FCC $35 Amateur Application Fee will be effective April 19

The ARRL VEC advised us today of the following information about the application fee for amateur radio licenses that will be effective in April.

The FCC released a Public Notice on March 23, 2022, stating that the amateur radio application fees, including those associated with Form 605 application filings, would become effective on April 19, 2022. The Federal Communications Commission’s authority to impose and collect fees is mandated by Congress.

The $35 application fee, when it becomes effective on April 19, will apply to new, renewal, and vanity call sign applications. The fee will be per application.

Administrative updates, such as a change of name, mailing or email address, will be exempt from fees.

New FCC Application Fee Will Not Apply To Amateur Radio License Upgrades

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) staff has clarified in response to an ARRL request that the new $35 application fee will not apply to most license modifications, including those to upgrade a licensee’s operator class and changes to club station trustees. The FCC staff explained that the new fees will apply only to applications for a new license, renewal, rule waiver, or a new vanity call sign.

VECs and Volunteer Examiner (VE) teams will not collect the $35 fee at exam sessions.

Once the FCC application fee takes effect, new and upgrade applicants will pay the $15 exam session fee to the ARRL VE team as usual and pay the $35 application fee directly to the FCC by using the CORES FRN Registration system. VEC and VE team licensing procedures will not change.

When the FCC receives the examination information from the VEC, it will email a link with payment instructions to each successful candidate. The candidate will have 10 calendar days, from the date of the application file number being issued, to pay. After the fee is paid, and the FCC has processed an application, examinees will receive a second email from the FCC with a link to their official license. The link will be good for 30 days.

Per usual procedures, examinees that pass multiple exams at one session, will have one application transmitted to the FCC reflecting the highest level license class earned.

The candidates will have an extra step before the license is issued. VE teams can point candidates to our FCC Application Fee webpage at http://www.arrl.org/fcc-application-fee. Our new ARRL VEC CSCEs also include information about the application fee and points candidates to the webpage.

Additionally, the FCC stated that applications processed and dismissed will not be entitled to a refund. This includes vanity requests where the applicant does not receive the requested call sign. However, returned applications that are missing information will not require an additional fee, if the missing information is given to the FCC within the proper amount of time.

Youth Licensing Grant Program

Anticipating the implementation of the fee in 2022, the ARRL Board of Directors, at its July 2021 meeting, approved the “ARRL Youth Licensing Grant Program” https://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-board-establishes-program-to-cover-initial-fcc-license-fee-for-young-applicants. Under the program, ARRL will cover a one-time $35 application fee for license candidates younger than 18 years old for tests administered under the auspices of the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (ARRL VEC). Qualified candidates also would pay a reduced exam session fee of $5 to the ARRL VEC. ARRL is finalizing details for administering the program. More details will be shared when available.

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