If you unwrapped a drone in Cyprus on Christmas Day or picked up a cheap drone in the January sales you may be wondering what the laws are to ensure you are not accidentally breaking them whilst operating it. Alternatively you may be considering bringing your drone to Cyprus on holiday with you to capture some of the stunning sights and are not sure of the legalities.
Firstly, flying a drone is legal in Cyprus, but to avoid any issues you should be aware of (and compliant with) the drone regulations before doing so.
To fly a drone in Cyprus you should first register with the Cyprus Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) - all Unmanned Aircraft should be registered by their owner or operator.
Registration is free and involves completing a simple form available here: Cyprus Unmanned Aircraft Registration
There are two categories for drones that have different licensing requirements - though most recreational drones will fall under the first.
Open Category - drones weighing less than 3kg which are used for recreational, sports, training, display or racing purposes and are not used for any commercial purpose.
Special Category - drones weighing less than 25kg which are used for commercial purposes. This category also covers unmanned aircraft, weighing more than 3kg, which are used for either commercial or recreational activities.
In terms of licensing the difference between the two categories is that if you are flying under the Open Category then you are not required to hold an operating license or drone pilot license from the Cyprus Department of Civil Aviation.
Further information about licensing can be found on the Govt. website here: http://www.drones.gov.cy/
- All drones must be registered before operation.
- The maximum flying altitude is 50 meters (170 feet) above ground/sea level - Open category and up to 120 meters (400 feet) above ground/sea level - Special Category.
- Direct visual contact with the drone is mandatory and the distance between the operator and the drone should not exceed 500 meters.
- Do not fly close to residential areas and people.
- Safety distance of 1km from residential areas.
- Safety distance of 500 meters from isolated buildings, people, vehicles, animals, structures, etc., except with the owner’s/person’s consent.
- Do not fly close to airport and heliports. Safety distance of at least 8km from airports and at least 3km from heliports.
- It is not permitted to fly a drone at night.
- No flying above, within, or in proximity to military installations, public utility installations, archaeological sites and public or private facilities.
You can find all the rules in detail on the Govt. website here: Cyprus Unmanned Aircraft Rules
Can I bring my drone with me on holiday to Cyprus?
Yes - Tourists can bring drones to Cyprus as long as they are under 3kg. They do not need to be declared at Customs on arrival but you do need to register before operating the drones in Cyprus.
I am registered to fly a drone in another country - do I still need to register?
Yes - registration is required in Cyprus.
How do I obtain a commercial license?
Application via the Department of Civil Aviation - the owner/operator must obtain a license for the Special category. Such license is issued by the Department, subject to an application by a registered company and relevant checks. Currently the process to obtain a commercial license is taking up to a year.
How do I report an incident with a drone?
You can report incidents and problems with drones in you area by completing the form on the Govt. website here: Report An Incident
What if I don't register?
Owners and operators of Drones are required to comply with the provisions of the applicable legislation. Violation of the law constitutes an offence and offenders will be liable to penalties.
Please note that the above information is provided for guidance purposes only.
Photo: File photo