Dune Towers – beach resort, Sri Lanka

Dune Towers – beach resort, Sri Lanka

Flying drone in Sri Lanka with Permit And without Worries

Sri Lanka drone laws

are little strict, but with this article can enjoy flying your drone. We tell you how to register drone, how to get permit and what to remember.

Drone in sri lanka

Updated on: August 22, 2022

Please read my updates with new procedure of drone permits.

If you want to fly a drone in Sri Lanka and record your experiences, then this is only possible by following the procedure below, which is not entirely simple, but can be done in 1-2 weeks. The procedure was introduced in 2020 after the Easter attacks. The procedure is continuously updated, which I will try to capture here, but unfortunately I cannot guarantee it. Everything is described on the official website caa.lk, this page describes our specific experience.

According to locals, if you fly without a permit and catch you, then you risk confiscating the drone without compensation. Also pay attention to flight rules, which are even stricter than the new European rules. For example, it is not possible to fly from a roof or other elevated place, nor to fly higher than 150 feet (45m), but it is said that almost any exception can be requested. So please remember that already in the application.

Drone registration in sri lanka?

1.Registration of the drone at the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka

The first step is to register your drone with the Civil Aviation Authority, depending on the current version of the form. Sometimes it is necessary to fill in a really large number of parameters, however the new (12/2021) version of the form is simpler. Otherwise, it’s relatively hassle-free. This registration is free and one-time. Download the form from caa.lk and then send it to drone@caa.lk. They responded to us the next day and gave us the drone registration number, which is necessary for the next step.

Would you like to fly drone over castle and sand dunes?

Drone permission Sri Lanka

2. Clearance of OCDS (or others)

Update August 2022:

New online tool is availbe on caa.lk website which allows you to initiate all the necessary steps in one you can access directly here. Since my drone is already registered, I have checked just the approval part (not registration). This new form is more user friendly. I have received an email shortly requesting the OCDS clearance. OCDS responded promptly, but they requested the documents uploaded via tool to be sent again via email. If they don`t give clearance within few days, they probably a have an issue with your flight (location, timing, etc). So, please check the drone flight zones in Sri Lanka (map works only sometimes). OCDS should inform you, if you have applied for restricted zone, so you can react accordingly. CAA usually communicates actively via email, so dont hesitate to contact them if there is any issue. 

This part is a statement from the Ministry of Defense that they have no objections to flying. To do this, you must send them an e-mail with a request (sample here) to ocds.drone@gmail.com, or you can also verify by phone here: +94 11 2674503; +94 11 2674506, which I recommend because, for example, my e-mail was lost somewhere.

The main difficulty of this step is that you have to specify exactly in which location and when you will fly. They really want the location (just the name of the village is not enough), but you can try to “negotiate” – just give yourself more time. When traveling in Sri Lanka, you can try to specify a wider time frame when you will probably get there. I recommend giving the times always from dawn to dusk (5am – 6pm), but they also allow night flights. In particular, it’s a good idea to watch out for restricted zones – as this map only shows, which shows restricted zones in many places. But don’t panic, I applied for a permit in the “restricted zone” myself and I got the permit without a word.

My best practise is to apply for all the days in Sri Lanka for all my locations. 

If you want to fly in national parks or over monuments, then you must also have the comments of other organizations such as Wildlife or Archeology.

3. Permission to fly

Update: August 2022

Thanks to the new system, CAA will automatically inform you about the result, as soon as they receive the OCDS clearance. They wil directly email you the bill to pay. The prices of drone license in Sri Lanka seams to be following:

sri lanka drone permit fees

In August 2022: 3.000 LKR (processing fee) + 5.100 LKR For 17 permitted days + VAT + fees

So, it makes no sense to apply for selected days only!

In the last step, you apply for your own permit to fly. To do this, use another form and also attach an OCDS statement. You should have liability insurance. They didn’t want any from me, so I guess what is part of travel insurance should be enough. This is more of an administrative step, but you also have to pay a fee here. This is paid through the online gateway, which sometimes does not work perfectly, so again there can be several days delay.

Flying drone 

4. Every flight must be reported

If you have a permit, then each flight you must report by phone to the number you receive when you get a permit. This was always relatively easy and most importantly do not forget to announce the end of the flight.

I recommend solving everything before you leave, otherwise it will unnecessarily burden you and especially keep you flying. If you have questions or other experiences, please write in the comments below the article.

If you need to know how to fly to Sri Lanka read our article.  

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