The FAA has announced on its Aircraft Registration web page that it has introduced self-guided online aircraft registration for individual aircraft owners. The self-guided registrations aren’t yet available for more complicated registrations, such as corporations, LLCs, or partnerships, but those will be added in the future.

This service is no doubt intended to shorten the backlog in registrations, which has been partially resolved with the FAA’s extension of aircraft registration certificates from three to seven years, effective January 23, 2023. But concurrent with that date, the FAA Registry will no longer issue letters of extension, as the four-year increase is designed to eliminate the need for extension letters.

The FAA has created a detailed instructional PDF with screenshots of the steps needed to complete a self-guided registration. The PDF will be revised periodically as needed, so owners should visit the FAA’s website and download the PDF from there to ensure they’re using the most updated version. The PDF link is found here.

Before attempting to fill out the online registration, owners may find it helpful to download the PDF, read it thoroughly to familiarize themselves with the steps, and to make sure they have all the information needed and documents scanned, ready for uploading. The Table of Contents from the FAA’s CARES User Guide PDF gives a good overview of the steps, information, and documents involved: 

01 Sign Up for Individual CARES Account
This user guide will show you how to access CARES Home Page and Select Sign Up/Register, verify your Identity Using Last 4 Digits of Social Security Number (SSN) or government Issued ID and smart phone. 

02 First Time Sign In and Complete Profile  
This user guide will show you how to activate your My Access account, setup Multifactor Authentication (MFA), and complete your CARES profile. 

03 Reset Password 
This guide covers the steps a user will take to reset a forgotten or lost CARES system password. Use this guide before calling the FAA Help Desk if you do not know your CARES password. 

04 CARES User Interface
This guide provides a visual reference of CARES screens, buttons, icons, and other registry actions users can initiate in CARES. 

05 Manage Aircraft Registration
This guide will show you how to request, view, and/or download aircraft records and renew an aircraft registration. 

06 Aircraft Registration – Individual
This user guide will show you how to navigate to Aircraft Services, provide aircraft information (make, model, serial number), provide bill of sale and supporting documents, request N-Number services, and sign with Docusign. 

07 N-Numbers
This guide will show you how to locate aircraft information using an N-Number, request to reserve an N-Number, and request N-Number services through 

08 Register Aircraft – Light Sport
This guide demonstrates how to register a single light sport aircraft. 

09 Register Aircraft – Amateur Built  
This user guide demonstrates how to register a single amateur built aircraft. 

10 Register Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)  
This guide demonstrates how to register a single Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).  

Appendix 1 Aircraft Registration Documents Table
This guide explains the documents and forms required for aircraft registration in CARES or at FAA Registry Services.