If I wanted a FCC Amateur license, is this going to cost me anything? That includes tests, application fees, filing fees, and anything else but hardware.


4 Answers 4


Fees to obtain a license are set by and payable to the volunteer examiner coordinator. They are typically small to free, and limited by §97.527 to reimbursement "for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in preparing, processing, administering, or coordinating an examination for an amateur operator license."

Some VECs and their fees:

There are many other VECs (14 in total, at time of writing), each with their own fee. Some of the smaller VECs are branches of local Ham clubs and don't charge any fee at all.

Most filings you'd have to do over the life of the license (for example, address changes, renewals) are free to file with the FCC. Most can be done online through the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS), so you don't even need to pay for a stamp.

Prior to September 3, 2015, vanity call signs cost \$16.10 per 10 year license period, but now even those are free.

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to throw the cost of a study book into it too. $\endgroup$
    – Seth
    Mar 27, 2014 at 17:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Seth I think most people these days study on the internet. $\endgroup$ Mar 27, 2014 at 18:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Vanity callsigns are now fee-free and have been for some time $\endgroup$
    – shooka
    Aug 28, 2017 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @shooka thanks, edited to bring the answer up to date. $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2017 at 1:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed this week. Included in the FCC's fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests $\endgroup$
    – radio guy
    Aug 28, 2020 at 19:52

In 2014 it costs $15 (sometimes less) for taking a license test with your ARRL VEC (Volunteer Examiner Committee).

See http://www.arrl.org/what-to-bring-to-an-exam-session

A license is good for 10 years and renewal directly through the FCC is costless.


Typically yes. The only fees paid are given to the test administrator. Sometimes you'll find administrators that will volunteer to perform testing without fees, making the whole process free.

There is no licensing fee, application fee, or regulatory fee. The only fee you might have to pay is a nominal testing fee.


Not always. Laurel VEC does not require a fee. They test at Hamvention, too!


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