FAA Has Extended the Deadline for Remote ID Enforcement to March 16, 2024—Here’s Everything You Need to Know
BY Zacc Dukowitz19 September 2023
The FAA has extended the deadline for enforcing Remote ID compliance by six months.
The original enforcement deadline was September 16, 2023—but the new deadline is now March 16, 2024.
It’s important to note that the FAA won’t grant any further extensions. After the new deadline, operators who aren’t compliant “could face fines and suspension or revocation of pilot certificates.”
So even though you now have six more months until enforcement, we recommend you start working on compliance now.
We created this resource to help you understand the Remote ID requirements for drone operations in the U.S. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Remote ID and how to be compliant, regardless of whether you fly commercially or just for fun.
Here’s a menu in case you’d like to jump around:
- Remote ID Enforcement vs. Compliance
- Why Did the FAA Extend the Remote ID Deadline?
- What Is Remote ID?
- Who Has to Comply with Remote ID Drone Requirements?
- How to Comply with Remote ID Requirements
- Remote ID Resources
Remote ID Enforcement vs. Compliance
In an announcement published on September 13, just three days before the original Remote ID deadline, the FAA stated:
Drone pilots who are unable to comply with the broadcast requirement of the Remote ID Rule will now have until March 16, 2024, to equip their aircraft. After that date, operators could face fines and suspension or revocation of pilot certificates.
It’s important to note that the FAA hasn’t extended the compliance deadline for Remote ID. Rather, it has extended the deadline for enforcing compliance.
In an interview with The Drone Girl, Kevin Morris, UAS/AAM Coordinator for the FAA, said:
One thing I want to mention right away is that the deadline for drone pilots to comply with Remote ID has not changed. Drone pilots are still expected to comply with the rule, however we understand that for a variety of reasons they may not be able to.
While this may seem like semantics, it’s important to the FAA.
The distinction is that the FAA is expecting drone pilots who can comply to start doing so. But if you can’t, you’re being given a six month grace period in which there will be no enforcement—meaning, no fines or other punishment.
If you’re confused, you’re not alone. This statement is probably the clearest summation out there to explain how to navigate the enforcement vs. compliance distinction:
One way to think about this is: if you can easily comply with the rules by updating your drone’s software, you ought to do so because there is no excuse for not complying. If you need to attach a module and none are available, you should be OK for a while longer.
– Brendan Schulman, VP of Policy & Legal Affairs
This FAA document lays out the full Remote ID enforcement extension policy if you’d like to read the fine print.
Why Did the FAA Extend the Remote ID Deadline?
There are four main reasons the FAA extended the deadline:
- Lack of supply for Remote ID broadcast modules
- The FAA’s slow approvals of manufacturer Declarations of Compliance
- Lack of software updates from manufacturers
- The FAA’s delays with FRIA approvals
Let’s take a look at each one.
1. Lack of supply for Remote ID broadcast modules
When you read the FAA’s announcement, the only comment made on why it’s providing an extension is this: “In making this decision, the FAA recognizes the unanticipated issues that some operators are experiencing finding some remote identification broadcast modules.”
Although the FAA doesn’t elaborate, the backstory here is that there has been a short supply of broadcast modules.
A broadcast module is one of the two main ways you can be compliant with Remote ID requirements (jump down for more information on how to be compliant).
The Dronetag Mini, a Remote ID broadcast module made by Dronetag
In general, broadcast modules are used for older drone models that either don’t come automatically compliant or that can’t be made compliant through a firmware update. With these types of drones, the only way to be compliant is to add a module to them that broadcasts key identifying information, thus satisfying the requirements of Remote ID.
But even though companies that make these modules knew the Remote ID deadline was approaching, all the big ones were completely sold out as of a week before the original deadline.
Acknowledging this shortage, the FAA first signaled that it would provide relief at Commercial UAV Expo in early September.
During his keynote on September 5, Brandon Roberts, the FAA’s Executive Director of the Office of Rulemaking, said that the FAA would not seek to punish operators who want to comply but “simply can’t get a module.”
2. The FAA’s slow approvals of manufacturer Declarations of Compliance
The lack of broadcast modules may be the biggest and most public reason the FAA extended the Remote ID deadline. But another reason to extend the deadline was that the FAA has been moving slowly on issuing Declaration of Compliance approvals to drone companies.
A Declaration of Compliance (DOC) is a record submitted to the FAA by the producer of a Standard Remote ID drone or Remote ID broadcast module to attest that all production requirements of the rule have been met. The rule establishes minimum performance requirements describing the desired outcomes, goals, and results for Remote ID without establishing a specific means or process.
Declarations of Compliance are essentially confirmation that the company has met the Remote ID requirements.
While you could buy a drone that hasn’t yet received its declaration, it would be reassuring to know that it had. So moving slowly on getting declarations out has definitely been an issue for consumers who are trying to do their due diligence, and buy compliant drones.
Want to see if your drone is officially compliant? Here is the FAA’s full Declaration of Compliance list for every drone that has a declaration filed. (The list includes declarations both for Remote ID and for Operations Over People.)
3. Lack of software updates from manufacturers
Another reason an extension was reasonable, and one the FAA probably factored into its decision, is that some companies were still hustling to catch up.
Drone companies were supposed to start manufacturing Remote ID-compliant drones as of September 16, 2022. And they were also supposed to be issuing firmware updates to make drones manufactured prior to that date compliant.
