Do I need a licence to fly a drone in Singapore?

A drone is a beautiful way to capture life in the city from above. But, do you need a license to fly it up in the air? Read on before you press that button!

Do I need a licence to fly a drone in Singapore?

Generally speaking, you will not require licence or permit to fly a drone in Singapore if:

  1. You are flying for recreation purposes* and your drone is not over 7 kg
  2. You are flying for research purposes* and your drone is not over 7 kg
  3. You are not flying over 60m above mean sea level or in any restricted, danger and protected zones below

Flying-drone-in-Singapore-zonesImage from https://www.caas.gov.sg/public-passengers/unmanned-aircraft-systems/area-limits

Outside of recreation and research purposes, drone weight limit and zones marked above, you may need all or some of the below in order to fly a drone in Singapore:

  1. Unmanned aircraft (UA) operator permit
  2. Activity Permit, Class 1 or 2 depending on your type of activity
  3. Other permits

Class 1 Activity Permit is required if you are not flying for recreation or research purposes or your drone is over 7 kg.

Class 2 Activity Permit is required if you are flying for recreation or research purposes above 60m above mean sea level or within 5km of a civil aerodrome or within restricted or danger zones.

Some other permits may be required depending on the your activity. For example, a permit from Singapore Police Force is required if you are flying in protected zones. Another example would be a permit from Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) if you are releasing substances from your drone. These permits may be issued together with your Class 1 or 2 Activity Permit where necessary.

How to apply for drone licence in Singapore?

  1. Go to https://appserver1.caas.gov.sg/CAAS-UMA/welcomeInt.do to read through instructions and understand what documents you need to prepare
  2. Prepare your documents
  3. Go to https://appserver1.caas.gov.sg/CAAS-UMA/welcomeInt.do again to submit your documents
  4. Make payment via bank funds transfer (most convenient method)

The average application process takes about 10 days, so it is advised to apply well in advance of your intended flight date. Another thing to note is that the payment is non-refundable even if your application has failed.

How much does it cost to apply for a drone permit?

UA Operator Permit with 1 UA type: $600
Additional UA type: $400
Permit lasts for 1 year. Renewal of permit will cost $200.

Class 1 Activity Permit: $75
Class 2 Activity Permit: $60

If you intend on flying at the same location with the same type of UA doing the same type of operations, just on different days and time, you can apply for a block activity permit directly. There will be no cost difference and you save the hassle of having to apply repeat individual activity permits that cost $25 (Class 1) and $25 (Class 2) every time you fly. However, if there is a change in the location, type of UA or operations, a separate activity permit will be required.

After looking at these stressful document procedures, it is time to remind ourselves the reason we are going through all these. Hit play below for the relaxing and hypnotising drone video that we did on our recent trip to Malaysia Johor Bahru. 

Shot on DJI Phantom 4 Pro and DJI Mavic Air

*Extracted from CAAS website, recreation and research purposes are as defined below:

“recreation purpose” means any pursuit or activity engaged in for enjoyment, relaxation or leisure, but not —
(a) a sporting activity that forms part of an organised group activity or organised competition or tournament (such as a flying display); or
(b) a recreational activity provided by a business, or in the course of business;

“research purpose” means —
(a) any lecture, tutorial, seminar, demonstration, class or similar activity on unmanned aircraft provided by an educational institution referred to in section 72 of the Private Education Act (Cap. 247A); or
(b) any research and development activity carried out by an educational institution referred to in section 72 of the Private Education Act with the object of acquiring knowledge that may be of use for the purpose of devising or developing a new or substantially improved product that is an unmanned aircraft;

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