The Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2019 Act has been approved, meaning that Kenyans can now buy and operate drones without fear or breaking the law. This development is critical for businesses and individuals that use the flying devices for a variety of functions such as photography and general digital content creation, as well as other functions such as mapping or rescue missions. The regulations have also been undergoing assessment for a very long time, having gone through a series of ups and downs over the years (you can follow the progress here).
Registration of drones
Those interested in running drones should be aware of the following registration and licensing considerations:
- The national security of the state
- Terrorism or organized crime activities
- Risk of public safety and diversion of drones to unauthorized end user
- If the application is subject of investigation in a civil or criminal case related to national security
You are eligible to own a drone if you are a Kenyan citizen of 18 years and above. Applicants should also have a company registered in Kenya. National or county governments are also eligible for ownership.
Owners are not allowed to transfer the ownership of drones without approval from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
Only the national government is allowed to run drones with military specs.
Users can also apply for a temporary permit lasting up to 30 days, and can only be renewed once.
Importation of drones
People seeking to import drones must be authorized to do so by KCAA. The same applies to people exporting drones because KCAA is mandated to deregister the device.
Commercial use cases
People or companies intending to use drones for commercial applications must apply for a Remote Aircraft Operators Certificate (ROC) from KCAA.
According to the regulations, ‘the issuance of an ROC by the Authority is dependent upon the UAS operator demonstrating an adequate organization, method of control and supervision of flight operations, training program as well as ground handling and maintenance arrangements consistent with the nature and extent of the operations specified and commensurate with the size, structure, and complexity of the organization.’
Your drone license can be suspended or canceled in the interest of public safety or national security, or for violating requirements and conditions.