Drone Regulations in Nepal: What You Need to Know

  • Barsha Thapa
  • Last Updated on Jun 15, 2024

The rapid advancement of technology has brought about significant changes in various sectors, and the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, is no exception. In Nepal, the use of drones has seen a remarkable increase, transforming from specialized military tools to versatile devices utilized by the public for a myriad of purposes. From capturing breathtaking aerial photographs and videos to aiding in agricultural practices and environmental monitoring, drones have become an indispensable part of modern life.

However, with the growing popularity and diverse applications of drones, there comes a crucial need for regulatory frameworks to ensure their safe and responsible usage. Drone regulations in Nepal are designed to address this need, balancing innovation and safety while providing clear guidelines for hobbyists, professionals, and businesses alike. Understanding these regulations is essential for anyone looking to operate a drone within the country, as it ensures compliance with legal requirements and promotes the responsible use of this powerful technology.

If you are planning to travel to Nepal for photography and intend to use a drone, it is particularly important to familiarize yourself with these laws. Knowing the regulations will not only help you avoid legal issues but also ensure that your aerial photography activities are conducted safely and respectfully. This article delves into the key aspects of drone regulations in Nepal, offering a comprehensive guide to what you need to know before taking to the skies. Whether you are a seasoned drone operator or a curious newcomer, understanding these rules will help you navigate the skies legally and safely.

Drone Regulations in Nepal

Requirements to know before travelling to Nepal with a drone

Before taking a drone with you to any country or place, you should know the rules and regulations of that country or place related to drones.

Always follow and check the rules and laws of that certain area and country while flying a drone.

While traveling with a drone always check your documents related to the drone twice.

Before packing your drone to Nepal, have a look at some factors of the drone such as weight, size, battery life, and camera quality.

Weight

The weight of your drone might affect your permit fee. The heavier you carry, the higher you have to pay.

The weight of the drone also affects the performance and stability of the drone. If you carry a lightweight drone, easy to fly and operate.

But very light drones might be inclined to wind and weather conditions. Carry the drone whose weight range is between 500gram-2kilograms.

Size

The size of the drone is essential for two reasons. Firstly, size affects the portability and convenience of your drone.

If you carry a small-sized drone then it's easy to pack and transport anywhere.

Next, it affects the visibility and stealth of drones. It is easily noticeable to other people and authorities. The size of a drone should be between 20 and 40 cm in diagonal length.

Battery health

The battery is the most essential part of your drone. You won’t be able to capture stunning views of Nepal’s beautiful landscape.

The longer your battery health runs, the more you can capture memories and moments.

Always prepare yourself and your drone for any situation with some extra batteries.

The battery health of drones also depends on other factors such as altitude, temperature, wind speed, and flight mood.

You should carry the batteries, whose battery range is from 15 to 30 minutes per.

Guides while packing your drones

  • Carry your drone and batteries in your hand luggage. It will avoid the possibility of theft or mishandling of your drone by others.
  • Remove all the drone's propellers, batteries, and memory cards before packing. Store them separately in zip-lock bags. This will protect your drone from accidental activation or damage.
  • Use a padded or sturdy backpack and case for your drone. This will protect your drone while traveling.
  • Write your name, and contact details on your case or backpack. It will help you identify your backpack easily.
  • Show your permits, registration, invoice, and other documents related to your drone and batteries to the customs office.
Kathmandu View
Kathmandu View

Rules and laws of using drones in Nepal

Every place and country has its own rules and laws for the safety of its nation.

Similarly, Nepal has also made rules and regulations on drones. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) formulated these rules and laws.

The rules regarding drones that CAAN governs are:

  • Permission to fly a drone

If the weight of your drone is more than 2 kilograms, then you have to get permission from the Department of Tourism, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and CAAN.

You can fly your drone up to 400 feet or more above ground level if its weight is more than 2 kilograms.

The drone’s weight is less than 2 kilograms and doesn’t require any authorization from CAAN.

But, you are only allowed to fly on private property under 200 ft.

  • Registration of Drone

It is mandatory to register your drone in the CAAN office. Without registering your drone, you are not allowed to fly your drone. You just need to fill up the forms and pay a fee.

  • Altitude and distance

You should be careful about the altitude and distance before flying a drone. The height of the drone should not be higher than 120m (394 ft) or further than 500 m (1,640 ft).

  • Congested and organized open-air are

When you are flying your drone in a congested area, do not fly over or within 150 meters (492 feet).

While flying it in an organized open-air area where there is an assembly of more than 1000 people, you are not allowed to fly over 150 meters.

  • Restricted Zone

Some places are restricted from taking pictures, videos, or drone shorts. You have to avoid taking pictures, videos, or wearing drone shorts in restricted areas.

Some places in Nepal, such as airports, temples, military installations, and government buildings, are restricted zones.

