Thailand does not forbid the entry of drones into their country. In other words, you may bring your drone with you if you’re planning a trip to Thailand.
In this article, you will find all the information you need regarding bringing your drone into Thailand so you can fly your drone for pleasure or employment.
Bringing your drone through customs in Thailand
Drones are legal to carry into Thailand by visitors. However, you cannot use a drone there unless you have registered it with the NBTC or Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAAT).
Note: You might not have enough time to register your drone if you are just in Thailand for a couple of weeks. Although NBTC registration can typically be finished in person on the same day as an application, CAAT registration can be time-consuming. Although, in theory, it should be finished in just 15 days, this is not usually the case.
Do you need to register your drone if you bring it to Thailand?
You must register drones with the Thai authorities before you can fly them in Thailand. This advice still holds if you only fly occasionally.
- Regardless of their size, all drones with cameras need to be registered.
- All drones weighing over 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) must be registered.
The Thai regulations for drones refer to them as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or unmanned aircraft.
In Thailand, using unregistered drones is prohibited. A 40,000–100,000 baht fine and a 1–5 year jail sentence are possible punishments.
For flying recklessly or in prohibited regions, immediate fines may also be imposed.
Before you can fly your drone, it must be registered with the NBTC.
- National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) – for recreational drone usage such as uploading to Youtube and commercial use.
If you want to use your drone for commercial reasons, you must also register your drone with the Civil Authority of Thailand (CAAT).
- CAAT is needed for the commercial use of a drone and must be by a business owner or operator in a connected industry (i.e., mass media, film production).
You can apply for CAAT registration for commercial use after the NBTC has given its permission.
Conditions for flying your drone in Thailand
- A minimum age of 20 is required for the drone operator or pilot.
- You must not pose a security risk to the country.
- You must never have been imprisoned for violating drug or customs regulations.
- To operate a drone as a controller or launcher, you must apply for a license from the Ministry of Transportation.
- Don’t invade the privacy of others.
Note: Follow the general guidelines outlined above, but visit the links supplied by the regulator to check for updates.
Registering your drone with NBTC
To register with NBTC online:
To register with NBTC in person:
Visit the NBTC head office in Bangkok (details below) or any of the NBTC regional offices throughout Thailand, including Chiang Mai, Chuphon, Hat Yai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, or Phuket, to register in person.
Typically, there is no need for an appointment.
National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)
87 Phahonyothin Alley
Documents needed for registering with NBTC
Be sure to bring these documents along with you when registering your drone with the NBTC.
- Owner’s Declaration of Conformity (ODoC) Form and UAV’s Radio Equipment Registration completed.
- An identity card or passport copy with your signature and a tourist entrance stamp.
- Copy of the registration address or other evidence of residence in Thailand (such as booking confirmation from the hotel).
- Images of your drone displaying the trademark (brand), model, serial number, quantity, controller, and installed devices.
Registering your drone with CAAT
Online registration for drones with CAAT is free and can be done here. However, you’ll need to exercise patience because several users complained that completing the essential information was a frustrating experience.
Here is the announcement from the Ministry of Transport in Thailand about the rules to apply for permission and conditions to control and launch unmanned aircraft in the category of remotely piloted aircraft.
Once your drone is successfully registered, the registration is good for two years.
Documents needed for registering with CAAT
- A signed, completed self-declaration form.
- A signed copy of your passport or identity card, and if you’re a tourist, an entry stamp.
- A copy of one’s Thai address proof or registered address (e.g. booking confirmation from the hotel for tourists).
- Pictures of the drone showing the model, brand name, serial number, controller, quantity, and the drone’s performance, including any installed devices.
- A copy of the drone insurance policy, which includes a minimum sum insured of one million baht per hour and covers injuries to third parties’ bodies, lives, and property.
- Use of the drone, including its intended use and flight location, plus information about how to reach the applicant.
It is preferable to obtain your drone insurance policy and apply to CAAT about one or two months before your arrival in Thailand, as the CAAT application process can take some time.
Also, keep in mind that you will have to reapply if your application is denied for any reason, such as the name on your application not matching the name on your ID or passport, so please double-check all the information you provide.
Insuring your drone in Thailand
Before registering with CAAT, you must first prepare your drone insurance policy.
