Qualifications

For owners of drones that are less than 55 lbs, the next thing you should secure is the Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. In order to obtain that, you should pass these following qualifications: 

 

  1. Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (with exceptions if the person has physical inabilities) 
  2. Be physically and mentally fit to operate UAS 
  3. Be at least 16 years old 
  4. Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test–or the Part 107 test–at an FAA-accredited knowledge testing center 
  5. Undergo Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) security screening 

 

Guidelines

Once you secure the needed permits, then you can fly commercially. However, similar to recreational purposes, there are certain guidelines too. 

  • Register on FAA’s portal, DroneZone 
  • Fly only in Class G airspace 
  • Keep your UAS within visual line-of-sight 
  • Fly at or below 400 ft 
  • Fly only during daylight or twilight 
  • Fly at or under 100 mph 
  • Yield right of way to manned aircraft 
  • Do not fly directly over people 
  • Do not fly over a moving vehicle 

 

Meanwhile, several states in the US have their own set of regulations too. It would help if you browse on them too.

Controlled and Uncontrolled Airspace explained

controlled and uncontrolled airspace levels graphic in the United States

But before you decide which purpose are you using it for, you should know first if you are flying it in a controlled or uncontrolled airspace. Here are the guidelines you should from from FAA’s Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

What is Controlled Airspace?

Controlled airspace is the area surrounding airports where manned aircraft can fly. It is governed by restrictions to protect national security, that is why it is important to brush up on these classifications so you know what are the scopes you have to follow and when is it legal to fly. 

  • A
    Class A
    18,000 ft. MSL up to 600 FL, including the airspace, including the airspace overlying the waters within 12 NM of the coast of 48 contiguous states and Alaska.
  • B
    Class B
    From the surface to 10,000 ft. MSL surrounding US airports. ATC clearance is required for all aircraft to operate here.
  • C
    Class C
    From the surface to 4,000 ft. MSL above the airport elevation. The airspace under this class consists of an area with 5 NM radius that extends from 1,200 ft to 4,000 ft above airport elevation
  • D
    Class D
    From the surface to 2,500 ft. MSL. Each aircraft must establish two-way radio communications with the ATC facility providing air traffic services prior to entering airspace
  • E
    Class E
    Below 14,500 ft. MSL to 18,000 ft. MSL. Airspace base ranges from 700 ft. AGL to 1,200 AGL. Majority of US airspace is under this class.

What is uncontrolled airspace?

Uncontrolled airspace, on the other hand, is portion of the airspace that has not been designated as Class A, B, C, D, nor E. Although there are no air traffic controls (ATC) set to regulate air traffic, operators should be mindful of the visual flight rules (VFS) that apply to this class. 

 

Class G is used to define the uncontrolled airspace. Its scope starts from the surface to the base of the Class E airspace. 

 

But do not be tricked by the term “uncontrolled airspace” because it is not as simple as that. Certain areas in the Class G airspace still have limitations where activities must be regulated depending on their designation, or what is called as the special use airspace or special area of operation (SAO)

According to FAA’s Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, these are the following SAOs that must be observed under Class G airspace:

  • 1
    Prohibited Areas:
    Portions where flight of aircraft is prohibited due to national security, such as near the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where the White House and Congressional buildings are located
  • 2
    Restricted Areas:
    Flying on these areas are not entirely prohibited, but due to the hazard it might cause to non-participating aircraft, activities within these areas must be confined or limited. These restricted areas often include the existence of “unusual, often invisible, hazards to aircraft” such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, and guided missiles.
  • 3
    Warning Areas:
    Similar to restricted areas, warning areas are set due to the hazards that may happen to non-participating aircraft, but this time in areas extending from 3 NM outward from the coast of US, to protect any non-participating pilots too. This area may be located over domestic or internationals. or both. However, the US government doesn’t have sole jurisdiction over this airspace.
  • 4
    Military Operation Areas (MOAs)
    These are vertical and lateral limits established to separate military training activities from instrument flight rulels (IFR) traffic.
  • 5
    Alert Areas
    High caution shoul be employed over these areas due to high volume of pilot training or unusual type of aeriel activities.
  • 6
    Controlled Firing Areas (CFAs)
    You should watch out for some activities that are often conducted in these areas conducted by spotter aircraft or radars that may also be hazardous to non-participating aircraft from the outside.

Restricted Areas and Geofencing (drone flying map)

The best way to figure out what areas you can fly in, is by consulting DJI offilicial map.
They do a great job mapping the places that one should avoid while flying in every country:

romania flying map dji

What are my top drones to fly safely in US?

My following two recommendations are 2 great compact drones that are quite silent and also small enough to travel with and not stand out as annoying.

1.Dji Mavic Mini - The best international travel drone (under 250g)

camera-icon-small

2.7k

small battery-life-icon

30min

drone distance icon

4km

No follow me

DJI has surprised us with this incredible camera drone under 250g, which is half of the weight required for registering in Austria in the first place.

 

I have covered it much more in depth in my article review and even compared it with the DJI Spark and Mavic Air.

2.Dji Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

camera-icon-small

4k 60fps

small battery-life-icon

34min battery

drone distance icon

9km

Follow + obstacle avoidance

mavic air 2 package fly more combo
If you want more control over things like shutter speed, iso and such, the best professional drone that still falls under the 500g category is the DJI Mavic Air.
 
It's made mostly for people who want to play around with settings and enter into the pro category.
 

 

DJI lowered it's price since it was first released.

Frequently asked questions

faq-what-should-you-look-for-in-a-drone

At this price, every dollar counts in getting yourself a better or worse drone and the differences can be significant.

 I'm going to cover the main features of basic camera drones, not FPV or otherwise niche quadcopters. 

Is drone insurance mandatory?

No, drone insurance is not mandatory for drones in the US, but you can always get something for safety.

What's the max height you can fly a drone at?

For recreational purposes, the max height you can fly at is 400ft

What's the max distance you can fly?

You can fly pretty much as much as you want if you can still see the drone.

Can you fly drones at night?

You can only fly drones between 30 mins before sunrise and 30 mins after sunset

Can you fly in national parks and cities?

You cannot fly drones in national parks or cities like Washington, D.C. and New York City

Can I fly a foreign drone in the US?

Yes. But like any other drones, you must secure a foreign aircraft permit from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the FAA. 

 

If your drone is registered in your home country, you must submit an application for permit at least 15 days prior to operating it. 

  • If in case, your country does not require drone registration, you may reach the DOT Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division for application 
  • For Canadians and Mexicans, you are entitled to a foreign aircraft permit for Specialty Air Services (SAS) for certain agricultural or industrial operations for both manned and UAS drone operations, as granted by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Under these regulations, Canadians and Mexicans don’t need to file applications for economic authority on their drone operations. 
  • For other nationalities, aside from Canadians and Mexicans, all US regulations for securing authorizations on drone operations still apply