With its towering Himalayan Mountains, tropical jungles, and alpine valleys, Nepal is a traveler's delight, especially for those who want to take aerial photos and videos.
Drone photography is becoming increasingly popular in Nepal, and individuals are using it to capture the country's natural beauty from different vantage points. Nepal has every terrain you could want for the ideal drone photo. You have serene high-altitude lakes, isolated valleys, tropical woods, alpine meadows, and many more.
You will have plenty of opportunity to capture beautiful aerial photographs of Nepal's mountains, from the snow-covered alpine meadows of Everest to the Annapurna highlands blanketed in pink and scarlet rhododendron blooms in spring and autumn. Savor your trekking experience in Nepal while taking breathtaking pictures of the Himalayas.
But the question often crosses your mind when you fly your drone in a new place in Nepal: Is it legal to fly drones in Nepal? Indeed, it is allowed to operate a drone in Nepal as long as you know the country's drone laws.
You will learn everything there is to know about Nepal's drone laws in this post. You'll discover the guidelines for flying drones, including where you can and cannot fly them, how to obtain permission, what happens to violations, and more. Thus, follow this advice to have a smooth drone flying experience in Nepal!
Drone Rules and Laws in Nepal
It is permissible to fly a drone in Nepal with a permit, according to the country's aviation body, the Civil Aviation Body of Nepal (CAAN); still, we advise being aware of and abiding by the following drone laws and regulations in Nepal:
- Before flying a drone in Nepal, visitors must obtain permission from the Department of Tourism, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. It is not as important if a drone weighs less than two kilograms and is less than 200 feet above the earth.
- For research and instructional reasons, it is necessary to obtain a prior license from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, and the department responsible for the particular subject matter of study before using a drone weighing more than 2kg.
- Travelers wishing to operate drones within Nepal's national parks and conservation areas must obtain permission from the relevant Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Tourism, Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, and Conservation Area/National Parks.
- When flying over private property and at a height of no more than 200 feet, drones weighing less than 2 kg (4.5 pounds) are excused from CAAN authorization.
- Drone operators should possess both piloting expertise and a rudimentary knowledge of Nepali drone operating regulations and legislation.
- Avoid using a drone in a way that jeopardizes the security of nearby aircraft.
- Only operate a UAV to the degree permitted by you.
- It is against the law to fly a drone without a permit; violators will face penalties in accordance with civil aviation regulations.
- If you want to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle for fun in a public area, you need permission from the local security organization.
- Any harm done to people or property as a result of using a drone is entirely the responsibility of the person controlling the device.
- Avoid taking drones farther than 500 meters (1,640 feet) or higher than 120 meters (394 feet).
- Refrain from using a drone recklessly or murdering insects or animals with it.
- It is forbidden to fly within 50 meters (164 feet) of any construction, ship, or vehicle.
- At all times, controllers need to have unimpeded visual sight of the drones.
- Drone activity should be eliminated from airport zones.
Point to Note Before Traveling to Nepal with Drones
- To start, find out if your drone satisfies the security requirements set by the airline or airport in your country.
- Secondly, find out if your drone is carrying any hazardous goods that don't adhere to transportation regulations. (For example, high-voltage batteries that would require further explanation when going through airport security.)
- Thirdly, look up and review your airline's specific drone travel policies.
- Lastly, confirm that the laws governing drones are in effect where you plan to take off and land.
It is not, however, easy to operate a drone in Nepal. Before using a drone, one should be aware of a few things. You must be well-versed with Nepal's drone laws, regulations, and authorization processes. In order to make sure you comprehend the rules, you might take a brief exam. Plus, if you want to fly a drone in Nepal, schedule your vacation for a time when conditions are ideal.
Additional Regulations for Foreigners Travelling with Drone in Nepal
There are no further criteria for foreign visitors according to government drone rules in Nepal. However, please be aware that there are rigorous regulations in some locations that you must follow in order to operate a large, technologically sophisticated drone. To use the device, you need a license. Additionally, you must provide the appropriate authorities with a thorough list of documents. The CAAN team created a helpful, inspirational handbook that includes comprehensive details on Nepal's drone legislation.