Whether you fly hobby drones, camera-equipped drones for photos and videos, or bigger commercial drones, they all need to be covered by third-party liability drone insurance in Thailand.
The CAAT has tight requirements for Drone Liability Insurance. Your drone won’t be able to comply with the CAAT requirements without this insurance. 1,000,000 Baht is the minimum liability cap.
Drone insurance protects you if your drone causes bodily harm, property damage, or both. In rare circumstances, it may also cover you if you physically harm your drone. An agreement between you and the insurance company is required for coverage.
You must have third-party liability insurance or drone hull insurance to be eligible to register your drone with CAAT.
You will also need the following information when applying for insurance for your drone.
- Serial Number
- Weight of the Drone
- Policy holders’ full name
- Coverage of at least THB 1 million in insurance
- A copy of your work permit or valid visa
- The drone invoice
- Validity in Thailand must be evident
You will have the option to buy international coverage, or coverage for Thailand only. Plus, this procedure is easy to complete over the phone or by email.
Dos and don’ts of flying your drone in Thailand
Once you have registered and insured your drone, you are ready to start operating it. But first, read the following important safety guidelines for operating a drone in Thailand:
- Keep your distance from manned aircraft.
- Avoid flying too close to people, cars, or buildings (the drone should always be a minimum of 30 meters away).
- Do not fly above any gatherings of people.
- Avoid flying in or close to prohibited locations, such as state buildings, hospitals, and government offices.
- Never take off or land within 9 km (5 nautical miles) of a runway or temporary airfield without specific permission.
- Don’t let anyone under the age of 18 use the drone.
- Do not fly without the landowner’s consent (this includes National Park).
- Respect other people’s right to privacy.
- Drone operators are required to keep their aircraft in a visual line of sight at all times.
- A specific distance must be maintained between drones and manned aircraft.
- A height restriction of 90 meters applies to the use of drones (295 feet).
- Drones must be kept 9 kilometers (5 miles) away from residential areas.
- Flying your drone over towns and cities is not allowed. Additionally, avoid flying your drone around hospitals and governmental structures.
- You must always get the owner’s permission before taking off and landing. Alternatively, you can ask the security personnel or the front desk for permission.
- In Thailand, drone flights are only allowed during daylight hours, or between dawn and sunset.
- Additionally, you must have an emergency plan according to Thai legislation. This includes the need to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Traveling around Thailand with your drone
It is advised to bring copies of the following paperwork with you if you are going across Thailand with your drone:
- Liability protection
- Registration paperwork
- NBTC and CAAT websites’ copies of the rules (carry copies in Thai and English)
- Your drone and batteries must be packed within your checked luggage when flying. Before your trip, you should confirm the specific requirements with your airline and adhere to their battery policies.
In Thailand, laws can and frequently do change. The information provided in this article should only be used as a reference; always confirm the most recent rules and specifications of the NBTC and CAAT.
From take-off to landing: your guide to operating commercial drone services in Thailand
- The drone must be registered with Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority if it is to be used for commercial purposes (CAAT), which you can do here.
- Additionally, the Thai Ministry of Transport must be notified if the drone weighs more than 25 kg.
- You must be a business owner or operator in a connected industry (i.e., mass media, film production).
- To use the UAV as a controller or launcher, you must apply for a license with the Ministry of Transportation.
- The terms mentioned in the Notification that apply to UAVs used for recreational activities (such as a hobby, amusement, or sport) and weighing more than 2 kg but less than 25 kg must be followed by the controller or launcher.
- Working as a drone operator is subject to rigorous regulations in Thailand. Any drone with a camera weighing more than 2kg must be registered, according to CAAT. Online drone registration is available under either a personal or business name. It is crucial to remember that your CAAT license, insurance, and NBTC registration ALL NEED TO BE IN THE SAME NAME.
- The CAAT has excellent officials who are fluent in English and are eager to assist you, which is very helpful.
- The easy-to-use web form is available in both Thai and English. You will also need to upload the following files to their website once you have provided the pilot’s information, drone information, and proof of insurance:
- Copy of passport
- Copy of visa or work permit
- Drone invoice
- Two photos of your drone with a visible serial number
- Copy of your insurance policy per drone regulations
- Self-declaration form signed and scanned