Operating Drones in Indonesia

(This article is outdated. Please see the new update at: “Rules on Drones Updated: Hobbyists“)

After enjoying a period of legal vacuum in Indonesia, the Indonesian government has finally decided to introduce the first legal instrument governing drones by issuing Minister of Transportation Regulation No. PM 90 of 2015 regarding Control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations in Indonesia’s Serviced Airspace (“Regulation”), which came into force on 12 May 2015.

The Regulation stipulates prohibited airspace for drones, as well as the licensing requirements and procedure for drone operators to acquire a license from the Director General of Air Transportation (“DGAT”) to carry out an operation.

Prohibited Airspace

Drones are not allowed to be operated in the following areas:[1]

  1. Areas that entirely prohibits aviation activities of any kind (“Prohibited Areas”);
  2. Areas that are fully designated for government aviation activities only, which may be opened for civil aviation activities from time to time (“Restricted Areas”);
  3. Zones in airports that are off-limits in order to ensure flight safety;
  4. Controlled airspace, which is where air traffic control services are provided, in addition to flight information services and alerting services; and
  5. Above 150 meters of uncontrolled airspace, which is where air traffic control services are not deemed necessary or cannot be provided (only air traffic advisory services are provided, in addition to flight information services and alerting services). Drone missions for government purposes can be exempted from this prohibition with a license from the DGAT.[2]

Note that drones that are equipped with a camera are prohibited from operating within 500 meters of the borders of Prohibited Areas and Restricted Areas. In other words, such drones are required to keep a distance of at least 500 meters from Prohibited Areas and Restricted Areas.[3]


Each drone operation must first secure a license from the DGAT. In order to do so, an application containing the following must be submitted to the DGAT by the drone operator:[4]

  1. Drone operator’s name and contact details;
  2. Technical specifications of the drone itself and its ground control system;
  3. Purposes and objectives of the operation;
  4. Emergency procedures, covering communication failure between the drone operator and air traffic control, and communication failure between the drone and its ground control system (pilot);
  5. Insurance documents (which implies that all drone operations must be insured);
  6. Remote control operation details; and
  7. Competencies and experience of the drone’s pilot.

In addition to the above details, the application must also attach the drone operation’s flight plan, which must at least cover the following matters:[5]

  1. Identification information of the drone;
  2. Type of operation (test drive, patrol, survey and mapping, photography, agriculture operation, expedition, or otherwise);
  3. Any onboard equipment of the drone;
  4. Estimated cruising speed and level, and operation time;
  5. Flight route;
  6. Drone’s take-off and landing point;
  7. Alternative take-off and landing points
  8. Battery or fuel consumption rate; and
  9. Operation’s target and maneuver area.

This application must be submitted 14 days prior to the drone operation date. If the DGAT approves the application and issues a license for the drone operator, the operator must immediately coordinate with the aviation navigation services unit at Airnav Indonesia (Perum Lembaga Penyelenggara Pelayanan Navigasi Penerbangan Indonesia).[6]

If there are changes to the flight plan, or the operator intends to cancel the drone operation, the operator, the operator must notify the DGAT and also the aviation navigation services unit at Airnav Indonesia.[7]

It is important to note that operations of drones equipped with farming tools for pesticide spraying or seed sowing will only be granted with a license if there is no residential area within 500 meters of the operation area, which is to be detailed in the flight plan.[8] Furthermore, other than this license from the DGAT, another separate permit from the local government is also required for drone operations that will take photos or videos, or for mapping purposes.

There is an exception to this DGAT licensing requirement as long as the drone stays within Class G airspace (uncontrolled airspace) and does not exceed an altitude of 500 ft (150 meters).


Any violation against the Regulation will be imposed with administrative or administrative sanctions (depending on the violation) in accordance with Law No. 1 of 2009 regarding Aviation (“Aviation Law”), as drones are classified as an aircraft. For example, Article 62 of the Aviation Law obligates all aircrafts to be insured and provides administrative sanctions for non-compliance.[9]



[1] Regulation, Pars. 2.2, and 2.3

[2] Regulation, Par. 3.1

[3] Regulation, Pars. 3.1

[4] Regulation, Par. 4.1

[5] Regulation, Par. 3.5

[6] Regulation, Pars. 3.2, and 3.6

[7] Regulation, Pars. 3.7, and 3.8

[8] Regulation, Par. 4.4

[9] Regulation, Ch. 5


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28 thoughts on “Operating Drones in Indonesia”

  1. Hello Andin,
    Thank you for the information’s given above.
    I am still not sure if I really need a license for flying a drone in Indonesia for recreational use. According to this article I only need a license when I want to fly above 150 meters.
    Is this correct? Can you help me to find the answer?
    Thank you in advance!
    Best regards,

    1. Hello Francis,

      Thank you for your comment. I’ve received questions from drone hobbyists before regarding this new regulation, and I think drone hobbyists are in the clear as far as this regulation goes.

