Plus fines of up to Dhs50,000…

Expecting a shiny new drone under this Christmas tree this year? Then you had better take note of the new regulations regarding flying them without a proper license.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) announced that anyone caught flying an unregistered drone in the UAE can face steep fines and potentially even jail time.

How serious are we talking here? Well, fines can be issued upwards of Dhs50,000 and violators can face up to three years in prison for violating the 1991 civil aviation law which states that anyone who endangers people or property will be penalised and imprisoned. Clearly, this is no joke.

These strict measures have been put into place to help curb the recurrence of past incidents in which unmanned drones have caused disruption to air traffic control by flying into restricted airspace. They are also designed to help protect the privacy of citizens, as many of these devices have cameras attached and can unsuspectingly film people from the air.

Thankfully, the MoI has launched a new platform where drone owners and distributors must register their devices to make sure everything is on the up and up. This can be done via the Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA) website and carries a one-time registration fee of Dhs1,200.

Once registered, the drone is given a unique serial number and simultaneously logged in the systems of four major government agencies: the Ministry of Interior, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, General Civil Aviation Authority and the ESMA.

An e-certificate will then be issued containing important information such as the owner and manufacturer details. This certificate will need to be presented upon the request of the authorities, similar to showing license and registration for a car when asked.

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