Uncrewed aircraft systems and commercial drone registration
Find out how to register your commercial drone, information about the State UAS Coordinator, and learn more about WSDOT's drone program.
Starting April 1, 2022, commercially operated drones in Washington state are required by law to register with our Aviation Division. Registration is necessary for drone owners who operate their systems under 14 CFR Part 107 rules for compensation or hire, or as an extension of a business activity (see exemptions below).
Funds collected from drone registrations support WSDOT Aviation’s work to assess and collaboratively work on the integration of emerging technologies. Commercially operated drones in Washington state are required by law to register with WSDOT Aviation Division. Registration starts yearly every April 1.
Register your drone for the first time or as a new Washington state resident
If you already have a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account, log in to your account and follow steps 5-9.
If you are new to Secure Access Washington (SAW), please follow all 9 steps to set up and add Aircraft Internet Registration to your SAW account.
Returning registrants can complete annual renewals through Secure Access Washington (SAW).
- Click “Sign up” to create account
- Go to your email and click the activation link
- Click the “Login” button
- Click “Add New Service”
- Click “I would like to browse a list of services”
- Click “Apply” next to “Aircraft Internet Registration" link
- Click “Ok”
- Click the "Access now"
- Click “Continue”
Drone registration exemptions
Drone registration exemptions follow two general criteria, one requiring no additional actions on your behalf, and exemptions that require submission of an exemption request to the department.
Exemptions requiring no additional actions:
- Drones used exclusively for hobby or recreation.
- An aircraft owned by and used only in the service of any government or local government which is not engaged in operations or the carriage of property for commercial purposes.
- An aircraft owned by an academic institution or its representative which operates the systems for the purpose of research or education covered under the rule exemption for Part 107 requirements (49 USC 44809).
- An aircraft registered under the laws of a foreign country.
Exemptions that need an exemption request form:
- A Washington-based uncrewed aircraft that is in an unairworthy condition and is not operated within the registration period (calendar year). Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) is considered unairworthy when unsafe to fly or unserviceable, not including in-storage/shipment configuration or undergoing routine maintenance.
- An uncrewed aircraft which is owned by a nonresident and registered out of state, if the aircraft remains in the state or is based in this state, or both for a period less than 90 days.
- An uncrewed aircraft owned by a commercial manufacturer while being operated for the test or experimental purposes, or for the purpose of training crews for purchasers of the aircraft.
- An uncrewed aircraft being held for sale, exchange, delivery, test or demonstration purposes.
Washington state aircraft and drone registration rules and references
Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) collaboration
Stakeholders and organizations can collaborate with our State uncrewed Systems Coordinator to find requirements and get assistance with establishing and running UAS programs in Washington. The UAS coordinator supports activities to integrate drones into our future transportation system and works with stakeholders in Washington and national level organizations to help shape and introduce emerging aviation technology such as drone package delivery to include medical supplies, Advanced Air Mobility, and Urban Air Mobility.
For inquiries or assistance, contact Eddy Hensley.
The UAS coordinator can help organizations with the following:
- Assisting with UAS training and continuing education for state agencies;
- Coordinating with local governments on state and federal UAS policies and laws;
- Acting as a state-level coordinator in times of emergency;
- Coordinating with the FAA and state agencies on UAS trends;
- Assisting with the advancement of UAS across the state in coordination with the Department of Commerce; and
- Other duties as they relate to UAS and the aviation system throughout the state
Drones and Uncrewed Aircraft Systems
Uncrewed systems are growing in popularity for recreational use, commercial operations, and public agency use, and so are the rules and guidelines that frame the way we operate them. There are many resources to help you identify how to properly enjoy drone flying as a hobby, for your business, and in support of your public agency.
- The Recreational UAS Safety Test (FAA TRUST)
- Recreational flyer rule (49 USC 44809)
- Washington State Parks remote controlled aircraft permit
- Academy of Model Aeronautics
- Washington based RC recreational organizations and clubs
- FAA Part 107 homepage
- FAA UAS facility maps
- B4UFLY Mobile App
- Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) requests
Public safety and government
- FAA public safety and government resource page
- Public safety and law enforcement toolkit
- Special Government Interest information (FAA Order JO 7200.23A)
- Notice To Air Missions (NOTAMs) services
Looking to fly drones from Washington State Department of Transportation lands or Right of Way (ROW)? Please contact WSDOT Aviation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSDOT UAS program
The Department has worked with and operated drones since 2012 in support of a variety of daily activities. The investments in UAS technology provide benefits to the public and employee safety, and contribute to time and cost saving solutions for the organization. The uncrewed systems are used in a variety of different ways including some of the following:
- Stockpile measurements
- Infrastructure inspections and surveys
- Emergency management activities
- Environmental conservation efforts to tell the WSDOT story through photography and videos
All WSDOT operators hold the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote Pilots certificate and operate under rules and guidelines established under the FAA and department and state policies. The department has established rules to mitigate or preserve the privacy of the public during activities that include the use of drones (WSDOT UAS Users Manual M3134).