Drones are becoming popular each day, and it’s not hard to see why; they’re fun, exciting, and have a wide scope of use. In addition to recreational use, these devices are used in the health industry to deliver medical supplies to remote areas or disaster zones. They’re also used in search and rescue situations to detect humans’ heat signatures using infrared technology. It’s no wonder that the drone’s adoption rate is skyrocketing!
Currently, around 45 countries globally have passed drone laws, and this number is expected to increase as more people buy UAVs. Some countries ban drone usage altogether, but most of them simply lack laws governing their use. We have compiled a comprehensive guide into drones’ regulations, including why they get banned, places you’re not allowed to use them, and countries where they are banned. Check out the complete details below!
There are 3 main reasons why governments ban drones;
There are instances where the government can’t define how drone usage will affect the country’s profit or national security, so they ban them just in case. In some cases, they simply haven’t figured out the right kind of legislation that can effectively govern drone usage, so they prohibit them until they come up with the appropriate laws.
Some authoritarian countries need strict control over what information their citizens get. They limit all forms of freedom for citizens and limit the amount of information that people can access. In most of these countries, you’ll probably find that social media platforms, including Facebook, are also banned.
There are countries that don’t ban drones per se, but the laws are unbearably strict to even try and get the device. These strict policies are aimed at discouraging people from using drones without actually restricting them.
As more people start using drones globally, it’s expected that the countries that don’t have drone laws in place or have already banned their usage will start creating legislation to regulate their use. Hopefully, it won’t be long before they primarily start being used in most sectors, including commercial work, delivery & agriculture. In fact, according to the Trusted SourceRwanda begins Zipline commercial drone deliveries What is being hailed as the world’s first commercial regular drone delivery service is beginning drop-offs in Rwanda. www.bbc.com , drones are already being used for commercial deliveries in Rwanda, so it won’t be long before other African countries follow suit.
If you’d like to join the drone craze and are looking for the best alternative, the Holy Stone HS110D comes highly recommended. It has amazing features such as a headless mode that gives you more control over your device, especially when it’s out of your sight. This drone also has an altitude hold that allows you to shoot images without your hands necessarily being on the joystick. The Holy Stone HS110D has mobile control, and you can control multiple functions using the app, including flight trajectory, gravity sensor control, gestures control, flight control. It comes with 2 batteries that both guarantee 20 minutes of flight time, and you can also do 3D flips using this model, which is extremely cool. This drone is especially useful for beginners.
Alternatively, you could go for the DJI Tello, which according to multiple reviews, is the best device to find out how exciting piloting a drone is. You can easily perform stunts with it, learn about drone coding, and shoot amazing images and quick videos. It also comes with an easy-to-use and intuitive app that allows you to enjoy all the features that this model has to offer. The DJI Tello package includes an aircraft, 4 propellers, 2 propeller guards, and 1 battery.
There are several no-fly zones, but here are the most popular ones;
The FAA requires you to fly outside a mile radius from an airport. This is mostly for safety reasons, but you can get authorizations and waivers if you really want to fly on the set flight paths. This will probably cost you more than it’s worth.
Based on an article by Trusted SourceDrones banned from Yosemite, other parks | CNN Business If you’re planning to enjoy this spring or summer at a national park near you, you’d better leave your drone at home. www.cnn.com , there was a time when people would use their drones to capture their experiences at parks, but this has since changed. The FAA regulates drone usage in parks and wildlife refuges for the sole reason that animals should be respected. This rule applies to wildlife areas over the country, so you might want to think twice before crying your drone on your visit. According to the FAA, all aircraft should also be around 2,000 feet above the ground, but drone flights are restricted to about 400 feet.
Using drones is also restricted in case of a fire (this rule also applies to aircraft). You should, however, note that if there’s a forest wildfire and drones can be used to fight it and save lives, the FAA may issue temporary flight restrictions. These drones used for forest fire operations are usually pre-approved, and if your UAV prevents them from carrying out their tasks, you could be held liable for any additional damage it causes or the lives lost as a result.
Due to security and privacy issues, the White House and all surrounding areas are a no-go zone for aircraft and drones. The secret service will do all it can to protect the president and uphold their privacy. If you break this restriction and fly your drone within a 15-mile radius of Washington DC, you could be fined and, in the worst-case scenario, get jailed.
You also can’t fly your drone close to military bases. Interestingly, when drones started becoming popular, the FAA allowed people to fly their drones around military bases. It was strongly discouraged but not illegal, so people flew their UAVs in security-sensitive areas. However, as more people adopted drones, the FAA created regulations aimed at upholding the security of the nation. Currently, almost all military bases are no-fly zones, and you can’t use your device in the Army and Navy, Air Forces, coast guard, the national guard, etc.
