Aircraft registration

Person inside cockpit of aircraft

Private non-commercial aircraft based in Wisconsin for a period of 30 consecutive days or for a cumulative period of 60 days in any calendar year must apply for registration or file for an exemption from Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues Federal registration for aircraft. All aircraft are issued an "N" number by the FAA, for example "N-1234." This number must be displayed on a visible part of the aircraft. Having an "N" number does not mean that registration is current. WisDOT issues a certificate of registration similar to the certificate of registration issued for highway vehicles.

When you register your aircraft with the FAA or make any changes to your registration, the FAA does not notify WisDOT. It is important to contact WisDOT to register your aircraft or report any changes (e.g., selling your aircraft, basing your aircraft in another state, renumbering, etc.)

Registration

Registration is due on the date of purchase, entry into Wisconsin, construction completion or restoration. Registration fees may be prorated. After initial registration, annual/biennial renewal fees are due on November 1. A renewal notice reminder will be sent to the registered owner sometime in mid-September. You can apply for the following registration types:

  • Initial Wisconsin registration - a new or used aircraft not previously registered in Wisconsin.
  • Restored - if previously held on an unairworthy exemption, fees are prorated for remainder of registration period.
  • Transfer - If aircraft is currently registered in Wisconsin, registration is transferable to new owner(s).
  • Amateur built - To be registered at time of completion or purchase by new owner(s).
  • Antique - Aircraft manufactured 1955 or earlier. Used solely for recreation or display.
  • Aircraft dealers must apply for registration.

An aircraft, which is registered and sold in Wisconsin, must be transferred to the purchaser at the time of purchase. An additional fee of $10 will be charged for all applications filed later than 30 days after the date of purchase. Please notify us of any address changes, if the N number has been changed or if the aircraft has been sold, destroyed or is no longer based in Wisconsin.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Registration

Currently the State of Wisconsin does not require the registration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does have registration requirements: Effective December 21, 2015, anyone who owns a small unmanned aircraft of a certain weight must register with the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry before they fly outdoors. People who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties. For more information about FAA regulations and requirements, see the FAA website.

Exemption

You can apply for the following exemption types:

  • Unairworthy - Aircraft severely damaged or in a state of major deterioration. There is a fee of $10 to register an aircraft as unairworthy.
  • Incomplete amateur built - If your homebuilt is not complete and an FAA "N" number has been issued. Registration fees are due at the time the aircraft is completed or purchased by a new owner.
  • Municipal - State, county or local government aircraft and Civil Air Patrol. Registration fee of $5 annually is required.
  • Museum aircraft - Aircraft held by a museum qualified as tax exempt under section 501 of the IRS code. (Flown to and from displays only.)

To apply:

Submit the following items:

  • Signed and completed Aircraft registration form DT1556 Aircraft Registration or Exemption
  • Registration or exemption fee
  • Transfer fee
  • Penalty fee
  • Tax due
  • Copy of bill of sale
  • Check made payable to: Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Mail with payment to:

Bureau of Aeronautics
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 7914
Madison, WI 53707-7914

If you have questions:

If you have questions on issues other than registration, contact the Bureau of Aeronautics at (608) 266-3351.

If you have questions regarding sales or use tax contact the Department of Revenue at (608) 261-7694.

View the Certification of this guidance document.