In addition, international visitors require an authorization letter from the following authorities in addition to the necessary paperwork for drone permits:
- A letter from the General Administration, Home Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Defense Ministry, and Federal Affairs Ministry.
- A letter from the tour operator and travel agency in charge of the trip's arrangements
- A letter of commitment from the drone pilot to abide by the laws and guidelines governing drones.
Similarly, if you're an overseas visitor who wants to go trekking in Nepal. If so, the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation must grant drone flying authorization for any hike that leads to the Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, or Manaslu regions.
Procedures to Register a Drone in Nepal
For drone operations to be legitimate and compliant with the law, registration with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is required. Unregistered drone flying is against the law in the area and might have serious repercussions. Drones are divided into four categories by the Nepali government, which are listed below:
|Weight ||Less than 250gm||250gm to 2kg||2kg to 25kg||More than 25kg|
|Level of Risk||Very Low-Risk||Low-Risk||Regulated Low-Risk||Regulated High-Risk|
According to current legislation, in order to obtain a license to fly, all drone categories must be registered. The steps involved in registering a drone in Nepal are as follows:
Step #1: Bring the necessary paperwork to the Flight Safety Standard Department in Sinamangal, Kathmandu:
- Fill out a form as per the guidelines
- Submit a copy of the drone's handbook specifications, a copy of a valid passport, and a copy of a certificate of company registration.
- Submit a clear image of the drone displaying its brand, color, and serial number
- Submit an overview of the applications for drones
- Submit a copy of the customs clearance certificate (for drone imports)
- Submit a copy of the retailer's VAT bill (for those bought in Nepal)
Step #2: After receiving the necessary documentation, the relevant authorities will carefully review it. If registration is approved, a certificate verifying registration will be sent in two to three business days. This certificate will contain a Unique Identification Number (UIN). The validity of this certificate is for one year.
Procedures to Get a Drone Permit In Nepal
The first and most important thing to do is register your drone by following the above instructions. Once the unique identification number has been obtained, you can proceed to seek a drone permit in Nepal. You must finish the following steps in order to obtain the permit:
Step #1: Obtain the appropriate authority's approval
- You need to get authorization from the District Administration Office if your drone weighs less than 2 kg. You must get in touch with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Information Department Office if your drone weighs more than two kilograms.
- For visitors from outside Nepal, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Department of Tourism, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, and the Concerned Conservation Area/National Parks must provide them with appropriate permission.
Step #2: Submit the following documents
- Fill up a form as per the guidelines
- Drone registration certificate
- Flight details that include start date, end date, purpose, and location map
- Authorization letter (for foreign individuals or foreign businesses only).
Step #3: The following authorities' authorization letter is required for foreign nationals and international businesses:
- A letter from the Federal Affairs and General Administration, the Ministry of Federal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Tourism.
- A letter from the local guide and trekking agency in charge of the excursion.
- Copies of the drone pilot's biodata, citizenship certificate, and current passport and visa (for foreign nationals only).
- A letter from the drone operator pledging to follow the rules.
- Your documentation will be reviewed by the concerned authority. They will give you permission to fly a drone in Nepal if all the paperwork is accurate.
Please keep in mind that if your drone's bandwidth is higher than 2.4 MHz, the Information Department must give you authorization to use it. A reference letter from the local government would be beneficial at every stage of the license application process. The authorization that has been provided is only good for three months. If there is a legitimate reason for the extension, it can be extended for an additional three months.
Procedures to Get a Drone Permit For Everest Base Camp Trek
Many individuals dream of being able to fly a drone while trekking Mount Everest. The stunning scenery of the Himalayas, which includes Mount Everest, and the rich cultural diversity of the Sherpa people can be captured by hikers with this tool. Drones are therefore regarded as essential items in the packing list for the Everest Base Camp Trek. Yet, using a drone at Everest Base Camp Trek is difficult and may even be forbidden if one does not have a drone permit for the trek.
Therefore, a well-made drone, a number of permissions, and a top-notch crew with the necessary legal expertise are needed to fly a drone safely on Everest. The following special permits are needed in order to fly a drone during the Everest trek:
- Sagarmatha National Park
- TIMS (Tourist Information Management System)
- NMA (Approval from Nepal Mountaineering Association)
- General Travel Permits
The process outlined below to secure drone permission for Everest Base Camp is somewhat similar to that of other places.
