What Size Drone Requires Registration?

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you are new to the world of unmanned aircraft, you may wonder when to register a drone and what size drones require registration. Many of the best drones, after all, will need to be officially registered with the FAA before flying. So which drones get registered, how do you do it, and what should you keep in mind? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Drones for recreational purposes must be registered with the Federal Aviation Authority, though not light drones under 0.55 pounds or 250 grams.
  • Registration costs five dollars and this registration lasts for three years, though commercial drones for commercial purposes face a different process.
  • Drone pilots must be at least 13 years old and a U.S. citizen to successfully register an unmanned aircraft.

How Heavy Does a Drone Have to be to be Registered?

When it comes to registering drones, it is the weight and not the size or battery that matters, if you are wondering about the average range of drones and how that would impact this metric. This article will briefly discuss the law on drones.

Insider Tip

If you are giving a child over 13 a drone as a gift, perform the registration ahead of time so they can get going without waiting for the certificate.

Here’s how it breaks down, according to regulations issued by the Federal Aviation Authority, also known as the FAA. Any drone under 0.55 pounds or 250 grams does not require any registration. Open it up and start flying. Anything above that, until 55 pounds, requires an official registration with the FAA. Drones over 55 pounds are not considered to be recreational devices and they fall under commercial regulations, requiring a more intensive registration process. You don’t want to be caught flying a drone without having registered your drone first.

How do I Register my Drone?

The process is rather simple and conducted on the official FAA web portal. Here are the steps.

  1. Have your drone’s make and model ready to go along with your physical mailing address and your email address.
  2. Also, have a credit card or debit card handy for the five-dollar registration fee.
  3. You must be at least 13 years old and a United States citizen (or legal resident) to successfully complete a registration.
  4. Some registrations require the drone’s serial number, which will be provided by the manufacturer.
  5. Enter all of the requested information via the web portal, pay your fees, and await your certificate. Once received, start flying and avoid obstacles, so you won’t have to learn what to do if your drone lands in the water.

What Happens After I Register?

Once you register, await your certificate and then follow some simple rules and regulations.

  1. Your registration is good for three years, at which point you’ll have to register again.
  2. Carry your certificate on you at all times while flying the drone, otherwise, you’ll face stiff legal penalties.
  3. These penalties include civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
  4. Also, write your registration number on a label and affix it to the drone.

F.A.Q.S

Are you flying for business or pleasure?

Recreational drones don’t face too much scrutiny, though the same cannot be said for commercial drone operators using aircraft above 55 pounds.


Where will you fly?

Stay under 400 feet and refrain from commercial operation while flying a drone such as the Mavic Mini. Also, keep your drone in your light of sight at all times.


Do I need a license to fly my drone?

Unmanned aircraft systems do not require a license in most instances, though they do require a registration certificate. Use a permanent marker and write your registration number on the drone itself.


STAT: According to the FAA, drone manufacturers have until September 16, 2022, to produce drones with built-in standard remote ID. (source)

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