Maj Gen Al Risi and Saif Al Suwaidi address media in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Now individuals in the UAE can shoot videos and take photographs using drones in “permitted locations and at heights specified by the local authorities”, top officials from the Ministry of Interior and General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The use of drones for such purposes can be done only after securing the required approvals from the concerned authorities, said Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA.

“We are pleased to announce for the first time in the UAE that individuals will be allowed to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for photography purposes under specified guidelines of the GCAA related to the safety of air traffic, individuals and respect for others’ privacy,” he said.

Now the GCAA has updated the smart mobile app My Drone Hub which facilitates the immediate identification of areas where photography is permitted. “We have taken into consideration the safety, security of air traffic, national facilities, privacy of individuals and properties while flying and photographing,” Al Suwaidi said.

According to the GCAA, 8,028 UAVs have been registered with the authority so far and there are 92 registered companies which are permitted to operate them. The authority said individuals registering UAVs should be aged 16 and above.

In collaboration with the Security Media Department of the MoI, the Follow-Up Committee for the Implementation of Light Air Sports System launched a national awareness drive, “You are Responsible”, on Sunday to promote awareness about UAVs and acquaint the community with the operational requirements, conditions and permitted fly zones to ensure airspace security and safety for all.

There are certain free fly zones, where people can fly drones up to a height of 400 feet. The app helps locate all information to users through an interactive map.

Major General Dr Ahmad Nasser Al Risi, Inspector General of Ministry of Interior and Chairman of Committee for Follow-up of Implementation of Light Air Sports System, said, “Since launching the programme, the number of registered people has reached 8,028. This number used to be not more than 100 at one time. But the awareness drive has worked well among residents in the country.”

The increasing number of drone users showed that awareness is a key tool to educate residents about the rules and regulations, so that they can they use these machines safely, Maj Gen Dr Al Risi said.


Register drones before flying under your name.

Only operate it within fly zones, not exceeding 400 feet above sea level

Never fly near aircrafts, airports, helicopter landing sites

Do not fly above individuals, public, private properties or do not endanger individuals or their properties

Don’t lose sight of your drone, it should be within your line of vision

Land your UAV, if you see or hear any aircraft or helicopter

Respect privacy of others, it’s strictly prohibited to operate in private areas

Camera usage is only allowed in the flying zones, abiding by UAE laws

In case of accident or loss of drone, notify GCAA immediately at 0506414667 and email