The Federal Aviation Administration drone registration website is up and running. Anyone that lives in the U.S. and owns a drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55 pounds will need to register their drone before Feb. 19, 2016.
Not only that, but those who purchase a new drone won't have until February to register before they take a test flight. Instead, they'll have to register their new drone before they take it out for its first flight.
While registration is free, at least for the next 30 days, users will have to enter their credit card information for verification, but the FAA will refund the $5 that will be spent immediately. After the 30 days is up, registering a drone will cost $5. Users have no limit to the number of drones they can own. Registration is good for three years.
Once the drone is assigned a registration number, that number either needs to be written on the outside of the drone, or placed inside the battery compartment, as long as that compartment can be accessed without needing any tools. Not only that, but users will need to carry their registration certificate with them when they take their drone out for a flight.
Those who don't register their drone could suffer serious penalties, including fines of up to $27,500. In fact, there could also be criminal penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and three years in jail for very serious offenses.
Upon registration, users will have to provide their name, physical address, email address, and mailing address, information that will all be searchable at some point in the future.
Of course, some aren't so happy about the new rules. The Academy of Model Aeronautics has even gone as far as to advice its members to not registers their model planes for the time being. Despite this, the FAA doesn't differentiate between drones and model planes, so if your plane falls within the weight restrictions, you're better off registering it.