Importing Drones To Uganda and Rwanda

We have heard inquiries from Production Companies, Television Companies and other film crews about filming in Uganda using drones. Currently Uganda and Rwanda have few drones that you could use for filming but we advise that if possible, you temporarily import in your drone for this purpose. This is however a lengthy process that will require you to start at least three months before the actual shoot. The government of the republic of Uganda and Rwanda are very strict about importing drones into Uganda due to their sensitivity and security. Uganda is one of the many African countries that experienced insecurity until the current government led by President Museveni. Since 1986, Uganda has enjoyed relative peace and security and as such, nothing is taken for granted.

The Civil Aviation Authority new guidelines for importing and operating drones in Uganda.

They are as below:

  1.  Identify the Ministry in Uganda within which the activity falls and write to that particular Ministry seeking a letter of no objection.
  2. Write a letter to the Chief of Defence Forces Uganda seeking for another letter of no objection (Attach the previous letter of no objection from the Ministry)
  3.  After the acquisition of clearance from the Chief of Defence Forces, you can proceed to import the drone to Uganda.
  4. At the point of entry in Uganda either by air or land, acquire clearance from Uganda Revenue Authority (Customs) for the importation of the drone.
  5. After importation, permission has to be sought from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) to operate the drone in Uganda by writing to the Director of Safety, Security and Economic Regulation on related guidelines.
  6. Note: All documentation of previous clearances at the various stages with the following additional requirements should be attached before further clearance is granted:
  7. Drone operations manual and specifications
  8. Pilot’s Drone training certificate, licence and Class 111 medical certificate issued by arecognised aviation designated medical examiner.
  9. Observer’s particulars
  10. Geographical location and map of the area of operation
  11. A copy of third party insurance
  12. Fully completed authorization form
  13. You will be required to pay the authorization fee of Shs200,000 + 18% VAT at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Cash office located at Entebbe International Airport and to submit a copy of the payment receipt. On satisfying the above application criteria, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority will issue the following:
  14. UCAA Drones Operations Permit
  15. Summary of information/particulars of the registered operator
  16. Specific operating conditions of the permit.

Process of temporary importation of drones into Uganda and Rwanda

Film Fixer Uganda  can help in this process but we need you to start this at least three months in advance. If you intend to temporarily import and fly your drone in Uganda and Rwanda, you will be required to send us the specifications of your drone and a picture of the same if possible.  Specifications include sending us the type of drone, its serial number and value. Once we have this, we will also request you to write an official letter to the line ministry explaining who you are, what you will be filming, when you will be filming and the map of the area(Location) you will be filming in Uganda. For example if you are filming a documentary about Uganda Tourism, you will have to write to the Permanent secretary Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife informing them of your filming intentions. Once the line ministry receives you request (through Encounter Africa Safaris), they will then acknowledge reception and forward it to the Ministry of defense. Once at the Ministry of Defense, your request will be assessed by a security committee before being forwarded to the Airforce base at Entebbe Airport. Once permission is guaranteed, the ministry of defense will instruct Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and then write back to the line ministry to inform them about whether permission has been given or denied. For any decision arrived on by the Authority, they will inform Encounter Africa safaris who will in turn inform you. But should permission be granted, then we will be notified and even the security in the areas where you are going to film will be informed. Your drone will then be allowed to be cleared in for the purpose of filming. Encounter Africa will ensure that you import in your drone for filming if contacted in time. Encounter Africa safaris has assisted many international Production companies to temporarily clear in their drones for filming purposes as long as you contact us in time. We have been around for quite some time and this should not be a problem.

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