Flying a drone sure is wonderful, isn’t it? You may dream of someday seeing the entire world and documenting your travels with your drone, but sadly, that dream cannot come to fruition. Drones are banned in a significant number of countries around the globe. Where are you not allowed to fly a drone?
Drones are not permitted in the following countries:
- And more
If you have the above countries, and the others we’re going to discuss, on your travel list, you might want to rethink your plans, or at least be ready to go sans drone. Ahead, we’ll go over each country around the world that bans drones and talk a bit about why those rules stand.
These 21 Countries Do Not Permit Drones
In Central Asia is Uzbekistan, a nation and landlocked country. The Silk Road is one of the largest attractions here, as are the mausoleums and mosques that are prevalent.
Further, Registan contains 15th and 17th-century religious schools, and Samarkand has many Islamic architectural marvels. While you can see and appreciate these sights with your own two eyes, you cannot fly a drone in this country.
The Uzbekistan Civil Aviation Administration or USCAA mandates that residents and travelers cannot buy, sell, or even import a drone without getting into legal trouble. Of course, flying a drone is punishable as well.
In some instances, you could be jailed for up to three years for drone use. It’s not worth the risk.
The Kingdom of Bahrain, often just called Bahrain, is a Middle Eastern country on an island in Western Asia. Bahrain includes more than 80 islands, 33 of which are artificial and 50 of which are natural.
The largest is Bahrain Island, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the landmass across the entire country.
The Bahrain Ministry of Interior Customs Affairs has put a block on all electronic wireless aircraft, which drones are categorized as. If you’re trying to get into Bahrain and your drone is spotted in customs, you won’t see it again.
The North African country of Tunisia in the northern part of Africa is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Libya, and Algeria.
While technically, you are allowed to fly a drone in Tunisia, doing so would require permission. Getting the permit you need requires you to go through the Department of Transportation, the Ministry of Equipment and Housing, the Home Office, and the Ministry of National Defense.
Permits are not something that everyday drone pilots receive. Even most commercial drone pilots are turned down. You’re much better off not getting your hopes up.
In the Middle East is Syria, which is also adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea by the west. This Western Asian country is in proximity to Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.
You’re probably familiar with Syria since it’s featured in the news so often for the ongoing war (at least as of this writing) involving in part the Syrian Armed Forces. We think that explains clearly enough why drones are not permitted.
Here’s another West African country in which drone flights are banned: Senegal.
Dakar, which is Senegal’s capital, features musical culture and plenty of markets. The rest of Senegal is beloved for deltas, private beaches, and architecture from the colonial period.
If it sounds like a great place to visit, that’s because it is. Yet to reiterate from the paragraph prior, you cannot bring a drone with you to Senegal.
Those rules were established by the National Agency of Civil Aviation or ANAC within Senegal. What if you flew with a drone to Senegal? Customs will take the drone and you won’t ever see it again. If you invested thousands of dollars into a high-end drone like a DJI, that’s money down the drain.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea in East Asia is on a border with Russia and China. Famed sights include Paektu Mountain, Mount Kumgang, Juche Tower, and the Masikryong Ski Resort.
You can always take out your smartphone camera to capture photos or videos of these breathtaking sights, but your drone? No can do.
In North Korea, the General Administration of Civil Aviation or GACA has, as of 2021, limited drone flight only to governmental entities. Even commercial drone flight isn’t allowed.
Sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean is Nicaragua, a country in Central America with an array of beaches, volcanoes, and lakes.
Some of the most must-see sights are the Masaya Volcano, Little Corn Island, Cerro Negro (a volcano), Mombacho (another volcano), the Islets of Granada, and the Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve.
The Nicaraguan Institute of Civil Aeronautics or INAC has banned drones as of the early 2020s. Your drone would be taken away from you at customs, likely permanently. Keep your drone at home.
Mixing European, Arabian, and Berber cultures, the country of Morocco in North Africa is Surrounded on two sides by water including the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although Rabat is the capital, people rave about Marrakesh, and rightfully so.
The Jamaa El Fna Square is another must-see destination, and if you have time, you could always visit the Bahia Palace, the Jardin Majorelle-Yves Saint Laurent Mansion, the Hassan II Mosque, or the mountain known as Toubkal.
All this would have to happen sans your drone though. The Moroccan Directorate of Civil Aeronautics or DCA bans drones outright.
In East Africa, Madagascar is an island country and the second-largest of its kind. The country includes a few smaller islands as well as the island of Madagascar itself.
You could see lemurs at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, visit the Ranomafana National Park, or see the limestones at Reserva natural de Tsingy de Bemaraha. You could also witness Isalo National Park for yourself.
These sights cannot be seen by drone though, as the Civil Aviation Directorate of Madagascar or CAD bars all personal drone flights.
Flights for commercial purposes would still constitute personal use, so your drone would be taken away at customs even if you tried to bring it in for business.
Yet another landlocked country, Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia is surrounded by China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.
This mountainous region is home to Ala Archa National Park, the Burana Tower from the ninth century, the Tash Rabat Inn from the 15th century, and the lake Sary-Chelek.
