Drones and quadcopters provide hours of fun for kids and adults alike. However, they can also pose a security risk if they are flown on other people’s property or misused. As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires most unmanned aircraft (UAs) to be registered. The process is relatively straightforward, but varies slightly depending upon the type of drone you have. Following is an overview of how to register a drone or register a quadcopter with the FAA.
What are the ways to register a drone?
There are two ways to register a drone. The first is online at registermyuas.faa.gov. Most drones can be registered through this site for a small fee. The second is to register through a paper process (N-number process). The registration process you use depends upon the type of drone you possess and upon other factors.
What types of drones should be registered online?
Drones and quadcopters that weigh more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must be registered online.
What types of drones should be registered through paper forms?
The paper registration process is reserved for certain types of drones. Specifically, any drone that weighs 55 pounds or more must be registered through the paper process. A drone that weighs more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must also be registered through the paper process under the following circumstances:
- The drone is going to be used outside the United States
- The drone or quadcopter is being held in trust
- The owner meets the requirement to be a U.S. citizen through the use of a voting trust (A voting trust is an arrangement in which the shares of a company are given to a trustee for a certain period of time).
- The drone is going to be operated outside the United States and needs an N-number to do so.
- The owner wishes to have a public record of the registration
How do you determine the weight of the drone?
The weight guidelines for registering a drone or a quadcopter refer to how much the drone weighs when it takes off into the air, including all accessories, cameras, and so forth that may add to the drone’s initial weight.
The FAA provides a list of drones and their weights on their site. However, if your drone does not appear on that list, you still need to find a scale and weigh your drone in order to determine whether you need to register it and to determine which process (online or paper) you need to use.
Who must register a drone?
There are two requirements that must be met by the person who registers a drone. First, they must be a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident. The U.S. citizenship requirement includes partnerships in which everyone is a United States citizen and certain organizations created within the United States in which a majority of the board members (2/3 or more) and voters (75 percent or more) are United States citizens.
The second requirement is that the person registering the drone be at least 13 years old. If the owner is younger than 13, someone who is 13 or older must register the drone for them.
Can people who are not U.S. citizens register their drones?
According to the FAA, every drone or quadcopter that weighs more than .55 pounds must be reported. Temporary visitors from other countries must go through the same process but receive a certificate of ownership instead of a certificate of registration for their drone.
People living in the United States who are from another country and who do not have a permanent address in the United States may provide a United States address from someone they know. This requirement will be changing shortly, however, so you should visit the FAA website for the latest regulations before registering your drone if you are not a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident.
When should a drone be registered?
You must register your drone before using it outside.
Do toy drones need to be registered?
There are many toy drones and quadcopters on the market designed specifically for children. While it may seem unnecessary to register a toy drone with the FAA, the government agency requires any drone, toy or not, to be registered if it weighs more than .55 pounds. As a result, you should check the drone’s weight, not its purpose, to determine whether to register it or not.
What materials do you need to register a drone online?
There are a few pieces of information you need in order to successfully register your drone online. They are as follows:
- Email address
- Physical address
- Mailing address
- Payment method for the fee
What materials do you need to register a drone through the paper process?
There are a number of materials needed to register a drone through the paper process. They are as follows:
- An Aircraft Registration Application (AC Form 8050-1)
- A Notorized Affidavit
- This affidavit must list the exact specifications of the drone, including the manufacturer’s full name, the drone’s takeoff weight, number of engines, engine type, model name, and serial number)
- This affidavit must include an aircraft bill of sale or transfer of ownership document
- Confirmation that the drone is not registered elsewhere
- This statement: “I affirm the information and statements provided herein are correct, the aircraft is not registered under the laws of any foreign country, and I am the owner.”
- An N-Number
You include this number if you have already reserved one for the drone. You may also attach a letter with a list of N-numbers you want to use. One of those numbers will be assigned to you if it is not already taken. Otherwise, an N-number will be randomly assigned to your drone.
- Payment method for the fee
How much does it cost to register a drone?
The fee for registering a drone is $5 for both the online and the paper process.
If you reserve an N-number for your drone (instead of receiving a randomly assigned number), or request a specific N-number, you will need to pay an additional $10 fee.
What payment methods are accepted to register a drone?
Online registration accepts credit or debit cards.
Paper registration accepts checks or money orders.
How long is drone registration valid?
A drone registration through the FAA is valid for 3 years.
What do you do with the drone registration?
You should always have your drone registration available. You also need to write your registration number on your drone.
When should drone registration be renewed?
You should renew your drone as soon as possible after receiving your reminder in the mail 6 months before your drone’s registration expires. Your reminder will give you the date by which you must renew your registration in order to receive the new registration before your old one expires (called the file-by date). If you file for renewal after the file-by date, you may experience a lapse in your registration until your new registration arrives.
How much does it cost to renew your drone registration?
Renewing the registration of your drone costs the same as registering it for the first time: $5.
How do you renew your drone registration?
In order to renew your drone registration, follow the instructions on your renewal reminder.
What are the consequences for not registering a drone?
The FAA takes drone registration seriously. If you fail to register a quadcopter or drone that weighs more than .55 pounds, you can face civil fees of up to $27,500. You can also face criminal fees of up to $250,000 and/or jail time of up to 3 years.
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