Published: Dec 14, 2023

Drones in the UAE: Cabinet Resolution Reveals New Regulations for Unmanned Aircraft

Followed by the Federal Decree by Law No. (26) of 2022 Regulating the Civil Use of Unmanned Aircraft, the UAE Federal Government has issued its accompanying Cabinet Resolution No. (110) on the UAE Regulation for Unmanned Aircraft of 2023 (“Cabinet Resolution”) to further expand upon the governance rules of unmanned aircrafts (including but not limited to drones) in all emirates and free zones through regulatory compliance, including certification, documentation, and responsibilities for manufacturers and importers.

Regulatory Requirements

For unmanned aircrafts that are being imported, sold, assembled, manufactured, or operated in the UAE airspace, approvals must be obtained from the General Civil Aviation Authority (“GCAA”) and the local authority competent for aviation affairs in the relevant Emirate (Article 3(1)). Approvals from these authorities are further required for any design modifications or major repairs of the unmanned aircraft (Article 3(8)). The applicant must further obtain certificates and labels from the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (“MoIAT”) (Article 3(2)). The contents of the technical documentation file that must be submitted to the MoIAT, including product description, designs, drawings, technical specifications, test reports, and other required documents (Article 6).

Moreover, unmanned aircrafts must feature illustrative marks (at least in Arabic and English) in alignment with the standards and policies sanctioned by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the Digital Government (“TDRA”) (Article 3(6)). Additionally, they must also be fitted with a tracking system (including data transmission) sanctioned by the Cyber Security Council and the TDRA (Article 3(7)).

Documentation and Certification

The details of the application process for a Certificate of Conformity and a Product Condition Statement, specifying exam requirements, document submission, and technical characteristics declaration are further provided (Article 4), and the Standard Specifications set out in Annex A are required to be complied to obtain the Certificate of Conformity (Article 12).

Grace Period for Importers and Manufacturers

Importers and manufacturers of unmanned aircrafts are granted a 180-day grace period from the effective date of this Resolution to align with its provisions.

The Cabinet Resolution entered into force on the date of its publishing on 6 November 2023.

How can we help?

Our Transport & Logistics team has extensive experience in the UAE with regards to matters regarding the implementation of unmanned aerial aircrafts and systems in Dubai. Furthermore, we have our respective experienced Customs, Insurance, and Digital & Data sectors that may provide assistance to any data, technology or insurance matters in relation to automated systems.

In addition, we have rights of audience before the courts across in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, as well as local insights have enabled us to represent clients in complex local and multi-jurisdictional claims, defences, and commercial transactions. For further information on this sector or for any inquiries for assistance, please contact our Transport and Logistics team, Technology, Media and Telecommunications team or Insurance team.