  • Safety

While flying a drone, you should be concerned about the safety of people as well as yourself.

you should fly a drone, maintaining distance from people, buildings, and other aircraft. You must also oversee people's privacy.

  • Commercial use:

For any commercial use, like photography or videography, you need permits and licenses.Way to EBC

 

Penalties for violating drone law in Nepal

Breaking the rules and laws of government can cause you a lot of trouble.

You have to face some consequences if you break the rule or law that is already guided by the law of Nepal.

As a penalty, you will be fined between USD. 200 and USD. 5,000 based on the severity of your breach of the rules.

They might also confiscate your gadget and take legal action.

The strictness of the penalty depends on the nature and extent of the violation.

They also highlight the importance of strict observation of the rules to ensure safety.

It is very important to attach the guidelines of CAAN to avoid penalties.

Drone categories in Nepal

Drones in Nepal are categorized from A to D according to their maximum take-off weight. Their categories are:

“Very low-risk” operation, Category A

  • Its weight is less than 250 grams. This drone is considered to have minimal risk to the airspace and surrounding government.
  • They are small and lightweight and are used for recreational purposes or basic photography.

“Low Risk”, Category B

  • The weight of this drone is more than 250 grams, or 2 kilograms. It is slightly large and capable of carrying heavier payloads.
  • These types of drones are used for small-scale commercial applications and aerial photography.

“Regulated Low Risk”, Category C

  • The weight of the drones that fall into this category is between 2 kg and 25 kg.
  • They are used for commercial purposes, mapping, agriculture, surveying, and infrastructure inspection.

“Regulated High Risk,"  Category D:

  • Drones that fall into this category weigh more than 25 kg..
  • They are used for heavy cargo transport, industrial inspection, and emergency response missions.
Everest Region Photography
Everest Region Photography

How do I register a drone in Nepal?

It is important to register your drone before using it. To register your drone, you have to follow various steps. The steps to register your drone in Nepal are:

Step 1: Prepare the required documents

Prepare all your documents before filling out the registration form. Documents such as proof of ownership, identification, and other documents are required by CAAN.

Step 2: Fill out the registration form

Obtain the registration form from CAAN or you can obtain it from their website.

Fill in all the information completely and accurately.

Step 3: Pay the registration fee

It is compulsory to pay a fee to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

A fee depends on factors such as the types and purposes of the use of drones.

Step 4: Submit the application

You have to submit all completed forms along with the required documents and fees that CAAN has asked for.

There is the option of applying through an online portal.

Step 5: Wait for Approval

After submitting all the documents and registration forms, wait for approval. This process might take a long time, so you have to be patient.

Step 6. Receive the registration certificate

The last step is that,  after the approval of registration, CAAN will provide you with a registration certificate.

This certificate is proof that your drone is registered and compliant with Nepali rules and regulations.

Ensure you are attached to the regulations and guidelines formulated by CAAN.

  • Note: Procedures and requirements change over time. So, make sure to check the current registration process.

How do I get a drone permit in Nepal?

The permit is a valuable part of your trip. Without a permit, you can’t travel to or enter any place. Steps to gain a drone permit in Nepal:

  • Obtain the appropriate authority’s approval.

Get an authorization letter from the municipality of a specific area where you aspire to fly a drone. It is important to acquire the authority’s approval because it serves as preliminary permission for drone operations.

  • Submit the authority’s approval letter to the CDO

After the approval of authority, present your letter along with all necessary documentation to the Chief District Officer (CDO). After submitting this letter, you can move forward with the drone permit.

  • Grab a recommendation letter from the CDO office

A recommendation letter is an additional ratification of the intended drone operation. After submitting the municipality’s permission letter, obtain a recommendation letter from the CDO.

  • Request a permit from the local police headquarters

Approach the local police headquarters and politely request a permit to fly the drone. The municipality’s permission letter and the CDO's recommendation letter are required while obtaining a permit. This permit is decisive in the comprehensive approval process.

  • Submit all documents to CAAN

After getting the permit from the local police headquarters, present your documents to the CAAN office. Before submitting the documents, check whether they are accurate or not. Later, you might not get permission from CAAN and it is important to get permission from CAAN.

  • Analysis and Granting of a Drone Pilot’s License

In this process, CAAN will evaluate your letters and documents thoroughly. Your one mistake may collapse in a second. Do check your documents properly while submitting them.

Drone in Nepal

Required Documents for Dron permit in Nepal

  • The drone registration certificate and flight details should include the start date, purpose, and location map.

  • Authority’s letter (only for foreigners).

  • Letter from your guide and trekking agency for the excursion.

  • Letter from Federal Affairs, General Administration, the Ministry of Federal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Tourism.

  • To follow the rules, a letter from the drone operator was promised.

  • Photocopies of citizenship certificate, drone pilot’s biodata, current passport, and visa (only for foreign nations)

How do I get a drone permit for the Everest region?

