Registration: Frequently Asked Questions
How do I search
Aircraft Registration Inquiry contains aircraft
registration information. You can also order individual
aircraft records by
mail, fax, or
request copies of aircraft records online.
What aircraft are
eligible for registration in the United States?
Eligibility is defined in Chapter
14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 47. You can
learn more about aircraft registration on our
Register an Aircraft page.
What should I
consider when buying a surplus military aircraft?
Certain surplus military aircraft are not eligible for
FAA airworthiness certification in the standard,
restricted, or limited classifications. Since you can't
fly civil aircraft unless it's certificated as
airworthy, you should discuss this with an FAA Aviation
Safety Inspector (ASI) at your local
Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). This person
can advise you on airworthiness certification
procedures. An additional source for advice on
amateur-built and surplus military aircraft is the
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), located in
Oshkosh, WI. You can reach them at (414) 426-4800.
Airworthiness Directives and Special Airworthiness
Information Bulletins about my aircraft and its engines
be sent to me by e-mail?
Yes! You can subscribe to ADs and SAIBs at the
FAA Regulatory & Guidance Library. Current and
historical ADs are also available through RGL.
How do I replace my
lost or worn out Certificate of Airworthiness?
Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) processes
replacement airworthiness certificates.
How do I find the
nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)?
You can use our
FSDO locator to find your local FSDO office. FSDOs
are also listed in the U.S. Government pages of your
local telephone book under Federal Aviation
How can I find out
if the Aircraft Registration Branch received my
You can check to see if the Aircraft Registration Branch
received your documents using the
Document Index search.
How long does it take to process aircraft
Processing time is generally 12 to 16 workdays after
documents arrive in our office. In compliance with
statutory requirements, documents are worked in the
order we receive them.
When will the Aircraft Registry website show
my new address, reserved number, or new registration
We update the Aircraft Registration Inquiry website
after close of business on each federal workday. You can
find new information immediately following this update.
Please allow ten days for processing N-Number
reservations and renewals requested online. Allow 21
days from the mailing date for all other actions.
How do I report my stolen aircraft?
Stolen aircraft should be reported to your local law
enforcement agnecy. Ask that they report the theft to
the National Crime Information Center, as this will
initiate notifications to the appropriate government
offices. If enough time has passed that the return of
the aircraft is no longer expected, the owner should
write to the Aircraft Registration Branch requesting
that the registration for this aircraft be canceled. The
request should fully describe the aircraft, indicate the
reason for cancellation, be signed in ink by the owner
and show a title for the signer if appropriate.
Where do N-numbers come from?
The U.S. received the "N" as its nationality designator
under the International Air Navigation Convention, held
in 1919. The Convention prescribed an aircraft-marking
scheme of a single letter indicating nationality
followed by a hyphen and four identity letters (for
example, G-REMS). The five letters together were to be
the aircraft's radio call sign.
If you purchase an aircraft, you must apply for a
Certificate of Aircraft Registration from the FAA
Aircraft Registry before it can be operated.
Federal aviation regulation (FAR) Part 47 specifies the
requirements for aircraft registration.
To be eligible for registration in the United States, an
aircraft must be owned by:
1. A U.S. citizen, which can be an individual or a
corporation. If a corporation, the president and two
thirds of the board of directors must be U.S. citizens
and 75% of the voting interest must be owned or
controlled by U.S. citizens;
2. A resident alien;
3. A non-citizen corporation lawfully organized and
doing business under the laws of the U.S. as long as the
aircraft is used primarily in the U.S. (60% of all
flights must be start and end in the U.S.); or
4. A U.S. Government unit or subdivision
Also to be eligible for registration in the United
States, the aircraft cannot be registered in another
country. So if the aircraft was previously registered in
a foreign country make sure you have a copy of the
de-registration notice. This is usually in the form of a
telex or fax message from the foreign civil aviation
authority to the FAA.
Necessary FAA Forms
N-Number Registration - Request
for a custom N-number at the FAA (see links)
AC Form 8050-1 - Aircraft
Registration Form (Original FAA Form Only)
AC Form 8050-2 - Aircraft Bill of
Sale (Original FAA Form Only)
AC Form 8050-88 - Affidavit of
FAA Form 8130-6 - Application for
Airworthiness Certificate (Word)
FAA Form 8130-12 - Eligibility
Statement: Amateur-Built Aircraft (Word)
FAA Form 8610-2 - Application for
Repairman Certificate (PDF)
FAA Form 8050-3 - Certificate of
Aircraft Registration (Issued by FAA)
FAA Form 8130-7 - Special
Airworthiness Certificate (Issued by FAA)
Letter - Requesting Airworthiness
InspectionCertificate (Issued by FAA)
Letter - Requesting Airworthiness
PART 47—AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION