Govt mandates drones' registration, places licence requirement for certain UAVs

New rules prohibit people from registering more than three drones of a category during one calendar year

A representational image showing a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with camera fittedduring a flight. — AFP/File 
  • CAA to register drones under "Civil Unmanned Aircraft Rules 2024".
  • Registration applications required to mention "intended use" of UAVs.
  • Operators of categories II, III and IV will need "Remote Pilot Licence".

KARACHI: The federal government has imposed a mandatory requirement for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, to be registered under the new "Civil Unmanned Aircraft Rules, 2024".

As per the new rules issued on the Ministry of Aviation's website, all drones will have to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Individuals already possessing UAVs will have to apply for registration of their drones within four months after the new rules come into effect. Whereas those who will acquire the drones after the new regulations are in place will get 15 days to apply for the registration of their property.

With registration applications required to mention the intended use, registered unmanned aircraft shall be given a unique number consisting of alphabets and numerals.

Also, a person will not be allowed to register more than three unmanned aircraft of a category during one calendar year.

Furthermore, drones have been divided into four categories on the basis of their maximum take-off weight namely category-I (maximum take-off weight less than or equal to 250 grammes), category-II (more than 250g but less than or equal to 10 kilogrammes), category-III (more than 10kg but less than or equal to 25kg) and category-IV (more than 25kg but less than or equal to 100kg).

Once the new rules come into effect, people will need CAA's "Remote Pilot Licence" to operate drones which fall within categories II, III and IV.

The minimum requirement for the aforesaid licence is that the applicant needs to be at least 18 years of age, has a qualified secondary school certificate or equivalent examination, has received training from an approved organisation in relation to the type of licence applied and has passed a test prescribed by the authority to determine his knowledge and skills in the operation of an unmanned aircraft.

With regards to the import and export of UAVs, a person will be required to first get themselves registered. Also, those intending to import category-III and IV drones will need clearance from the Ministry of Defence.

Moreover, violators of the new rules might face action, which also includes imposition of a fine up to Rs100,000 with the possibility of additional monetary penalty which may extend to Rs10,000 for every day during which such contravention continues.

Meanwhile, a coordination committee has been made responsible for overseeing effective implementation of the new rules. The body will also advice the Centre on the promotion of the use of unmanned aircraft in the country and any changes to the rules will be subjected to the approval of the prime minister.