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UAE drone rules

So you want to use a drone for a shoot? We know how you feel. There’s nothing like aerial shots to give you that extra kick. Plus, not all of us can afford to book choppers every time we get a gig.

A drone aka unmanned aircraft system (UAS) lets us capture an altogether different perspective – think amazing group shots. But before you let your bird fly up in the sky, be sure that you know the rules for using drones in the UAE.

SEE ALSO: What are the Laws Governing Photography in the UAE?

In a report by Gulf News, Lieutenant General Saif Abdullah Al Shafar, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior pointed out that the pilotless rotorcrafts are not prohibited in the country, but their use is regulated to protect people’s privacy and that the police could intervene and take action if they received complaints from residents.

The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has set legislations for drone enthusiasts (individuals/private users) and operators (commercial and non-commercial use). If you’re using a drone for professional photography (which means you’re getting paid in exchange for your services), you are an operator.

Drone shot

Here are the requirements set by the GCAA for operators:

  • GCAA Exam: The operator of drones must pass an UAS GCAA exam. Check out the references of the exam here.
  • GCAA Registration: All operators who intend to operate drones in the UAE for operations are required to hold a GCAA UAS/drones Registration Certificate. Download the licensing form here.
  • GCAA Approval: All operators holding a GCAA drone registration certificate are required to obtain an operational approval before of each flight. See here for more details.

Now that we get the requirements out of the way, let us not forget one other thing. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, always exercise common sense when flying drones. This sounds like a given but just for curiosity’s sake, Google how ignorant drone users have wreaked havoc in the past.

  • Don’t fly near airports or landing areas.
  • Don’t fly over residential areas and private properties (yes, it’s about privacy).
  • Make sure your drone is in best condition before using it.
  • Never let your drone out of your sight, use it only on daylight and at no higher than 400ft above the ground.
  • Get permission for taking photos/videos.
  • Don’t take shots of government buildings.
  • If the weather is bad, abort mission.
  • Learn about the designated no-fly zones within the UAE.

To find out everything you need to know about registration and the GCAA UAS exam, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the GCAA website.

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