How to Register a Drone?

While drones are fun to fly, there are rules that govern their usage that you should be aware of. One of these regulations that is common in most regions requires you to register your drone before use.

These requirements may vary depending on where you are, so we will cover the most common areas. So, how do you register a drone?

In most regions, you will need to register a drone with the respective civil aviation agency and get a registration number which identifies your drone like a number plate identifies a car.

Read on to learn how to register your drone if you are in the USA.

How to register a drone in the USA

Unless you’re flying a drone weighing less than 0.55 pounds under the Exception for Limited Recreational Operations, it’s mandatory to register it.

However, you can’t fly a drone under Part 107 if registered under the Exception for Limited Recreational Flyers.

Registering the drone takes only a few minutes, and you can do it from anywhere, online on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) page.

You should register drones weighing over 55 pounds with the FAA through mail. Otherwise, you’ll be subject to a jail term of up to 3 (three) years, criminal penalties of up to $250,000, or civil penalties of up to $27,500.

What You Need to Register Your Drone

How to Register a Drone?
  • Your email address
  • Debit or credit card
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address (If it’s not the same as the physical address)
  • Physical address
  • Drone make and model
  • Unique Remote ID serial number (ask the manufacturer if you’re unsure where to find it).

The FAA Drone Registration Requirements

  • You must be 13 years and above
  • If you’re a foreign operator, the FAA considers your drone Certificate of U.S Aircraft as a recognition of ownership.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or legally a permanent resident.

How to Register a Drone

Before you register your drone, there are a few things to remember:

  • Registration is not transferable from one operation type (the Exception for Limited Recreational Flyers or Part 107) to another.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to register your drone.

Step 1: Log in to FAA Drone Zone

Step 2: Click ‘Create Account’ and enter the requested information. Create and confirm your password (passwords are case-sensitive).

Step 3: Click ‘Launch Drone Owners and Pilots Dashboard’ to continue registering.

Step 4: Next, click ‘Manage Device Inventory’ to register as a Part 107 pilot (unless you’re not registering as one).

Step 5: Click ‘Add Device’ on the right-hand side, and provide the required information based on whether your drone broadcasts the ‘FAA Remote ID.’

Select ‘Yes’ if your drone broadcasts the Remote Identification (ID) and ‘No’ if it does not.

On the ‘UAS TYPE,’ state how the drone broadcasts Remote Identification if it does. Otherwise, choose ‘Remote ID Broadcast Module’ if you bought a separate module for broadcasting the Remote ID.

If your answer to the ‘Remote ID’ question is ‘No,’ then answer ‘Tradition UAS’ or ‘Homebuilt’ in the ‘UAS TYPE’ section.

Suppose you’re uncertain whether your drone broadcasts Remote ID; contact your manufacturer or Google online based on your drone type.

Select the company that manufactured your drone (check the box that was used to package your drone if you don’t remember).

Fill out the drone’s serial number (it’s on your drone’s battery compartment).

Provide a unique nickname for your drone and then fill out the drone model to complete the registration process and click ‘Add Device.’

Step 6: Provide your card details and make payment, upon which you’ll receive an email with the FAA drone registration Certificate.

Drone Registration Cost

Drone registration is renewed after three years and costs only $5 (per drone).

The registration cost of all drones under the Exception for Limited Recreational Flyers is $5 and is renewable after three years. 

Legal Requirements When Flying the Drone

Upon successful registration, the FAA issues a Certificate, which you should always have when flying your drone.

You can either have a digital or paper copy. If you rent out your drone or give it to a friend, they must also have the Certificate when flying it.

Also, if the local, Federal, or State authorities ask for the Certificate of registration, you or the person in possession of the drone must issue it to them.

Drone Labeling Requirements

  • You must label your drone using your registration number upon successful drone registration.
  • The registration number must be on its external surface (body).
  • The registration number must always be eligible.

Registration Renewal

Once your registration expires, please log in to your FAA drone zone account and renew it.

You must use the email used initially when renewing your registration. If you have forgotten your password or have trouble logging in, reset the password by clicking on the ‘Forgot password’ option.

What to do if you are not in the United States

If you are not in the USA, you will need to check if the civil aviation agency in  your country has stipulated regulations about registration.

Below are links guiding on registration in various countries.

Why You Should Register Your Drone

Besides abiding to the regulations, below are some ways registering your drone could be helpful:

  • Finding the lost drone easily using the registration number. If it still has the registration sticker on it, you can announce on various platforms and if someone recognizes your drone’s registration number, they can reach out to you.
  • In case your drone is stolen and found by authorities, it will be easy to track you down since you registered it.
  • Registration helps keep the airspace safe since now in case something happens, you can hold the respective drone owner or pilot accountable.

Remember to always have the registration certificate when flying it just in case the authorities want to confirm the drone’s ownership.

Peter Karanja

Peter is a licensed drone pilot and drone fanatic. He owns a DJI Air 2S that he uses to shoot videos for fun, enjoyment and for clients.

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