Dronesgator logo

All Drone Laws in the U.A.E for 2023 (Ultimate Guide)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
united-arab-emirates-drone-laws.jpg
height flight limit 1

122m max height

cant fly over crowds of people 1

Register all drones

plane icon white 1 1

Don't fly near airports

line of sight law 1

Only line of sight

Dubai is an excellent destination for drone pilots and drone enthusiasts. Two public entities are involved in the drone registration process. General Civil Aviation Authority and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) have strict laws for anyone flying drones. Both the authorities can issue permits.

Registrations slightly vary from emirate to emirate however, GCAA is trying to crack on any shops selling off drones as toys by exploiting the loopholes.

Are drones legal in UAE?

Yes, drones are legal in the UAE, but you need to follow some rules. First of all, make sure to contact the officials regarding drone flights and check their site if you're a traveler.

Drones are being used for two different purposes i.e. recreational and commercial activities. people who fly their drones just for the sake of fun fall under the recreational pilot category while those who intend to fly them for business and other professional reasons are categorized as commercial pilots.

There are rules for both recreational and commercial drones that you must follow accordingly. This article will guide you through and let you know what are the rules and regulations for flying drones in the United Arab Emirates.

Contact information

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) 

Website: https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/pages/default.aspx 

Contact +97142111626

The authority of the GCAA covers all areas in Dubai.

Dubai Civil Aviation Authority

Website: https://www.dcaa.gov.ae/en/Pages/default.aspx 

Contact +97147770599

image 31

What are the drone laws in Dubai?

As mentioned earlier, drone laws can be divided into two main categories i.e. commercial and recreational drones. However, there are some general rules that apply to the UAS of both categories.

Recreational Drone Laws

Here are some rules and regulations that you will need to follow if you are going to fly just for the sake of fun:

  • You are only allowed to fly during the daytime.
  • You can't fly a drone with a camera in the Emirates until you are registered with GCAA.
  • Keep your drone within your visual line of sight.
  • The maximum altitude you are allowed to fly your drone is 400 feet or 120 meters.
  • Do not fly near airports, helipads, or any other no-fly zones.
  • You are not allowed to fly over crowds of people.
  • Do not fly near other aircraft.
  • Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Make sure your drone is registered and has a valid permit from the GCAA.
  • Give way to emergency services vehicles and do not impede their work.
  • Respect people's privacy and do not fly over private property without permission.
  • Do not use your drone for any illegal activities.
  • Do not carry any hazardous materials with your drone.
  • Be a responsible drone pilot and do not put other people's lives in danger.

Commercial Drone Laws

If you wish to fly your drone for professional or commercial reasons, you will need to get a permit from the GCAA. Here are some general rules that you will need to follow:

  • All the rules for the recreational drone pilot also apply here
  • It is mandatory for all commercial drone pilots to pass the UAS GCAA exam before taking off
  • Organizations who intend to fly their drone for professional applications will also have to obtain a registration certificate for special operation
  • Commercial drone pilots need to obtain operational approval before taking off
  • You can't fly your drone without a permit in some areas of the Emirates 

General Drone Laws In Dubai

Apart from the recreational and commercial drone rules, there are some general laws that need to be followed by everyone. Here they are:

  • Maintain visual line of sight with the drone
  • Can't fly closer than 1km without aproval.
  • Operators can only fly drones in uncontrolled airspace (Class G) up to 400 ft
  • Do not fly at night unless your drone has lighting
  • Drones less than 5kg should be registered
  • Careful not to drop or carry anything with your drone
  • Don't fly over a military or government facility

How to Apply for a GCAA certificate for your drone

What is the application procedure for a recreational drone with GCAA?

Whenever you are going to fly your drone in the UAE you will need to obtain a certificate for it. The certificate is obtained by filling out an online form and providing the required documents. The applicant will have to pass a written exam in order to obtain the certificate.

The following steps need to be followed in order to apply for the GCAA certificate:

  1. The applicant will submit the details such as national ID, photo of drone, etc at the E-Services system, available at the www.gcaa.gov.ae system. Applications can also be done on the “My drone hub” app.
  2. GCAA reviews registration documentation. 
  3. On approval, the applicant receives a notification via email.
  4. The registration process is free.  

Where can I fly my drone in the United Arab Emirates?

Using the app My Drone Hub, you can identify the areas that are restricted to drone flight. It is mainly aimed at recreational drone users. The app also helps with:

  • Registering your drone - (a matter of minutes)
  • Your permit applications
  • Maintain drone certifications within your app
  • Receive live updates

You need a UAE mobile number to properly operate this app. Another online website that shows all the no-fly zones here.

How to register a commercial drone

Start by filling out and completing the following form.

Here are the other attachments required:

  1. A Security clearance
  2. UA operator registration license, fill here then send to drones@gcaa.gov.ae 
  3. Option to subscribe to UAE publications. 

In about 3 weeks there will be feedback on the position of your application. 

Is there a penalty for drone violations?

The fine for not heeding the authority’s warning is anything from Dh2,000-

image 24

What are my top drones to fly safely in the U.A.E?

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 Mini 2- The best international travel drone (under 250g)

camera-icon-spec

4k

battery-icon-spec

31 min

range-icon-spec

10 km

drone-icon-spec

No follow-me

image 25

DJI has surprised us with this incredible camera drone under 250g, which is legal to fly in most countries without registration.

It comes at a very cheap price for its incredible specs.I have covered it much more in-depth in my article review and even compared it with the Mavic Air 2.

2. DJI Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

camera-icon-spec

4k 60p

battery-icon-spec

34 min

range-icon-spec

10 km

drone-icon-spec

Follow me

image 26

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 its price since it was first released.

Restricted Areas and Geofencing (Drone Flying map)

The best way to figure out what areas you can fly in, while you're here is by consulting DJI's official map.

They do a great job mapping the places that one should avoid while flying in every country:

  • airports
  • military bases
  • prisons
  • power plants
  • any high-risk areas

These would be the current updated drone laws for UAE. I suggest checking my full map with all the countries' drone laws to see where it's best to travel.

Conclusion 

If you are going to visit the U.A.E, make sure you’ve learned all the dos and don’ts of flying drones in this region. This will help you have a safe journey and enjoy flying your drone without getting yourself into trouble.

Also, keep in mind that, commercial and recreational drones are treated differently in most countries therefore you will need to prepare yourself accordingly. Last but not least, always follow rules and regulations and make sure to respect the laws of every country.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

Get a FREE Beginner Drone  Checklist

drone-preflight-checklist-free-graphic.png
This checklist is made so you can always make sure you bring the things and do what's important before you fly. 
LET'S GO!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram