How to register your drone in Thailand

Updated on 4/01/2018 with information that the deadline for registering a radio controlled device with NBTC is 9 January 2018. After that, you face up to five years in prison for non compliance.

If you intend to fly a drone in Thailand, whether as a hobby or for commercial reasons, you have to by law register your drone first. If you don’t you could face a fine of up to 100,000 Baht or even up to five years in prison. They are serious about this, so before you fly, make sure you register your drone with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). In addition, if your drone has a camera (any weight) or weighs over two kilos then you need to obtain insurance and get permission to fly from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). Their fine for not doing this is up to 40,000 Baht and up to one year in prison. Before you ask, if you have a toy drone, for example weighing less than 250g, then the NBTC or CAAT are not interested. However, they have specifically said that the small DJI Spark needs to be registered.

Scroll down for how to register your drone and for links to download the forms.

When I first started flying drones in Thailand I hardly ever saw any other drone pilots. I also didn’t face any problems about where I could fly. Security guards would come over if they saw me flying, not because it was illegal, but because they were curious to see the live pictures from above. Sadly, those days are long gone. Security guards are more likely to chase you away or sometimes you will see signs like the one above which prohibits the flying of drones. This is not necessarily because of any new laws, it is mainly because just about everyone decided to get a drone for Christmas. Now, with so many people flying, it is no longer the novelty and people, sometimes quite rightly, are fed up with the buzzing sound of the drones flying low over their heads.

When I attend an event these days, there are usually four or five drones flying. And quite honestly, some of these pilots are very dangerous. They are not keeping their drones in line of sight. They are just watching their screens. Which means the possibility of a collision is quite high. I have seen them go down before, either crashing into buildings, trees and power lines, or just colliding with another drone. I tend not to fly at events any more. Partly because it is distracting to people who might be watching a show, but also it is quite dangerous if there is a large crowd. The number one rule for drone pilots is to make sure you have a wide and clear area in case of an emergency landing. This kind of thing is why the Ministry of Transport came out with a new law about the use of drones in Thailand.

Scroll down for the law regarding drones in Thailand.

Even after you have registered your drone with the NBTC, bought insurance and have permission to fly from CAAT, you still need to obey the following rules. If not, you will be subject to a fine and maybe imprisonment.

Once you have permission from the land owner to fly, you must obey these rules while flying:

  • must not fly in a way that may cause harm to the life, property and peace of others
  • must not fly into restricted area, limited area and dangerous area announced in Aeronautical Information Publication – Thailand or AIP-Thailand and also at government buildings and hospitals unless permission is given.
  • take-off and landing area must not be obstructed by anything
  • must keep the Unmanned Aircraft in line-of-sight at all times and not rely on the monitor or other devices
  • must only fly between sunrise and sunset when the Unmanned Aircraft can clearly be seen
  • must not fly in or near clouds
  • must not fly within 9 km (5 nautical miles) from airport or temporary airfield unless having permission from the airport or airfields operators
  • must not fly over 90 meters above the ground
  • must not fly over cities, villages, communities or areas where people are gathered
  • must not fly near other aircraft that have pilots
  • must not violate the privacy rights of others
  • must not cause a nuisance to others
  • must not deliver or carry dangerous items or lasers on the Unmanned Aircraft
  • must not fly horizontally closer than 30 meters (100 feet) to people, vehicles, constructions or buildings

For the full regulations, click here, or visit the CAAT website for the latest up to date information.

Before I continue, I should point out something in the above infographic released by CAAT which is contradictory to the regulations. The infographic says you need to have a licence to fly if your drone has a camera, even if it is less than two kilos. But, the regulations do not say anything about that. From what I, and other people understood, if you have a small drone like a Spark or Mavick that weighs less than two kilos, you do not need to get permission to fly from CAAT. As long as you are not using it for commercial reasons and you obey the above rules. However, officials we have spoken to at CAAT insist that you still have to get permission to fly. We asked specifically about the smallest of drones, DJI Spark, and they said yes, we would need insurance and permission to fly.

Scroll down for how to register your drone with NBTC.