- The Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Home Affairs must all grant you authorization.
- The biodata of the pilot who is proficient in operating the drone should be provided.
- You need to send a map of the Everest region showing the drone flight route, the location coordinates, and the date of the drone flight.
- To enter Sagarmatha National Park, you need to obtain additional licenses from the Department of Wildlife Reserves, Conservation Areas, or National Parks.
Best Time and Locations for Videography using Drones in Nepal
To get the best footage in the Himalayas, you need to have favorable weather. It is therefore advised that you visit Nepal in the spring (March–May) and autumn (September–November), when the country is at its most beautiful. The weather in the Himalayas is consistent and ideal for drone videography in the spring and fall.
Since obtaining a drone permit in Nepal is a very drawn-out process, we advise you to make the most of your time by carefully organizing your travel schedule. But if you'd rather not deal with the headaches of preparation, we have perfectly adaptable itineraries that will take you to the top drone-flying locations in Nepal:
- Everest Base Camp Trek
- Everest Three High Passes Trek
- Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek
- Annapurna Base Camp Trek
- Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Upper Mustang Trek
Drones are used not only to capture action and scenic movies but also to guide tourists around Nepal, assess the state of the hiking routes, and support numerous rescue operations.
Restricted Areas for Flying a Drone in Nepal
There are certain regions in Nepal where drone flying is prohibited, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Drone use is strictly forbidden in the locations listed below for visitors.
- Drone operations are not permitted within five kilometers of the airport.
- There is a 5-kilometer horizontal distance to the international frontier.
- The residence areas of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, VVIP office, and Singha Durar within a one-kilometer aerial radius.
- Religious, historic, and holy places within a one-kilometer radius, such as Maitighar Mandala, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Budhanilkantha, Durbar Square (Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan), and so forth.
- Up to 500 meters for other safety agencies, and up to 1 kilometer for military and security offices.
- Wildlife reserves, national parks, and conservation areas
- Areas devastated by conflict or war
- Additional limitations imposed by regional or local authorities
Nepal's high altitude may cause the air to be rather thin. Not every drone can fly at this altitude. Before traveling to Nepal, it is advised that you confirm your drone's compatibility with these regions.
Consequences of Breaching Drone Regulations in Nepal
Penalties for breaking any of the aforementioned guidelines can be severe and include either a fine, incarceration, or both. The legislation stipulates that you must pay a fine of between NPR 2000 and NPR 5000, depending on how serious your drone rule violation was. The loss or damage also affects how much of a fine is assessed. In addition, the degree of penalty also depends on your goals when flying the drone—that is, whether it is for business or leisure. Officials may also confiscate your drone in certain situations. Therefore, the fine or other charges may vary based on your actions.
Tips for Flying Drones in Nepal
- Get permission from an authority in the government.
- Avoid flying your drone over people or crowded areas.
- Honors other people's privacy when using the drone.
- Use a drone when the weather is favorable and during the day.
- The air is brittle in high-altitude areas. Not every drone has the capability to fly this high. It is therefore a good idea to confirm that your drone can fly in certain areas.
- Drones must be flown irresponsibly or negligently as doing so puts everyone's safety—including their own—in jeopardy.
- Drones cannot be operated by moving automobiles, boats, or manned aircraft.
- The operator must become familiar with the fundamental operations of drones in order to conduct the flight safely.
- Be careful not to violate any local laws when operating a drone.
- Drones cannot be used to carry objects or endanger human life.
One of the best places for drone photography is Nepal, a breathtaking country with a lot to offer aerial photographers that change with the seasons. You can now relish your hiking experience in Nepal and take breathtaking footage of the Himalayas.
However, it can be intimidating for a visitor to go through Nepal with a drone and secure a drone permit. Thus, you can always ask Green Valley Nepal Treks or any trustworthy local tour company for assistance. The processes are straightforward, easy, and quick because we are familiar with how the regional offices run.
For further information about drone travel in Nepal, get in touch with us or visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority.