Re-Registration and Renewal of Aircraft Registration


Why Re-Registration & Renewal?


Re-Registration of eligible aircraft takes place between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2013, updating the U.S. Civil Aircraft Register with current data derived from the recent contact with aircraft owners. Renewal of registration every third year, with other new tools, enables the Aircraft Registration Branch (Registry) to keep aircraft registration information current.

“These improvements will give us better knowledge about the state of the aviation industry, especially general aviation,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We also are responding to calls from law enforcement and other government agencies for more accurate, up-to-date registration data.”

About one-third of today’s 357,000 registered aircraft have inaccurate records. At least 100,000 of these are not expected to re-register.  Prompt reporting of a change in aircraft ownership, mailing address, or destruction has long been required by registration regulations.  Without these reports from the owners the aircraft records could not be updated.  The Registry has revoked registrations due to unreported changes; however, this process is slow and expensive.  In many cases registration would be revoked, but owners whose notices were undeliverable would be unaware and continue to operate their now unregistered aircraft.

Re-registration, renewal and expiration will clear inactive aircraft from the database.  The availability of on-line processing to many owners, and periodic FAA reminders to renew the certificate, should maintain the gains in accuracy and currency. This is essential to safety, regulatory enforcement, and all levels of law enforcement.


How does Re-Registration Work?


  • Approximately six months before an aircraft’s registration expires, the Registry will mail a notice with instructions to the owner using the mailing address of record.  The notice will identify the expiration date, and the three month window during which application must be made to ensure receipt of the new certificate before the old certificate expires.
  • The third, fourth & fifth months before expiration make up the timely filing window. A code provided in the notice allows on-line re-registration and payment of the $5 fee when there are no changes in ownership, address, or citizenship to report.  If there are changes to report, the form can be completed on-line, printed, signed, and mailed with the $5 fee.
  • Two months before expiration, the timely filing window and opportunity for on-line re-registration closes.  Remaining applications and fees must be mailed to the Registry.
  • Two months before expiration, a second notice will be sent to owners of registered aircraft for which the Registry has not yet received an application for re-registration.
  • Upon expiration of registration the owner of an unregistered aircraft will be sent notice of the scheduled cancellation of the N-number and their option to reserve the N-number.  Once canceled, the N-number will not be available for assignment or reservation for the next five years.
  • Notices will not be sent to addresses from which mail has been returned as undeliverable.
  • Renewal follows the same process.

Aircraft Re-Registration Schedule?


Aircraft registration certificate issued on or after October 1, 2010 will show an expiration date. The first Re-Registration notices were sent on or shortly after October 1, 2010.

If aircraft registration has expired and a re-registration certificate has not been issued, received, and placed in the aircraft, then the aircraft is without authority to operate.

Aircraft registration issued under re-registration expires three years after the last day of the month in which it is issued.

Aircraft registration issued due to renewal expires three years from the expiration date of the previous certificate.

Aircraft registration issued to a new, import, or reinstated aircraft entering or re-entering the U.S. Civil Aircraft Register expires three years after the last day of the month in which it is issued.

When an aircraft is not re-registered or renewed, the cancellation of the N-number assigned to the aircraft will take place approximately 90 days after the expiration of an aircraft’s registration. Upon cancellation, an N-number will be unavailable for assignment/reservation for five years.

If aircraft registration has expired and the N-number has been canceled, application may be made to register the aircraft under 14 CFR § 47.31, using the standard application for registration and payment of the $5 registration fee.  The process to reinstate a previously registered aircraft remains unchanged.

When a post office or drop box is used as a mailing address, the street or physical address of the applicant must be entered on the aircraft registration application.


Other changes in the regulations:


With these changes the Registry and other system users will be better able to distinguish between validly registered aircraft and unregistered aircraft as the time aircraft are in transitional statuses will be limited.

  • When aircraft registration has ended as prescribed by §47.41 (e.g., expiration, destruction, etc.) the assignment of an N-number is no longer authorized for use. (The exception remains for the 90 day temporary operating authority of the second, or “pink,” copy of the Aircraft Registration Application, following ownership transfers under §47.31(c)).
  • Six months after notice from the owner of an ownership transfer, if application for registration has not been made, the Registry will schedule the assigned N-number for cancellation.
  • Twelve months after a purchaser has filed evidence of ownership and applied for registration, if the applicant or successive applicants have not met the requirements for registration, then the Registry will schedule the assigned N-Number for cancellation.
  • “Pink Copy” temporary operating authority will not be extended beyond one year from the date of the first application for registration filed.
  • When Six months after a Dealer’s Certificate holder has submitted evidence of ownership under § 47.67, have passed and the Dealer has not met registration requirements then the Registry will schedule the N-number for cancellation.
  • When a Dealer’s Certificate expires, any aircraft registered under that certificate would be without registration and must be registered under normal registration procedures of § 47.31 or §47.63; or the N-number will be scheduled for cancellation.