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How-To Register Your Drone (For Hobbyist Use) - PPA Today

How-To Register Your Drone (For Hobbyist Use)

There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips! Because while drones are very exciting, we want to keep you legal!

The regulations released last December from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The FAA launched a very simple online drone registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS literally any day now. We certainly expect the regulations to come by Summer 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

At this point, you may be wondering why we keep using the word "hobbyist". Again, we have to stress that as it stands now, drone use is restricted to only "hobbyist" use and not "commercial" use without a pilot's license. Since you, our members, are professionals and are probably thinking about using drones in your photography work, we feel we have to keep you informed of the illegality of that situation. Think of these posts as "How to Use Your Drones ONLY FOR RECREATIONAL and HOBBYIST USE and NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL OR COMMERCIAL USE". The new regulations relaxing the rules for business use are expected any day now. But until then ... here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS (FOR HOBBYIST USE ONLY) after the jump:

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(1)    Visit the FAA's registration portal at

(2)    Choose "Register My Drone"

(3)    Enter your email address and create a password

(4)    Verify your email address. You will receive an email from Click on the link provided to verify

(5)    You will then be able to login using the email address and password you provided at

(6)    A "System Use Notice" will pop-up on the screen. You will need to agree to the terms

(7)    Once you login, fill out the My Profile section with your basic contact and personal information. Then click "Proceed To Checkout"

(8)    Read and acknowledge the safety guidelines

(9)    The registration fee is only $5.00. Enter your payment information, then confirm the payment.

(10)    You will see your unique UAS Registration Number on screen. It will apply to all the drones you own for three years

(11)    Follow the instructions to mark your UAS with your number
You will receive by email a registration certificate from the FAA

(12)    After three years you must re-register

Please keep in mind that this online system is new and is still experiencing a high volume of traffic. Most of the issues have occurred if the user has logged out or the system has timed out. For this reason, we recommend you complete the entire registration process without logging out of the system. The registration only takes about five minutes from start to finish.

We hope you found this useful! Until next time on this blog... safe (and legal) drone flying!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on March 4, 2016 3:31 PM.

Top February Posts from theLoop was the previous entry in this blog.

Photographic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by Professional Photographers: A Timeline is the next entry in this blog.

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