If you’re good with a camera, you should be able to bring that into Kyrgyzstan, but drones are not permitted. You’d get your drone confiscated at customs, so save it for another destination that allows drones.
Known as one of the safest countries in the world, Kuwait is on many people’s must-see travel lists. The Western Asian country next to Iran and Saudi Arabia has many stunning pieces of architecture, everything from the Kuwait Towers to Al Shaheed Park and the Grand Mosque of Kuwait.
One thing that Kuwait doesn’t have is drones. At least as of this writing, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA in Kuwait has banned UAVs.
In 2003, the Iraqi conflict started. When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL were defeated in 2017, the war essentially ended, but it’s still ongoing in the northern areas of the country.
Thus, flying a drone in Iraq is ill-advised and not permitted.
In Iran, you’re not even allowed to photograph government buildings. Thus, it would make sense that the country’s drone flight rules would be quite strict. The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, or CAOI, does not permit drones.
This is unfortunate considering that Iran has the gorgeously colorful Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, the architecturally dazzling Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and Mount Damavand. Capture these sights with your smartphone instead so you don’t break the law.
Only in Egypt can you see the real Great Sphinx of Giza, the Giza Necropolis, the Abu Simbel Temples, and the Egyptian Museum. Cairo is another must-visit destination with its stunning Cairo Tower.
Even if you live and breathe pharaoh history, you’ll have to be willing to leave your drone at home. In 2017, the country updated its laws. Unless you have a Military of Defense permit, then you can’t even possess a drone in Egypt let alone collect, sell, manufacture, or import one.
Doing the above is considered illegal and thus could be punishable. These laws are still enacted as of the early 2020s, so it may be best not to push your luck.
The Ivory Coast or Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa features rainforests, beach resorts, and an urban center in Abidjan.
Some of the most beloved landmarks are the Parc National du Banco, Tai National Park, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, and the Galerie Cecile Fakhoury.
While it seems like you could once fly a drone in Cote d’Ivoire with a permit, at least as of the 2020s, the ANAC here bars drone flight. You cannot get a drone through customs without your drone being confiscated, so it’s not worth trying.
These days, American travelers (and those from other parts of the world) can get into Cuba with only a passport. The beaches and islands here are a favorite, including Cayo Levisa, Playa Varadero, Cayo Largo del Sur, and Malecon.
Besides the resort areas, Cuba is also famed for the Vinales Valley, the Museum of the Revolution, the National Capitol Building, and the Castillo De Los Tres Reyes Del Morro, a harbor-side sea fortress.
None of these sights are attainable if you have a drone though. Your drone will never even make it through customs as the Civil Aviation Institute of Cuba, or IACC, bars drones from flying in this country.
Way off the beaten path is Brunei, a Borneo island nation that’s bordered by the South China Sea and Malaysia. Between the rainforests and the beaches, you may feel like you’ve stumbled upon a diamond in the rough in Brunei.
We’re sure you wanted to explore the stunning architecture like the Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, the royal palace known as the Istana Nurul Iman, and Ulu Temburong National Park with your drone, but you’re not allowed to. The DCA in Brunei does not permit drones.
On the eastern edge of the Himalayas is the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. You can see fortresses and monasteries aplenty here, including Paro Taktsang and Tashichho Dzong.
The Buddha Dordenma Statue is a must-see, as is the National Memorial Chhorten with its gold spire and stupa.
Yet the Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority, or BCAA, only allows the country’s government offices to fly drones. For commercial and personal use, drone flight is banned here.
Who wouldn’t want to go to the sunny, tropical Caribbean island of Barbados?
You can explore Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure Park, sun yourself on Crane Beach, take in the beauty of the St. Nicholas Abbey and Steam Railway, or continue beach-hopping to Paynes Bay Beach, Carlisle Bay, and Bottom Bay.
You will miss your drone in the process though. As of 2019, it appeared that Barbados did not permit drones at all without a permit.
As of 2022, the Barbados Civil Aviation Directorate or BCAD put a suspension on licensing and importing drones. The suspension is supposed to be temporary, but as of this writing, we don’t have a further update.
From a lovely, warm destination to one of the coldest, Antarctica on the South Pole is home to penguins, orcas, and leopard seals.
The temperatures only ever reach about 63 degrees Fahrenheit as a high. UAVs are barred, as many people who live and study in Antarctica are here for the aforementioned wildlife. Plus, flying a drone could damage the homes of these animals.
Considering that Antarctica is already experiencing a decline caused by global warming, it’s reasonable that the country wants to preserve whatever it can.
The last country on our list is Algeria in North Africa. When visiting, you may opt to check out the Church of Notre Dame of Africa, the Monument of the Martyr, Tassili N’Ajjer National Park, or the Bardo National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography.
Your travels must be without a UAV though. The Directorate of Civil Aviation and Meteorology of Algeria, or DACM, does not permit drones.
There you have it, 20+ countries around the world that – as of 2022, at least – do not permit drone flight. Some of these countries could change their respective stances someday in the future, but for now, you’ll have to leave your drone at home if you want to see these fascinating parts of the world!