tax-468440_1920 Great news for law-abiding citizens; bad news for scammers. Although you don’t need to pay someone to register for you, there is a small registration fee of $5 — and not even $5 per drone; it costs $5 to register all of your drones (phantom 3, inspire 1, etc). This registration lasts for 3 years. Sounds too easy? For once, the government has made it (relatively) painless and straight-forward. Just click here and you can register online in a few minutes. Once you’re registered, affix your registration number to all of your drones and you’re set. But wait — how do you know if you need to register your drone (and what are the guidelines). They’re simple. As taken from the FAA website:
  • Your drone weighs more than .55 pounds (250g) and less than 55 pounds (25kg).
  • You are older than 13 years of age (if younger, someone else must register the drone).
  • You are a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Must not be used for commercial use.
  What if your drone is more than 55 pounds or you intend to use it for commercial tasks? That process won’t open until the middle of 2016. See this page for updates on that process. What if you’re not a US citizen or permanent resident? You will still be required to ‘register’ your drone. However, you will need to use the paper version of registration, and your document will act as a “proof of ownership” rather than a certificate of registration. Once you’ve completed this process, you will be able to operate your drone. Once you’re registered and cleared for flight, keep these rules in mind:
  • Fly below 400 feet.
  • Keep your drone in sight at all times.
  • Don’t fly near manned aircrafts; stay at least 5 miles away from airports.
  • Don’t fly over large groups of people.
  • Don’t fly near an emergency situation.
A few other FAQs. What is the penalty if I’m caught operating an unregistered drone? Up to $27,500 for a civil penalty; up to $250,000 and/or 3 years in prison for a criminal penalty. Will I be required to show proof of registration? Yes; keep your registration certificate with you at all times during operation (this includes an electronic version of the certificate; you do not need a printout). What if my drone weighs less than .55 pounds? No need to register it; have fun! (The FAA considers this a child’s toy and not a drone.) Do I need to register a tethered drone? Yes. Do I need to register a drone if I fly it only in my yard? Yes. Do I need to register a drone if I fly it only indoors? No; the FAA does not regulate indoor flying. Do homemade drones need to be registered? Yes. What if I sell my drone after registration? Remove the registration number from the drone. The log into the online portal and update your drone information. For more FAQs see this page.