The New Drone Policy in India (2018)

Earlier this month, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the authority which regulates the civil aviation in India released a new draft of drone policy which outlines the drone flying regulations in India. Although the regulations released by the DGCA is a little tougher than those followed in countries like USA and Canada, the policy has made clear that India is embracing the new age of drones with open arms. The framework put forward by DGCA will certainly encourage commercial usage of drones in various sectors including e-commerce, delivery, agriculture, industrial monitoring, photography and more. In fact, when it comes to formally adopting commercial usage of drones, India has even beaten some of the developed countries by releasing its framework and regulations before them.

Under the proposed rules, drones have been classified into different categories depending on their size and permitted flight distance, with the regulations of each category being different from one another. The chart below specifies all the permissions and regulations a drone flyer requires:

Drone Regulations in India

Item and CategoryNano (<250 gm)Micro
Mini & Above
Model Aircraft,
MTOW < 2Kg
Security ClearanceNRRequiredRequiredNR
Unique Identification NumberNRRequiredRequiredNR
Unmanned Aircraft Operator PermitNRNRRequiredNR
Remote pilot approval requirementNRNRRequiredNR
Height Restriction50 ft200 ft200 ft
(> 200 ft restrictive)
200 ft
Approval TimeNR2 days2-7 daysNR
VLoS and Day OperationsAllowedAllowedAllowedAllowed
Flight PlanNRNRRequiredNR
Local Police PermissionNRRequiredRequiredNR

As you can see, if you are flying nano-drones (<250 gm) for recreational purposes only, you don’t need any permission, however, if your drone is classified under Mini and above categories (>2Kg), you will need several permissions including permissions from police, flight path authorization, and more. Apart from these permissions, a user also needs to keep in mind that certain sensitive areas are restricted, and drones are not allowed in such areas. Some of the restricted areas include places falling under 50 Km from International borders, beyond 500m from sea coast, within 5 Km from Vijay Chowk, India Gate, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and more.

SEE ALSO: How to Set Up and Use DJI Spark (Guide)

Ready to Fly Some Drones in India?

It is good to see Indian government taking an initiative and releasing draft regulations for drones, as the subject had been in a limbo for quite a few months. With the policies in place, companies like Amazon will invest in drone technology in India, which will surely bring more foreign investments. Also, now individual drone enthusiasts have a set of guidelines that they can follow and enjoy flying their drones without any official problems. I don’t know about you guys but I know I am going to fly my DJI Spark after finishing this article.

comment Comments 23
  • Shanmuganathan says:

    What is the source for this information?

  • Shanmuganathan says:

    Where does model aircraft rules available in Government website?

  • Anku5h says:

    I am arriving in India on 3oth November and would like to bring my Mavic Air with me for personal use, pretty much as a hobby. I have had tried to check with airlines, customs, I am passing through, but seems like no one giving the answer I requires. They all are putting on each other, airlines said it customs requirement and customs said it airlines requirement.
    Could anyone help? or Perhaps could anyone have someone’s email address I could contact from DGCA?

    • Vishesh says:

      Dude did u pass the custom ? Could u able to bring your drone in india…

  • Amit says:

    The drone flying policy has been revised however there seems to be no update on the import of drones ?? any update regards the same would be helpful

  • bala says:

    when drones are approved in india?

  • Brijesh says:

    I hope someone will attempt to answer this coz none of the above questions seems to be responded
    Well, where is it written on government website that it’s legal to fly just in case if they fire back stating it’s legal

  • James says:

    Hi , can i still bring my mavic air to India then ? I am worried.

    • Vikram says:

      Owning a drone is not a problem, its the permissions needed to fly the drone that is more important and using the MAVIC AIR is no exception to that.

    • Sudhir Kumar says:

      You may face some hurdles during customs clearance.

  • Danny Simpson says:

    Hey guys,

    I will travel to India from Germany in mid May.

    My plan is to buy a Mavic Air here in Germany and bring it to India and of course use it.
    Will I have any problems bringing the mcvic air to India? The discussed regulation here only focuses on “permition to fly a drone in India” but what about importing/bringing it to India?

    Thank you for your help

    • Anil Nair says:

      Don’t get Drone to India , It will be confiscated at the airport. You can take a chance if you wish.
      It top the list of forbidden items.

    • Sudhir Kumar says:

      It will be better if you purchase from India itself, you may face problems getting through the customs.

    • Sanje says:

      In short. don’t !

  • Diganta says:

    Hi Rachit,
    I actually wanted to know If I am owing a DJI spark/ mavic pro ..then also I need to take the local police permission ..And it’s a ernest request please make a video on your YouTube channel on the rules and regulations of flying a drone in India .

  • Ankit Kokra says:

    Hi Rachit,

    Thanks for sharing the information. Can you share the link to the government site with these rules ?
    My nano-drone is stuck in customs and I would like to approach them with the details and try and have the package cleared.

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  • Antonio says:

    Can we still request for a change in the level 1 category? Pls tell us where to file the request. As Mr Vikram meant that it is just useless, and category 1 needs to enhanced. Guys please make a study as to how many grams should be allowed, without permissions needed, for entertainment hobby purpose, and then we all can file a request to the respective department in India.
    Also as GoPro cam are getting popular, one should even consider that weight, as it may require a higher propulsion power.
    Best regards antonio

  • Vikram says:

    I still dont see an opportunity to use the Mavic Air or Pro not even the SPARK has its around 300 gms and does not meet the level 1 requirement. I think we should relax it further to allow the SPARK or the MAVIC AIR to be owned.

  • clinston pereira says:

    Hi i am planning to travel from dubai to mumbai in the next couple if hours can i carry my dgi spark in my check in luggage. Will i get stuck at customs? Please need yr help??

  • Sanjay says:

    Hi Rachit,

    A friend of mine is bringing a drone for me from China.. I am worried about the regulations and dont want it to get stuck. Can you please advise. Thanks

  • hitedh says:

    hi can i buy a visuo drone from banggood will it not be stuck in customs

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