The below list contains step-by-step instructions for requesting FAA authorization to operate a UAS for civil (non-governmental) purposes pursuant to 49 USC Section 44807 (which replaced Section 333).
- Review the Public Guidance for Petitions for Exemption (PDF). This document describes what information petitioners should submit specifically to request FAA authorization to operate a UAS in the National Airspace System (NAS).
- Prepare your petition for filing. Before filing your petition, review the FAA's Guidance to ensure your petition contains all the necessary information.
- When you have verified that all the necessary information is included, file your petition for exemption on the public docket. This docket has been created exclusively for the submission of petitions under the Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Submission instructions are available here (PDF).
To operate under this exemption, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). The FAA will issue a "blanket" COA for flights at or below 400 feet to all UAS operators with a Section 44807 exemption. View a copy of this "blanket" COA, including operating conditions and limitations (PDF). Any operator with a valid Section 44807 exemption (or previously issued Section 333 grant of exemption) can operate using this COA, unless it conflicts with the conditions and limitation of the exemption.
Exemption holders who want to fly outside these parameters are eligible to apply for a separate "full" COA specific to the airspace required for their operation. Applications for a "full" COA MUST be submitted through the UAS Civil COA Portal, not the public docket.
COA applications MUST include:
- An exemption number – corresponding to the Federal Register Docket ID for your petition for exemption
- A registration number – all aircraft must be registered with the FAA to be issued a COA
NOTE: The COA application process is separate from the petition for exemption process. Both the COA application and the petition for exemption should be submitted under the same name/company name.
Questions about the PETITION FOR EXEMPTION and COA APPLICATION process should be directed to UAShelp@faa.gov.
- Section 333 Guidance (PDF) (document currently being updated)
- Instructions for filing a petition for exemption on the public docket (PDF) (document currently being updated)
- Aircraft registration instructions
- Press release for streamlined COA procedures
- "Blanket" COA for flights below 400 feet (PDF)
- UAS Civil COA Portal
- SAMPLE Civil COA application (PDF)