Drone regulations in Thailand (2022)
Last update on 11.02.2022 | 486 Kommentare
If you want to fly a drone in Thailand, you will have to take some hurdles. In this article, I explain to you the conditions you have to fulfill.
In recent years, the rules for drone pilots in Thailand have changed quite often. This creates a lot of confusion and not all the information you can find on the internet is up to date. I am trying to give you a current and complete overview of the legal situation in the Kingdom.
First of all, if you are caught drone-flying without the necessary permits, you face high fines and even imprisonment. Thai prisons are not fun!
For most camera drones, you need two registrations: First, from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which handles the frequencies used by the drone. Second, by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), which registers all drone pilots.
So far it is not possible to complete the registrations before going to Thailand. This means you will need some luck to get your documents in time. In the following I explain to you how the procedures at NBTC and CAAT work.
Overview: Drone rules in Thailand
Drone labels can be ordered here
CAAT: 0066 (0) 2568 8815
Registration of drones in Thailand
In total, you need three documents to fly legally in Thailand: drone insurance, NBTC registration and CAAT registration. You should have these documents with you during all drone flights.
The insurance confirmation should be in English and contain the following data:
- full name of the policyholder
- brand, model, serial number and weight of the insured drone(s)
- validity in Thailand must be clear
- insurance coverage of at least THB 1 million (approx. EUR 30,000)
Register with the NBTC
Before the Corona pandemic, you had to go to one of the NBTC offices to register. Fortunately, this process has finally been digitized, so you can at least prepare this step before your trip to Thailand.
First you create an account here. After your email address has been confirmed, you can enter your contact details and your address in Thailand. However, for the actual registration of your drone, a photo of your entry card is required, which you will receive upon arrival. Therefore, you can only complete the NBTC registration in the country.
The cost of drone registration with the NBTC is about 214 baht.
If you fail to register with the NBTC and are caught by the police, you could face up to five years in prison or a fine of 100,000 THB (approx. 3,000 euros).
Register with the CAAT
You have to register your drone with the CAAT if it has a camera/recording equipment or – if it does not have recording equipment – weighs more than 2 kg.
You can only register with the CAAT once you have the approval of the NBTC. Since summer 2018, registration has been possible via the online platform uav.caat.or.th.
The relevant fields have been translated into English so that you should be able to fill out the forms quite easily. You will have to provide a lot of personal information during the process. In addition, you have to upload a signed self-declaration, a picture of the drone with the serial number on it and proof of your drone insurance. In addition, the CAAT requires a copy of your passport with the entry stamp. Several of our readers received rejections due to the lack of proof of entry. This means that you can only register once you have already entered the country.
After you have submitted the complete documents, the CAAT will check your application and carry out a background check with several security authorities to ensure that you have not yet committed any legal violations in Thailand. Since this can be very time-consuming, you have to expect a long processing time. The CAAT writes on its website that you will receive a notification within 15 working days. In practice, it can be shorter, but it can also take much longer. The good news is that if your registration was successful, it is valid for two years.
If you are caught flying without CAAT registration, you face up to 1 year imprisonment and / or 40,000 THB penalty (approx. 1,200 euros).
Frequently asked questions about drone rules in Thailand
I would like to answer the questions most commonly asked in the comments here:
- Do I have to register my DJI Spark / DJI Mavic Pro / … for my Thailand vacation?
Yes, because these drones have a camera. You can find more information above.
- I am only visiting Thailand in transit and do not want to start my drone in the country. Can I get in trouble if I have no registration?
There should be no problems. Customs are not interested in drones, and the registrations are only required for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. However, there may be issues if the authorities get the impression that you want to resell the drone in Thailand (for example, if you import the drone in its original sealed packaging).
- I am flying to Thailand in a few weeks/days and would like to take my drone with me. Now I have read that I have to register. What can I do now?
You should take out drone liability insurance and collect the above documents. At the moment you can only register if you are already in Thailand. But keep in mind that processing your application can take weeks and you may not receive your permits in time if you are in the country for only a short vacation.
- How long does it take to register with the CAAT?
This varies and also seems to depend on the number of current applications. You can avoid a very long processing time by submitting all documents on time. Please keep in mind that processing at CAAT will only begin once you have approval from the NBTC.
Further regulations for operating multicopters in Thailand
After you have successfully registered yourself and your drone, there are of course other rules to follow
If you want to fly privately and no camera is mounted on your drone, the maximum take-off weight is 2 kg. With a higher weight you need approval from the CAAT. Drones weighing 25 kilograms or more need a separate permit from the Ministry of Transport.
Commercial pilots need permission for their flight maneuvers.
Safety distances and flight bans
You have to keep a distance of 9 kilometers (= 5 miles) to airports.
You can’t get closer than 50 meters to people, vehicles and buildings.
You must not fly near crowds of people. Flying over cities and villages is not allowed. Also avoid government buildings and hospitals.
You must always obtain permission from the property owner to take off and land. In practice, we usually solve this by asking the guards for permission or by asking at the information desk.
Your drone must always be kept within visual line of sight.
Drone flights are only allowed in daylight in Thailand, i.e. between sunrise and sunset.
The Thai rules also stipulate that you have an emergency plan. This includes having to carry a fire extinguisher with you. We have not yet found out whether this rule is enforced.
