A Public Notice released by the Federal Communications Commission on March 23rd, 2022, in M-D Docket No. 20-270, announced that new application fees for Wireless Telecommunications Bureau applications will become effective on
April 19th, 2022. The new fees, mandated by Congress, apply to applications for Amateur Radio licenses including those associated with filing Form 605, the Amateur Operator Primary Station Licensee Application.
Effective April 19th, 2022, a $35 fee will apply to applications for a new Amateur Radio license, modification, including upgrade and sequential call sign change, renewal, and vanity call signs.
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. 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.
Qualified candidates also would pay a reduced exam session fee of $5 to the ARRL V-E-C. ARRL is finalizing details for administering the program.
ARRL had filed comments in opposition to imposing a fee on Amateur Radio license applications. The F-C-C initially proposed a higher, $50 fee. In a Report and Order, released on December 29th, 2020, the amount was reduced, the F-C-C agreeing with ARRL and other commenters that its proposed $50 fee for certain amateur radio applications was too high to account for the minimal staff involvement in these applications.
ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, explained that all fees are per application. There will be no fee for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing or email address. The fees will be the responsibility of the applicant regardless of filing method and must be paid within ten calendar days of F-C-C’s receipt of the application.
For applications filed by a V-E-C, the period does not begin until the application is received by the Commission, a U-L-S file number assigned, and an email sent by the F-C-C directly to the applicant.
V-E-Cs and Volunteer Examiner teams will not collect the $35 fee at license exam sessions. New and upgrade candidates at an exam session will continue to pay the $15 exam session fee to the ARRL V-E team as usual, and pay the new, $35 application fee directly to the F-C-C by using the CORES F-R-N Registration system, or CORES – Login.
When the F-C-C receives the examination information from the V-E-C, it will email a link with payment instructions to each successful candidate who then will have ten calendar days from the date of the email to pay. After the fee is paid and the F-C-C has processed an application, examinees will receive a second email from the F-C-C with a link to their official license or explanation of other action. The link will be good for thirty days.
Somma also explained that applications that are processed and dismissed will not be entitled to a refund. This includes vanity call sign requests where the applicant does not receive the requested call sign. The F-C-C staff has suggested that applicants for vanity call signs should first ensure the call signs requested are available and eligible for their operator class and area, and then request as many call signs as the form allows to maximize their chances of receiving a call sign.
Further information and instructions about the F-C-C Application Fee are available from the ARRL V-E-C at http://www.arrl.org/fcc-application-fee. Details for the ARRL Youth Licensing Grant Program will be similarly posted there, when it becomes available.