FAA: Drone Owners Must Register by February 19, 2016

FAA: Drone Owners Must Register by February 19, 2016

The FAA has been working on establishing rules and regulations for drone owners for several months, and today they have announced a mandatory registration law for drone operators that goes into effect on December 21 of this year. Starting on December 21, you will be to apply at the new FAA registration website.

In their press release this morning, the FAA specified who the new law applies to.

for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

Owners will only have to register once, and the registration will be good for three years. The normal registration cost will be $5, but to encourage compliance, the FAA will be waiving the registration fee for the first 30 days (from December 21, 2015 to January 20, 2016).

Make sure you get yourself registered and keep a copy of your proof of registration on you whenever you're operating your drone, or face hefty fines and potential criminal charges.

Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years."

Currently, registration only applies to owners using their drones for "hobby or recreation" (so not for those of you who use them commercially, e.g., for weddings, architecture, etc.), though the FAA states that they are "developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016."

Check out http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/ for more information. They also have a pretty extensive FAQ section that is worth looking through if you have any questions.

IMPORTANT: it is unclear at this time if the new law will apply to owners of the much-lauded Parrot Jumping Mini Drone. 

[via FAA, Feature image via Don McCullough]

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17 Comments

The saints paying for the sinners.

Really? Do you have this attitude towards registering your car too?

Jarrett Hunt's picture

Got him!

Not trying to get anyone... I'm genuinely curious about how the logic goes ...

Jarrett Hunt's picture

We are still going to have those idiots not register their drones and cause trouble.

Andrew Richardson's picture

Citizens arrest!

Yes, but now they are going to get severely fucked over if they do.

BTW, no one obliges you to pay for your car's registration either. Plenty of people drive without licences...

Patrick Hall's picture

So does this mean if you use your drone for Commercial use then you do not have to register yet because they are still working on the registration process for commercial flying?

michael andrew's picture

I believe they mean that their online registration process is only valid for drone operaters that intent on personal hobby use. They have another registration process for commercial use that is clumped within the 333 exemption (from what I have read).

Andrew Richardson's picture

Michael is correct. Until they roll out registration for commercial uses, you have to apply for an exemption under section 333.

What if you want to travel to the US and bring a Drone? Do you have to register it?

Leigh Miller's picture

Had to happen eventually...blame the idiots who feel entitled to fly the things wherever they want without consideration for others or the law.

this opens up a whole new "black market drone license" market for me. this is another example of your gov doing dumb things to raise money and interfere with us. if i had a drone i would not register it. i would bet anyone that they will only get 15-20% of the drones registered. then they throw out the " Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years." crap. no judge in the world would even let them do anything. the people who think they will get in trouble will be the only ones registering. why not register those rockets too ? how about radio controlled stuff too ?

What do you mean a "black market" for drone licenses? You realize it's $5 and lasts for 3 years. And you can apply it to multiple aircraft, you just have to register once.

And yes, it does apply to radio controlled aircraft (since that's what a drone is).

I understand some of the frustrations because this seems to be a reaction to a few bad apples instead of well thought out legislation, but c'mon. This isn't the end of the world.

Registration was easy.

Justin Davis's picture

So here's the confusing thing - Commercial owners still can't register this way and must apply through the Section 333 system - which takes 120 Days. But the commercial aspect of this system should also be ready within 120 days. So should businesses just wait for the new system, or still apply for Section 333?

Nate Dorsey's picture

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