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FAA waives fee for drone registration



Free until Jan. 20; fines if not registered

If you got a drone from Santa for Christmas, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to know.

Clint Torp at the La Crosse Airport says the FAA is serious and they’ll will be watching.

If you don’t, the FAA may hit you with a civil fine up to $27,500. Criminal penalties, meanwhile, include fines that can go as high as $250,000 and the threat of “imprisonment for up to three years.” Flying a drone in airport airspace could lead to millions of dollars in fines.

The fee to register your drone is just $5, but the FAA is waiving that charge until Jan. 20. Register online here.

If you got a drone before Def. 21, you must register by Feb. 19. People who buy them later must register before their first outdoor flight.


  • Registration is mandatory in the U.S.
  • If you already own a drone, you have until February 19, 2016, to register. If you register in these first 30 days (by Jan. 20), it’s free.
  • If you buy your drone after Dec. 21, you must register before your first flight – unless you register before those first 30 days.
  • Users must be at least 13 years old to register online.
  • The registration fee is $5, after the free period ends Jan. 20. It’s good for three years.
  • Right now you’ve got to register directly through the FAA. It will release an API in the spring (around April).
  • The information you need provide: name, home address, email and the make/model of your drone. This generates a “proof of ownership,” including a unique number, which you must mark on your drone in a place you don’t need a tool to access. You’ll be able to use the serial number of your drone (found in Solo’s battery compartment) and avoid marking up your Solo.
  • This registration process only applies to hobby and recreational use. Businesses use rules still forthcoming.
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