Do Drones Need to Be Registered?
The FAA requires that drones and radio or unmanned controlled drones, planes, etc. that is piloted outdoors must be registered online or by paper with federal law and it must have a registration number marked on it. If you are the owner of a drone or unmanned aircraft weighing less than fifty-five pounds, then you may apply to have it registered online or you may choose to have your drone registered using the registration process by paper which is much slower. You will only need to have one for hobby or recreational purposes registered and then apply your unique registration number to your drone.
If you are a recreational drone pilot registrant, then you will only need to provide your name, address, and email address. The cost is $5 registration fee and this fee will cover all recreational drones owned by the drone owner. If you use your drone for work or business purposes, then each drone must be individually registered. The cost for each one will be $5. In addition to name, mailing address and email, you must also list the make, model, and serial number for each business drone you have.
Certificate of Registration
Once you have received your Certificate of Registration, then it must be carried with you when you are operating your drone. You can show your certificate electronically or on paper. If someone else is operating your drone, then they must present the certificate as well. You can give he certificate to the person who will be operating the drone or send them a copy by email.
If you are asked by any Federal, State, or local police enforcement officer, then you must have your certificate available to present to them. If you only plan to fly your drone indoors, then you do not need to have it registered. This is because the FAA does not have regulations for indoor drone use. If you plan to fly your drone in your own yard or even if it is just over your own property, then you will need to have your drone registered, especially if the drone weighs more than fifty-five pounds. Drones weighing more than fifty-five pounds can only be registered through the paper registration process.
If You Are Not A Citizen of U.S.
If you are no a citizen of the United States, then you will not be permitted for registering your drone here. You may only obtain recognition of ownership by following the the internet registration process. It is the Department of Transportation who requires recognition of ownership status here in the United States. Your drone should have already been registered in the country you are eligible to have it registered in and to obtain the complete operating authority from the Department of Transportation when you arrive here.
Cancelling Your Registration Online
If you are planning to sell or transfer your drone to someone else, then you must cancel your registration. You can do this online and the new owner should have it registered in their own name.
Failing To Register
If you fail to apply for drone registration, then you will be imposed high fines and penalties that can range in price from $27,500 to $250,000, or you may have to serve time in prison which could be up to three years.
The FAA is happy to help you with your questions or concerns about hobby or recreational drones as well as business or work drones. They may be contacted by telephone or online. They provide a toll-free number and it is (877) 396-4636. Drone pilots who experience an accident while operating their drone should report it to the FAA. You are allowed only 10 days to submit your accident report to the FAA. If you find a drone that has crashed in your yard, then you should contact your local police department. Reckless operation of a drone whether for recreation or business can result in you paying high civil fines or being subject to criminal action. This federal agency can help you better understand the rules of operating your drone safely.
Also see: Are Quadcopters Legal?