You Now Have to Register Your Drone in China, Here's How

By Bridget O'Donnell, June 19, 2017

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Starting this month, China began requiring real-name registration for drones.

The new regulations, which were first rumored earlier this year, make it mandatory for owners of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to register their flying gadgets through an online database from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The new real-name registration process will now be required for UAVs weighing over 250 grams.

Want to get your drone registered so you can get back to taking those amazing aerial photos without having to worry about it getting confiscated? Here's how to get started.

1. Visit the CAAC Drone Registration Site

Head to https://uas.caac.gov.cn/Factory/Login/login.html to begin the registration process. The site is only in Chinese for now. Create a new username by clicking the blue "Register" (用户注册) button on the right, next to the "Login" button (登录).

Drone Registration Site

Already registered but forgot your account password? Click the "Forgot password?" (忘记密码?) link just above the "Register" button.

2. Create an account

You'll need to enter in a username and 8-20 character password that includes at least one letter, number and special symbol (which you'll re-enter directly underneath). You'll also be asked to enter in your phone number and retype a four-letter code. After entering the code, click the little blue button that reads "请输入手机验证码" to send a six-digit verification number to your phone — which must be a Chinese Mainland (+86) number. You'll need to enter in that verification code before clicking the "Register" button at the very bottom of the prompt.

Drone registration how-to

3. Add more personal information to your account

Once your account is created, you'll be taken to a dashboard where you'll need to enter in more personal information.

Drone registration

4. Add a new device

After entering in your information, head over to the Drone Management tab (无人机管理) on the left side of the dashboard. At the top of the screen, you'll see two buttons: one for manufactured drones (left) and another for self-made drones (right). Select which one you'd like to add:

Drone management

To register a manufactured drone, enter in the following information below. (Note: all fields with a red star are mandatory):

Branded drone

To enter your own self-made drone, enter in the following:

Self-made drone form

Click the blue button at the bottom of the pop-up to save. Your drone will now be registered with the CAAC. The registration will expire after three years.

Note: If you've registered a self-made drone, it may take some time to be approved by the system.

5. Print out your drone's new QR code

Once you've entered your drone into the system, you'll need to affix a QR code containing all the registration information you've just uploaded to the database.

To find your QR code, go to the Drone Management dashboard and click the "Download" (下载) button on the far right side of the screen. This will open up a PDF that contains multiple codes.

Drone QR code

Drone QR code download

Once you register the device, you'll also automatically be sent a PDF of codes directly to your email.

Print out the codes on adhesive stickers at least two centimeters in height and width (2x2).

Made a mistake in your registration? To delete a device you've uploaded, click the "Remove" button (注销) on the far right side of the screen, next to the QR code download button.

6. Affix the QR code sticker(s) to your device

After printing out the codes, attach the QR code stickers to your drone. CAAC recommends affixing the sticker to an area where it won't get damaged and is always legible or easy to view. Choose a spot that can be used without the help of "special tools."

CAAC requires that all UAVs have the registration QR code attached to the device at all times. They prohibit codes that are altered, forged or transferred. 

[Images via ProDrone and Daniel Mh Chun]

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