Have you received a drone as a gift or purchased one for yourself? Then you need to register it. As of December 21, 2015, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all drone users to register their UAVs with the government. Whether or not you agree with it, you are subject to civil and criminal penalties if you do not register. The thing is, the rules aren’t clear-cut, and the requirements differ from drone owner to drone owner. So to help you make sense of it all, we’ve put together this simple guide to help you out.
Before we get to the step-by-step process of how to register, let’s talk about why users are now required to register their drones. Registration is a relatively new requirement for hobbyist drone operators. Given the number of incidents involving drones (usually as a result of drones being flown in restricted areas, such as near airports or off-limits natural areas) and videos showing drones being outfitted with cameras for spying on the neighbors and prison contraband, it becomes rather obvious. The honor system just wasn’t working. So in an effort to keep the skies clear for manned aircraft, animals, and people, the FAA implemented a registration process to keep track of all consumer-grade UAVs (unmanned air vehicles) and UAV pilots.
Let’s start with the basics:
Once you’ve identified whether your aircraft meets the registration requirements, you’ll need to begin the registration process as outlined below.
When you’re done, the FAA will provide you with a unique 10-digit registration number. All drones you own and fly must be marked with this number prior to using them. You will also receive an email containing a certificate confirming your registration. We recommend that you print the certificate should you ever need to provide further proof that your drone is registered with the FAA.