Drones in Kenya and the law
Drone ownership cannot be transferred without the approval of KCAA. [ PHOTO / Trending.co.ke ]

Drones in Kenya: Drone operations have spurred innovation within the aviation industry globally. In Kenya, drones have captured the interest of individuals and organisations alike, for leisure and commercially use.

While there still remains concerns such as safety and security issues, this aviation sub-sector is bound for exponential growth and expansion. In line with this, there are certain guidelines that one needs to abide by, to legally import, own and operate a drone either as an individual or as an entity.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), popularly known as drones, are subject to regulatory scrutiny from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) under the Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020.

Charges for Owning/Bringing a Drone to Kenya

Citizens, residents, businesses, and governments can own a drone in Kenya. Under the new regulations, the operation of a drone with the Kenyan airspace needs one to register it with KCAA at a Ksh3,000 fee.

Foreign nationals cannot own a drone in Kenya. They are, however, allowed to lease a drone locally for the duration of time they shall be in the country, or apply to the Authority prior to their visit for a 30-day temporary permit at a Ksh20,000 fee.

It is also worth noting that drone ownership cannot be transferred without the approval of KCAA. The purpose of the UAS, and risk to public safety and security form the basis for consideration by the Authority in registering, issuing of approvals and authorizations for operations.

Rules of Operation

The Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020 categorises drones based on the risks posed by their operations, from low risks to high risks under categories, A, B and C:

  • Category A: low risk (up to 25 kg)
  • Category B: medium, normal risk
  • Category C: high risk

An operator will require a Remote Pilot License for drone flights in categories B and C. The low-risk drones require registration, a permit certificate, and compliance with rules that state that:

  • One cannot fly a drone above 400 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) or within 164 feet (50 metres) of any person, vessel, or vehicle that is not a part of the operation
  • Flying a drone in non-visual meteorological conditions or at night is prohibited unless authorized by KCAA
  • Operating a UAS over or along public roads at a distance of less than 164 feet (50 meters) is not permitted
  • An operator shall not use public roads as take-off or landing places.

See >> Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Licensing Charges For Drones

Charges levied to drone owners will therefore vary based on the drone’s categorization as well as its use. Below are the charges stipulated under the Civil Aviation (Regulatory Fees and Charges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020, that KCAA will use to determine the costs required for one to operate a drone locally.

No. Service Charges(KSh.)
A. UAS IMPORT & REGISTRATION
Issuance of Import Permit 3,000
Registration 3,000
Certificate of Deregistration or Cancellation 2,000
Reservation of special Registration Marks Series 10,000
Copy of the UAS Register 3,000
Change of ownership 2,500
Amendment of a certificate of registration 2,000
Issuance of temporary permit 20,000
B. Airworthiness
Issue of Certificate of Airworthiness 5,000
C. Remote Air Operator Certificate(ROC)
Initial issue 80,000
Renewal of ROC 50,000
Amendments of

ROC

5,000
Addition of UAS to the ROC. 2,000
Inclusion of new UAS Type 10,000
Approval of manuals. 5,000
D. TRAINING ORGANIZATION
Training organization approval 80,000
Renewal of ATOs certificate 50,000
Modification/Amendment of Approval 5,000
E. CERTIFICATIONOF UAS RESALERSAND DISTRIBUTORS
Initial issue 80,000
Renewal 50,000
Modification/Amendment of Approval 5,000
E. AUTHORIZATIONS
Operation authorizations             Category A

Category B &C

2,000
2,500
Overflight permit 10,000
F. LICENSING
Issue of SRPL 2,000
Issue of RPL 4,000
Beyond Visual Line of Sight (B-VLOS)Rating 2,000
Extended Visual Line of Sight (E-VLOS)Rating 2,000
RPA Observer Certificate 2,000
RPA Certificate (for class A operations) 2,000
Renewal of RPL 2,000
Instructor rating for RPL 3,000
Radio telephone exam 2,000

 

If the drone shall be used for commercial purposes, the Remote Aircraft Operators Certificate must be applied 90 days in advance.

The authority can also suspend a drone license or cancel it in the interest of public safety or national security, or for violating requirements and conditions.

For further enquiries get in touch with, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit.

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