Indian Drone Rules - Simple. Clear. Crisp.
Indian Drone Rules - Simple. Clear. Crisp.

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General Rules

Know general drone rules and regulations before take-off.
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Table of contents

Indian Drone Regulations

All rules and regulations you need to know in the drone sector.

Drone Insurance

As per CAR 1.0, section 17, third party liability insurance is a mandatory requirement.

Flying drones without insurance is illegal and a punishable offence.

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Pilot eligibility

Undergoing a drone pilot training from DGCA approved Flying Training Organization is mandatory for drone pilots.

Who is a drone pilot?

A drone pilot is responsible for effectively and safely operating a drone. You will be based on the ground and pilot your drone by either a handheld console or via a computer in a control room.

Pilot eligibility
Pilot eligibility

A drone pilot should have the following attributes to be eligible for flying:

Personal

You must be at least 18 years and an Indian citizen.

Education & Training

1. You should have completed matriculation in English.
2. You should undergo practical or ground training at any DGCA approved Flying Training Organization (FTO) as per the syllabus mentioned in CAR.

Health

1. You should be medically fit.
2. You should not have any vision and auditory problems.
3. If you have a myopic vision, ensure to correct it.

Regulatory

1. You should have a DGCA approved pilot license.
2. You should get security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs or submit self-attested copies of at least two (out of three) valid identity proofs including a driving license, passport, or Aadhar Card.
3. In case you are a foreign pilot who is employed by an Indian entity, then DGCA will forward relevant documents for security clearance as per the method followed for Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorization (FATA) pilots.

Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) & Height Restrictions
Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) & Height Restrictions

All drones irrespective of airspace or category, need to fly in a visual line of sight. Drones cannot fly beyond 400 ft. from AGL.

Weather & Meteorological Conditions

Time of flight

Time of flight

All drones must operate during daylight hours between sunrise and sunset.

Wind

wind

Surface winds during the operation should be less than 10 knots OR as specified by manufacturer.

Precipitation

Precipitation

No precipitation (rain, hail or snow) or thunderstorm activities, or exceeding those specified by the manufacturer.

Visibility

Visibility

All drones should be flown in visual line of sight. Minimum ground visibility of 5 km and cloud ceiling not less than 1500 feet (450 m).

Weather & Meteorological Conditions

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Territorial demarcations

Distance from Airports

Distance from Airports

Drones cannot fly within 5km from the perimeter of airports of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within a distance of 3 km from the perimeter of any civil, private or defence airports.

Specially prohibited areas

Specially prohibited areas

Drones cannot fly within permanent or temporary prohibited, restricted and danger areas including Temporary Reserved Area (TRA) and/or Temporary Segregated Area (TSA), as notified in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).

Distance from International Borders

Distance from International Borders

Drones cannot fly within 25km from international border including Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).

Barred locations under MHA

Barred locations under MHA

Drones cannot fly within 2 km from the perimeter of strategic locations/vital installations notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) unless clearance is obtained from MHA.

Distance from Coast

Distance from Coast

Drones cannot fly beyond 500m (horizontal) into the sea from the coastline, provided the location of the ground station is on the fixed platform over land.

Distance from State Admin Buildings

Distance from State Admin Buildings

Drones cannot fly within 3km radius of the State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals.

Distance from Central Admin Buildings

 Distance from Central Admin Buildings

Drones cannot fly within 5km radius from Vijay Chowk in Delhi. However, this is subject to any additional conditions/restrictions imposed by local law enforcement agencies/authorities given the security concerns.

Prohibited eco-sensitive zones

Prohibited eco-sensitive zones

Drones cannot fly over eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries as notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change without prior permission.

Distance from Military Installations

Distance from Military Installations

Drones cannot fly within 3km from the perimeter of military installations/facilities/where military activities/exercises are being carried out unless clearance is obtained from the local military installation/facility.

Equipment requirements

Basic Equipment Requirements

India has certain mandatory requirements regarding drone features, except for the Nano drones. The basic equipment requirements include the following:

1. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for horizontal and vertical position fixing.
2. Fire-resistant ID plate inscribed with UIN.
3. Autonomous Flight Termination System or Return To Home (RTH) option.
4. Flashing anti-collision strobe lights.
5. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and GSM SIM Card/ NPNT compliant for APP based real-time tracking.
6. Flight controller with flight data logging capability.
7. The tracking system of the RPA shall be self-powered and tamper-proof to ensure seamless data flow, even if accidents occur.

Note: This is exempted for the Nano category intending to operate up to 50 ft (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace or enclosed premises.

