I’ve just bought a drone. Do I need to register it?
Beginning December 21, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration has mandated that recreational/hobbyist users of unmanned aircraft (“drones”) weighing between 0.55 pound and 55 pounds register their drones before flying them outdoors.
I, or my community-based organization, objects to the FAA’s registration process. Should I still register?
We are aware of legal objections. This FAQ answers questions on the assumption that you are interested in registering, without taking a legal position.
I bought my drone in November, before the regulation came into effect on Dec. 21, 2015. Does that mean I’m exempt?
For drones you operated before December 21, 2015, you will have until February 19, 2016 to register.
Why do I need to register my drone at all?
The FAA says drone registration will enable it to trace aircraft more easily in the event of a security or safety incident, and to help return lost drones. In general, an accountability mechanism is desirable because it help assure the public that drones are not being misused. We know the vast, vast majority of our customers are responsible users and will not mind registering.
How much does registration cost?
For recreational users, the FAA will charge $5 per person for registration.
How do I register my drone?
Starting from December 21, 2015, recreational and hobbyist drone users can register online here: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/
What do I get for my registration?
All registered users will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration containing a unique registration number that must be affixed by means such as permanent marker, label, or engraving to all drones before operating them outdoors. The number must be legible and accessible without the use of tools, but may be placed in a compartment.
How long is my registration valid?
Registration is valid for three years, after which it will need to be renewed for $5.
Are there any age or citizenship requirements for registration?
You have to be at least 13 years old to register. If you are younger, then someone over the minimum age requirement will need to register. Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents can register their drones. The document received by non-citizens will serve only as a certificate of ownership, not a registration certificate.
I’m a foreign citizen living in the U.S. How can I register my drone?
All recreational and hobbyist drone users may submit registration information to the FAA. The FAA says it is only empowered to register drones owned by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Foreign nationals who have completed the FAA registration process will receive a document that provides proof of ownership only. They may contact the FAA for a refund of their registration fee. But the FAA does encourage all drone owners to submit their registration information.
Do I have to have proof of registration when I fly?
Yes, if you are flying outdoors. You will need to have either an electronic or paper version of your registration certificate and to show it to authorities who may ask for it.
What happens if I don’t register my drone?
The FAA may assess civil penalties, and there is a chance of criminal penalties as well. We expect the FAA, consistent with its general enforcement and compliance philosophy, to engage in education and warnings before resorting to penalties, and for penalties to be commensurate with the nature of the violation, even though the theoretical maximum penalties can be very high.
What information do I need to supply for the registration process?
You’ll need to supply the owner’s full name, mailing address, physical address and email address. Your email address will become your login ID when you set up your account.
I’ve just sold my drone. How does this affect my registration?
Before transferring ownership of your drone, the FAA recommends removing your unique registration number, and going online and updating your registration information if applicable.
I’ve loaned my drone to a friend, who wants to fly it for fun. Does she need to register?
No. But – and please remember this – whoever is using your drone will need to have either the electronic or paper copy of the owner’s Certificate of Aircraft Registration in his or her possession. Think of it like a car’s registration certificate.
I am a commercial drone operator. Do I still need to register my drone?
If you are a commercial operator, this new online registration system – aimed at hobbyist and recreational drone users is not available for you yet. The FAA has said that businesses that operate under Section 333 exemptions will continue to register using the FAA’s paper-based registration process until perhaps March 2016.
I have registered my drone. Am I now OK to fly it?
Registering is just one step in being a responsible drone operator. We urges you to visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/ for safety tips. Educating yourself in safe flying is the responsibility of every drone operator.