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Drone fans: FAA registration is back in force

We know that a lot of Apple World Today readers are techies who love drones, so this news will be of importance to you. As of yesterday, legislation was signed by President Trump that reverses an earlier court ruling and brings back the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) registration requirement for UAS — unmanned aerial systems, AKA drones. 

If you registered a drone during the days when it was previously required, you don’t need to register again because this bill reverses what was known as the “John Taylor case”. However, if you asked for a refund and asked to be removed from the registration list, you will need to re-register if you received confirmation from the FAA that your request to be removed from the database was honored.

Registration is required for any flying device that weighs over 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and uses a ground-control system with a communications link. This includes RC transmitters or Wi-Fi links such as those used for controlling a device from an iPhone or iPad. If your flying machines are less than .55 pound in weight, flown indoors, flown with a tether, or are flown uncontrolled, then you do not need to register. 

The registration process is a piece of cake, so much so that it’s surprising that there’s a federal agency running it! Just go to (those needing assistance can call the FAA at 877-396-4636. It costs just $5 for a three-year registration and all major credit cards are accepted.

For our readers outside of the US who are planning to fly a drone while visiting, guess what? You need to get a registration, too! Any foreign national or tourist who plans to operate a UAS for hobby or recreational purposes outdoors in the USA must use the FAA’s online registration system. These non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent U.S. residents will receive the same registration certificate as U.S. Citizens or permanent U.S. residents. However, this certificate will function as a “recognition of ownership” document. This document is required by the Department of Transportation for foreign nationals to operate legally in the US. 

Visiting pilots can only use a computer with a United States IP address to register. When arriving in the states, pilots can register using a computer at a hotel, airport lounge or on any Wi-Fi network in the US. For assistance you can call 877-396-4636 or email

What happens if you don’t register an unmanned aircraft? The FAA says “failure to register an unmanned aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions.” 

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!