Additional Requirements

Some additional requirements are needed for drones intending to operate in controlled airspace up to 400 feet (120 m) AGL.

1. SSR transponder (Mode ‘C’ or ‘S’) or ADS-B OUT equipment
2. Barometric equipment with capability for remote subscale setting
3. Geo-fencing capability
4. Detect and Avoid capability

Note: This is exempted for the Nano and Micro category intending to operate in uncontrolled airspace.

Miscellenous

1. Flying more than one drone at the same time by a single pilot is a punishable offense.

2. Take off and landing areas of drones should be segregated from public access.

3. For flying in controlled airspace, the drone pilot should maintain two-way communication with ATC as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phraseology.

4. Drones should not carry hazardous materials, animal or human payload.

5. The remote pilot should never fly a drone in a manner that can harm any individual or property.

Approvals Before Flying

Digital Sky Permission

Digital Sky Permission

Drone operators must seek permission from the Digital Sky Platform before the commencement of their flight.

Note: This is exempted for the Nano category intending to operate up to 50 ft. (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace or enclosed premises.

Flight Plan Filing

Flight Plan Filing

Drone operators are required to file a flight plan at least 24 hours before actual operations. Failing to create a perfect flight plan can lead to severe damages or pose serious threats to others, not to mention wastage of time and resources.

Note: This is exempted for Nano and Micro category intending to operate up to 50 ft. (15 m) AGL and 200 ft. (60 m) AGL respectively in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises.

ATC Briefing

ATC Briefing

Drone operators must inform the nearest ATC unit and obtain Meteorological and ATC clearance before the flight.

Note: This is exempted for Nano and Micro category intending to operate up to 50 ft. (15 m) AGL and 200 ft. (60 m) AGL respectively in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises.

Air Defence Clearance

Air Defence Clearance

Drone operators must obtain Air Defence Clearance from the nearest IAF unit.

Note: This is exempted for Nano and Micro category intending to operate up to 50 ft. (15 m) AGL and 200 ft. (60 m) AGL respectively in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises.

FIC Number

FIC Number

Drone operators must obtain an FIC number from the nearest Flight Information Center.

Note: This is exempted for Nano and Micro category intending to operate up to 50 ft. (15 m) AGL and 200 ft.(60 m) AGL respectively in uncontrolled airspace/ enclosed premises.

Inform the Local Police

Inform the Local Police

Drone operators must inform the local police where the flight shall be executed.

Note: This is exempted for the Nano category intending to operate up to 50 ft. (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace or enclosed premises.

Travel with a drone in India

Check In luggage only

Check In luggage only

Drones are listed as restricted items by BCAS and hence can only be carried in checked in luggage.

Insure before travelling

Insure before travelling

If a drone is worth more than Rs. 5 lakhs, and cannot be brought on a plane, consider shipping it with full insurance instead.

Batteries in Cabin Luggage only

Batteries in Cabin Luggage only

All drone batteries should be placed in a medium-size lipo battery bag should be carried in only in cabin baggage.

Pack properly

Pack properly

Failure to properly pack drone batteries can lead to fines, battery being seized, or boarding being denied.

Varying rules

Varying rules

For international flights, there is no standard rule to carry drones. It is wise to read the country specific rules.

Government Stakeholders & Portals

The government stakeholders have multiple roles and responsibilities in various aspects of drone operation including import clearance, UIN issuance, security clearance, approvals, and many more.

Portals by Government

Digital Sky

Single window digital platform by DGCA to issue licenses, approvals & clearances.

Visit Digital Sky >>

eProcurement

A government portal for various tenders including drones and services.

eProcurement >>

e-Sahaj

A MoCA portal that allows companies and enterprises to apply for security clearance.

Visit eSahaj >>

eMarketplace

GeM is a Government eMarketplace that allows to market the products digitally.

Visit GeM >>

Government Stakeholders and Officials

Government Stakeholders

List of all government stakeholders related to legal drone purchase and flying.

Download the List >>

Government Officer’s List

Contacts of Officers in Charge for various step of legal drone purchase and flying.

Get the Contacts >>

Drone Types

India's drone policy has a simple specification, the drone's all up weight including the weight of the payload.

Nano category

These are drones that weigh less than 250 grams. Some of the examples are given below.

Drone Types
Sky Viper Dash
Weight240gMostly used forIndoor, Recreational RacingOperational height150 feet (max)
Drone Types
Shift RED by Shift
Weight93gMostly used forVideography, RecreationalOperational height15 m
Micro category

These are drones that weigh between 250 grams and 2 Kilograms. Some of the examples are below.

