Drone regulations in Thailand

When you want to fly a drone in Thailand, you have to take some hurdles. In this article, I explain you which conditions you have to fulfill.

In recent years, the rules for drone pilots in Thailand have changed very often. There are many confusions, and not all the information you find on the internet is up to date. But I will try to give you an up-to-date and complete overview of the legal situation in the Kingdom.

Get permission from the CAAT

The CAAT regulates air traffic in Thailand. Since 2017, registration with the CAAT is required if your drone is equipped with a camera or weighs more than 2 kilograms. This means that all common drones (including DJI Mavic Air and DJI Spark) must be registered.

Since summer 2018 the registration can be done via the online platform www.caat.or.th/uav/. Currently, the platform has a few start problems (for example, long load times). You will be guided through the registration process in a structured way.

Much of the interface is in Thai. However, the relevant fields have also been translated into English, so you can fill in all the forms well. During the process, you have to give a lot of personal information. In addition, you will need to upload a signed self-report, a picture of the drone showing the serial number, and proof of your drone insurance.

The insurance confirmation should be in English and contain the following critical data:

  • Full name of the policyholder
  • Brand, model, and weight of insured drone(s)
  • Worldwide validity must be clear
  • Coverage of the insurance

If you have any questions, please call CAAT on 0066 (0) 2568 8815.

After you have sent the complete documents, the CAAT checks your application. To date, three other authorities have been contacted: the National Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, and the Immigration Bureau. This background check is to ensure that you have not committed any legal violations in Thailand yet. Since the examination of your person is very time-consuming, you have to expect a processing time of three to four months!

I could not find out yet if all authorities are still consulted with the new online registration. Even if the permission of the NBTC (see below) still has to be obtained, I am not clear yet. The following two paragraphs (NBTC and the frequent questions) may, therefore, be out of date. I try to clarify it as quickly as possible.

Permission from the NBTC

Approval from the NBTC becomes necessary if your drone weighs more than 250 grams and is operated with a controller. The NBTC regulates the radio frequencies in Thailand.

Registering with the NBTC is easy within 10-15 minutes at one of the NBTC offices. Currently, there are different empirical values, whether the CAAT passes on your data to the NBTC. If you got your approval from the CAAT, you should ask if you still have to take care of this authorization or if the CAAT has already taken over this step for you.

However, if registration with the NBTC is not carried out and the police catch you, then you may face up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine of 100,000 THB.

Frequently asked questions about drone rules in Thailand

I would like to answer the questions most commonly asked in the comments here:

  1. 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.
  2. I only visit Thailand in transit and do not want to start my drone in Thailand. Can I get in trouble if I have no registration?
    There should be no problems. The customs are not interested in drones, and the registrations are only required for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. However, it can be critical if you get the impression that you want to resell the drone in Thailand (for example, if you import the drone in its original sealed packaging).
  3. 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 do the registration. What can I do now?
    It’s too late to register with the CAAT. Nevertheless, I would send the documents in your situation. So if in doubt, you have something in your hand, what you can show on site. Besides, you should register with the NBTC in Thailand. Also, you can go to a police station in Thailand and get a permit there. I’m not sure what legal validity these approvals have. But some pilots have received an official document in this way, which they can show at a check. With all these documents, you can demonstrate your goodwill and improve your position significantly, if it should come to questions.
    If you shy away from the effort, you’d better leave your drone at home.
  4. How long does it take to register with the CAAT?
    The current experience of our readers is between 75 and 104 days. However, I hope that the number of registrations will be reduced in the course of 2018, thus shortening the processing time.

Operation of multicopters in Thailand

After completing the registration of your drone, of course, there are more rules. Here is an overview of the most important provisions.

Maximum flight altitude: In Thailand, drones are allowed to climb a maximum of 90 meters (=300 feet).

Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: Your drone must be always in sight.

Compulsory insurance: Drone insurance is compulsory in Thailand. The insurance must cover damages of at least one million baht (about 27,000 euro).

Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): If you want to fly privately and no camera is mounted on your drone, a maximum take-off weight of 2 kilograms applies to your multicopter. For a higher weight, you need the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). From a starting weight of 25 kilograms, you need a separate approval from the Ministry of Transport.

