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Using a drone in Kenya

Unnamed Aircraft Systems UAS- What drones are identified as by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA)

Licenses and permissions

  • A Kenyan citizen or resident must be at least 18 years old in order to own and operate a drone. You must register the drone with KCAA for 3,000/=

  • Importing or exporting drones is only allowed with the approval of the KCAA. Meaning that you cannot fly to Kenya with a drone and use it without approval. It will be taken away at the airport.

  • Foreign nationals cannot own a drone in Kenya. They are however allowed to lease a drone locally for the duration of time they shall be in the country, or apply to the Authority prior to their visit for a 30-day temporary permit at a Ksh 20,000 fee.

  • If you want to use the drone for commercial purposes, you need a license as a pilot of the drone Remote Airport Operators Certificate (ROC). Apply 90 days in advance of use

  • A person shall not transfer ownership of a drone without the approval of the KCAA.

Rules of operation

  • Height and distance- Drones shall not fly above 400 feet AGL or within 50 meters of any person, vessel, or vehicle that is not a part of the operation.

  • A pilot shall not fly a drone in non-Visual Meteorological Conditions or at night unless authorized by the Authority.

  • No person shall operate an Unmanned Aircraft System over a public road or along the public road of at a distance of less than 164 feet (50 meters).

  • A public roadway shall not be used as a place of landing or take-off of a drone.

  • Operating a drone within 7 kilometres of an airport is prohibited without authorization


The Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020 categorizes drones based on the risks posed by their operations, from low risks to high risks under categories, A, B and C:

Category A: low risk (up to 25 kg)

Category B: medium, normal risk

Category C: high risk

An operator will require a Remote Pilot License for drone flights in categories B and C. The low-risk drones require registration, a permit, and compliance with rules.

Charges levied to drone owners will therefore vary based on the drone’s categorization as well as its use.

Note: The authority can also suspend a drone license or cancel it in the interest of public safety or national security, or for violating requirements and conditions.

In summary-

1. Register the drone and get a license to use it- KCAA

2. Don’t use it improperly; near things it shouldn’t be near

3. Charges may vary based on Category

Disclaimer: This document is not to be taken as legal advise.

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Operating a drone in Kenya
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