Saudi Arabia To Start Issuing Drone Permits

Commercial and recreational drone operator permits are now being issued by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

The two-year permits, which cost $67 (SR250), are being issued following months of security clearances, reported Arab News, although 90% of applicants pass the security check, the GACA said.

Recreational operator permits are for personal recreational use and no examination is required. Such permits are for non-industrial and non-commercial drones.

First-time applicants for commercial drone permits are required to submit a copy of their passport and identification card, pay an SR500 examination and licensing fee and take a 60-question test.

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The test requires familiarity with the airport approach and air traffic control protocols, among other things.

GACA also mandates the registration of any drone to be flown in the Kingdom. The process requires a copy of personal identification and the make, model, serial number and weight of the drone.

People wishing to import drones into the country must have an operator’s permit and the drone’s serial number. They must register it through the GACA website and, through GACA, receive an import certificate.

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Later this month Riyadh will host a drone summit and expo. It will be divided into four sessions. The first deals with changing regulations and legislation to foster innovation. The second will focus on how to incorporate drone technology into national security strategies. The third is dedicated to the industry’s general global outlook and, finally, the fourth session will highlight progress in the local industry.