But not all companies have met either or both of these requirements for all their drones. Some still haven’t issued updates for all their drone models, which means there could be people who own a drone and want to be compliant, but can’t because there isn’t a way to make the necessary updates.
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro | Credit: DJI
Even DJI, which has issued a huge list of firmware updates for Remote ID compliance, still has these drone models that don’t have one:
- DJI Mavic 2
- DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- DJI Air 2
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2
And DJI isn’t the only one. There are several other drone models out there lacking software updates to make them compliant.
4. The FAA’s delays with FRIA Approvals
FRIA stands for FAA-Recognized Identification Area. Under the Remote ID rule, you can be compliant by flying a drone with a broadcast module or by flying a drone that’s compliant due to being manufactured that way or due to becoming compliant through a firmware update.
But there’s also a third way to be compliant: flying in a FRIA.
If you fly in a FRIA, you don’t have to worry about Remote ID technology at all. You can fly an old drone that’s not compliant in terms of technology in a FRIA and be compliant because of where you’re flying.
This is great if you don’t want to deal with the headaches—or cost—of compliance.
The only problem is that the FAA has been slow to approve FRIA requests. As of August 18, the FAA had only approved 412 FRIA applications, with another 1,206 left waiting for approval—and more requests coming in all the time.
This delay was another contributing factor in the FAA’s decision to extend the enforcement deadline.
What Is Remote ID?
The FAA defines Remote ID as “. . . the ability of a drone in flight to provide identification and location information that can be received by other parties through a broadcast signal.”
Put simply, Remote ID allows your drone to be identified remotely.
By broadcasting identifying information, the FAA aims at making the skies safer, allowing them and other authorized parties to know who is flying in the airspace at any given time.
The specific Remote ID data the drone needs to broadcast from takeoff to shutdown is:
- Drone ID
- Drone Location and Altitude
- Drone Velocity
- Control Station Location and Elevation
- Time Mark
- Emergency Status
Who Has to Comply with Remote ID Drone Requirements?
All drones need to be compliant with the Remote ID rule when flying in the U.S., regardless of whether they’re being flown for commercial or recreational purposes.
There are just two exceptions:
- Drones that weigh less than .55 pounds AND will be flown only for recreational purposes do not have to comply with Remote ID requirements.
- If you fly ONLY in an FAA-Recognized Identification Area (FRIA) you do not have to comply with Remote ID requirements.
How to Comply with Remote ID Requirements
There are three options for compliance:
- Use a drone with standard Remote ID
- Attach a Remote ID broadcast module to your drone
- Operate a drone without Remote ID within an FAA-Recognized Identification Area (FRIA)
Keep reading for in-depth information on each of these three options.
1. Use a Drone with Standard Remote ID
There are two ways for your drone to have Standard Remote ID:
- Buy a drone that has Standard Remote ID built into it.
- Update the firmware on your drone to add Standard Remote ID.
Here is more information on each of these two:
1a. Buy a drone that has Standard Remote ID built into it.
If you have a newer drone then it may already have Standard Remote ID built into it, since all drones made on or after September 16, 2022 are supposed to be compliant.
But some drone companies are behind with compliance, and the FAA has been lenient with companies who were behind on meeting the 2022 deadline. Just because your drone was made after that date doesn’t automatically mean it is Remote ID compliant.
For this reason, it’s important to confirm that the drone you’re buying is actually compliant.
2a. Update the firmware on your drone to add Standard Remote ID.
For older drones, companies are releasing firmware updates to make them compliant with Remote ID requirements.
This means that even if your drone doesn’t currently have Standard Remote ID, you might be able to easily add it just by updating your drone’s firmware.
Keep reading for a list of some of the drones that can currently be made compliant via a firmware update.
Two things to note:
- This list is not exhaustive. We encourage you to do your own research to find out whether your specific drone(s) can be made Remote ID compliant via a firmware update.
- This list was published on August 9, 2023. More firmware updates may come out after the publication of this list.
Drones that Can Be Made Remote ID Compliant via Firmware Updates
- DJI Avata
- DJI Agras T40
- DJI Mavic 3 Pro
- DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine
- DJI Mavic 3
- DJI Mavic 3 Classic
- DJI Mavic 3 Cine
- DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise
- DJI Mavic 3 Thermal
- DJI Mavic 3 Multispectral
- DJI Inspire 3
- DJI M350 RTK
- DJI M300 RTK
- DJI Matrice 30
- DJI Matrice 30 Thermal
- DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
- DJI Air 2S
- DJI Mini 3
- DJI Mini 3 Pro
- The Elios 3 RID
- Microdrones MD4-3000
- Microdrones MD4-1000
- The Skydio 2
- The Skydio 2+
- The Skydio X2E
- WingtraOne Gen II
2. Attach a Remote ID Broadcast Module to Your Drone
If you have an older drone that doesn’t have Remote ID and that can’t get it via a firmware update, you’ll need to buy a broadcast module and attach it to your drone to be compliant.
Here are some broadcast modules to consider:
3. Operate without Remote ID within an FAA-Recognized Identification Area (FRIA)
The third option is quite limited. But for those who want to fly drones just for fun—also called recreational flyers by the FAA—this could be worth considering.
Under this option, there’s no need to worry about having a drone with Standard Remote ID or attaching a broadcast module to your drone to comply with Remote ID. All you have to do is go to a FRIA and fly.
Remote ID Resources
Want to learn more about Remote ID? Here’s a list of resources in case you want to dive deeper: