CAAS launches online portal for drone permit applications in Singapore

A drone ascending as it prepares to take a picture of guests during the launch of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) exhibition showcasing drone applications at the URA building on May 21, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG 
A drone ascending as it prepares to take a picture of guests during the launch of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) exhibition showcasing drone applications at the URA building on May 21, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG 

SINGAPORE - The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has launched a one-stop online portal on its website for operators of unmanned aircraft - also known as drones - to apply for the necessary permits.

This move comes after Parliament approved the Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Bill in May, which introduces new laws that regulate the use of drones starting this month.

According to the CAAS, two different types of permits (operator and activity) are required for drones that weigh more than 7kg. Those who fly drones for business purposes will also need both permits.

Recreational drone users need not apply for permits as long as their machines weigh less than 7kg, although they will need an activity permit if the drone is flown in restricted areas or within 5km of an aerodrome.

Additional permits are needed if operators plan to drop substances and items from drones, if the drone's radio frequencies and powers limits are not within the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) guidelines or if drones are being flown over gazetted protected areas such as the Istana and Parliament House.

Photographs of protected areas taken by drones are not also not allowed without an additional permit.

The average processing time for an application, said CAAS, is two weeks.

To apply, click here.

For the CAAS' safety advisory issued to recreational drone users who do not require a permit, click here.

mklee@sph.com.sg