Drone Types
Ninja by Ideaforge
Weight2 KgMostly used forMapping, SurveillanceMax height200 m
Drone Types
Starlite by Hubblefly
Weight2 KgMostly used forMonitoring, SurveillanceMax height60 m
Small category

These are drones that weigh less than weighing greater than 2 Kilograms, but less than or equal to 25 Kilograms. Some of the examples are below.

Drone Types
SYENA-Q10 by Thanos
Weight25 KgMostly used forAgricultural, Seed Broadcasting Max height30 feet
Drone Types
Albatross by Redwing
Weight8 KgMostly used forMedical DeliveryMax height400 feet
Medium category

These are drones that weigh greater than 25 Kilograms, but less than or equal to 150 Kilograms. Some of the examples are below.

Drone Types
Prion Mk3 by UAVE
Weight30 KgMostly used forReconnaissance, SurveillanceOperational height1000 Km
Large category

These drones weigh more than 150 Kilograms. Some of the examples are below.

Drone Types
HAL’s Warrior Drone
WeightUnknownMostly used forCombatMax heightUnknown
Drone Types
HAL’s RUAV Drone
Weight500 Kg (approx.)Mostly used forHigh altitude cargo delivery, SurveillanceMax heightUnknown
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Risk Zone Map

View risk scores of your location in TropoGo map and plan your flight.

Risk Zone Map
Risk Zone Map
  • Know location risks before you fly your drone
  • Location Risk Score based on 20+ signals
  • Green Zones Mapped across India
  • Free for Personal & Commercial use
  • Detailed APIs available for Enterprise use
Open Drone Maps  

Approval Snapshot

Mandatory Approval for flying based on Drone category, Flying Zone & Altitude.

  •     Required
  •     Not required
Approval Chart

Notes:
1. This chart considers the operation of RPAS only up to 400 ft. AGL.
2. The relevant clause number of the CAR is mentioned within brackets in the header row.
3. Operation of any category of RPAS at any height is not allowed in Red Zones unless exempted by DGCA.
4. All RPA operations shall be restricted to daytime, VLOS, and VMC.

Exemptions

DGCA exempts drones flying in uncontrolled airspace based on the altitude, location, and drone category.

Nano category

Upto 50 ft
Green Zones

Upto 50 ft Green Zones

Exempted from:

a. Import Clearance
b. UIN
c. UAOP
d. Pilot Training
e. Digital Sky permission
f. ATC approval
g. Communication with ATC
h. IAF approval
i. Equipment compliance

Above 50 ft
Green Zones

above 50 ft Green Zones

Exempted from:

a. Import Clearance
b. Pilot Training
c. Communication with ATC
d. Additional equipment compliance

Upto 50 ft
Yellow Zones

Upto 50 ft Yellow Zones

Exempted from:

a. Import Clearance

Above 50 ft
Yellow Zones

Above 50 ft Yellow Zones

Exempted from:

a. Import Clearance

Micro category

Upto 200 ft
Green Zones

Upto 200 ft Green Zones

Exempted from:

a. UAOP
b. Pilot Training
c. ATC approval Communication with ATC
d. IAF approval
e. Additional equipment compliance

Above 200 ft
Green Zones

Above 200 ft Green Zones

Exempted from:

a. None

Upto 200 ft
Yellow Zones

Upto 200 ft Yellow Zones

Exempted from:

a. Pilot Training
b. Communication with ATC
c. Additional equipment compliance

Above 200 ft
Yellow Zones

Above 200 ft Yellow Zones

Exempted from:

a. None

Other categories

Other categories are exempted from Additional Equipment Requirements and communication facilities with ATC during flight only if the drone is flying in a Green Zone.

Indian Drone Ecosystem Map

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 Drone Ecosystem

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Frequently Asked Questions

You have got questions; we are happy to help with answers

Rules and Regulations related

What is the maximum height a drone can operate in Indian Airspace?

All drones regardless of their category, purpose, or engineering capabilities, are allowed to fly only to a height of 400 ft from ground level.

What is No Permission No Takeoff (NPNT)? How does it work?

NPNT is a special program that enables your drone to obtain permission via the Digital Sky Platform to seamlessly fly in the Indian sky. If a drone flies without permission from the Digital Sky Platform, it will not be allowed to operate. Hence, if you are already registered with Digital Sky as a drone pilot, you need to further take the following steps:
1. Install the Digital Sky app on your mobile.
2. Submit your pilot registration number with all the necessary details.
3. Submit your drone’s UIN number.
4. Request for permission before flying.
5. Your current location along with the Unique Identification Number (UIN) and Unmanned Aircraft Operating Permit (UAOP) are communicated to the server, which further examines their validity and the zone.
6. You get a Fit to Fly notification in your app once all the parameters are met.

How can I comply with NPNT?

You need to contact your Original Equipment Manufacturer for complying with NPNT.

Do I need to acquire any licenses to operate my drone in India?

Yes. There are two ways to obtain your licenses, depending on your drone type: For NPNT compliant drones, the UIN and UAOP licenses are mandatory. For non-NPNT compliant drones, Ownership Acknowledgment Number (OAN) and Drone Acknowledgment Number (DAN) is needed to legitimize drone ownership but does not permit you to fly.

What are the current fees for UIN & UAOP?

Currently, for UIN, the fee is INR 1000 and for UAOP, it is INR 25,000(valid for 5 years)

I am a wedding planner and photographer. I own a micro drone and as night flying is not allowed, I wonder how I can use it to capture my clients’ wedding?

As all drone operations are restricted to daylight and within visual line of sight, you can choose to shoot in well-lit enclosed premises using your micro drone up to 200 ft. AGL. Ensure that your drone is NPNT compliant and has a UIN. You must also inform the local police before flying. Additionally, ensure that you follow all the drone regulations and respect everyone’s privacy.

I am a photographer but I do not own a drone. Can I use my friend’s drone to shoot a wedding or promotional video of a college?

Yes, you can. Remember, while the UIN will be that of the drone’s owner (your friend), the UAOP has to be yours.

Can I fly my drone while traveling in a vehicle?

No, flying a drone from a moving vehicle or any other moving point is strictly prohibited. The base of the pilot has to be stationary.

What is ATC communication?

Air Traffic Controller (ATC) is stationed in airports and is responsible for the smooth functioning of aircraft movement in controlled airspace. Any aircraft flying in controlled airspace should establish two-way communication with the ATC concerned.

What is the procedure to sell my drone to my friend?

You must apply for the cancellation of your drone’s UIN after which your friend can apply for a new UIN through Digital Sky Platform. This reason being, UINs are non-reproducible and they cannot be transferred or disposed-off without permission from DGCA.

Flying zone and altitude related

What is a controlled and uncontrolled airspace?

Controlled airspace is airspace dedicated to flight movements with a communication facility with the ground stations. This space allows a pilot to communicate with the airport for landing purposes or any other flight information. Air Traffic Control (ATC) services are provided in controlled airspace. Uncontrolled airspace is airspace where an ATC service is not provided.

What is aerodrome?

A defined area on land or water (including any buildings, inetdatione and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure and movement of aircraft.

Drone Category Related

Is DJI Mavic mini a Nano Drone?

Yes, DJI Mavic mini is a Nano drone as it weighs below 250g.

What are Large Drones?

Large drones weigh more than 20 kgs and are mostly used for disaster recovery or military purposes. They have larger payloads than any other drone category.

Which category of drones are used fro agriculture?

Medium to Large drones are used in Agriculture.

What are the implications of the recent addition of more green zones for NPNT drones?

The addition of 26 more green zones for NPNT-compliant drones means that all the UIN holders can now obtain instant flight permissions online, without any further approvals required.

What does IAF approval mean?

IAF Approval is for intimating the nearest Indian Air Force unit and obtain Air Defence Clearance before a flight. This is done for controlled spaces where IAF fighter jets operates.

Does the drone category weight division also include payloads?

No, drones are categorized based on their total weight, which includes, the drone and other basic accessories like inbuilt camera weight and battery weight, which are attached to the drone. It does not include the weight of the additional payloads.

What if I do not avail some of the approvals and yet operate in a space in my neighbourhood?

Remember that you will be operating illegally in such conditions. However, as drones have inbuilt GPS and RFIDs, your presence in the airspace will be caught and your personal information will reach the local police, who will further take action per the specified law.

Can I import my drone to India? What are the requirements?

Yes, you can. First, you must obtain the Equipment Type Approval (ETA) from Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing, Department of Telecommunication for operating in de-licensed frequency bands. Such approval shall be valid for a particular model. This is done by your OEM.
To get the Import Clearance, you must apply to DGCA with your ETA. Once you get the clearance, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) shall issue the import license.
Note: All Nano drones are exempted from this process.

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4. This Site will be updated on a regular basis. India Drone Guide is a public tool offered by TropoGo Technologies and is free to use on https://TropoGo.com/india-guides.