Drones are allowed in Uganda, but the process to bring them in must start about a month in advance.

You have to send through an application by ordinary letter to the Commander of Defence Forces' office indicating the model and manufacturer of the drone, proposed flying dates, type of data to be collected and its purpose, flying time, and a sketch map of the flight area must be attached.

If work is being done in conjunction with a government agency, it must be disclosed as this helps to expedite the application. A letter from that agency must be attached to the application. Copies of the application must also be copied to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). The applicant must also attach copies of their ID/passport for verification. If the applicant is a licensed operator in his/her home state, the license should be attached.

If the Commander of Defence Forces office gives a "no objection", then the drone flying permit is issued by CAA. Some conditions must be observed. For instance, no flying near the airport, military installations, over crowds and people's homes.

Non-nationals can fly drones in Uganda. However, if one is working for a foreign media organization, he/she must seek accreditation from the Uganda Media Council. An extra fee applies for this process.

For safe flying, it is important to adopt mitigation measures such as drone insurance for both the drone and third party liability, utilize consent forms to avoid breach of privacy claims, have robust internal data protection policies, inform Police, Local Council Officials and neighbours prior to flying in an area. If it is humanitarian work, it is good to subscribe to the Humanitarian UAV code of conduct.

Total cost of bringing one in is about USD 2500 including lawyers fees if they are contracted to help with the process.

Thank you to DroneNerds Africa (Uganda) Limited and Ortus LLP for the information on Uganda’s regulations.