New Online Registration for Commercial UAVs

The FAA announced that it was coming last December within a news release about the hobby registration, and the FAA has now confirmed it:

ADDUASAs of March 31, 2016 go to There will be a box that will say for commercial registration. Once you have completed the process you will be assigned a certificate number. Next, click on the number to print out your certificate of registration for each UAS registered with your company.

UAS Registration
Aircraft Registration Branch, AFS-750





The online registration system will assign an FA number instead of a N number. If your UAV is from a less popular or foreign manufacturer you may find it much less complicated to use the online (FA) system.

If you still prefer an N number rather than the 10 digit (online) FA number, you must fill out the old paper forms instead, using the 8050-1 form after requesting to reserve the N number (pending availability).  Once you do have your N number reserved you can request to have it assigned to your UAV.  The paper forms will need to be mailed to the FAA registration office in Oklahoma.

The Aircraft Registration Application, AC Form 8050-1, is not available for download. You must use an original Aircraft Registration Application, AC Form 8050-1. The FAS will won’t accept photocopies or computer-generated copies of this form. Aircraft Registration (form 8050-1) Applications may be obtained (requested) from the Aircraft Registration Branch or a local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)

(Source: FAA)

Mark your aircraft:

  • When you register, you will receive a unique registration number valid for three years. After three years, you must renew your aircraft registration.
  • You must mark each aircraft with the assigned unique registration number before it is operated.

Be sure to have a copy of the registration with you when you fly your commercial UAV along with the blanket COA (Section-333-Blanket-400-COA-form 7711-1 revised) and a copy of your Section 333 authorization and pilot certification where applicable.

I have requested further clarification on some of these points. The FAA has been very responsive to my questions.

Here are as few more details we found from another source:

Commercial Operators

  •   Commercial operators of small UAS in this weight range may use the new online registration system as of March 31, 2016.
  •   Commercial operators are required to register each individual UAS (unlike hobbyists) and pay a US$5 registration fee for each application. Registration lasts three years, and there is a US$5 renewal fee for each renewal. These fees are the same as those currently required under the paper-based registration system.
  •   Commercial operators are required to provide UAS-specific information in addition to basic contact information. The owner will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration with a registration number for each individual UAS registered.
  • Although each UAS must be assigned a unique registration number, commercial operators will be given a single online profile that allows them to manage the registration application process for each UAS.
  • There is no requirement to re-register UAS that have already been registered under the existing system. Operators may continue using the existing registration system or, alternatively, switch over to the new registration system when the registration is renewed.

The FAA said this would happen and it did happen, amazingly, right on schedule. It is clear that this is the logical way to handle the thousands of UAVs that can be expected in the coming years. There is just no way the old paper process would have been able to effectively manage that kind of volume. The new system does not replace the paper process but it is very possible that the paper process would eventually be phased out 0ver time.

“We act on behalf of you (our client), and are not affiliated with any US government agency or the FAA”

Your first clue is that it is a paid Google ad. Read the fine print. Don’t be fooled. There should be a law….