🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone law links & known regulation around recreational & commercial drone use in India (New Delhi & Mumbai). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in the India Drone Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our ability & does not replace official sources & your own research.
India's drone laws and regulations
India differentiates commercial & recreational drone uses. Both are subject to a code of conduct & restrictions based on the weight of your drone.
🚨 In India, the regulation and control of drone use falls under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. They can be contacted via:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ministry of Civil Aviation).
Phone: (+11) 11 2462 2495
🚨 India authorizes drone flying only to its citizens, if you're a foreigner, you will need to rent a local agency or leave your drone home.
✅ India also differentiates your drone by its weight:
Nano: less than or equal to 250 g
Micro: between 250 gr & 2 kg
Small: between 2 kg & 25 kg
Medium: between 25 kg & 150 kg
Large: 150 kg+
Can I bring or travel with a drone to India?
🚨 Only Indian citizens are allowed to fly (& so import) a drone in India. Moreover, if you're importing a drone from overseas, you will need:
an equipment Type Approval (ETA) from WPC Wing
an application for import of remotely piloted aircraft which we've got a copy of here.
If all good, apply for a DGCA for UIN/UOAP
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
💡 Smart! Get your drone batteries' firecase today and make sure you're complying with aviation safety rules.
Can I fly a drone in India?
✅ We did not find an official fly zone map for drones in India "If you have more information about this, please share it in the India Drone Discussion Group". Thankfully in the meantime, app.airmap.io has listed all flight zones in a convenient way organised in a 3 colour legend.
India Drone Fly Map
🛫 Fly 5 km away from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru & Hyderabad airports or 3 km from any other airport, heliports.
🚨 Fly 5 km away from Vijay Chowk in New Delhi, 2 km away from strategic locations & vital installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs &/or 3 km away from State Secretariat Complex
🚨 Fly at least 25 km away from India's borders with any other country & 3 km away from any military installation or zones. Moreover, the state of Uttarakhand, in the northern part of India and bordering Nepal required a local permission if you intend to fly a drone heavier than 250 g higher than 12.2 m in the sky.
🚨 Do not fly near the Taj Mahal, if police force catches you, you may face criminal charges for flying there without a permission from local authorities - Read more. Other touristic sites have no fly zones including Agra Fort, Mehtab Bagh, and the Mughal-era mausoleum
🌊 Fly within 500 m horizontally from coastline (Indian authorities specified 'land' coastline)
🦅 National parks & reserves are on a case by case permission & you might need to check directly with the local park or reserve authorities. It seems however that all national parks will need an authorisation to fly a drone within.
💡 Smart! Pack some spare drone batteries, you never know how close is the next power plug overseas. Also make sure you have a travel adaptor for India.
What are the rules to fly a drone in India?
🚨 As for a reminder; India authorizes drone flying only to its citizens, if you're a foreigner, you will need to rent the services of a local agency.
🚨 Before anything, you will need to register your drone & for drone of 2 kg +; you will need a permit &/or a license to fly your it. Lastly, within permitted flight zones, you will need to follow a few rules valid for all drone operators:
mark your drone with a fire resistant identification plate.
fly at a maximum altitude of 120 m, within sight & in good weather conditions.
fly a drone which is equipped with a return home function & flashing lights to indicate its position such as the Mavic Pro 2.
do not your drone from a moving vehicle.
it is advised to subscribe to an insurance covering all risks.
fly 5 km away from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru & Hyderabad airports or 3 km from any other airport, heliports & give priority to all other categories of aircraft. If you see an aircraft during your flight, land immediately.
make sure to mark your take off & landing zone with a drone flight zone kit
fly only one drone at a time & do not carry or drop anything when flying your drone.
ask before flying any governmental, religious or military sites.
🚨 Note that except nano drone flying at less than 15 m & micro drone flying at less than 60 m, every drone operator will need to obtain at least 24h ahead:
an ATC briefing, Meteorological (MET) briefing & ATC clearance.
Air Defence Clearance (ADC) from the nearest IAF Unit.
FIC Number from the Flight Information Centre (FIC) concerned.
How to register a drone in India?
✅ Good stuff first, if you are flying a nano drone (less than 250 g) below 15 m, you're exempt from the registration process.
✅ For all other drones, you will need to register via Digital Sky by entering your personal details and the full specs of your drone. The website actually helps you step by step based on the inputs you add along the way 👌 You will obtain from them an unique identification number (UIN)
🕔 Allow at least 2 working days to be processed by Indian authorities.
🚨 If you're a foreign self-employed or corporation & looking to fly a drone for commercial purposes, you will necessarily need to rent services of an Indian local drone rental agency to undertake your project.
How to obtain a license to fly a drone in India?
✅ Good stuff first, if you're flying a drone of less than 2 kg for recreational purposes and outside restricted zones, you will not need a license to fly your drone in India.
✅ For all other drone operators, you will need to:
be an Indian citizen
be 18 years young or older
have undertaken a ground training via an approved flying training organisation (FTO) in India covering subjects such as: meteorology, airspace restrictions & zones, basic radio telephony, principles of aerodynamics, etc.
💡 Smart! Heading to the coast? Water glare is a killer when flying above Indian coastal waters, make sure you have a lens filter before heading there.
How to obtain a permit to fly a drone in India?
✅ Cool things first, if you fly a nano drone (less than 250 g) below 15 m, or a micro drone (less than 2 kg) below 60 m, then you're exempt from the licensing process.
🚨 Note, micro drone owners will need to notify local police force ahead of each fight at least 24h in advance.
To obtain your license, you will need to ask for it via Digital Sky website & pay the relevant fees linked to your application (here is a copy of the application format. Along your application, you will need to attach:
the owner's consent to take off/land from his/her land
a copy of at least 2 identification proofs (passport, driving license, etc)
a copy of your insurance
your security/safety plan as approved by BCAS
🕔 Allow at least 7 working days for Indian authorities to process your information.
✅ Your drone permit will be valid for 5 years from date of issue.
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in India?
The amount & scope of the fine will depend on the nature & severity of your infraction. The judges will also evaluate if you intentionally committed the infraction and/or if you had any commercial purposes to do such. Indian authorities however specified that the Aircraft Act 1934 & the Aircraft Rules 1937 will be referred to for any necessary action.
✅ The excellent news is that if you get a permission, you can start flying above India's awesome landscapes & create videos like this one:
💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our India Drone Discussion Group
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.
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Digital Sky (to register your drone in India).