Distance to airports: You have to stay 9 kilometers (= 5 miles) away from airports.

Other safe distances: You may approach a maximum of 30 meters of people, vehicles, and buildings. The prescribed distance is 50 meters for approved drones.

Flight bans: You must not fly near crowds. It is not allowed to fly over cities and villages.

Flight approval: You must always obtain the permission of the landowner to start and land. In practice, we usually solve this in such a way that we ask the guards for permission or inform us at the info counters.

Time of operations: Drone flights are allowed in Thailand only in daylight, so in the time between sunrise and sunset.

Specific regulations: In Thailand, a minimum age of 20 is required to operate a multicopter.

Regulations for commercial pilots: Commercial pilots need permission for their flight maneuvers.

Good to know: Flights in Chiang Mai must be generally approved by the 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 colleagues in the tower can coordinate with their bosses. Also, the approval of overflights in the historic park of Ayutthaya 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.

Helpful links: CAAT (contact details at the end of the page), Richard BarrowNo Fly Zones Thailand

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!

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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

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  • Juan Bodan. | 14.02.2018

    At leas we are allowed to fly other countries they banned drones at all!!!!!

  • Fredrik | 24.02.2018

    Hi,
    Just got back from 4 weeks in Thailand, I placed my drone in the hand luggage no problem at all.
    Since a was to late to send my papper to CAAT I simply went to the local police office at Krabi
    Offcourse I got the following info and paper with me.

    Copy of your ID card, passport, registration certificate and proof of drone insurance. The insurance confirmation should be in English and contain the following critical data
    Full name of the policyholder
    Brand, model, and weight of insured drone(s)
    Worldwide validity must be clear
    Coverage of the insurance

    At the police station I filled in a form and they should seen it to all CAAT, NBTC they told me.
    I got a sign paper from head of Karbi police that I was approved to fly drone.
    All it took was about 10 min.
    So it´s easy to fix flight permission at police station.
    But use common sense when and where you are bout to use the drone.
    Happy flight!

    • bernard | 28.03.2018

      Hello
      Again !! record on Police station is only for NBTC for your radio communication as per telecom law
      Police station or NBTC do not give any permission to fly only CAAT aviation can do that !!!
      Please, this is the mail of public relation CAAT in charge to collect and record you drone
      ask clarification and you will see !!!
      Tantawat Charoonpatrapong
      [email protected]

  • jp | 25.02.2018

    I would say for anyone going to Thailand and either reads these comments too late. The best thing to do is at least have documentation on hand for airports. Otherwise, I was there (unfortunately my drone was broken) and I didn’t actually see a lot of police nor drones. So just be smart, don’t film within city limits, crowds etc and you should be okay. Otherwise, go to the police office to do what Fredrik did and you should be good.

    • bernard | 28.03.2018

      Congratulation for your expert point of view !!!!

  • Tibor | 02.03.2018

    >>> Flights in Chiang Mai must be generally approved by the air traffic control because the airport is so close to the city. We have obtained the appropriate permission.

    Where do you obtain it? and who to contact?

  • PAU | 03.03.2018

    Rules has changed feb 2018.

    I tried to insurance with thic company
    http://dronethaiinsurance.com

    Thay answered that one week ago:

    Dear Pau,

    Sorry for lost our contact for awhile, due to new announcement from NBTC last week as following ,

    Drone bring into Thailand must have an import license before traveling.
    And must declare at the customs house.

    And must register before using it, at the NBTC office.

    Using drone in Thailand are allow to use of 2.4 GHz frequency. Transmission power not exceeding 100 mW
    and 5.8 GHz. Transmit power not exceeding 1 watts (e.i.r.p)

    Application for import license can empower others to act.

    And the operator must get permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

    * NBTC – The office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission
    * CAAT – The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT)

    I am trying to find the best way to do.

    Best Regards,

    Danny

  • Bob | 04.03.2018

    What are the ‘registration marks’ the application asks for in regards to your drone?

