How to Register a Drone in Thailand for Free
There is a lot of conflicting information online regarding the registration of drones in Thailand. Insurance requirements, 6 months processing times, and long forms all in Thai are some of the information I’ve seen around. However, here I’m going to give you a step by step guide on how to register a drone in Thailand for free, and quickly!
The free drone registration is a temporary license. This is for tourists who are only staying in the country for a limited time. The temporary license will be granted from the date of application to your date of departure.
What you will need to bring to register your drone:
- Your Drone and the Controller
- Your original Passport (not just a copy)
- A Phone with a camera and an internet connection (important)
Where can you register a done in Thailand?
Drone registrations are managed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Department (NBTC). Though it seems like a difficult and formal department to deal with, it is actually surprisingly simple.
The NBTC in Bangkok is located on Samsen Nai Soi 8 in Ari.
The easiest way to get to the NBTC in Bangkok is by BTS Skytrain.
- Take the BTS Skytrain to Ari station
- Take the northeast exit (Exit no.4)
- Walk approximately 350 meters to Samsen Nai Soi 8.
- Either walk or hop on a motorbike taxi at the corner of Samsen No Soi 8, direct to the NBTC. A motorbike costs 20 THB (USD 0.80) one way.
When you enter the NBTC complex you will need to turn right and walk across the grass. There is a small two-story white building in the corner along the road. Ask the staff for the drone registration forms and they will help you out.
The Drone Registration Process
Ask the staff for the papers to register your drone in Thailand. They will hand you two sets of papers, which seem similar but not identical. Both forms will have an English translation next to the Thai writing.
The forms ask for the following details:
- Entry and exit date from Thailand
- Drone serial number, make and model
- Controller serial number, make and model
- Passport details
- The intended use of the drone (just write hobby, it makes life easier)
In addition to the two forms, you will also have to email the staff a photo of the drone and controller, and a close-up photo of the serial number of each.
Important: you will need to have a sim card with 3G / 4G internet connection to email the photos to the staff. They will not let you use their WiFi which is a bit annoying. Also, note that the TRUE Move “Tourist Sim” from 7/11 will not give you proper 4G internet. I recommend getting a 30-day tourist sim from the AIS store in CentralWorld for about 1,500 THB (USD 50).
After submitting all form and photos you will be printed off a Permit to Fly a Drone in Thailand with NBTC watermark.
If you come prepared, the entire drone registration process takes just half an hour.
Do You Need Insurance to Fly a Drone in Thailand?
You do not need the Third Party Liability Insurances (TPL) for your temporary registration with the NBTC. This insurance requirement only applies if you are getting permanent permission to fly a drone in Thailand or are using the drone commercially.
[Update] CAAT Registration
I was advised that CAAT registration was not required for a tourist and that I only needed the temporary NBTC registration. Others may suggest you need both registrations to fly a drone in Thailand.
CAAT Registration does require Third Party Liability Insurance and processing times are approximately 30 days. This makes the application phase longer and involves actual insurance costs.
It is important to note that my advice is neither official nor legal. I did not have any issues with flying a drone in Thailand with only the NBTC registration.
Thinking of Getting a Drone for Thailand?
I use the DJI Mavic Air Pro. It is super lightweight and packs up tiny. I seriously wouldn’t suggest any other drone. Compared to the DJI Phantom it packs up to be one-tenth the size. Compared to the DJI Spark it is a much more stable drone.
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