Drone users in Saudi now require permits to operate them

Drones need to be registered for commercial as well as personal usage



Those wishing to fly drones in the Saudi Arabia can now apply for permits issued by the kingdom’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA).

Those who own a drone or wish to purchase one and fly it in the kingdom can register through GACA’s website and get a permit as well as a licence for the drone, the authority said.

“Drones are defined as a remotely piloted, or pre-programmed plane that follows a specific route to perform specific tasks,” the GACA explained.

The authority has identified them across three categories: Non-recreational (commercial) that weigh 25 kg and above; non-recreational (commercial) that are small; and drones for amateurs and personal use.

A recreational drone permit costs SAR250 (around $67) and applicants will need to submit copies of a national identity card or iqama, and the make and serial number of the drone, local daily Arab News reported.

Commercial drone permits will cost SAR500 ($133), the report added.

According to the GACA, commercial drones require registration as well as a licence and approval from the authority.

Amateurs and those using drones recreationally will also need to operate them through aviation clubs licenced by the GACA, a statement said.

One permit is required for each drone.

The move is part of the GACA’s aim to have a “safe environment in accordance with specific safety standards”, it said.

“It also comes within GACA’s efforts to improve and regulate the work of drones within the framework of the Kingdom’s vision 2030,” it added.