🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone law links & known rules about recreational & commercial drone use in Vanuatu (Port Vila). 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 knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.
Recreational vs Commercial drone use in Vanuatu
Vanuatu does not differentiate commercial & recreational drone use - see our post to differentiate recreational vs commercial drone uses. However, drone use in the country of islands is subject to restrictions & a code of conduct.
✅ The use of drones in Vanuatu is under the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV) & they can be contacted via:
Phone: +678 22 819
Can I travel to Vanuatu with my drone?
🚨 Prior landing in Vanuatu, your drone will need to be registered as it will be checked at customs. See below how to register your drone in Vanuatu. CAAV warned that penalties will apply for drones arriving but not registered, you should however still be able to keep it.
🚨 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 Vanuatu?
✅ Vanuatu is very advanced when it comes to safe flying with drones. The little island nation has a well structured portal in several languages which makes sense for any user (resident or not) to register & take some stunning shots in this little paradise on Earth in full safety.
🚨 Note that the whole country is under restricted space, so you will necessarily need a permission & registration to fly your drone there.
Vanuatu Drone Fly Map
🚨 Be aware that some resorts have also completely banned the use of drones; usually for the tranquility of their other guests & to protect their bird sanctuaries 🦅
🌲 National / Marine parks & reserves might be on a case by case permission & you might need to check directly with the local park or reserve authorities. 🐳
Recreational & Commercial Drone use in Vanuatu
✅ Vanuatu is really advanced considering its size in terms of drone regulation and pretty organised we must say, good stuff 👌 To fly your drone in Vanuatu, you will need to register your drone prior to take off. Additionally, there are also rules & a code of conduct to follow for all operators:
With this in mind, you must fly:
at a maximum altitude of 120 m above the ground.
within sight at all times & only during daylight.
fly a drone weighting less than 25 kg
fly 4 km away (this covers almost the whole islands 🤐) from airports, heliport, seaports & give priority to all other categories of aircraft. If you see an aircraft during your flight, land immediately.have written consent from anyone or anything you want to fly above firstly.
fly avoiding sensitive areas including resorts, government & military facilities.
flyaway from a fire or any site where emergencies are required as you could interrupt their operation and delay their intervention.
🤔 Note, there is not much space left within the 4 km airport restriction flight zone on the main island of Port Vila as Vanuatu Island is at its widest point about 30 km. Note that the entire rest of the island's space is under restricted use as well & you will necessarily need permission.
How to register my drone in Vanuatu?
✅ Vanuatu set up an interactive portal for you to register your drone with ease. You will have the option to choose between registering as a visitor/resident or citizen as not the same info will be required from you depending on your situation.
🚨 Note that in any case, you will need to be at least 16 years young.
In the scenario that you're visiting the country, you will need to:
log in this portal and enter your information including your full personal details & a detailed explanation about your stay in Vanuatu
once registered, you will need to pay a fee ($50/pilot & $50/drone so at least $100).
you will then get a credential to login the platform.
🚨 Note that these steps are compulsory before you land in Vanuatu if you do not want to expose yourself to a "welcome fine" upon arrival in Port Vila airport.
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in Vanuatu?
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.
However the CAAV specifies that this could be a combination of one of several:
fine (up to 3,000€)
prison (up to 1 year)
if you're flying for a corporation, this last one will be exposed to a fine up to 16,000€
✅ The excellent news is that if you get a permission, you can start flying above The Vanuatu' awesome landscapes & 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 Vanuatu!
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 drone rules.