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It has been known for a while now that the FAA is working on a program that will mandate registration of drones in the United States, and that program has gone live today. FAA has made it mandatory for folks in the United States to register drones that weigh under 55 pounds, this includes payloads like cameras, with drone operators required to provide information like email addresses and home address. One has to be at least 13 years of age to register a drone.

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Those who either plan to buy a drone before December 21st or already own their drone, they will get until February 19th 2016 to register their drones. Those will purchase one after December 21st will be required to register the drone first before they can take it outside to fly.

Basically what this means that if you get a new drone this Christmas you won’t be able to immediately take it outside and fly it. You will need to register it first. Though there’s nothing stopping you from trying it inside the house, as dangerous as that may turn out to be.

FAA will have both a web-based and a paper-based system for registration though it goes without saying that the bulk of drone operators will opt for the online registration method. All drone registrations will be valid for three years, operators will get a unique registration number which has to be marked on the drone. Since the registration numbers are linked to the owner and not to the drone itself this means that the same number can be used with multiple drones.

“Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

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