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Can I Bring a Drone to India?

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Drone Blog
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Yes, you can. Be sure to declare the drone and also take out the battery.

To fly a drone in India as a foreign operator, you must have an Indian national to operate as your co-pilot. This co-pilot must have a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Can foreigners fly drones in India? #

Foreigners cannot fly drones in India for commercial purposes without commissioning an Indian national.

For a foreigner to fly drones in India, they need to obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP). The Ministry of Civil Aviation is responsible for issuing these documents.

To legally fly drones in India, you must get prior clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. You will also require permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation before flying a drone for commercial purposes.

Furthermore, certain restrictions are placed on foreigners when it comes to operating drones in India. For example, all foreign pilots must have at least one Indian co-pilot who obtained a UIN and UAOP from DGCA.

Additionally, any foreign pilot operating a drone must work within the visual line of sight of the co-pilot. These restrictions help ensure that drones are used safely and legally in India.

It is important to note that flying a drone without permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs or DGCA can result in fines, jail time, and other penalties.

Therefore, if you plan to fly a drone in India as a foreigner, it is highly recommended that you contact both the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation before doing so.

This will ensure that you follow all necessary regulations and avoid potentially severe consequences.

Finally, research any local laws or regulations that may apply when operating a drone while visiting India. Different states may have laws concerning how drones should be used and when they can be flown.

You must take the time to familiarize yourself with these laws before flying in order to ensure a safe and legal flight experience.

DGCA regulations for drone use in India #

In India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is responsible for laying down rules and regulations applicable to the use of drones.

Depending on whether they are used commercially or recreationally, different sets of rules apply:

Commercial #

If you want to fly drones for commercial purposes, you first need permission from DGCA. To do this, you must get an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP). You can only use the UAOP for five years.

Also, before every flight, drone operators must fill out a “no-objection certificate” with their local police department. To receive the UAOP in the first place, applicants must go through training at a DGCA-approved Flying Training Organisation (FTO).

Recreational #

Anyone wishing to use a drone recreationally must follow the DGCA’s ‘Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules 2016’.

These rules apply to drones that weigh more than 250 grams and require users to obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) from the DGCA before operating such drones.

Furthermore, recreational drone operators must also procure a no-objection certificate from local law enforcement before every flight.

Notes for recreational drone pilots in India #

In general, flying a drone in India is illegal without the proper clearances and permits. Before each flight, recreational drone pilots must obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their local police department and make sure that the UIN number of their drone is visible on all four sides of the craft.

In addition, recreational pilots should always abide by the following rules:

  • Keep your drone within visual line-of-sight at all times.
  • Fly only during daylight hours.
  • Do not exceed 400 feet (120m) above ground level when flying.
  • Do not fly over or near restricted or prohibited areas, such as military bases and airports.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 5 km from airports and no-fly zones.
  • Do not fly in the rain or bad weather conditions.
  • Do not fly closer than 25 m to people, animals, or objects (unless with explicit permission).
  • Have an emergency plan in place for any potential accidents and malfunctions.
  • Check the local airspace regulations and flying environment before each flight (at least 24 hours before actual operation).
  • Do not drop or carry hazardous materials.
  • Don’t fly a drone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Don’t fly the drone from a moving vehicle, ship, or aircraft.

Can foreign operators fly drones in India? #

Foreign drone operators may fly their drones in India, provided they follow the same regulations and safety requirements as Indian nationals.

Foreign operators are required to get a NOC from DGCA before starting operations. They must also obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) for each drone being flown in India and ensure that it is visible on all four sides of the craft.

In addition, foreign operators must also procure additional permissions from other authorities, including:

  1. The Ministry of Civil Aviation for permission to fly over restricted or prohibited areas.
  2. The Ministry of Home Affairs for security clearance.
  3. The Ministry of Defense for permission to conduct aerial survey/imagery/videography/still photography over restricted or prohibited areas.

Flying drones in India can be both an exciting hobby and a lucrative business venture – provided you abide by all applicable regulations and laws.

Therefore, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the rules and procedures set out by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, as these vary significantly.

About India’s No Permission, No Takeoff policy #

India’s No Permission, No Takeoff (NPNT) policy requires all drone operators first to register their drones and then request permission to fly via a mobile app. This app will automatically process the request and grant or reject it.

If the drone pilot tries to take off without obtaining permission from the Digital Sky Platform, they will be unable to do so.

This policy is designed to ensure that all drones flying in India are doing so safely and securely. In addition, it ensures that all drone operators know where and when they are allowed to fly their craft, as well as any restrictions that may apply for certain flights.

It also provides a way for authorities to track the location of the drones at all times, allowing them to respond quickly to any potential security or safety issues.

It is important for all drone operators to abide by the rules set out in this policy or risk facing fines or other penalties.


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