    • Vasco | 27.06.2018

      I have same question, not sure what is that? Did you manage to get more info about it?

  • Mark Lester Aguana | 13.03.2018

    Hey I have just a question, im not planning to fly my dji spark in thailand im just there to visit my friends for a few days as a transit before goin back to australia, do I still need a permit? If i dnt have a permit will they confiscate my drone in the airport?

    • Chris | 21.03.2018

      What happened? Did they confiscate your done?

      • bernard | 28.03.2018

        No, but they can force you to leave the appliance in the gardening zone
        and you will recover when you tell you that you will have to pay the temporary storage fees depending on the duration
        it is provided for in the Thais customs regulations

        • tsukamoto | 02.04.2018

          oh man so much craziness regarding drones and thailand in this comment section :/ I arrived in bangkok 2 weeks ago and had the mavic pro among other stuff (2 dslrs, 2 mavic batts, laptop, gopro…) in my hand luggage and there was no issues. The xray check guys at the airport had me give the bag for a second scan (all the stuff was in that one bag) and then said its ok. I also flew to krabi airport yesterday with all those stuff and no one bothered at all at the xray check. not sure about flying it here cause I definitely have no time to register or anything. hell, the visa is 60 days max, how on earth can a foreigner apply for registration and then wait that long, LOL.

          • DULEROY Bernard | 07.09.2018

            He !He you do not know the custom rule and fly rule Thai …
            It is not mandatory to have a importation certificate and you are free to have you drone with you any ware in the kingdom but Switch off engine !!!
            If you use the drone and fly you are in infraction it is very simple !!!

  • Francis Markert | 29.03.2018

    Hello everybody,
    Apparently, you need an import license for Thailand since February. Does anyone know where this new regulation is documented and how to obtain the permit?
    Many thanks for your help!
    Best regards, Francis

  • john | 05.04.2018

    You bay a drone easy at pantip in bangkok en fly lokal with no problem. in teh city and at tourist places there its

  • Fred | 23.04.2018

    I am planning on visiting in March 2019. Is it too early to submit the forms now ?

    • barry smith | 30.04.2018

      Probably too late

      • Andy H | 12.06.2018

        For March 2019??? Hardly late.

  • Bear | 04.05.2018

    I live in Bangkok and i airline to work in and out twice a month. I have Mavic in my bag at all times and four batteries in my carry on. (With at dslr and a couple lenses, iPad, pc laptop etc. been here for I years. No problems.

    • Brian | 09.05.2018

      Thank you

  • Rangga | 16.05.2018

    Oh my, i am planning to visit thai this september and bringing the drone with me. But after reading this i ll just have to leave the drone out

  • Jeffrey Kohler | 21.05.2018

    The email address to send your application to should be [email protected].
    We never got a response from the emails on the applications. Had my sister-in-law call CAAT in Bangkok.

    • Luigi | 23.05.2018

      Hi there, I red a lot of e-mail address to send the application. Could you confirm? I red [email protected], [email protected] or a fax number +66 (0)2 5688848.

      I am searching for a solution: I planned to go in Thailand in August and I thim I am too late.

  • Jimmy S | 22.05.2018

    Just came back from Thailand
    i completed my forums in February and still not received anything i rang them 4 times within two weeks of going and and still got no reply
    I took a risk and took all forums with me and visited the NBTC office took 45 Mins to register my Drone as they have new forums and they will not accept the old one, Also you need Photos of your Drone from every angle along with a clear photo of the Serial Number and the serial Number of the remote, two copies of your passport and all have to be Singed and dated

    I was luck and there was a Taiwanese guy registering his drone when i was trying to do mine and help loads
    i forgot to get his name but if you see this thanks a million if it was not for him my drone would not of got registered
    I had no issues with customs at all on both international and domestic flights.

    • Brian Lane | 13.06.2018

      I have been in Thailand for 5 days. Flew into Bangkok airport. Took three different trains within city. Then flown from Bangkok airport to Phuket. Drown in backpack, with underwater camera, removu and battery’s in TSA safe. No problems. One security guy checked my luggage because of baby wipes. The drone he was scared to move around. And his accent seemed European. No problems. Have flown the drone three places. Just be smart when flying and don’t act scared when going through security checks. DJI Phantom Pro +. Good luck.

