Can I Take My Drone To India?
As an owner of a drone, prior to going on any trip, you should always do your research about whether you can take your drone into a country, or not. In this case, researching drone laws, India, was somewhat confusing. One one hand, you seem to be able to buy camera drones in India, hotels have rules against drones being used on site and you will most definitely see personal drone photography in India on Instagram accounts. It certainly made understanding drone flying rules in India confusing.
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When we went on ‘Taste of India‘ trip, we were confused and even entering the country were unsure whether we could in fact take our DJI Drone Fly More kit into India. As a traveller, it is ultimately your responsibility to know what the India drone rules are, so I am going to tell you the answer to your question, “Can I take my drone to India?”
So, can I use my DJI drone in India?
The short answer is no, you can not use your DJI Drone in India! Drones are prohibited items in India. Flying into India from another country you must declare your drone at immigration. The drone policy in India is officially, “NO”. If you proceed through immigration with a drone in India, penalties may apply.
Can I take my drone through airport security?
Our experience getting out of Delhi International Airport would suggest that you could not take your drone through airport security and expect to still have possession of it on the other side!
What do I do if I do take my drone to India?
Arriving in India, this was us, on our trip! It was stressful and terrifying, really. We love our DJI Drone so much and we haven’t had it that long so were not ready to part with it having only used it minimally.
Will they let you take your drone in once you’ve declared it? The hard answer is no! You mut hand it over at immigration.
Can I get my drone back if I declare it at immigration in India?
Yes, you can get your drone back from India immigration.
If you are coming back through the same airport you should be able to collect it on your way through. But, it isn’t simple and unlikely to be without stress.
Maybe. You might be able to get your drone back from immigration in India.
If you are unlucky to arrive at the customs office when there is only one person working they may not be able to escort you through ṭo the immigration office where you left it at the arrival hall in the first place. Or, it may take too long to go through the time consuming and long-winded process and you may have to devastatingly choose between your flight and your drone.
You can read here about our experience taking our drone into India here.
Top tips for getting your drone back if you declare it at an Indian airport.
1. Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare!
2. Go to your airline check in desk immediately and explain that need to get your drone back and you need to go to the custom office.
*You will have a receipt of having left your drone – make sure you keep this in a safe place because without it you will have no chance at at all. Take a photo of it as soon as you get it as a back up!
An attendant from your airline will need to escort you to the customs office.
3. Wait patiently, don’t get angry, frustrated or make demands – this will only slow the process down and the customs officer won’t want to help.
4. When the customs officer is ready they (likely, he) will take you to the arrival hall customs room where they they will ask for payment and forms to be signed to say they are releasing your drone to you.
*Be prepared with cash and card payment. There does seem to be a formula for calculating the price but I can’t tell you what it is and I’m not sure they will be willing to explain it if you ask.
5. Be gracious, remorseful and kind, you have broken the rules coming into India, after all.
You can check out the drone package we bought, here! But, perhaps re-think taking it to India!!