In addition to the above locations, the FAA can impose temporary flight restrictions to regulate drone usage in a particular area for a specific amount of time. These restrictions override the existing airspace rules, and breaking them could result in legal liabilities. In most cases, TFRs are imposed in dangerous areas, including military operations, construction sites, emergency situations, and generally in instances where their usage could cause an additional crisis to other people or interfere with critical operations.
If you enjoy carrying your drone with you, make sure you confirm that the area you’re in doesn’t have any regulations on their usage. Using them in a restricted area could result in hefty fines and, in some cases, jail time. Is it really worth the risk? We think not!
Even as more people start embracing drones, there are countries where using or owning a drone is illegal. Here are 28 countries where drones are banned.
The national aviation authority of Algeria, the Directorate of Civil Aviation and Meteorology of Algeria (DACM), prohibits drone usage in the country. If you try to enter Barbados through Algeria but decide to carry your drone with you, it could be confiscated at customs, and you may never see it again. Seeing as how drones can be expensive, sometimes even costing thousands of dollars, you’re better off leaving your drone at home. In some cases, you may even be denied entry.
There’s a complete ban on all recreational and commercial drone usage in Antarctica due to the Antarctica Treaty. Under this system, the continent of Antarctica was recognized by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) as a natural reserve dedicated to science and peace. This means that all activities are strictly monitored to ensure that they don’t interfere with the current state of the environment.
Drone use is legal in this country, but there are strict laws regarding their use. For instance, you need to get a permit from Austro Control if you’d like to fly your drone for more than 98 feet above sea level. You also have to register your UAV if it has more than 79 Joule kinetic energy.
Barbados is an amazing vacation destination, and it’s no wonder you’re considering carrying your drone with you to capture the amazing experiences. You should, however, note that in 2019, the country imposed a temporary ban on using drones until 19th November. They then started allowing people to bring drones into the country, as long as they applied for a permit at least 6 weeks before they visited the country. This legislation impacted all drone imports in Barbados, irrespective of whether the drone was affordable, small, or was intended for recreational use. Most of the people that decided to apply for a permit described the process as difficult, exhausting, and simply not worth it. There’s also the fact that applying for a permit doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get one. On 2nd May 2020, Barbados extended the ban to October of the same year, but the BUAVA (Barbados UAV Association) is still engaging the authorities to get rid of the ban.
The Ministry of Interior Customs Affairs in the Kingdom of Bahrain has banned all electronic wireless aircraft, including model aircraft and drones. You can only use a drone if you have special permission, and trying to get into the country with a UAV will just have it confiscated. You should also note that even if you do get special permission, you have to abide by their laws which include only flying during the day and under good weather conditions.
Flying drones in Bhutan is prohibited, not unless you have special approval, which is granted through the Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) that’s allocated at Paro International Airport. Before you get all excited, you should note that the approval is only limited to the government agencies and not individual travelers. Simply leave your drone at home if you don’t want it being confiscated at customs when you land.
Drone usage is restricted in Brunei, but only because they don’t have the relevant laws to govern their use. They have therefore prohibited all drones until they have the necessary framework to regulate them.
The Civil Aviation Institute of Cuba (IACC), which is the national aviation authority in the country, has banned all drone operations. If you try to smuggle your drone into Cuba, it will be confiscated by customs, and you may never see it again.
In Côte d’Ivoire, drone usage is regulated by the National Authority of Civil Aviation (ANAC), which is their national aviation authority. They have prohibited all drone operations in the county, and attempting to enter their country with a UAV will only result in it being convicted.
Unlike most of the other countries on the list, drone usage is technically legal in Egypt. However, to use it within the country, permission must be granted by the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority. This is difficult to obtain, especially for foreigners.
Previously, drone usage was legal in France. However, according to the BBC, they were banned after police began using them to cover public protests within Paris. The court also ruled that their use in tracking people in the state’s capital, especially those that were in breach of the lockdown laws, was illegal.
According to the Indian drone laws, you can operate your drone within their borders only if you apply for and obtain a permit. Unfortunately, this process is difficult and almost impossible. India also has a law that requires all foreigners to declare their UAV at costumes, but there have been complaints of the drones being confiscated. If you’d like to fly commercially in India, the law requires you to first lease it to a national citizen, who then contains a Unique Identification Number (UIN) for it.
The CAOI (Civil Aviation Organization of Iran) has prohibited all drone usage in the country. In fact, there’s a popular news report of an Australian couple, both bloggers, who are arrested and detained in Iran for using drones. Even though they were later released, this was a wake-up call for all drone enthusiasts.
