Great news for law-abiding citizens; bad news for scammers. Although you don’t need to pay someone to register for you, there is a small registration fee of $5 — and not even $5 per drone
; it costs $5 to register all of your drones
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This registration lasts for 3 years. Sounds too easy? For once, the government has made it (relatively) painless and straight-forward. Just click here and you can register online in a few minutes. Once you’re registered, affix your registration number to all of your drones and you’re set. But wait — how do you know if you need to register your drone (and what are the guidelines).
They’re simple. As taken from the FAA website:
What if your drone is more than 55 pounds or you intend to use it for commercial tasks?
- Your drone weighs more than .55 pounds (250g) and less than 55 pounds (25kg).
- You are older than 13 years of age (if younger, someone else must register the drone).
- You are a US citizen or permanent resident.
- Must not be used for commercial use.
That process won’t open until the middle of 2016. See this page for updates on that process. What if you’re not a US citizen or permanent resident?
You will still be required to ‘register’ your drone. However, you will need to use the paper version of registration, and your document will act as a “proof of ownership” rather than a certificate of registration. Once you’ve completed this process, you will be able to operate your drone. Once you’re registered and cleared for flight, keep these rules in mind:
- Fly below 400 feet.
- Keep your drone in sight at all times.
- Don’t fly near manned aircrafts; stay at least 5 miles away from airports.
- Don’t fly over large groups of people.
- Don’t fly near an emergency situation.
A few other FAQs. What is the penalty if I’m caught operating an unregistered drone?
Up to $27,500 for a civil penalty; up to $250,000 and/or 3 years in prison for a criminal penalty. Will I be required to show proof of registration?
Yes; keep your registration certificate with you at all times during operation (this includes an electronic version of the certificate; you do not need a printout). What if my drone weighs less than .55 pounds?
No need to register it; have fun! (The FAA considers this a child’s toy and not a drone.) Do I need to register a tethered drone?
Yes. Do I need to register a drone if I fly it only in my yard?
Yes. Do I need to register a drone if I fly it only indoors?
No; the FAA does not regulate indoor flying. Do homemade drones need to be registered?
Yes. What if I sell my drone after registration?
Remove the registration number from the drone. The log into the online portal and update your drone information. For more FAQs see this page.