On July 20, 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) published a Final Rule regarding the Re-Registration and Renewal of Aircraft Registration (the “Final Rule”) that significantly changes aircraft registration procedures in the United States. The Final Rule became effective on October 1, 2010. Prior to the Final Rule, there was no expiration date for the registration of an aircraft in the United States. However, the Final Rule requires that all U.S. aircraft registered prior to October 1, 2010, be re-registered over a period of 3 years. Aircraft owners must re-register their aircraft based on the month in which the aircraft was initially registered. Click here to see a chart showing the relevant expiration dates for all aircraft registrations.  

The Final Rule also establishes a system for the recurrent expiration and renewal of aircraft registrations once every 3 years for all aircraft registration certificates issued on or after October 1, 2010. All aircraft registrations issued on or after October 1, 2010, will show an expiration date and must be renewed prior to the expiration date.  

Prior to expiration of an existing registration, the FAA will send two reminder notices to the address listed on the aircraft registration (so it is critical that the aircraft owner’s address is current in the FAA records). The first notice will be sent to aircraft owners approximately 180 days prior to the expiration date of the current certificate. This notice will provide basic instructions for renewal, including the 3-month filing window during which a registration or renewal application should be submitted. The second notice will be sent to aircraft owners who have failed to file the requisite application during the filing window.  

This notice will be sent to aircraft owners approximately 60 days before the expiration date of the current registration. Even if an aircraft owner misses the 3-month filing window, the owner may still file the application for registration, but the new registration certificate may not be received prior to the expiration of the existing certificate. A final notice will be sent to aircraft owners after the expiration date of the current certificate and will indicate that the aircraft must be grounded until reinstatement. If an aircraft registration has expired and a re-registration certificate has not been issued and placed in the aircraft, the aircraft will not have authority to operate.