      • Oscar O | 20.06.2018

        Which means that you did not register on anything or with any documentations with you and just went through the security checks? Do you have to declare it first?

        What about departing from the airport? They allow you to bring on to the plane?

        • Brian lane | 23.06.2018

          I did not have anything. Just my drone in backpack. Went to prachuap, Phuket, krabi. Only careful where and when I used it. Went through Bangkok airport three times, once through Chiangmai and Phuket airport. Did not use the drone in Chiangmai or Bangkok metro.

  • Dave M | 23.06.2018

    Several days ago, we saw a group of tourists arrested for using a small drone at the beach in Ko Samui, Thailand. Only one person was controlling it but all four were taken by the police who told us later they had no license and no insurance and also operating it too close to people walking on the beach. We heard later that they had to stay overnight in jail and pay 50,000 baht each to get out on bail! They were all considered to be using the Drone just because they were all watching the video feed.

    • Adam West | 29.06.2018

      I would say that you can just take it with you if you don’t intend to use it. It’s just another piece of your personal belongings. All drone owners and operators should realise that you can lose a drone at anytime due to any number of reasons and you should be aware of the risk involved and be prepared to suffer the cost of losing one. Otherwise leave it at home or don’t buy one. Life is an adventure and risk is always a part of that. I see a lot of comments on here by people that can’t seem to think for themselves or do their own research or take any calculated risks. We all know the rules and that Thailand and surrounding places are third world countries and you will be treated accordingly if caught doing the wrong thing…

    • petedk | 19.07.2018

      This is the problem with Thailand. There are so many dubious laws regarding drones, e-cigarettes and other things that foreigners don’t know about.
      Generally nothing happens and tourists go about their ways in peace.
      Sometimes however, the police go crazy and arrest the tourists and threaten with hefty fines or even jail time.
      It is always safer to have all papers in order.

      • SPREX 64 | 23.07.2018

        Sorry, there is no dubious law in Thailand but Act.BE, ministerial circulars, royal decrees, command order or agency or government department notifications much better done than you think even sophisticated
        You have no idea of ​​the administrative organization of this country and speak as if you were resident there which I doubt besides …
        For the regulation UAV Drone Act BE 2558 (2015) and Air navigation Act BE 2047 (amended) the innumerable warnings of the Thai authority are very clear except that some texts have not been translated into English so you will interpret very wrong what the different regulations say
        Clearly this country is not as you think and he has an admirable and legal infrastructure that has nothing to envy the OECD do not dislike you

        Regarding the customs declaration nothing new your drone can be considered as goods (tax exemption) and as the International Customs Code indicates
        it must therefore be declared in temporary importation (tax exemption) but it must be brought out of course

        The Royal Thai Tourist Police Division notified in March 2018 (English) on page 4/4 so that you can understand exactly what the regulation says it is curious that people persist in not wanting to understand because especially it does not arrange them ….
        Personally I just received my license and the views of many requests during these 8 months of procedure it is clear that the government does not wish to distribute licenses to all those tourists who tend to do anything with their drone just watch Youtube !!!!

        Here is the notification of the Tourist Police which reminds the requirements of having to make 2 very distinct declarations and in addition to filling the form 32 for the import of your drone
        https://touristpolice.go.th/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/0002.pdf
        form import http://www.nbtc.go.th/getattachment/Business/commu/radio/licensing/%E0%B9%81%E0%B8%9A%E0%B8%9A%E0%B8%9F%E0 % B8% AD% E0% B8% A3% E0% B9% 8C% E0% B8% A1% E0% B8% 84% E0% B8% B3% E0% B8% 82% E0% B8% AD / 31833 /% E0% B9% 81% E0% B8% 9A% E0% B8% 9A% E0% B8% 84% E0% B8% B3% E0% B8% 82% E0% B8% AD-32.pdf.aspx
        the processing time of the applications to CAAT is considerable do not dream too much and it is a little expret you have to be visa long stay or work permit to hope to get it ….. Regards

  • Benny Wu | 02.07.2018

    Hi,
    Since regist in NTBC and get permission form CAAT is not so easy for traveller. is there any Drone rental shop in Chiangmai
    Thanks and best regards
    Benny

  • Thom van Alphen | 06.07.2018

    When you go to Thailand for a few weeks then a few weeks to Vietnam then back to Thailand, do you need to fill in two forms?