      The exceptions (and the criminal charges) stated in the article you shared is correct. There is an exception to the license requirement as long as the drone stays within Class G airspace (uncontrolled airspace) and does not exceed an altitude of 500 ft (150 meters).

  2. Dear Andin,

    thank you for the useful Information in your article about the use of drones in Indonesia.
    We want to travel to Bali in march and are not sure if we will Need a license for our drone. It is a normal photo/video drone for personal use only. We definitely will respect the General rules (flying below 150 metres, not in prohibited Areas and not near crowds of People). So do you think we will Need one? Furthermore we could not find out where we can get this license.

    We would be very grateful if you could help us.
    Best wishes from Germany


    PS: Sorry, did not see the “comment-function” 😀

  3. Dear Andi,

    It’s quite alright. Ah Germany! I know someone from Germany who used to work at the German embassy in Jakarta. Had great times; too bad he has returned to Germany to continue his studies.

    Anyway, back to your question. Yes, it should be okay if it’s for personal use, including the photos and videos, they must also be for personal use.

    Other than those you mentioned, be sure that the drone stays in your line of sight, as in you can still see the drone, somewhat. According to a friend of mine in the drone business, this means the drone must stay within 10 kilometers from the drone operator. And also, operation without license are prohibited from dropping payloads (transporting stuff), so be sure to not do that as well (a lot of restrictions, I know right).

    Hope you have a lovely time in Bali! I might bump into you as I’m planning to go to Bali as well around end of March.

    Best wishes from Indonesia.

    1. Dear Andin,

      thank you very much for the information. It has helped us a lot. Now we finally decided to take the drone with us and take/make nice photos/videos. 🙂
      We will stay in Ubud. Maybe we will see us then. ;D
      Wish you a great weekend.
      Best wishes from Germany!

        1. Hi Andin,
          I am heading to Bali tomorrow & am very interested to see if you had ANY issues with customs or ground police when flying your drone for holiday photography purposes. Am torn whether to take my 3DR Solo.
          Thanks very much, jay

          1. Apologies Andin – my questions were intended for Andi from Germany.
            Thanks very much for assisting all us “drone heads” with your insightful comments and advise. Greatly appreciated when there is not much information to be found on the net about droning in Bali.

  4. I arrived in Bali today with my phantom 3, I have only just purchased it and only a novice, personal use for personal photos and memories of travel, after scanning all luggage they took it off me in customs, I think they were just trying to get me to pay money but I wasn’t going to budge. Either way, I don’t have the drone with me which has ruined my plans for photography over this week. Don’t know if they had any legal right taking it or don’t know if there is anything I can do to get it back now for the remainder of my time here.

    1. Dear Kevin Davies,

      I’m sorry to hear about this recent incident with customs officials. I hope that my following response can help you out.

      There are three possibilities for your case: 1) They are requiring you to pay import duty, or 2) They are requiring you to pay a cash guarantee (which is official), or 3) They are only trying to get money from you illicitly.

      Firstly, I think because that you have just purchased your Phantom 3, which is a nice looking drone I must say (just looked it up on Google, I’m not a drone hobbyist), the customs officials thinks or may argue that you intend to sell it here in Indonesia, as this is the only valid argument to take your drone. As such you will not be taking your drone back when you head home from Indonesia.

      If this is the case, you are required to pay import duty which is maybe what the customs officials are requiring from you when you arrived in Bali. In taking your drone, they should have provided you with a so-called Proof of Custody Letter (Bahasa Indonesia: Surat Bukti Penitipan) which details that they have taken your drone and are storing it at the customs office. Note that this is not a confiscation of your drone. The difference is that the customs officials will be required to return the drone to you after you have paid the necessary import duty, while confiscation is related to a criminal investigation (which this is not, to my understanding from your brief description).

