How to secure a commercial drone license in Dubai?

September 14, 2023

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With the rise of social media sites uploading snazzy pictures and videos taken by a drone is all the rage right now, spotting a drone hovering in Dubai’s skies is a sight not that uncommon anymore. Both professionals and amateurs alike can be seen capturing the beauteous landscape from a bird’s eye view. But wait, is your drone licensed to fly about in Dubai or are you committing a serious offence?

Need for a drone license:

Because of such an influx of drones in Dubai airspace, the government decided to implement a mandatory registration system this decision was made after repeated disruption by the recreational drones at the airport were observed.

Heavy fines issued to stem the excessive usage of commercial drones:

According to the UAE General Civil Aviation authority (GCAA), flying a drone or an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is still legal in the emirates but failure in compliance to the new flying laws might result in a fine of (AED 50,000) fifty thousand dirhams plus possibility of imprisonment in case of severe infraction.

Don’t be distressed as by following these simple steps you can obtain a drone license in Dubai. The method is pretty straight forward for drones intended for recreational use. But for commercial use it’s a slightly different story.

Pro-tip: it is highly recommended that you hire a professional agency like KWS Middle East for smooth procurement of your commercial license as the procedure becomes a bit tricky and time – consuming.

Getting your commercial drone license:

Both the operator/organization and the drone must be registered with the GCAA i.e. they must hold GCAA drone Registration Certification. A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) needs to be secured from DCAA (Dubai Civil Aviation Authority). This is usually obtained after registration and prior approval from the concerned authority.

The steps to apply for a permit are as follows:

1. Get your drone registered:

  • This is done by first sharing your organization’s details with the DCAA which includes: company’s name and address, company’s commercial license, passport copy with visa in case of non- national, passport photograph, Emirates ID, your drone’s or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) photograph, its model name and number.
  • You must register for an operator training certificate program validated by the DCCA to gain certification.
  • Get a NOC from the DCAA.
  • Get insurance for your drone as from 2017 the Dubai government has made it mandatory to get a minimum insurance.
  • Get security clearance by GCAA.

2. Apply for No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for aerial work:

  • Your company (or the consultancy you hired like KWS Middle East as it is highly recommended that you do) will apply for a NOC by opening up a government operated portal.

The NOC will require extensive documentation such as: RPAS registration number, request letters, trader/ commercial license, operator certification ID, company’s contact information, RPAS drone type, RPAS drone serial number, insurance, security, clearance and safety assessment documents.

3. Apply for operational permission before your drone flight:

  • Before your maiden flight you must check with the authorities regarding the need of operational permits and the need of additional security clearance.
  • The Dubai airspace is divided into red and green zones. For red zones you will have to obtain an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Authorization (UOA) for every flight operation.
  • To manage your flight operations the GCAA has developed an app called the My Drone Hub App particularly for Emirates ID holders. This app helps in determining the flight path beforehand and prompting the user to apply for UOA in advance.
    Share the flight details such as: date, time and operator name.

4. Obtain the approvals required for a smooth flight:

  • Depending upon the nature of the flight necessary approvals might be required to ensure the smooth and problem free flight of the drone.
  • If the drone is being utilized for filming than Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC) will be the concerned authority whose approval should be sought.
  • The processing time required for issuance of a license is usually 5 days but it can be sped up by paying an additional fee of Dhs 5100 to DCAA.

General Do’s and Don’ts regarding drones:

  1. It is essential that you get your drones registered regardless of its intended use.
  2. There are 15 areas that have been marked as the no – fly zones in Dubai. Make sure that you keep out of them at all costs. The areas included are: airport, populated areas and some red tape or restricted areas.
  3. If the drone is being used for recreational purpose make sure that it is flying in your line of sight and it is flown in licensed aviation premises.

You are advised to consult DCAA for any queries regarding drones and their licensing, and be well informed regarding the mercurial business atmosphere of Dubai.

Hire us for a smooth business experience in Dubai:

Instead of stressing over these minute details like attainment of commercial license for drone you should enlist the help of professionals namely: KWS Middle East with its vast experience in handling business setups in Dubai we can assist you into making your Dubai dream into a reality.

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