From incredible architecture to surreal scenery, and natural therapies, there’s no shortage of reasons to visit Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations in the world. If you are anything like us, you’d want to capture the beauty of this North African country, and what better way to do this than a with drone. But before you pack your drone and hop on a plane to Egypt, learn about drone laws in the country by reading this article.
To bring a drone to Egypt and fly it, you need to receive permission from the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). If you do not have documentation of authorization, your drone will be confiscated at customs. However, it’s difficult to get permission to fly a drone from the CAA.
Drone laws are constantly changing and you should check this page occasionally for updates about Egyptian drone laws. More information about the current legislation about drone use in Egypt will be explained below.
General Egypt drone laws
The use of drones is heavily regulated in Egypt, and operators planning to fly drones in the country must follow all regulations to avoid penalties and fines. That’s certainly not the souvenir you want from your trip to Egypt.
The most important thing to know about flying drones in Egypt is the necessity to obtain permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Egypt before flying or operating a drone in the country.
This is in accordance with the Egyptian Aviation Act under Article 46, sentence 8 which states that:
“No unmanned aircraft is allowed to fly or to work in the territory of the State unless upon a permission of Civil Aviation Authority. In all cases, using unmanned aircraft is prohibited as per Rules of the Air and Air Traffic set forth in this respect.“
As you can see from the Act above, you can’t fly a drone in Egypt without getting permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. That certainly sounds strict, but the real problem here is whether you can actually get permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. As of today, we have not heard of any cases where the Civil Aviation Authority granted permission to fly drones to foreign tourists.
This is very frustrating to tourists that want to capture the beauty of Egyptian architecture and landscape from the air. Imagine how stunning aerial footage of the charming and historic places in Egypt would be.
If by chance you manage to get permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (that means you have high connections), you’d want to be familiar with other Egyptian drone laws.
These laws include:
– Do not fly your drone over people or large crowds. This legislation is for safety purposes as a drone falling over people or large crowds could be potentially fatal.
– Respect others’ privacy when flying your drone. Keep away from people’s homes or personal property. Overall, respect the privacy of others.
– You are not to fly your drone over airports or in areas where aircraft are operating. This is to prevent your drone from interfering with the operation of airplanes and other manned aircraft.
– Pilots can only fly in daylight hours and when the weather is good. This is to ensure good visibility and smooth operation of the drone as bad weather may interfere with smooth flying.
– You should keep your drone away from sensitive government or military facilities. The use of drones of any kind is strictly prohibited in these areas.
Egypt toughened its drone laws in 2017 as the government feared that terrorists may use miniature flying machines to carry out attacks. That’s why it’s mandatory to receive permission from the Civil Aviation Authority and the bitter truth, for now, is that you won’t get that permission.
Can I bring my drone to Egypt?
The answer here is ‘no’ as Egypt passed a law that prohibited the use or trade of drones by companies, individuals, ministries, local administrative units, and general authorities. As per this law, there can be no importation, sale, manufacture, collection, possession, or use of drones unless a permit is obtained from the Ministry of Defense.
Importing, manufacturing, selling, possessing, or collecting electrically or remotely controlled drones in Egypt without receiving permission from the proper authority will attract either punishment of 1 to 7 years in prison, a fine of up to EGP 5,000 to 50,000, or both (approximate USD $300 to $3,000 – see currency conversion tool). The punishment has the potential to be maximized if the infraction is repeated.
So unless you have obtained prior permission, you can’t bring a drone to Egypt as it will be confiscated at the point of entry. Should you somehow manage to get your drone in, the onboarding screening will detect your drone and one of two things will happen.
One, your drone will be confiscated at the point of arrival and stored at the airport.
Two, the drone will be detected and confiscated when you are leaving the country and you’ll be sanctioned for bringing an illegal commodity to Egypt.
Don’t risk it, and leave your drone at home if you’re planning to travel to Egypt.
One possible way to get to fly a drone in Egypt is through a rental company. There’s a rental company in Egypt called ugly Egypt which has obtained permission for flying drones from the Civil Aviation Authority. It may be possible to rent a drone from iFly Egypt but it is very expensive to do so as per reports.
How to retrieve my drone at Egyptian airport customs?
We don’t recommend you to fly to Egypt with a drone, but if for any reason you have a drone with you on your trip to the African country, there’s a way you can keep your drone and yourself out of trouble. Follow the following steps:
1. On arrival at the airport, be honest with airport customs and tell them you have a drone with you. The drone will of course be confiscated but it’s for your own good since it’s illegal to bring drones into the country without prior permission. Should you neglect to declare your drone on arrival, you are creating problems for yourself if the drone is found in your possession later.
2. The confiscated drone will be stored in an airport locker. This means you have to return through the same airport where the drone was confiscated.
3. Put a call through to the airport customs a few days before your departure date. Doing this will increase the chances of your drone being ready to be picked up by you at the airport.
4. You should be able to pick up your drone on departure without any problem.
What are the penalties for breaking drone laws in Egypt?
Since the importation, manufacture, collection, sale, or possession of drones are banned in Egypt, violating any of these will lead to sanctions. We’ve already established that drones will be confiscated at the point of entry if you are traveling to Egypt.
If you are found in possession of a drone in the country, you may be fined, jailed, or even both. Egyptian laws stipulate a fine of EGP 5,000-50,000 (approximate USD $300 – $3,000) or jail time between 1 to 7 years.
You can always reach the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org / +202 202-22677613. You can ask any questions about drones before you travel to Egypt.
How to know drone laws in different countries?
One of the things you should do any time you are traveling to a foreign country is to learn about the laws in that country. This includes any activity or recreation you intend to participate in when you are in the country.
While this article is about drone laws in Egypt, we’ll be publishing more articles about drone laws in other countries. And the idea is to prepare you for your trip and ensure you don’t get into any trouble with the authorities.
So below are steps about what to do when intending to travel to another country with a drone.
1. Do your Research
We’ve said this before. Go online and search about current drone laws in the country you are traveling to. Note that we said ‘current’ drone laws since drone laws are quickly evolving and it’s in your best interest to find the most recent laws.
We’ll be updating this page should there be any changes to drone laws in Egypt.
2. Drill Down
After learning about the general drone laws, dig deeper to find out if there are different drone laws in different regions or if different regulatory bodies in specific areas have different regulations.
3. Make an educated decision
The result of your research will determine your decision. In a country like Egypt where you need permission to bring a drone into the country, you may try to obtain such permission before bringing your drone in. If you have enough connections, you may just get permission.
If not, you are better off leaving your drone at home to prevent it from being confiscated. Also, you wouldn’t want to be sanctioned for being in possession of an illegal item.
4. There are consequences to your actions
If you decide to travel with a drone to a country where drones aren’t allowed, you should be prepared to face the consequences. The best thing that can happen to you is having your drone confiscated as you may be fined for possessing an illegal or banned item.
Chances are you wouldn’t even get the drone past the point of entry as there are many detectors at airports that will detect the presence of drones. Countries that ban drones are always on the lookout for drones at entry points so it’s almost certain your drone will be detected and confiscated.
Obedience, they say, is better than sacrifice so you are better off obeying the rules.