If you intend to fly a drone in Thailand, then by Thai law you must register it first with the NBTC before the 9 January 2018 deadline. If you don’t, you are violating the Communications Radio Act. Apparently, only 350 drones have been registered up to now out of an estimated 50,000 drones in Thailand. Which is why there is now a crackdown on drones. Before, we probably would have gotten away with flying without a license if we were discreet. But, now, thanks to all of the publicity, everyone knows that you must register your drone or you will face up to five years in prison. It was front page news in the Bangkok Post (see the article here) and other national newspapers.

The following is what I did to register my drones with NBTC in Bangkok. They have 17 offices around Thailand, and so you don’t need to do this here. Also, you are apparently allowed to register at your local police station. I know people who have done this, but make sure you download the form in advance as they won’t know anything about it. My advice is to go to your local NBTC officer. In Thai it is “กสทช.”, just search for it on google maps. For the one in Bangkok, it is on Soi Phahonyothin 8. Click here for the map link. When you arrive, you will see the big building in the photo above. You need to go to Building 2, first floor. From the front gate, turn right and walk down a path. Don’t go through security. You will see the building on your right near the road.

Before you go, you should prepare the following. If you do so, then you will be in and out in just five minutes. That is how long it took me to register my two drones.

  1. Sign a copy of your passport
  2. Proof of address like house registration, lease, rental contract or work permit (this is new)
  3. Photos of your drone and the serial number on your drone
  4. Two copies of the filled in application form

That’s it if you are just flying as a hobby like myself. If you are media or a registered company, then there are more documents that you need.

NOTES: 

  1. You don’t need to take your drone into the office. Though some people did.
  2. Stick the photos on a piece of A4 paper and then sign the sheet of paper.
  3. You need a set of documents for each of your drones.
  4. The serial numbers are on a sticker on the drone box. I took a picture of that.
  5. Print the application form on both sides of a sheet of paper. Or pick one up at their office.
  6. The filled in form needs to be photocopied. This is what they stamp and return to you.

This is a link to the page on the NBTC page about the regulations. This is a direct link to download the form. It is only in Thai. I will take you through it step by step below. Scroll down.

The first three fields to fill in are for “Day/Month/Year”

The next section is about the weight of your drone. I ticked the first one as my drones are less than 2 kilos. The others are for between 2 and 25 kilos, and for more than 25 kilos.

Number 5 is your first name and number 6 is your family name. Number 7 is your age. Number 8 and 9 is your nationality. I wrote UK.

Numbers 10-12 is your birthday written as Day/Month/Year. Number 13 is your ID card number. I wrote my passport number.

Number 15-21 is your address. 15 is the house number, 16 the Soi number, 17 the road name, 18 the Tambon or kwang name, 19 the Amphoe or Khet name, 20 the province name, and 21 the post code. Number 22 is your telephone number. I didn’t fill in the rest.

UPDATE: They didn’t ask me for proof of address when I went, but now they apparently are. I’m not sure yet what tourists can do about this.

I didn’t fill in Section 2 as I am a private individual. Continue to page two.

For Number 23, I ticked the first box as I just fly for a hobby. The others are for media, businesses etc.

For Number 24, I wrote the name of my drone. For Number 25 it is asking for the number of drones and rotors. I wrote one drone and four rotors. I was registering a DJI Phantom 3 and a DJI Spark. I did this on two different forms. I guess if you have two of the same then use the same form.

For number 26, I wrote the serial number of the drone. As I said before, it is on a sticker on your box. Number 27 is the weight. Number 28 is for what equipment is fixed. I said camera. Number 29 is the maximum height it can go in meters. Number 30 is the frequency. For mine I wrote 2.400 – 2.483 GHz.

That’s it. Sign your name and then write your name clearly in the brackets below. The other signatures are for the officials. Hand them into the officer at the reception. It took them about five minutes to check everything and stamp it. The registration is free at the moment.

UPDATED: When I went to the NBTC office, the official said that there was no need for me to do anything else. They said they would forward my application to CAAT. But people who went later are reporting that NBTC officials are now saying that you also need to get permission to fly from CAAT. This is because at NBTC you are just registering your radio communications device. I rang CAAT and an official there confirmed this. They also added you need to get insurance first before they would accept your application. The whole process will take about two months. Maybe longer now as over 1,300 drones were registered at NBTC in the first week alone. Some people in the comments below have said that after they registered with CAAT, they were told that they would pass on their registration to NBTC. So, no need to do both.

