Drone regulations in Saudi Arabia

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, drones are viewed as a serious risk for public security and are therefore generally prohibited. There is a community of drone pilots in the country, but you should still keep away from your remote control. There are certainly more comfortable places than the Arab prisons.

There is also the possibility for commercial users to obtain a permission for the operation of multicopters. The following purposes are given by the authorities for which the use of the drones can be approved:

  • aerial photographs
  • research and development
  • educational or rather academic use
  • surveillance of the harvest
  • inspections of bridges, electric cables and pipelines
  • maintenance of aerials
  • support of rescue missions

Approvals must be submitted for each flight at the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA). If you get an approval, you have to observe the following conditions.

Maximum flight altitude: For approved drone flights, the maximum permitted height of ascent is at 150 meters in Saudi Arabia.

Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: Drone flights are only possible in sight.

Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): The above- mentioned permission can only be given for drones up to a take-off weight of 25 kilograms (55 pounds).

Time of operations: Approvals are granted only for operations in daylight.

Helpful links: Life in Saudi Arabia, Expat-Blog, GACA Advisory Circular

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Saudi Arabia 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 competent 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 Saudi Arabia!

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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

  • JB | 13.08.2017

    HI,

    Which application can be used to obtain a permit?

    Thanks!

    JB

  • Drkamil | 28.12.2017

    Thanks. Feel not safe to bring my dji spark there.

    • Francis Markert | 28.03.2018

      You’re welcome. 🙂 Have fun in Saudi Arabia!

  • ajmal thaha | 29.05.2018

    Hi sir if we are using base model drone (dji spark) like toy drone also need permission

    • Francis Markert | 02.07.2018

      Yes, I thnk so.

  • Junaid Mohammad Qurashi | 01.08.2018

    Hi Sir, I am going to pursue my phd in Saudi Arabia and have been living in Malaysia for quite some time. I own a DJI mavic air. Am afraid customs would confiscate my drone on arrival even though am not Intrested in flying the drone in Saudi Arabia. Any recommendation on what should I do?

  • Biju John Varghese | 05.08.2018

    Hi Francis,
    Hope u have a nice day.My name is Biju John from Abu Dhabi,UAE part of a media company called RedX media Events.
    Almost a month back 19th July we were invited by Lulu group International for covering the opening of their 150th supermarket in Riyadh,KSA
    We sent some of our media equipments along with a DJI phantom as cargo from Abu Dhabi,UAE
    With Etihad cargo.
    However we were able to ship back all our media equipment to the Abu Dhabi,except the drone which is still with Saudi airport customs(riyadh)
    Could you please suggest what can we do to get the drone released from Saudi airport customs(riyadh)
    Is there a possibility to rexport it back to UAE
    We did not use the drone as it was held by customs as soon as the cargo was received in Riyadh,KSA
    KINDLY NEED YOUR HELP AND SUGGESTIONS
    REGARDS,
    BIJU JOHN
    REDX MEDIA EVENTS
    ABU DHABI,UAE

    • Francis Markert | 26.10.2018

      Oh, that sounds like a nightmare. I am sorry about that. But I have no idea what you can do to get your drone back. Did you find a solution?

  • momen | 18.10.2018

    hi guys .. am fpv pilot in saudi arabia
    if you need any local help ,tips email me at

    [email protected]

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