GACA, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, is Saudi Arabia’s National Aviation Authority, according to which people can legally fly drones.
However, despite being legal, drones are believed to be potentially harmful to the safety of the masses.
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Drone Permit/Registration in Saudi Arabia
To fly a drone, you need to get a drone permit. Moreover, there is a list of rules you should follow if you want to fly a drone in Saudi Arabia.
Also, these rules are a must to follow regardless of whether you fly the drone for commercial or recreational purposes. Some of the essential rules to get a drone permit which you should abide by are:
- The drone should weigh less than 250 grams or 0.55 lbs for recreational purposes. If it weighs 250 grams or more, you need to get a certificate from the Aircraft Registration, which costs SAR 500.
- You should renew your drone registrations after every three years.
- Once the Registry approves the Certificate of Aircraft Registration, they assign an identification number to the drone, which is unique for every drone.
- Also, you need to attach this identification number to your drone in a secure way. It would be best if you affixed it on the drone, which is easily readable and visible upon inspection.
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Rules to follow while flying a drone
- You can not fly drones directly over areas with the public masses. Moreover, you can also not fly drones over private locations.
- Secondly, you are to abstain from flying drones over and near the airport to avoid any aerial collision.
- Adding on, you should avoid flying the drone craft near or over particular sensitive locations, such as military installations. Moreover, drones that are equipped with cameras are also strictly not allowed in these locations.
- You can only fly drones in daylight and when the weather is good. Also, it is prohibited to fly a drone above 120 meters, that is 400 feet, from the ground. In Saudi Arabia, it is considered to be a risk to local aviation if a drone exceeds this altitude.
- Fly the drone craft within the line of sight. This means that the pilots must be able to see the drone in the direct line of sight.
- You should fly the drone at or under 100 mph.
- Flying the drone under the influence of intoxicants is not allowed.
- When flying drones for commercial purposes, you need to have a valid Remote Pilot Certificate which you can get through GACA.
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How to apply for a drone license for recreational purposes?
As established in this article earlier, you need a drone license(or permit) to fly a drone in Saudi Arabia. To do so, follow the steps below:
- Firstly, head over to the GACA website. You can click here to open the website as well.
- Then, click on the “national single sign-on” option. This will redirect you to the GACA website.
- Lastly, click on the “proceed” button.
2) Creating your Account
- Select the title option. Then, enter your email and phone number.
- Secondly, select the country as Saudi Arabia.
- Select your region in the “district” option.
- Lastly, choose your city.
- The system will automatically recognize your name and date of birth.
- GACA will then send you the confirmation email of your account creation.
3) Register your Drone
- Firstly, go to the “Register a Drone” option.
- Then, select “Recreational” from the drop-down menu.
- Fill out the form that appears on your screen.
- At this point of registration, you have to pay a registration fee of SAR 250.
- Go through the Drone Registration Guidelines. The process of registration might take some time. In some cases, it may even take up to six months.
4)Sending the Request for a License
- Once your drone is registered, apply for a drone license. For that, go to the “license” option.
- Then, click on the “Request Permit” button.
- Select the option “Recreational” and click “Proceed.”
- Fill out the form that appears on your screen entirely.
- Lastly, upload your Iqama copy.
- Submit your request application for a license. You will receive your license from GACA within a week of applying for it.
Commercial Use of Drones in Saudi Arabia
As mentioned above, you must have a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone commercially in Saudi Arabia. To get this certification, you must ensure that you meet the set criteria by GACA for commercial drone use in the Kingdom.
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Some of the conditions that need to be fulfilled in order to get this certificate are:
- You must be physically and mentally fit to operate the drone safely.
- Additionally, you should be able to speak, read, understand, and write English correctly. The only exception to this condition is if you are medically not in a state to meet one of the requirements. For example, if you have a hearing impairment.
- You must also pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test.
- You should be at least 18 years old.
Drone Prices in Saudi Arabia
You can purchase drones online in Saudi Arabia through websites such as Amazon and Noon. Various drone cameras and accessories are available within a reasonable price range.
The prices at Noon start from as low as SAR 5.65 and reach as high as SAR 2200. However, Amazon’s prices vary between SAR 12 to SAR 68,500.
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Some of the in-demand drones with the best prices available at these websites are:
- 1) DJI Mini 2:
- Price: SAR 2669 to SAR 2980
- Website: Amazon
- 2) DJI Mini 3 Pro
- Price: SAR 4519.27
- Website: Shopkees
- 3) DJI Air 2s
- Price: SAR 7984 to SAR 13625
- Website: Amazon
- 4) Autel Robotics Evo Lite Plus
- Price: SAR 4500 to SAR 8760
- Website: ubuy.com.sa
- 5) Autel Robotics Evo Nano Plus
- Price: SAR 3000 to SAR 4750
- Website: ubuy.com.sa