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?
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.
Phone +1 246 535-0001
Phone +213 2 74 06 99
Phone +225 21 58 69 00
Phone +221 33 865 60 00
Phone: 963 11 333381
Phone +964 1 813 3370
Here's my more detailed cover on the drone laws in Iraq.
Phone +98 21 603 6341
Phone: +254 20 824 4722
Phone +996 312251619
Phone +212 3 773 242
Phone +261 20 222 2438
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone +505 2276 8580
Phone +998 71 133 2313
Phone: +53 537 834-4949
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
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:
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (with exceptions if the person has physical inabilities)
- Be physically and mentally fit to operate UAS
- Be at least 16 years old
- Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test–or the Part 107 test–at an FAA-accredited knowledge testing center
- Undergo Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) security screening
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
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.
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:
Restricted Areas and Geofencing (drone flying map)
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)
No follow me
2.Dji Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall
Follow + obstacle avoidance
DJI lowered it's price since it was first released.
Frequently asked questions
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.
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