Good to know: Flights in Chiang Mai must be generally approved by air traffic control because the airport is so close to the city. We have obtained the appropriate permission. But you should call a few days before so that the people in the tower can coordinate with their bosses. Also, for flights over the historic park of Ayutthaya, approval is necessary. The Historical Park Office grants the permission, which is open daily from 8:30 to 16:30. According to the tourist information, the permit costs 5,000 baht.
We have researched the listed drone regulations for Thailand to the best of our knowledge. We cannot guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, contact the Thai aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the Thai 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 Thailand!
i live in Thailand and i want to fly my drone but I’m not sure if i need to sign documents. please help me
We have explained the procedure mostly for tourists who come to Thailand. There is more information on the website of the Aviation Authority. You might find details for residents there.
Registration with the NBTC AND CAAT can be done online
I have registered tor the CAAT first and had my approval through in just a few days. NBTC doesn’t have to be done first.
Good to hear. Hopefully, other pilots can confirm that as well.
Have a nice trip!
I will visit Thailand for short time may be couple weeks, it seems my stay will be not long enough for registration, is there place may be I can rent drone? I could fly and take some pictures of my vacationing in Thailand. Or I still need to register as drone pilot anyway?
Hello, anyone can recomand an insurance company please ? A not expensive one? Just for the holodays. Thanks
I tried to register and it seemed quite complicated with the dual forms and all sorts of strange questions, then there is the matter of requiring multiple photos of the drone and serial number, but only allowing one 5mb image to be uploaded, they also rejected my application because I only had 1 months insurance plan, they seemed to think I needed a yearly one, even though I only spent 29 days in the country, I applied a month before I went and on departure day it still hadn’t been resolved, would be helpful if they simplified the process to a single streamlined online application, not really sure why it takes a month to apply when in reality it should be an instant approval like almost all other countries, but I know that its Thailand and even in 2022 bureaucracy is still holding them back
How can I upload the NBTC “Arrival immigration stamp” if I’m doing it online, before traveling to Thailand?
Is it something that I can avoid uploading and finalizing while I’ll be in the NBTC Office in Bangkok?
Did you need to hav your stamps of entry on the territory to register.
It seems impossible to register only for holidays (3weeks) due to this step.
Hi, do I need to register my drone below 300g? DJI mini 3 Pro with camera and battery plus.
hello, are you sure with this? because on dji site it says that under 250g it’s not necessary
Yes, I am 100% sure. DJI site is not reliable in this case.
dji mini 3 pro have camera. all drone with camera must register
I own a DJI Mini 2. I went on vacation to Thailand for 5 days. Prior to arrival I followed all the procedures, got my travel insurance, prepared all documents and photos for Drone registration. Upon arrival I immediately submitted the forms and on my second day I received an email reply from NBTC stating that my “UAV’S RADIO EQUIPMENT REGISTRATION request is “passed” in the data validation process and Document successfully” and that I can proceed to the next step which is the payment of 214 Bhat (USD 6).Unfortunately the payment were pretty limited, it could only be done at a local bank office because as a tourist I don’t have a Thai bank account (in that case I could have done it online). That was a waste of time for me. I prefer to spend my time in photography than waiting at a bank to pay 6 dollars! The registration was a stressful very lengthy procedure with too many details. If your stay is short consider this payment delay for your Drone registration.
Is there anyone who applied before going to Thailand?
When I try to register my drone on the NBTC website it asks for an entry stamp which you only get by entering Thailand.
Anyone with some experience with this?
Hello, i need to pay the fee for NBTC 214 baths, there is someway via web where i can do that? I am currently in Koh Phangan and the only physical option is at Kasikorn Bank PCL. Do you guys know if exist something simple like paypal or web purchase system?
I applied for CAAT from home and it seems it worked, even though the status is still „new application“ I was able to download a document which is about approval for 2 years if Google translated it correctly…
The NBTC however; yes you have to have the immigration stamp in your passport. Note that you can change the responsible NBTC office from a dropdown at the bottom of the application. Choose one with less waiting applicants.
Got my NBTC approval after 1 day. For payment I asked hotel staff to pay the 214 baht for me – worked perfectly.
Please can you advise me what the CAAT mean by Registration of Home document that needs to be uploaded. Will they accept a utility bill or does it mean proof of stay in Thailand.
Please can anyone help urgently as I have the rest of requirements ready to send.
Will they accept a English UK insurance company? – Or does it have to be a thai company?
UK insurance should be okay, as long as the contract inculdes Thailand.
Cost of CAAT? How much cost CAAT application/permit? What is your experience how much time approval takes?
I have applied for NBTC and CAAT, I have the NBTC approval already -job done.
I see uou say CAAT application doesn’t start until NBTC approval is granted, do I need to send approval copy to CAAT or do they get it automatically..thanks
I’ve just got a “low cost” drone (ZLL SG908 Max) from Shopee and despite i checked deeply, i couldn’t find any serial number on it.
How can I go forward in the registration process without the required number ?
Thanks for your answer.
The hardest thing to do in this process is to pay the bill from NBTC, because we Farangs don’t have the bank connection in Thailand. If you have a Thai friend or even Hotel staff, they can help you.
so my entire thing got approved just as i was leaving Thailand.
I am re-visiting Thailand soon, and I am wondering if I need to restart over this entire process.
Because, Insurance is valid for a year, CAAT certificate says valid for 2 years.
NBTC is the only thing that seem to be expired, which was aligned with my visa-exempt stay duration
I am trying to apply for my CAAT application before I travel to Thailand. What did you do for section 4 and 4.1 where it requires your Arrival Visa information?