Drone regulations in India

In this article, we have summarized for you the current legal situation for the use of drones in India. Drone Rules India

In India, drones were completely banned for a long time.

Meanwhile, a law was passed, which is valid from 01.12.2018 and repeals the general ban. For drone pilots now very complex rules apply. However, tourists do not benefit from the relaxation of the rules, because foreigners are not allowed to fly drones in India in the future either.

The import of drones is only allowed with prior permission from the Ministry of Communications (Wireless Planning and Coordination Department). If a drone is detected without authorization at the airport, it will be confiscated and not returned. I have read reports from the airports in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Bangalore in particular. But at other airports, you should expect a seizure.

Rules for the use of drones in India for locals

Drones are divided into three weight classes, according to which certain conditions apply:

  • Nano-Drones: up to 250 grams
  • Micro-Drones: more than 250 grams and up to max. 2 kilograms
  • Small-Drones: more than 2 kilograms and max. 25 kilograms
  • Medium-Drones: More than 25 kilograms and max. 150 kilograms
  • Large-Drones: More than 150 kilograms

Most privately used multicopters – such as the DJI Mavic Pro – fall into the category of micro-drones.

Helpful Links: Legal Text, Indian Express, Times of India

We have researched the listed drone regulations for India to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the Indian aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in India!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

  • ASHISH ANAND | 18.06.2017

    Hieeeee
    What did you do with your drone when you entered India?
    Did the airport authority allowed you to take it with you or they charged you or they took your drone?
    Please explain me.

    • Francis Markert | 16.01.2018

      Hello Ashish,
      When we went to India, the rules were not so strict or rather the officials had no clue which laws apply. That’s the reason why we could fly our Phantom 2 drone without any problems. However, we were cautious. Best regards, Francis

  • Sir Maxwell Greene | 12.09.2018

    Found this. Thought it may be useful to some.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS8OV9-B4KU

  • Andrei G | 08.12.2018

    Helpful Links: Legal Text, Indian Express, Times of India are very useful

    in short it is very bad and very sad

    I love India and have been many times – for a total of over 425 days! yes about 1.3 years!!!

    BUT India loses at the bottom line – since normal people will not be able to post amazing images / videos from it’s glamorous lands …

    my research:

    India drone policy [EFFECTIVE: 01st DECEMBER, 2018] “Here is everything you need to know” from The Indian EXPRESS

    With the Directorate General of Central Aviation announcing India’s policy on the use of drones, here’s a closer look at the finer details.

    ARTICLE: https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/india-drone-policy-dgca-remotely-piloted-aircraft-5328143/

    I find a official drone document on Directorate General of Civil Aviation – using this https://www.google.com/search?q=site:dgca.nic.in+drone:

    in short import of drones is a very complex process – but I am not sure if this “import” is like importing a car vs bringing in a car temporarily for a visit

    >The import of drones is also only permitted with prior permission from the Ministry of Communications (Wireless Planning and Coordination Department). If a drone is detected without authorization at the airport, it will be confiscated and not returned. I have read reports from the airports in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Bangalore in particular. But also at other airports, you should expect a seizure. https://drone-traveller.com/drone-laws-india/

    http://dgca.nic.in/cars/D3X-X1.pdf

    CIVIL AVIATION REQUIREMENTS
    SECTION 3 – AIR TRANSPORT
    SERIES X PART I
    ISSUE I, DATED 27 AUGUST, 2018 EFFECTIVE: 01st DECEMBER, 2018

    5.1 For RPA imported to India:
    a) Any entity intending to import RPAS in India shall obtain Equipment Type
    Approval (ETA) from WPC Wing, Department of Telecommunication for
    operating in de-licensed frequency band(s). Such approval shall be valid for a
    particular make and model.

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN:

    we head to WPC site and find ETA – Equipment Type Approval http://www.wpc.dot.gov.in/Static/EquipmentTypeApproval.html

    it is a specific form stating:

    4. The application should be submitted alond with a complete copy of Radio Test report (RF test report) carried out on the product, from an accredited test laboratory…

    6. the Equipment Type Approval shall be granted only to an Indian agency and not in the name of any foreign manufacturer. Hence it also essential to submit a certificate of authorization from the manufacturer, authorizing the Indian agency/countrer part to act on their behalf.

    AND ONCE THAT ETA is otained an import clearance is needed … and that is given once a “Copy of security clearance: ” is given http://dgca.nic.in/cars/D3X-X1.pdf and that is for Indian citizens only in any case …

    b) The applicant, other than Nano category, shall apply to DGCA for import
    clearance as per format given in Annexure-IA. Based upon the import clearance
    issued by DGCA, DGFT shall issue license for import of RPAS.

    The applicant, other than Nano category, shall apply to DGCA (= Directorate General of Civil Aviation) along with ETA (= Equipment Type Approval) for
    import clearance. Based upon the import clearance issued by DGCA (=Directorate General of Civil Aviation), DGFT (= Directorate General of Foreign Trade) shall issue
    license for import of RPAS (= Remotely Piloted Aircraft System)

    MEANS: so a import clearance is needed from DGCA and once that is granted DGFT shall issue a license for import

    c) Upon receipt of import license, the applicant shall apply to DGCA for UIN/UOAP, as applicable.

    GFCA = Directorate General of Civil Aviation
    ETA = Equipment Type Approval (ETA)
    DGCA = Directorate General of Civil Aviation
    DGFT = Directorate General of Foreign Trade
    RPAS = Remotely Piloted Aircraft System(s)

    ===========================

    even if the above is obtained
    operation of a drone must be only by an Indian citizen (along with insurance – and notification of local police – and license/certification is not required!)

    basically this is unlike any other country that I have seen :/

    one day this might change to some other standard – but due to an ongoing conflict with Pakistan – getting a SIM card in India for a tourist takes 72 hours – an approval from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) equivalent of FCC Federal Communications Commission in USA … they actually call a local person who must claim that they know you … etc …
    BUT now there is hope: “SIM on e-visa : India to provide free SIM cards to travelers with e-visa” because of this problem …
    so there is hope …

    I will write to them to create a application form for tourists wanting to film with their drones … but then again the rule that only an Indian citizen can operate a drone … is hard to beat …

    if anyone has any info please share …

  • Paul | 06.05.2019

    I took my Phantom 3 to Kerala in December 2015, but only made a couple of flights in remote locations. On the way home we had a dog leg flight through Mumbai & the police/airport security wanted to seize it, but eventually let me keep it.

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