If you want to do that yourself, then click here for the forms and regulations in English. If you search for Thai drone insurance on Facebook you will find some companies that offer it.  If you have experience of registering your drone in Thailand, or you have any questions, then please feel free to post them below in the comments. Please remember, if you do fly your drone in Thailand, please do so responsibly. It only needs one person to fly over the Grand Palace or crash into an aircraft for drones to be banned for everyone.

PLEASE READ THE COMMENTS BELOW FOR SOME USEFUL ADVICE. 

914 thoughts on “How to register your drone in Thailand

  • May 5, 2021 at 6:01 pm
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    Hi Richard,

    thank you for all these details.

    I went to the NBTC office today. The bad news is that I went there for nothing but the good news is that you now have to register online:

    https://anyregis.nbtc.go.th

    This was implemented since April 1st, 2021

    Cheers

    Reply
  • March 7, 2021 at 8:05 am
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    I bought a F63 UAV Drone on Lazada that doesn’t have a serial number and weighs 195 grams. I contacted CAAT and they said that I could make my own serial number. I then contacted NBTC and they stated I didn’t need to register it with them because it didn’t have a serial number and weighs less than 250 grams and was considered a toy but that it needed to be registered with CAAT because it has a camera. How can I register it with CAAT and buy insurance if it doesn’t have a serial number?

    Reply
  • March 7, 2021 at 8:03 am
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    I bought a F63 UAV Drone on Lazada that doesn’t have a serial number and weighs 195 grams. I contacted CAAT and they said that I could make my own serial number. I then contacted NBTC and they stated I didn’t need to register it with them because it didn’t have a serial number and weighs less than 250 grams and was considered a toy but that it needed to be registered with CAAT because it has a camera. How can I register it with CAAT and buy insurance if it doesn’t have a serial number?

    Reply
  • December 9, 2020 at 10:24 pm
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    Very helpful information here. I bought my drone here and the seller did my first registration. It was for 3 months. Now i need to renew the registration and there seems no info on that. Any help will be highly appreciated.

    Reply
  • November 28, 2020 at 9:02 am
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    From what i read a DJI Mini 2 only needs to be registered with CAAT but not with NBTC since it is lighter than 250 gram. Is this correct?

    Reply
  • November 3, 2020 at 5:30 pm
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    As a new law has come up regarding drone registration. “NBTC announced a new version of the drone. Requirements that anyone who owns a new drone after 23 September 2020 must register within 30 days of possession. If not, there will be a fine according to the law.”

    Any idea if drone purchased before Sep 23, 2020, and not registered till now?

    Reply
  • October 5, 2020 at 1:43 pm
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    Is there more information on ” must not fly over cities, villages, communities or areas where people are gathered” or was this law left vague to benefit the courts?

    Technically, I can’t fly anywhere in Bangkok, not even launch from a park or a school football stadium (without people) because they exist within a city. Similarly, I can’t launch at a historical park because there’s tourist there (i.e. people are gathered). So unless we launch from Khao Yai, a rice field or a boat in the middle of the ocean, we are technically breaking the law. Correct?

    I’ve already done my Google research and there’s not much explanation about this. Any additional information you can give will be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2020 at 12:10 am
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    So after reading all this info it just seems to say don’t purchase a drone or attempt to fly one in Thailand unless you want to waste many weeks of your life & put up with all the Thai BS.

    Reply
    • September 25, 2020 at 5:49 am
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      I have to renew my approvals, I feel very nervous without it. However I have never been asked to see it, even by the boys in brown. It’s like anywhere you can fly where there is no one around. Do bear in mind that the locals, everywhere in Thailand, are very curious about your activity and let a lot of people know on the bongo drums.
      If you are going to fly over land try your best to ask the landowner first.

      Reply
  • September 1, 2020 at 9:02 pm
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    Thanks for this guide Richard, I found it super helpful. Finally after about 4 months I’ve managed to secure both CAAT and NBTC approvals (albeit only with a 3 month permit from NBTC even though i’m a permanent resident, but i gave up arguing!). However I’m now slightly perplexed with regards to where (if anywhere!) I can actually fly my drone in Thailand – I understand all the rules (e.g. max altitude, distances from airfields etc) but reading the comments in this thread it basically seems that 90% of Thailand is off limits?! You must have hundreds of hours of drone footage yourself so how did you manage to secure permission to fly in some of these locations? I’m off to Koh Tao in a few weeks and had wanted to take my drone there but I see drone use is forbidden there! 🙁 Thanks again for the really helpful guide!