According to Iraq Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), all drone operations are prohibited within the country. If you’re found in possession of a drone, you risk heavy penalties, and your drone could be confiscated at customs.
Before 2019, operations within Kenya were illegal. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), however, crafted a set of laws aimed at regulating unmanned aircraft systems that were supposed to lift the ban on drones. You should note that before you can fly a drone in Kenya, you must have a permit, which is difficult to obtain. There have been complaints that getting through all the bureaucratic hoops is frustrating, and it’s easier to just leave your drone at home.
The body responsible for national variation in Kuwait, the Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has banned all drone activity in the country. If you attempt to get into Kuwait with a UAV, it will be seized at customs.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Kyrgyzstan (CAA) has banned all drone usage within the country. We recommend that you refrain from flying into the country with your drone as it will only end up in the hands of customs authorities with no promises of return.
In 2015, the Civilian Aviation Directorate of Madagascar (CAD), Madagascar’s national aviation authority, banned all drone operations for personal use. You can, however, use your drone within Madagascar for commercial use, but you need to apply for a permit from the CAD. Like other countries on the list, being granted permission is extremely tiring, frustrating, and in some cases, not worth the risk.
Morocco is popularly known for its beautiful scenery and amazing desert landscape, which is why it’s tempting to carry your drone with you as you visit the country. Unfortunately, all drone operations are prohibited within a country, and you need to rely on your phone to capture your exciting experiences as your drone will be seized by the customs authorities.
The Nicaraguan Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC), which is the national aviation authority in the country, has prohibited all drone operations. People that have tried to get into the country have had their drones confiscated by customs officers. Citizens that would like to import drones into the country are required to get a permit first, failure to which their UAVs are seized, and they have to pay a storage fee. The INAC, however, states that Nicaragua doesn’t permit the use of drones in the country, so it’s difficult to get the permit.
North Korea is unique in that it doesn’t have official drone legislation. You should, however, not assume that you can carry your drones with you. Most of the time, the lack of relevant laws means that the nation’s authorities are against the use of UAVs. Trying to get into North Korea with a drone is a gamble because some officials may confiscate it while there are others that will let you get in with them. This is, however, a huge risk that’s not worth taking, no matter how affordable your drone is.
Drones are actually legal in Oman but only for commercial use. You also have to get a permit before you can fly a UAV which needs to be applied for before you get into the country. If you only use your drone for recreational use, don’t carry it because it’s prohibited.
Even though drone operations are banned in Saudi Arabia, they do have a registration page on the national variation website, the Saudi Arabia General Authority for Aviation’s (GACA). According to the Deputy President of GACA’s President For Safety and Air Transport, Abdulhakim Al-Badr, it’s illegal to fly UAVs within the Kingdom’s airspace. This could only mean that the registrations are only open to nationals.
Senegal has strict UAV laws, and according to the National Agency of Civil Aviation (ANAC), their national aviation authority, drone use is prohibited in the country. All drones are seized at the customs.
Sri Lanka allowed drone operations a while back. However, in Easter 2019, there were bombings which ultimately resulted in drones being banned. This law was amended in 2020, and operations were allowed for people who got permits. There are, however, multiple red tapes and hurdles to go through, and you may also incur an application fee.
This country has strict UAV laws, and according to the Syrian Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), drone use is prohibited. Their major airports, especially the Damascus international airport, are known for their thorough bag checks, and trying to sneak your drone into the country will only get it confiscated.
Tunisia doesn’t have any legislation on drone use within its borders, but this doesn’t mean you’re free to bring a drone. Most of the time, the lack of UAV laws means that they are uncertain about their use, and they could either allow you to bring your own or confiscate it as costumes.
This country has one of the harshest drone laws globally. While in most countries, illegal drone operations usually result in heavy fines, in Uzbekistan, it could land you in jail.
If you’re caught with a drone in any of the above countries, it will be confiscated, and you may not have it back even on exit.
You can fly with your drone on a plane, but if you’re traveling to a country that has banned their use, you’ll have to leave it at customs. Make sure your drone is disabled as you pack it and purchase a safe case for it so that it’s not damaged in transit.
It depends on the regulations in your neighborhood. While the FAA does not prohibit dune usage on private property, some neighborhoods have banned their use due to privacy concerns.
Here’s a story from a man who got arrested for trespassing property with a drone:
Despite UAVs being wildly popular, there are still places and countries where drones are banned. Most of the time, governments ban drone operations due to uncertainty. They are unsure of how their use will impact their national security and citizen safety. In other instances, it’s because the authorities want to limit the information that people have access to. In the USA, however, drone use is only banned in some areas, including military bases, white houses, airports, and wildlife parks.