The FAA announced this week that drone owners have to register their drones by February 19th of next year or they may face penalties including hefty fines and even jail time. If you hurry and do it now, there is no charge to register and once you have done so, you are set.
The FAA is waiving the registration fee for the first 30 days (registration opens December 21st, 2015), but afterwards, says there will be a one-time requirement of $5 to feed Uncle Sam’s pet trolls who live in the basement and keep track of all the paperwork. I may not be able to back up that last part up so well, but the fee does stand. It also applies to any drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55 pounds–which pretty much covers nearly every drone on the market outside of the palm-size models.
Once you have registered with your information, you will be required to print a certificate showing ownership and a unique identification number (which has to be clearly marked on the drone itself). They have also confirmed that sometime next year the registration system will be modified so that the information will be available (searchable) to the public.
Click here to visit the site that you need to use to register your drone through.
If you are caught flying your drone without registration, the fines can get pretty high. Civil penalties can climb as high as $27,500 and criminal penalties (like getting in the way of emergency vehicles or spying into someone’s window for example…) can rack you up a fine of up to $250,000 (yikes) and jail time. So register and don’t be stupid by causing drama for the rest of the drone owners out there by using yours for means that are obviously unlawful, rude or obnoxious.