The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular treks in the world. Around 35,000 travelers visit Mt. Everest each year.

The landmark of Everest has fascinated many people through its beauty. Namche Bazaar, Sherpa village, reflects the beauty and hospitality of the Sherpa community.

Tengboche Monastery offers you the unique tradition, culture, and tradition of this region.

Before planning your trek to Base Camp Everest, you can contact us for assistance.

For a permit to Everest Base Camp, you should know the following information:

  • The letter was approved by the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, CAAN, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Biodata of the pilot who is flying the drone.
  • Present the map of the Everest region showing the drone flight route, location, and data of the drone.
  • For Sagarmatha National Park, you have to grab a license from the Department of Wildlife Reserve Conservation Area or National Park.

Flying Drones in National Parks and Conservation Areas

To fly a drone in national parks and conservation areas, you have to get permission from the Nepalese government. Some of the guides that will help you fly drones in national parks and conservation areas are:

  • National Park and Conservation Areas permit. It will help while entering and staying in the National Park and Conservation Area with a drone.

  • Authority’s approval letter from the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). It is required while flying your drone in a trekking region or trail under the administration of the NMA.

  • Other permits, such as TIMS cards, ACAP and MCAP permits, or registered area permits, are required while flying drones in trekking regions.

  • Biodata of the pilot.

Restricted Areas for Flying Drones in Nepal

Many areas of Nepal are restricted by the government from taking photos and videos, as well as flying drones.This is because of the security of those areas. Areas that are restricted by the government from flying drones are:

  • Prohibited from flying a drone within a 5-kilometer radius of the airport.

  • Not allowed within international boundaries within 5 km of horizontal distance.

  • Restricted within a 1 km aerial radius of presidential, vice presidential, ministerial, VVIP offices, and other government buildings.

  • from military areas, religious, heritage, and sacred sites.

Best times and locations for videography and photography in Nepal with Drone

Nepal is a country that is enriched by nature, culture, traditions, and unique festivals. You will be amazed by the picturesque scenery of Nepal. The best time to visit Nepal is to capture the moments as well as memories of the spring and autumn seasons.

The spring season starts from March to May, and the autumn season starts from September to November.

The clear blue skies, the blooming of flowers, and the pleasant weather are perfect for capturing photos and videos from a drone.

The following places are the best for photography and videography:

Some places like Pokhara, Illam, Jiri, etc. are also the best places to capture photos and videos.

Photography in Everest
Photography in Everest

FAQs

Do I need insurance to fly a drone in Nepal?

The Law of Nepal has not asked for it, but it is judicious to have insurance for your coverage and protection of drones from any accidents and damage.

Can a foreigner fly a drone in Nepal?

Yes, a foreigner can fly a drone in Nepal if he/she has a permission letter from CAAN.

Are there any specific requirements for commercial drone operations in Nepal?

Yes, there are specific requirements for commercial drone operations in Nepal.

Can I fly a drone for recreational purposes in Nepal?

Yes, you can fly a drone for recreational purposes but with permission from CAAN and under the rules and regulations.

Where can I find more information about drone regulation in Nepal?

You can easily find information related to drones in Nepal on the CAAN website or office.

Conclusion

Ultimately, all the rules and laws regarding flying drones in Nepal are formulated by CAAN. Travelers should know about the rules and regulations of drones in Nepal before planning to travel with a drone. The law implemented by the CAAN towards drone activities brings positive changes to Nepal's sustainable goals.

The regulations have balanced the potential benefits of drone technology with the need to reduce risks and ensure obedience to existing laws.

If you have any inquiries about taking drone permits and trips in Nepal, you can contact us any time. Himalayan Recreation is always there for you, 24 hours a day.

Barsha Thapa

Barsha Thapa

Barsha Thapa is our competent team member, currently pursuing her studies at Public Youth Campus. Since 2022, she has been a dedicated part of Himalayan Recreation, where she contributes her skills and enthusiasm to promoting the wonders of Nepal.

Inspired by her colleague Jyoti, a travel enthusiast and expert content creator, Barsha has developed a deep passion for sharing the beauty and culture of the majestic Himalayas. Her role at Himalayan Recreation allows her to combine her academic pursuits with her love for travel and nature.

Committed to showcasing Nepal's unique experiences, Barsha assists in content creation and planning unforgettable journeys, ensuring that every traveler experiences the true essence of Nepal.

When she is not immersed in her studies or work, Barsha enjoys exploring new trails, discovering hidden gems, and immersing herself in the serene landscapes of Nepal. The mountains have become a significant part of her life, fueling her passion and drive to connect with nature and inspire others to do the same.

As a part of the Himalayan Recreation family, Barsha is always eager to share her knowledge and help fellow travelers create lasting memories. Feel free to contact her via WhatsApp or email; she is available online 24/7 for any inquiries or travel plans.

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