How to register my drone

Federal law requires registered drone operators to show proof of registration when requested by federal, state, or local law enforcement officials. Failure to register a drone subject to registration may result in administrative or criminal penalties.

Therefore, registering your drone is a top priority. This article answers frequently asked questions about registering your drone. There are no global regulations as each country sets its own rules. Some require registration for all drones, others start registration at 250 grams.

How to register your drone

Disclaimer: Please, make sure to visit the official website of the country you are intending to fly your drone in, to get more detailed information about the aircraft registration process.

Drone registration in different countries

The registration requirements will vary based on the country you're in. The registration certificate is necessary in order to legally operate an unmanned aircraft in national airspace. In most cases, you'll be able to complete the drone registration process online for recreational and commercial drone pilots alike.

US Requirements

  • If you are a US citizen, you must be at least 13 years old to register your drone. In case you are under 13 years, the drone must be registered by a person who is 13 years old or older.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or at least a permanent resident (PR cardholder)
  • For foreign operators, the FAA considers the issued certificate to be proof of ownership, not a certificate of registration for the U.S. aircraft. (Federal Aviation Administration)

UK Requirements

According to the new regulations, drones and model aircraft are divided into five classes. With the introduction of class marks, drones and model aircraft may not have to be assigned a class when manufactured.

The required ID depends on the weight or class of the drone or model aircraft.

If a drone or model aircraft has a class mark, it must comply with class requirements.

only follow weight requirements if the drone or model aircraft does not have a class mark or is personally manufactured.

You do not need to register if the drone or model aircraft you intend to fly is any of the following:
  • Toys less than 250g or Class C0
  • Toy or not, C0 class without a camera
  • Toy or not, less than 250g without a camera and without a classmark - Remember that you must follow the code for your drone and model plane when flying.

Everything above 250g needs to be registered. (“Registering a drone or model aircraft | UK Civil Aviation Authority”)

  • Flyers must pass a theory test to get the flyer's ID.
  • The one responsible individual must register for an operator's ID.
  • Children under the age of 13 must also pass an exam to obtain an aviator's license. For data protection reasons, you must register with your legal guardian. ]
  • Ensure only people with a valid Flyer ID use the drone or model plane
  • Label drones and model aircraft with operator IDs
  • You must be 18 years of age or older to register for an Operator ID. You can use the same operator ID for all your drones and model planes. 

AU Requirements

You do not need to register your drone in Australia if:

  • it weighs less than 250g.
  • You are not planning to fly it
  • You Are keeping it for indoor purposes

However, if you don't fit into any of these categories, you should register your drone

To register your drone, you must meet several requirements, including:

  • be at least 16 years of age
  • myCASA account required
  • Digital ID or proof of ID
  • Aviation Reference Number (ARN) – can be requested through MYCASA account
  • Make, model, serial number, weight, and type of drone.

EU Requirements

You do not need to register your drone if:

  • Weighs less than 250 g and does not have cameras or other sensors that can recognize personal data.
  • Even with cameras and other sensors, it weighs less than 250g, but it's a toy

In order to fly most drones and model aircraft outdoors in the UK, they must be registered in advance.

There are two requirements, both of which must be met:

  • If flying, you must pass a theory test to earn a Flyer badge.
  • If you are in charge of drones and model aeroplanes, you need to register a driver's license

(“Register to fly a drone or model aircraft”)

How much does it cost to register my drone?

Again, the registration fee will vary depending on the location you're in. Be prepared and make sure you have the following information on hand before submitting an online registration.

  • Mailing address
  • Valid email address
  • Drone type
  • Drone serial number
  • A debit card or credit card
USEU
$5 per drone and is valid for three (3) years30€ for 1 year, 75€ for 3 years, or 100€ for 5 years (“Registration and theoretical examination”)
AUUK
$20 for recreational drones and up to $160 for commercial drones (“Drone rules and laws in Australia - current information and experiences”)Operator ID costs £10 with 1 year of validity

Can I fly a drone without a license?

Unfortunately, it depends on what the drone will be used for. Use for commercial or recreational purposes. Distinguishing between these two is not as easy as it sounds and can be very easily fooled. If you want to use the drone for commercial purposes, you must purchase a license and follow rules. Failing of following drone regulations can result in penalties and even jail time, so be very careful.

What happens if I don't register my drone?

What happens if you fly an unregistered drone? Let me explain this in real terms from the FAA. The FAA can impose civil penalties of up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years.

Realistically, if you're the average gamer with a drone in your backyard, the FAA probably won't knock on your door. However, if you are involved in a drone accident and discover that the FAA has not registered you as a drone pilot, it can be a big problem.

Can FAA track my drone?

The FAA does not have the power or authority to track drones right now but proposed a regulation change in late 2019 to give it that power, but that proposal has not yet been implemented. The FAA may soon have the authority to track drones.

Related: How to become a certified drone pilot

How to mark my drone?

The FAA only requires drones to be marked with a registration number where they are readily visible on visual inspection. Ideally, it should be located on the main body of the drone. License plates must remain legible.

The best place to mark a drone is the center and top of the main drone just because it is visible and obviously noticeable unlike marking it somewhere at the bottom with a marker. The side of the hull or the propeller arms are also the options from which you can easily identify your drone.

Visual example of how to label your drone

The FAA had already previously identified three acceptable methods for marking your drone:

  • Using permanent markers
  • Using stickers
  • Engraving

These methods are guaranteed and considered permanent.

Conclusion

Registering your drone is important no matter where you live since every country does require registration. Regardless if you are a recreational user or a commercial drone pilot you still need to follow the drone laws and safety guidelines stated in your area.

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