Civil aviation law
The Federal Act No. 20 of 1991 or the Civil Aviation Law (PDF, 150 KB) applies to:
- civil aviation in the territory of the UAE
- civil aircraft registered in the UAE
- civil airports in the UAE
- air transport in general.
Role of GCAA
General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) regulates civil aviation and provides designated aviation services while observing the safety regulations. It aims to strengthen the aviation industry in the UAE and its upper space.
GCAA applies regulations on flying drones and practising recreational aerial sports and activities. Some of the safety measures under the regulations are licensing and registration procedures, identification of no-flying zones, laying down rules for pilots flying the drones and penalties in case of violation and maintaining the airworthiness of the drones. The regulations aim to ensure safety in air and on land. It also aims at protecting user data and their privacy.
GCAA and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) forbid flying drones near, around and over airports. In addition, federal and municipal authorities disallow flying drones over residential areas to protect people's privacy.
The UAE Drone Fly Zone Map app from GCAA shows where you may fly your drones. View the UAE Drone Fly Zone Map.
No objection certificate
In order to fly a drone in Dubai, you have to obtain a no objection certificate from DCAA. Make sure to check for regulations or limitations on drone use, which are specific to each emirate.
All drones need to be registered with GCAA. Individuals and organisations that own a drone can apply online.
For registration and requirements, contact the GCAA Aircraft Registry Unit by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at +9714-2111710 and +9714-2111526.
Registration process for distributors, importers and traders
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) mandates distributors, importers and traders of unmanned aerial systems in the UAE to register their drone products online through the national registration system called ‘My Drone’.
This eService, which is accessible from ESMA’s website, will simultaneously register the drones with three other government entities that oversee the ownership, use, safety and distribution of unmanned aircraft systems. These entities are:
Each registered drone will be digitally issued an ESMA certificate to show that it meets the national standards and can be legally sold in the country.
Each registered drone will carry a unique serial number that links it to its manufacturer, distributor and ultimately the end customer who buys it. In case of problems, ESMA can trace the full cycle from the manufacturer to the end user.
End users who wish to sell or give away their existing registered drones will have to apply through ‘My Drone’ to transfer ownership to the new buyer so that their personal details will no longer be associated with the product.
Read more about drones registration system and fees.
Shooting videos and taking photographs
General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) developed an all-in-one app for the users of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and drones in the UAE in order to inform and assist them about using their drones in compliance with the aviation safety regulations.
Emirates ID holders who are registered with GCAA can shoot videos and take photographs using drones in locations permitted and at heights specified by the local authorities. The app facilitates the immediate identification of areas where photography is permitted.
There are certain free fly zones, where people can fly drones up to a height of 400 feet. The app helps locate all information to users through an interactive map. Users can click anywhere in the map to check the privileges of that area. Download the My Drone Hub app for Android and iTunes.
Updated on 25 Apr 2021