Flying Drones in India? Read This First


Flying Drones in India, Have you ever wanted to capture stunning aerial footage of India’s iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal or the beaches of Goa while flying drones in India? More and more travelers are packing drones in their bags to get those perfect vacation videos. But before you load your drone onto the plane, you need to be aware of India’s strict regulations on flying drones in India.

India Has Banned Drones Brought in by Passengers

In April 2016, India introduced new rules that essentially prohibit passengers from bringing their own drones into the country. This regulation was added due to security concerns about unregulated drone use.

If you look at the Indian Customs declaration form, drones are now on the prohibited items list. Attempting to smuggle a drone into India could lead to serious penalties, including confiscation of the drone, fines, or even jail time in extreme cases.

As a tourist, you absolutely don’t want to mess with another country’s laws regarding prohibited items. It’s better to find legal ways to fly drones or skip them altogether.

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Options for Flying Drones in India Legally

While you can’t transport your own drone, there are ways to legally operate drones for both personal and commercial use in India:

Rent Locally

Several companies offer drone rentals within India for durations ranging from a single day to a few weeks. This allows you to try out drones built specifically for the Indian conditions and regulations.

Renting locally also avoids any hassles of transporting drones internationally. Costs typically range from ₹2000-₹10,000 ($25-$130 USD) per day depending on the drone model.

Apply for a Permit

The Indian aviation authority DGCA issues permits for commercial drone use. Recreational flying does not require a permit if done in certain designated zones. Permits take 15-30 days to process.

Fly in Approved Zones

The DGCA has created specific drone flying zones in various cities where no permit is needed for recreational flights under 200ft. However, not all tourist destinations have designated zones nearby.

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Tips for Travelers Wanting Aerial Shots

What should you do if you’re set on getting great aerial videos or photos in India? Here are some options:

  • Research local drone regulations at your destination before packing. Many countries now have restrictions.
  • Consider alternatives like using your smartphone or DSLR camera for overhead perspectives from high buildings or observation decks.
  • Look into helicopter or small aircraft tours that allow stable aerial filming with doors removed.
  • Hire a local videographer who has the required permits and equipment to legally capture drone footage.

The Future of Drones in India

While current rules may seem restrictive, India is working towards updating drone regulations to expand commercial use while maintaining safety and security.

India aims to become a global drone hub by 2030. The drone market in India is rapidly growing, with tech startups developing indigenous models.

Relaxed regulations could allow for revolutionary applications of drone tech in agriculture, medicine, surveying, and many other industries.

In coming years, tourists may find it easier to experience India through drones themselves. But for now, it’s best to leave your own drone at home and find legal alternatives. The sights of India are stunning from any angle! Just be sure to follow local laws.

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