Here Is The Cost Of A Drone License, Minimum Age To Operate One And Other Rules For Drones In Zim

Alvine Chaparadza Avatar
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Drone fanatics now have a rulebook that means they can’t just fly their drones willy-nilly. The use of drones has lately been on the rise in Zimbabwe, with photographers, politicians (campaigning) and drone racers being at the forefront of this trend.

The regulations which were crafted late last year make it clear as to what entails breaking a law when using a drone in Zimbabwe’s domain. Alas, we haven’t yet laid our hands on the regulations; they haven’t yet been published online but we are working on getting these regulations for you. At the moment, let me make you privy of just a few regulations that we have managed to see.

Selling drones without notifying a buyer the need to get a license 

The latest regulations are quite clear for those who want to get into the business of selling drones. The law requires the seller to notify (written notification) the buyer that they should get a license from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) . Failure to do that will see the seller languishing in the infamous Zimbabwe prisons for a maximum of 3 years. With this penalty, I’m sure the sellers will effortlessly comply. As written in the regulations:

No person shall sell a remotely piloted aircraft within Zimbabwe unless he or she has, by way of packaging label, or in the case of resale, by way of written notification, notified the buyer of the requirements prescribed by the Authority.

Any person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not
exceeding level 10 or to an imprisonment of a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine
and imprisonment

Who is allowed to operate a drone

Unlike in the US where 16-year-olds can operate drones, the new regulations say that only persons over 18 years are legally allowed to use one in Zimbabwe.

Costs of getting a license and operating drones

To get a license for your drone, you fork out as much as $50. That also goes for renewing your license-that’s going for $50 as well. Both the costs are not that much compared to other countries like the US where you spend at least $155 for the license as well as renewing it.

How long will the license be valid?

Your $50 license will be valid for 2 years.

A remote pilot licence shall be valid for a period of two years from date of issue or renewal…
revalidation exercise will be conducted in the 90-day period before expiry of remote licence


Just like how aeroplanes are assessed of their airworthiness, so are drones assessed too. Yes, your drone will be assessed whether its fit to fly. And guess how much it will cost you for Caaz to check the airworthiness of your drone? $50 for a drone that weighs 20kgs and over and $30 bucks for a drone that weighs below 20kgs.

I haven’t yet met a country that charges for checking the airworthiness of a drone thus far. More often than not, the airworthiness is checked when a user gets a license to fly the drown or renew their licenses annually. So its safe to say that here the regulations went over-the-top.

Drone flights

If you watch Air Crash Investigation on DSTV you probably have seen that after an accident occurs, investigators invariably check for the pilot’s logbook. In case CAAZ wants to investigate, perhaps a criminal case involving a drone use, its now a requirement that drone operators keep a logbook of their flights. The logbook will contain information such as where the drone was flown, its course etc.


  1. Duncan Watson

    Finally. I sent in an application to CAAZ over 2 years ago and never heard back from them. Can you supply us with details of the application forms etc please?

  2. anonymous

    Why not just have the buyer purchase the licence at the point of buying the drone, thereby creating one stop shops

  3. Aurther

    The regulations are contained in Statutory Instrument 271 of 2018 which can be purchased for $2 (swipe, EcoCash) at Fidelity Printers (government printing factory) retail shop in Harare (not sure about other locations).

    It appears any operator of a drone including those under Class 1 (below 2kgs) will need to have a valid Remote Pilot License. If this is indeed the case you my be required to learn radiotelephony (aeronautical) etc

    The regulations also seem to make it hard for tourists/travellers with drones intending to visit Zimbabwe at a whim as pre- clearance approval for temporary importation of the drone must be sought with CAAZ some 30 days before arrival.

    A good deal of clarification/explanation is still needed from CAAZ in terms of operationalisation of the regulations. It would be great if CAAZ expeditiously created a FAQs online portal.

    Overall, fair regulations in view of drone technology capabilities.

  4. Shaun McMinn

    We as professionals would like to be able to get licenses ASAP to continue working and promoting the country. Without licenses I feel there are too many people flying drones where incidents will arise and it will affect us professionals using them.

    Also applied for a licence at least 4 years ago.

  5. ticky sibanda

    I have heard that the ZRP are planning to set up roadblocks for drones. Is it true

    1. Anonymous

      Roadblocks or Airblocks?

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