CAAS Facilitates Permit Applications for Unmanned Aircraft Operations

02 June 2015

One-stop online application portal established to process permits

From 2 June 2015, members of the public and those who are interested in operating an unmanned aircraft in Singapore can go to the one-stop online portal on the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) website to check and apply for the necessary permits from CAAS, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and/or the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), before they operate an unmanned aircraft.

This follows the coming into force of the Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Act 2015. With this Act and the amendments to the Air Navigation Order (ANO), an enhanced regulatory and permit framework for unmanned aircraft operations in Singapore has been put in place.

An Operator Permit and/or Activity Permit will be required under the following circumstances:

S/N Purpose Weight of Unmanned Aircraft Permit Required

For any purpose

More than 7kg in total weight1

Operator and Activity Permits


For any business purpose (i.e. Commercial activities or Specialised2services) including if not Recreation or Research in nature

Any weight

Operator and Activity Permits


For Recreation or Research3

Not more than 7kg

No permit required.

However, an Activity Permit (only) is required if the unmanned aircraft is flown outdoors:

  • in a Restricted or Danger Area; or
  • within 5km of an aerodrome/military airbase regardless of operating height, or above 200 feet beyond 5km of an aerodrome/military airbase

Note: In all the above operational scenarios, if the unmanned aircraft is flown indoors at a private residence, or indoor area used for the purpose of constructing or testing unmanned aircraft and accessible only to the persons involved, and the flying does not affect at all the general public, no permits are required.

An Operator Permit is granted by CAAS to an applicant if the applicant is able to ensure safe operation of unmanned aircraft, taking into account the applicant’s organisational set-up, competency of the personnel especially those flying the unmanned aircraft, procedures to manage safety including the conduct of safety risk assessments, and the airworthiness of each of the aircraft. The permit is valid for up to one year.

An Activity Permit is granted by CAAS to an applicant for a single activity or a block of repeated activities to be carried out by an unmanned aircraft at a specific area of operation, and which are of specific operational profiles and conditions.

Additional permits will be required if:

  1. There is discharging or dropping of substances/items from the unmanned aircraft.

  2. The radio frequencies and power limits used for operating the unmanned aircraft do not comply with IDA’s guidelines on radio frequencies and power limits for short range devices.

  3. The unmanned aircraft is flown over Protected Areas [i.e. security-sensitive locations gazetted as such and their immediate vicinity (defined by a lateral limit of 150m from the perimeter of a designated location)]. Examples of such locations are the Istana, Parliament House, Supreme Court, Jurong Island, and military camps and bases.
    • The specific locations of these Protected Areas, as and when they are declared by the Minister for Transport4, will be published in the Government Gazette and updated on the OneMap portal. Members of the public are reminded to check the websites to see if their chosen location for flying unmanned aircraft requires additional permits.
  4. Photographs (including videoing and live-streaming) of a Protected Area are taken using the unmanned aircraft.

  5. The unmanned aircraft is flown in Special Event Areas as declared by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the POA.

CAAS will be the one-stop for the application of all permits for unmanned aircraft operations. CAAS will process and coordinate with other relevant agencies on the evaluation of applications for any permit, and respond to the applicants on the outcome of their application. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application well in advance of the date of their unmanned aircraft activity. The expected processing time for an application is two weeks, although straightforward cases or applications for Activity Permits by Operator Permit holders may take a shorter time. Conversely, a longer processing time may be required for applications that require a more in-depth evaluation by CAAS and/or other agencies, or further discussions with the applicant.

Persons flying an unmanned aircraft for recreation under conditions that do not require a permit are advised to adhere to the advisory on the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft published by CAAS (attached at Annex).

Annex: Fly it Safe! Advisory on the Safe and Responsible Operation of Unmanned Aircraft (For Recreational Uses Not Requiring a Permit)


1Total weight refers to weight of laden unmanned aircraft ie. weight of aircraft plus weight of fuel, payload, equipment etc. that it may be carrying.

2Specialised services refer to services such as for agriculture, construction, surveying, observation and patrol, flying display performances, search and rescue and aerial advertising.

3Research refers to any lecture or similar activity on unmanned aircraft, or research and development activity on unmanned aircraft performed by an educational institution.

4The first set of Protected Areas will be published in the Government Gazette today.

Last Updated on 18 November 2019