Distributors and importers of unmanned aerial systems in the UAE are now required to register their drone products online using a new national registration system called My Drone.
The platform will be hosted on the Emirates Standards and Metrology Authority (ESMA) website and will simultaneously register the drones with four government entities that oversee the ownership, use, safety and distribution of unmanned aircraft systems: Ministry of Interior, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, General Civil Aviation Authority and ESMA.
“Instead of making clients move between all these departments, we did it under one electronic platform,” said Abdulla Al Maeeni, ESMA director general.
The registration will ensure that each drone product entering and being sold in the UAE carries a unique serial number that links it to its manufacturer, distributor and ultimately the end consumer.
Each registered drone will be issued an ESMA certificate to show that it meets the national standards and can be legally sold in the country. Anyone who owns and operates a drone in the UAE will be required to show this certificate to officials, if necessary, to prove the equipment complies with the law – as one does with a title or registration of a vehicle, for example. In the case of the drones, the registration certificate will be available digitally.
“This system is for manufacturers, producers, sellers and traders in the UAE, but at the final stage the drone will be allocated to a person,” said Issa Al Hashemi, director of ESMA’s conformity affairs department. “A drone that enters the UAE will be given a unique serial number that is issued from the system and then once it’s sold to the individual, this serial number will be allocated to that person. In case there are problems or misuse or anything, we can trace the full cycle from the manufacturer to the individual.”
Consumers who wish to sell or give away their existing registered drones will have to apply through My Drone to transfer ownership to the buyer so that their personal details will no longer be associated with the product.
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"These measures contribute to supporting the national economy and avoiding any negative consequences resulting from the expansion of the unmanned use of these aircraft,” said Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority. “The UAE regulation is the first of its kind in the world and will help anyone who wishes to develop a system of auditing these products.”
Individual owners of unregistered drones can comply with the new regulations by registering their UAS equipment at https://etrans.esma.gov.ae/english. Anyone caught using unregistered drones face a fine or possible jail time.