Drone laws in Singapore

In Singapore, new laws took effect in June last year specifying, among various things, that permits have to be sought to fly a drone of more than 7kg, or within 5km of any airport.

The Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Act provides clear guidelines for the safe use of unmanned aircraft.

It stipulates that even drones that weigh less than 7kg need a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to fly within 5km of an aerodrome, or at altitudes above 200ft (61m) above mean sea level when they are 5km or more outside of an aerodrome.

Permits are also required for specialised services, such as surveying, aerial advertising, flying display performances or if the operator plans to discharge any substance from the drone.

Users of these drones will also have to apply for a permit to fly over or near certain security-sensitive areas, and to take photos in them. Similar regulations will apply for "special event areas", or venues designated for major events. Those who breach these regulations could be fined up to $20,000, jailed for up to 12 months, or both.

The carrying of dangerous materials, such as weapons, or bio-chemical or radioactive material by drones is forbidden.

Hobbyists who use drones for recreational and private purposes can do so without a permit, provided their drones weigh less than 7kg and are not used in any of the above ways.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Drone laws in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe