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).

Register or renew drones online

  1. Click “Sign up” to create account
  2. Go to your email and click the activation link
  3. Click the “Login” button
  4. Click “Add New Service”
  5. Click “I would like to browse a list of services”
  6. Click “Apply” next to “Aircraft Internet Registration" link
  7. Click “Ok”
  8. Click the "Access now" 
  9. 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. 

Fill out the exemption form


Washington state aircraft and drone registration rules and references

RCW 47.68.250 Registration of aircraft

Substitute House Bill 1379


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. 

Recreational users

Commercial operators

Public safety and government

Looking to fly drones from Washington State Department of Transportation lands or Right of Way (ROW)? Please contact WSDOT Aviation at daivd.ison@wsdot.wa.gov.

WSDOT UAS program

WSDOT's drone's eye view of Bertha's finish line

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).


Photo of various drones used by WSDOT

166,800 electric vehicle

registrations in Washington in 2023, up from 114,600 in 2022.

87 wetland compensation sites

actively monitored on 918 acres in 2023.

25,000 safe animal crossings

in the Snoqualmie Pass East Project area since 2014.