🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all law links and known rules about recreational and commercial drone use in Sri Lanka (Colombo). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in The Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our ability & does not replace official sources & your own research.
Recreational vs Commercial drone use in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka differentiates commercial & recreational drone use - see our post to differentiate recreational vs commercial drone usage. Both are subject to restrictions & a strict code of conduct. Additionally, depending on your drone's weight & your destination within the country, different rules will apply.
✅ In Sri Lanka, drone laws falls under the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) & they can be contacted anytime via:
🚨 IMPORTANT PLEASE READ - Update 26/04/19
Sri Lanka had in April banned all pilotless aircraft including drones in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings, which killed at least 253 people. The below rules and laws described in this post are not effective until the ban is lifted. To receive an update once it evolves, feel free to follow this post or contact directly Sri Lankan airport aviation services at (094) 11 225 2861 or via email at email@example.com
Can I bring my drone to Sri Lanka?
🚨 Currently, is a complete ban for drone importations in Sri Lanka.
🚨 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.
Where can I fly my drone in Sri Lanka?
✅ Sri Lankan Civil Aviation Authority provided an online pdf with a map (scanned) copy which is hard enough to read but here it is.
Sri Lanka drone fly map
🚨 You should not fly above or near military installations & strategic infrastructure. Fly away from airports & any aerodromes or airports in the country
🦅 National parks, reserves & forests are on a case by case permission & you will need to check directly with the local park or reserve authorities. 🌲 This is a condition for your registration and flight approvals if you intend to fly there.
🏛 For archaeological sites, you might need a written permission from the Director General of Archeology, Department of Archeology, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka which you can call at (+94) 112 688 326
Recreational & Commercial Drone use in Sri Lanka
✅ Good things first, you will not need to register your drone if it weights less than 200 g & you do not have any recording device on your drone such as a camera or a sound recorder
🚨 For all other uses/drones, you will need to register & obtain a permission prior flying your drone in Sri Lanka. There are also strict rules depending on your flight zones and a code of conduct to follow for all operators.
Additionally, you must fly:
at a maximum altitude of 120 m above the ground, during daytime & always in sight.
away from private property, vehicles in movement, roadways, railways, people or large crowds & respect individuals' privacy.
at less than 160 km/h "You should be fine here" 👌
whilst not being on a high grounds yourself such as a rooftop or a moving vehicle
away from power & communication infrastructures
a drone with an insurance to cover your operations
at least 8 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.
without carrying or dropping anything from your drone while flying.
away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders.
avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.
How to register my drone in Sri Lanka?
✅ Sri Lanka created an ingenious online platform to register your drone in a few steps. You can do it directly online via this portal, to complete your registration, you will need to:
enter your personal information (you will need to provide a copy of your passport).
once email received, you will be asked for a jpg photo of your drone's serial number.
How to obtain my permit to fly my drone in Sri Lanka?
🚨 This might be a longer and more hardeous step for you as there are three distinct steps in the approval for a permit process;
the security clearance
the "no objection clearance"
the operational approval
1/ The security clearance is obtained from the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (OCDS) via e-mail. You will need to submit your request with the details of your drone & of your flight. Here's a letter sample to complete & send to firstname.lastname@example.org
👌 In case unsure or need more help, you can contact the OCDS by:
Going onsite: Office of the Chief of Defence Staff, Block No.5, BMICH, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 11 2674503 or +94 11 2674506
Fax: +94 11 2 674507 (Fax is their preferred mode of communication at present)
🕔 Allow at least 5 working days to process but we would do it asap.
2/ The "no objection" is an optional step depending on where you want to fly your drone in Sri Lanka. If you intend to fly over any archaeological sites, national parks and/or forests, you will need a written authorisation.
🕔 Do this anytime prior sending your request for your operational approval (step 3).
3/ The operational approval or Form CAA/AS/017 is your actual final step where you will sum up your flight request with your security clearance & your "no objection". This is also the time you will have to pay.. Here's the form to complete & return to email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
🕔 Allow another 5 working days to process from submission.
💲 Depending on how many flight requested, your costs will change:
if you go per flight, your costs will be about 17€ / flight or request
if you go for a month's permit, it will cost you about 170€
*Note that there is an extra 3% for any payment made online 🤑
Once you've got everything in order, you can start flying above Sri Lanka's awesome landscapes and create videos like this one:
✅ Please leave a comment or update the Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in the Sri Lanka! Have fun and safe flight!
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 regulations.