    Reply
  • July 3, 2020 at 1:49 am
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    Is it was now any clearer, that if I registered a drone with CAAT will they pass my info on to the NBTC automatically,or would it need to be done separately, and could that also done at a police station? There is still alot of contradictory information online

    Reply
    • September 1, 2020 at 9:10 pm
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      I registered with CAAT online and once I secured approval I then visited NBTC in Bangkok a few days ago to complete their registration (taking a copy of my CAAT approval letter with me). The two organisations are completely separate and I highly doubt that CAAT will pass details to NBTC, the CAAT website is pretty clear that you need to apply separately to both and at no point did the NBTC representative tell me that I had already registered.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2020 at 3:40 pm
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    Anyone had issues with the SDOC (Sellers Document of Conformity)? The UAV Registration form asks for it. The seller did not and will not supply it.

    Reply
    • September 1, 2020 at 9:05 pm
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      At NBTC registration with my DJI Mavic Mini I supplied the SDOC (downloaded from DJI’s website) but the officer i spoke to for registration just handed it straight back to me. Perhaps this is only required for custom built drones, or larger commercial models.

      Reply
  • January 9, 2020 at 7:51 pm
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    Has anyone had any experience re. any purchase receipts etc. asked for when registering a drone brought in from outside Thailand. I don’t have the original purchase receipt any more.

    Reply
  • January 7, 2020 at 4:19 pm
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    Hey Guys,

    A few questions: can anyone suggest Thai decent drone insurance these days?
    The other question is this: my wife is Thai and I was thinking would registering a drone on her name possibly speed things up? I assume is more important to register the drone than to enforce who is the operator?

    Reply
    • January 8, 2020 at 10:13 am
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      Operators must be mentioned in the application form.
      I myself use dronethaiinsurance.com from the very beginning and no issue since then.

      Reply
      • January 9, 2020 at 2:18 am
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        Thanks for the info. if operator must be mentioned in the application should same names appear also in the insurance mentioning both the applicant and the operator?

        Reply
        • January 9, 2020 at 7:39 pm
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          I assume that at least the license applicant is named in the insurance policy as operator.
          In my insurance policy my name appears under the person applied for the insurance as well as under the person(s) operating the UAV, finally means I’m the only person flying the registered copter.
          The CAAT license was issued for my name only.

          Reply
  • January 7, 2020 at 2:52 pm
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    Any experiences about using drones in neighboring countries? I recently traveled with a group of Thai and western friends to Laos by car. One of them took a drone with him. No problems flying the drone in Laos, but I’ve heard others have had theirs confiscated there, while in Myanmar, airport arrivals state that they have their drones kept by customs until they exit.

    Reply
  • December 10, 2019 at 1:45 am
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    Good evening to all.
    Could someone tell me some good insurance policy that I can subscribe to?
    I have difficulty finding one.
    Thanks

    Reply
  • November 29, 2019 at 5:40 pm
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    Does the Drone need to be registered if it does not have a camera?

    Reply
  • November 29, 2019 at 3:42 pm
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    Sorry revel not revele, meaning take great pleasure.

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 9:55 am
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    Hi, what about the new mavic mini, 249 grammes?
    Still have to register with caat?

    Reply
      • November 29, 2019 at 3:38 pm
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        It is true you have to register any drone with a camera but I have heard from a source who I have no doubt is being honest that there is a discussion inside CAAT that they are reviewing as to weather the Mavic Mini would be exempted. This information could be totally false but possibly could be right. For the moment it is illegal to fly a Mavic Mini anywhere in Thailand and the penalties, on paper, can be severe.
        I am certainly not going through a long and expensive process to get a Thai licence for the Mavic Mini. If you live in Thailand or have the money to pay someone to do it for you, it is easier. Even if you pay someone to do it for you it’s still a pain, signing loads of documents, providing evidence. It is made deliberately to persuade you not to fly drones. Paying someone to do it for you is now more difficult than ever. The people I used don’t seem to do it anymore. As usual these preventable processes have no logic and border on shear meanness. And it’s all such a shame. I am so lucky to have a licence for a Phantom 4 and revele in the ability to record this amazingly beautiful country.

