Why do I need to register my drone?

Under federal law, all aircraft (which includes UAS and radio/remote controlled aircraft) flown outdoors must be registered with the FAA and marked with a registration number. UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds may register online at or by using the legacy paper based registration process. The weight limit includes everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft at the time of takeoff.

Is a UAS the same as a drone or model aircraft?

A UAS is an unmanned aircraft system. A drone and a UAS are the same for registration purposes.

Congress defined a “model aircraft” as a UAS that meets all of the following:

  • Is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere
  • Is flown within visual line-of-sight of the person operating it
  • Is flown for hobby or recreational purposes
Is the Small UAS Rule in effect? Do I have to register my drone?

Yes. The Small UAS Rule came into effect on August 29, 2016. All unmanned aircraft are required to register. Congress has defined “aircraft” to include UAS, regardless of whether they are operated by modelers and hobbyists. 

Are there penalties for failure to register my drone?

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.

Am I required to carry proof of registration while operating the drone / UAS?

Yes. You must have your FAA registration certificate in your possession (either in hard copy or digital format) whilst operating your drone.

If another person fly’s your drone, they must have the registration certificate in their possession. You can give them a paper copy or email a copy to them.

Which drones are required to register under the new registration requirements?

UAS weighing less than 55 pounds and more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams), including everything that is on board or attached to the aircraft and operated outdoors in public airspace system must register. Aircraft may register under the new web-based registration system. Check out a sample list here of drones required to register.

Are children’s toys required to be registered?

Not if they weigh below 250 gm/0.55 lb. or less. Most “toys” the FAA has identified at a purchase price of $100 or less have been determined to weigh less than 250g. You can find more information in this Recreational UAS Weights document (PDF).

I am just flying my drone for fun at home, am I required to register it?

Yes, all drones must be registered under federal law if the UAS weight is within the stated weights for registration. 

What is the minimum age requirement to register a drone?

Remote drone pilots must be 13 years of age or older before they are permitted to register an unmanned aircraft. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then a person who is at least 13 years of age must register the unmanned aircraft.

My drone was a gift, am I required to register?

Yes, you must register any drone within the weight limits. 

When am I required to register my drone?

All drones must be registered prior to operation.

Does work on behalf of the FAA? is an independent site that is in no way affiliated with the FAA or the US Government. helps simplify the FAA’s drone registration process. We work on behalf of clients to quickly obtain a drone registration and provide you with a one stop shop for addressing questions you may have. We charge a premium for this service and are here to assist you at any time.

How do I prove to authorities that I am registered?

A certificate of registration will be sent to your email address at the time of registration. When operating your UAS you must be able to present the certificate in either print or electronic format if asked for proof of registration.

If I let someone borrow my drone do I have to give them the Certificate of Registration?

Yes, anyone who operates your drone must have the Certificate of Aircraft Registration in their possession. You can give them a paper copy, email it to them, or they can show it electronically from the registration website.

Can I just mark my drone with contact information?

You must mark your UAS with the FAA registration number number assigned to you. Simply marking your contact information on the UAS is not enough.

How do I mark my unmanned aircraft with the unique registration number?

You may use any method to affix the number, such as permanent marker, label, engraving, or other means, as long as the number is readily accessible and maintained in a condition that is readable and legible upon close visual inspection. If your unmanned aircraft has an easily accessible battery compartment you may affix the number in that compartment. See labeling instructions here.