      From your brief description, you do not intend to sell your drone and intend to use it while staying in Bali. I understand that you may have explained as such to the customs officials, and to my understanding you are only required to fill-in some forms and provide a cash guarantee (in some cases), and you are free to take you drone with you into Bali.

      Pursuant to Article 7 paragraph (2) of Minister of Finance Regulation No. 188/PMK.04/2010 regarding Import of Goods Carried by Passengers, Carrier Crew, Border-Crossers, and Goods Consignment, personal belongings of airline passengers that are brought into Indonesia, which will be brought back when the respective owner leaves Indonesia, are exempted from import duty. This is further asserted in Article 3 paragraph (2) of Minister of Finance Regulation No. 142/PMK.04/2011 regarding Temporary Imports (“Temporary Imports Regulation”).

      As such, you are not required to pay import duty if you intend to take it back with you when you leave Indonesia. Pursuant to Article 4 paragraph (2) and Article 9 paragraph (4) of the Temporary Imports Regulation, you are also not required to have a Temporary Import Permit (Bahasa Indonesia: Izin Impor Sementara) or Import Customs Notification (Bahasa Indonesia: Pemberitahuan Pabean Impor).

      Other documents you are not required to have are: 1) Customs Identity Number (Bahasa Indonesia: Nomor Identitas Kepabeanan) pursuant to Article 39 of Director General of Customs and Excise No. PER-21/BC/2011 regarding Technical Guidance for Customer Registration, or 2) Import Customs Notification (Bahasa Indonesia: Pemberitahuan Impor Barang) pursuant to Article 2 of Directorate General of Customs and Excise Regulation No. P-42/BC/2008 regarding Guidance for Releasing Imported Goods for Personal Use.

      You are however, required to fill-in a Temporary Import Form for Passenger Personal Belongings, Carrier Crew, and Border-Crossers (Bahasa Indonesia: Formulir Impor Sementara Barang Pribadi Penumpang, Awak Sarana Pengangkut, dan Pelintas Batas in Bahasa Indonesia) which will be attached to a Customs Declaration (BC 2.2). In some cases, you may be required to provide a cash guarantee that will be returned when you leave Indonesia, which may be the money they were asking from you when you arrived in Bali. If you can recall any of the customs officials showing these documents to be filled in, it is official along with the cash guarantee that you have to pay.

      To know which one is your case, please inspect any papers that the customs officials handed to you when they took your drone. I certainly hope that you have some sort of documentation from them because if you don’t, things may get complicated, I’m afraid.

      If you do hold a Proof of Custody Letter (Bahasa Indonesia: Surat Bukti Penitipan), you may explain to them that you intend to take the drone with you when you leave Indonesia and ask to fill-in a Customs Declaration (BC 2.2) and a Temporary Import Form for Passenger Personal Belongings, Carrier Crew, and Border-Crossers (Bahasa Indonesia: Formulir Impor Sementara Barang Pribadi Penumpang, Awak Sarana Pengangkut, dan Pelintas Batas in Bahasa Indonesia). Or better yet, before doing so, consult with a lawyer in Bali and have this information ready with you so that the lawyer may promptly take the necessary actions to assist and accompany you in taking back your drone from the customs officials.

      If you do not hold any documentation from the customs officials, or for some reason the customs officials still refuse to return the drone to you, I advise you to make a formal consultation with a lawyer. There may be other aspects that I cannot possibly take into account or know from your brief description that may result in a different advice.

      Speaking of advice, for your information, as stated in the disclaimer in every article on my website, any information I give through this website is for general information purposes only, and is not intended to be taken as legal advice or opinion, or replace a formal consultation with a legal counsel. Please read the disclaimer carefully before proceeding to take any actions based on any information on this website.

      I hope that this information helps and that you are having a great time in Bali even after this incident. Best wishes.

    2. Hi Kevin,
      So sorry to hear they took your drone!! I have been looking in to drone regulations in Bali as I am heading there tomorrow, and have been torn whether or not to take it with me.
      Do you mind if I ask what was the result in your dilemma with customs officials please? Really interested to hear how it ended.
      Thanks, Jay

  5. Hi Jay,

    No worries mate. If it will ease your mind a little bit, I read Francis’s (the one who commented above) blog about droning in Bali, and they had no problem doing so, didn’t run into any trouble or anything. You can read and watch the video here (it’s in German but Google Translate’s enough): http://my-road.de/drohnen-gesetze-in-asien/.

