It’s Official – The FAA Will Require Consumer Drone Registration

The registration website will go live next Monday, December 21, 2015. There will be no fee for the registration for the first 30 days. The FAA announced on December 14, 2015, that it will implement a streamlined and user-friendly web-based registration process for UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or drones) weighing more than 0.55 lbs. but less than 55 lbs.[1]

Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft. Owners of small UAS who previously operated their unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015 (i.e. a hobbyist), must register their UAS no later than February 19, 2016.[2] Any other owners of a UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors.[3] Registration can be accomplished by utilizing either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system. You must be at least 13 years or older to use the new streamlined, web-based system to register an UAS.[4]

In order to register a drone the owner will need to provide his/her name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the on-line registration process, a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership will be generated, that will include a unique identification number for the owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.[5] Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years. The registration fee of $5.00 is being waived for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016).[6]

The online registration system does NOT support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation at this time – i.e. using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business purpose.[7]

Hobbyists can register through a web-based system at beginning Monday, December 21, 2015.

For more information about rules and regulations for drones, please contact, Anna H. Long, attorney in Dean Mead’s Orlando office, at

About the Author:
Anna H. Long is a member of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness and Real Estate Development Industry teams. She has been practicing law for over 30 years in the areas of environmental law, land use, zoning and administrative law. Before moving to private practice, Ms. Long held numerous environmental managerial positions throughout Florida and the Northwest. She may be reached at

[1] Federal Aviation Authority, FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule (Dec. 14, 2015),

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.