  • Cony | 13.07.2018

    Hi everyone, anyone knows how much should cost an insurance for a dji spark???

  • Nig | 13.07.2018

    Around Thai Baht 3000 per year for 1 million baht coverage(minimum needed).
    Cheers

  • Vasco | 13.07.2018

    What are the ‘registration marks’ the application asks for in regards to your drone?
    I assume I get the registration marks after registering the drone, why the form is asking for it before registering?

  • Sir Maxwell Greene | 17.07.2018

    If anyone is interested, here is the official announcement from the Thai Ministry of Transport on rules and regulations. I have uploaded the document for your use. Link below.

    I live and work in Bangkok. I carry a copy of this with me in my drone case alongside my insurance info, copy of my passport. Become familiar with it. If you do get stopped atleast you know the rules and don’t get bullied into a bribe or arrest because you don’t know the laws.

    Bangkok city is for the most part too crowded to fly a drone, unless you have access to a big quite parking area, roof top, private property…so don’t take the chance.
    I am always on the look out for new places to launch from and they are not easy to find.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GbOmRSeDyE4OAOPwU9pNj4shIxN1UDgv/view?usp=sharing

    • bernard DULEROY | 24.07.2018

      Hello, If you know the Thai RPA / UAV regulations you still need to know that any flight is prohibited on the city of Bangkok !!!!
      I invite you to consult the AIP Map NER 5.1 published by the CAAT especially for the Drones ….. which is named in the Act Act BE 2558 clausr 5 (2) b
      Bangkok is ranked VTR1 ID 3000 …..
      As a reminder, the AIP has a national and international jurisidic value

      Tis is communication with CAAT / ANS autority

      piwat Chanrueang
      January 26, 2018 at 17:47
      To: Bernard
      Cc: Tawika Huayhongtong , Pawat Harnbumrungkit
      Dear sir
      Google Earth map.
      Red area in Google Earth map is:
      1. Restricted Area, Prohibited Area, and Danger Area that Published in AIP-Thailand ENR 5.1
      2.The area within 5 nautical miles (9 KM.) From airport or temporary airfield (Red Circle)
      in case of failing to comply with Article 5 of the Announcement of the Ministry of Transport
      Permission and Conditions to Control and Launch Unmanned Aircraft in the category of Remotely Piloted Aircraft
      B.E.2558 (attached file) Director General in written document (according to article 17)

      Best Regards,

      Mr Apiwat Chanrueang
      Air Traffic Management Standards Division (TS)
      Air Navigation Services Standards Department (ANS)

  • bernard | 17.07.2018

    Hello,
    After very long process and control today I receive my license, just to say I wrot to many exclusives information’s in this blog but never have been take it in consideration but do not forget if you do not have a NON MIGRANT long stay you will be not eligible for license !!!
    Second point, All drone included -2 Kg equipped with camera on board shall be registered to CAAT That is clearly and confirmed by CAAT !!!! unfortunately infographie in Thai language have not been translated and create to many confusion and bla bla
    About insurance 4 092 bahts for 2 millions bth assigned for ”all areas” permitted in kingdom as per the law governed by ”AIP 5.1 map flight drone” issued by Authority aviation .
    Never mind that is a concrete situation and not a dream ….Good look !!!!
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nwpga6ylwhfde1h/No%20ID%20Official%20drone%20license%2017%20JULY%202018.JPG?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0z81sijowbc4tmo/No%20ID%20Official%20assignation%20drone%20license%2017%20JULY%202018.JPG?dl=0

  • bernard | 17.07.2018

    Hello!
    Please, you can proceed as per the new e-channel for registration your drone good look !!!
    https://www.caat.or.th/uav/index.php

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