How to Register Your Drone in the United States

How to Register Your Drone in the United States

Drones offer a new perspective of the world that can transfer even the most mundane scenes into breathtaking views. Though you might be eager to get your drone up in the skies there is one important step you need to take to ensure you don’t get caught up in any legal troubles.

Drone owners in the United States must register their drones, which seems like an unnecessary process but, if ignored can lead to thousands of dollars in fines or even 3 years in jail. To avoid the repercussions this article will walk you through the simple process. Special thanks to for the cover photo.

Related: Buying Drone Insurance for the First Time? Here are Some Tips

Do You Need to Register Your Drone?

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Many people think they can just fly their drones without registering it because they are just using it as a fun pass time. Even if you are not using your drone for any other commercial purpose it must still be registered. This is to ensure the safety of the drone flyer and to individuals that may be around the drone being flown.

There are only a few drones that do not need to be registered. These drones are primarily for children or beginner hobbyists. These drones may be equipped with cameras but tend to be fairly light with limited flight times and height capabilities. All other drones must be registered.

What to Know About Registering Your Drone

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Things to Know

  1. It costs $5. 
  2. You must be over the age of 13 to register or have a parent or legal guardian do it for you. 
  3. You must be a U.S citizen or a legal permanent resident. 
  4. You can only register your drone legally through this site *Avoid using any other sites that charge you more to register your drone as there are many scams that try to take advantage of unknowing drone owners.
  5. If you are only going to be using your drone indoors you do not need to worry about registering it. 

What You Will Need to Register Your Drone

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When you go to register your drone you will need:

  1. An email address.

  2. Credit card or debit card to process the $5 registration fee 

  3. Mailing address

  4. The model number of your drone

  5. The manufacturer of your drone. 

Ways to Register Your Drone

Photo by Aaron Burden

When you register your drone you must do so with the FAA. You can do this one of two ways based on how much your drone weighs and the intended use.

1. Online. 

Go to if your drone weighs 55 pounds or less.

If you are flying for recreational purposes or as a hobbyist you will register as a “Modeler”. 

If you are using your drone for commercial purposes then you will need to register as a ”Non-Modeler”. 

Registering online through this website will ensure your drone is registered for up to three years. 

2. Mail-in. 

If your drone weighs over 55 pounds you will need to register your drone via mail.

If you plan on using your drone for photography, filmmaking, or videography you will need to register your drone through this process as well. 

You will need to fill out additional registration papers and mail in the information to the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch. 

To learn all the steps and requirements to register your drone either as an individual or as a business go here.

After You Register Your Drone

Photo by Thomas Millot

Congratulations! Once your $5 registration fee has been processed and you have entered all the accurate information you are all set to fly your drone.

Drone Registration Number

You will be provided with a ten-digit number which is your registration number. This registration number should be printed out and kept on you. This number will also be mailed to you. This number should be displayed on the outside of the craft itself but, typically as long as you have the number on you while you are flying you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Read next: 10 Things to Know Before Buying a Drone

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