When to Register a Drone?

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you are purchasing your very first unmanned aerial vehicle, you may wonder when to register a drone. Even the best drones, after all, may need registration, though regulations tend to fluctuate in this space. You’ll need to find the drone’s serial number and know the size of the drone for registration purposes. So when to register, why register, and how to do it? Keep reading to find out.


  • Drones for recreational purposes must be registered with the FAA, though not small and light drones under 0.55 pounds.
  • Registration costs five dollars and is good for three years of flying.
  • You must be at least 13 years old and a U.S. citizen to successfully register an unmanned aircraft.

What Drone Has to be Registered?

The vast majority of drones demand official registration with the Federal Aviation Authority, otherwise known as the FAA if you are wondering about registration and when you’ll need a license to fly a drone. These regulations do, however, hinge significantly on weight.

Insider Tip

If you are gifting a drone to a child over 13, perform the registration ahead of time so they can fly it right away.

At What Weight Do You Have to Register a Drone?

According to recent proclamations by the FAA, small and light drones under 0.55 pounds or 250 grams do not need official registration. All other recreational drones up to 55 pounds require registration with the FAA. What happens after 55 pounds? These drones get classed differently, as they are then considered commercial drones. Heavier commercial drones also require registration, but the regulations differ significantly and will not impact recreational users. There are many things regular people do with drones, but making commercial deliveries is not one of them.

Registering a Drone

There is a lot of information worth considering when registering a drone. Let’s get into it.

  • Register online via an official FAA web portal. The information should be provided within your drone’s instruction manual.
  • It is not free to register a drone. As of this writing, it costs five dollars.
  • The registration does not last forever. As of this writing, your registration is good for three years of use.
  • You must be 13 years of age or older to register a drone.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident to register your unmanned vehicle.
  • Have your email address, physical address, and make and model of your drone ready before beginning the process.

After Registration

Once you register the drone, there are some things you’ll need to do.

  • Keep an eye on your mailbox for your official registration certificate.
  • Keep this certificate on your every time you use the unmanned drone.
  • Some drones have a space on the exterior to write down your registration number. If so, use a permanent marker and do that.
  • You can also use a label sticker or even engrave the number onto the drone itself.


How heavy is your drone?

Weight impacts safety guidelines regarding drones, which is why aircraft over 0.55 pounds must be registered and those lighter than that do not have to be registered.

Where will you fly?

There are several rules for drone pilots and drone operators regarding how to fly unmanned aircraft systems. For instance, you must stay below 400 feet and keep the drone in your line of sight.

Are you flying for business or pleasure?

Unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes fall under different rules and recreations than unmanned aircraft for recreation. In other words, if you are flying for business, you’ll have to jump through more hurdles, such as filing for an airspace authorization.

STAT: Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones must be registered with the FAA and your registration is valid for three years. (source)

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