        Reply
      • April 25, 2021 at 5:22 pm
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        This sounds unfair for toy drones (less than 250g) because, by the same logic, people should register their camera equipped smart phone or DSLR. The only reason for registration is “camera”, not due to the size of the drone.

        With 50K unregistered drone pilots, I’m confident Thais would support a change . org petition calling on the government to remove this discriminating “harmless flying camera” law.

        Would you be interested in leading such a petition or asking a local Thai?

        Reply
  • October 19, 2019 at 11:36 pm
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    I am sure you are right sprex64 as the thai embassies explain also. I will know when i receive caat licence i suppose. Thank you

    Reply
  • October 19, 2019 at 10:32 pm
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    Ok no problem good look NTBC or Not we will see when you receive your final license

    I have ready my license 15 month ago !!! and flight under the head of the governor Ubon Ratchathani and more 1500 people with spécific permission during the night and remote with direct view ( forbidden by the law )
    If you want to see it here …. It is concret …
    https://youtu.be/C6JvsyOQ7dY

    Reply
  • October 19, 2019 at 9:59 pm
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    the information is registering drones is conflicting between Caat, NBTC, Embassies. I contacted Danny and he is getting me registered at NBTC. he seems to know a lot and I would rather be overcautious then doing nothing. Also got my insurance through Masii with JP Insurance at 1199 baht and they were very helpful so far. I will let you know more when I start seeing progress …

    Reply
  • October 19, 2019 at 9:54 pm
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    hi when I registered at Caat this is the infographic I get:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/d5nyhagubiwjlly/FAQ-01-E.jpg?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/dna2nwo7ray33ww/FAQ-02-E.jpg?dl=0
    I went to the Irish thai consulate website and all they say is to send documentation to two email addresses. here is their info:

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
    The use of UAVs or RPA or drones are regulated in Thailand. Those who wish to use them have to register.
    Foreign travellers visiting Thailand also have to comply with the regulations as stipulated in the Announcement of the Ministry of Transport.
    Foreigners who are 18 years of age or above wishing to use drone have to submit the following documents by email to atreg@caat.or.th; and tl.erd@caat.or.th
    – UAV Registration Application Form
    – Consent to the Disclosure of Personal Information
    – Self-Declaration Form
    – Copy of valid passport
    – Copy of work permit, or residence in Thailand, or visa to enter Thailand, or immigration stamp (whichever is applicable)
    – Detail of an insurance against damage arising from bodily harm, loss of life, as well as damage to an asset of third party with insurance coverage of at least 1 million Baht (approx. £23,500)
    Please note that :
    1. Normally, it will take 1-2 weeks to get approval. It is sugggested users register their UAVs prior to their arrival in Thailand. For those who are entitled to 30-day tourist visa exemption scheme and does not have a proof of residence until after their arrival in Thailand, they can submit a copy of their immigration stamp as additional supporting document to atreg@caat.or.th; and tl.erd@caat.or.th in order to complete the registration.
    2. On the detail of the UAV in the registration form, please specify the weight of the UAV (in Kgs) up to 3 decimal places.

    Reply
    • April 30, 2020 at 6:04 pm
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      Mavic mini( 249gm ) also need permit ?

      Reply
        • April 30, 2020 at 7:20 pm
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          I agree yes, not because of its weight, or lack of but because it has a camera. Any drone with a camera has to have a permit. If you do not live in Thailand they are very hard to get. Agencies that did apply for you, for a fee, no longer provide that service. So it is now extremely difficult if you do not live there. Even if you live there it would be. Now it’s a totlay different ball game with the current medical climate.

          Reply
      • May 1, 2020 at 2:47 am
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        Hi just to update my situation. I got a copy of endorsement from the insurance company to rectify 2 mistakes on the insurance policy: my name spelled incorrectly and incorrect serial number. Re-applied third time with all necessary documatation plus endorsement and a week later got my thai wife to talk to caat costumer service and said all looked good. A week later i received the certifacte… happy days

        Reply

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