    Kevin’s case is probably the only case I’ve heard about any sort of issue related to droning other than the one that crashed into a building in Jakarta, but that’s a whole different story. And Kevin’s case is more related to customs, rather than droning, and the customs officials are not making much sense, in my honest opinion. It’s not like the drone is equipped with weapons or anything and its value is relatively the same as a good laptop; why not start bugging every tourist that comes into Bali with a laptop, phone, camera, and other common electronics?

    Anyways, I hope you do bring your drone though. Certainly looks like fun and the videos I’ve seen so far are awesome!

  6. Hello,

    I am visiting Bali next month and I am confused regarding the law for drones there!
    I was thinking to take mine with me but after reading the above I am not sure what to do!
    Is it possible not to allow me to import it?
    If I send them an email for clarification, should I expect an answer?

    Thank you,

  7. Dear Andin,

    Good article you have there.

    Could you kindly advice me on the:

    – Release of HASB (high altitude space balloon).

    -Controlled Blimp release over volcanoes for data collection and analysis.

    Thank you.

    Best regards,

    1. Thank you Anthony.

      I’m sorry but I do not know what you wish to be advised on but all I know of high altitude balloons is the recent approval for the pilot test of Google’s Project Loon in Indonesia. The flight permit for Google’s Project Loon in Indonesia is under the auspices of Indonesia’s Air Navigation and Ministry of Transportation, while the telecommunication operations of Google’s Project Loon is still only provided to conduct technical testing (not an official telecommunication service provider license).

      And I’m afraid, I’m completely unaware of your second inquiry on controlled blimp release over volcanoes for data collection and analysis. I imagine this blimp would be unmanned but I cannot confirm whether or not an unmanned blimp would be considered as a drone.

  8. Hi there,

    Dear Andin,

    Good day to you, Well iam going to go for a vacation to Bali in the next few weeks, I’ am flying a quadcopter its a custom made drone that weighs around 1.5kg. its just a personal drone that i normally carry with me to take personal photos and videos. Please let me know if i might fall into trouble if i bring along with me at this time.

  9. Many drones foreigners look like “Personal Use” but anyway we will find our video in vimeo ou youtube without authorization or mentioned people inside your movie ?

    Personal Use is mean without record Photography and Video that s all, Indonesia government follow European aviation rules.

  10. Dear Andin, this regulations covers the whole of Indonesia right? I’m going to jogja next month, I thought of bringing my Dji phantom 3 and I’m not sure if I need any permit to fly it, but by reading the comments here, I presume I don’t have to. Right?

      1. Thanks Andin. But as for the photo taking aspect of it, can i freely take photos and videos of jogja? Photos and videos of its surroundings and definitely not restricted areas.

  11. Hi Andin, thanks a lot for these explanations! I’m a lawyer too and I know how tricky this is…
    By any chance, would you have a link or PDF of the law you mentionned, that I could carry with me and show to the customs or anyone trying to bribe me while in Bali? I guess that if I refuse to go in a locked room, and show some legal evidence, that would to the trick, don’t you think?

  12. Dear Andin,

    Greetings from London 🙂

    The law bits always tend to confuse me (alot), and I’m now in a dilemma of whether or not to bring my Phantom 3 to Bali.

    It is definitely not new, but I’ve taken good care of it, so it does look good, so is there any basis for the customs department to confiscate it as they have done for the chap above?

    And secondly, as I never fly it above 80m, do I need any permit whatsoever? I dont want to get past the customs, and then later on get into trouble with the police.

    Cheers mate

    1. Hello mate,

      Doesn’t the law confuse us all.

      But for the chap above, I assume that the customs officials were concerned that the drone was going to be sold instead of just for personal use. So, I don’t think you’ll run into trouble if your drone is not still boxed and wrapped in plastic as if it was brand new. If you do, calmly explain that the drone is for personal use and you intend to take it back with you when you’re done holidaying in Bali.

      You don’t need a permit as long as you stay within 100 meters above ground level. You might want to check out the updated rules for more do’s and dont’s here: https://andinadityarahman.com/rules-on-drones-updated-hobbyists/. This article is outdated (the regulation discussed here has been repealed and replaced).

      Hope this helps and wasn’t a little too late.

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