The Federal Aviation Administration offered reporters a preview of its website for drone registration Friday afternoon, detailing what appears to be a straightforward process that should take a few minutes.

Monday morning, drone owners will find a registration link displayed prominently on the FAA’s website. There will not yet be a separate landing page, but the site can also be accessed through, an industry website that shares drone safety tips.

The registration deadline for hobbyists who already own drones is Feb. 19. Anyone buying a drone after Sunday will need to register before their first flight. Owners not in compliance risks thousands of dollars in fines. Extremely small drones — under less than 250 grams — are exempt.

Drone owners will start the process by entering an email address. They will then receive a verification email which will include a link back to the registration site. Next they will be asked for a name, mailing address and credit card to pay the $5 registration fee. Anyone registering before Jan. 21 will have the fee automatically refunded.

Once the process is complete the FAA will email drone owners a registration certificate. When flying a drone, the operator must be able to present this certificate, either in physical or electronic form. So having one’s smartphone present while using a drone will likely be easiest.

Drone owners will receive a registration number that they’ll have to mark on an easily accessible surface of their drone.

For now, only recreational users — not commercial users — will need to register on the site. The FAA says it is focusing on hobbyists first given the expectation that drones will be a popular gift this holiday season.

Eventually the site will offer a way to de-register a drone in the event it is sold to another person. The new owner will then have to re-register the drone.

Drone registration will be automatically renewed every three years, with owners being charged another $5 fee.

The FAA says there’s been discussion with manufacturers about finding ways to streamline the registration process through an app that can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet.