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I'm going to be visiting the US soon (I live in the UK), and since I've heard it's very easy to get a US amateur radio licence and it's something that could be beneficial, I thought, why not?

I see that it requires an address, though. What are the requirements on this address. In particular:

  1. Do they require it to be a residential address? Do they require it to be valid for any particular period after the exam is taken (do you have to keep it up-to-date with something which can actually reach you)?
  2. What do they send to it? Anything recurring or just one-off things?
  3. For what period of time do they typically send things to it after you take the exam?

Basically, as you might have guessed, I'm wondering if it'd be feasible to use my hotel's address. I guess alternatively I could pay for a PO Box for a short while, or something similar?

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  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Amateur Radio for a Nomad $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Mar 28 '17 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilFrost-W8II Hmm. The general idea is the same, but this covers more than that (the answer there is not complete for this), and in a reasonable way. Maybe close the other direction if this gets a good answer? $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Mar 28 '17 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ (I don't have time to write one just this minute…) $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Mar 28 '17 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ That does mostly answer my question in practice (I didn't find it because I was searching for terms that didn't appear in that question). I suppose the "find a friend" option is likely the most practical. $\endgroup$ – Muzer M0SWT Mar 28 '17 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilFrost-W8II What do you think about closing in the other direction now? (Asking you particularly since you wrote the other answer on that question.) $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Mar 29 '17 at 3:36
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The requirement of the address is that it be a mailing address that they can use to communicate with you. It does not need to be a residential address, and it does not even need to be uniquely yours, just one that you can be reached at.

§97.23 Mailing address.

Each license grant must show the grantee's correct name and mailing address. The mailing address must be in an area where the amateur service is regulated by the FCC and where the grantee can receive mail delivery by the United States Postal Service. Revocation of the station license or suspension of the operator license may result when correspondence from the FCC is returned as undeliverable because the grantee failed to provide the correct mailing address.


What do they send to it? Anything recurring or just one-off things? For what period of time do they typically send things to it after you take the exam?

You should not expect to receive any mail, recurring or otherwise, from the FCC, but the mail you most critically need to receive is precisely the unexpected mail (notice of problems with your operation).

Licenses are now purely electronic (you go look at the ULS database; they don't send you anything), and there are no renewal notices by mail.

You may receive “welcome to being a ham” mail from local organizations, and who knows how promptly that will arrive.

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  • $\begingroup$ Correct, the FCC no longer sends paper licenses by default. You can request one online though. It looks exactly the same as the one you print out yourself. The FCC does not notify you of renewals. The only mail you get from the FCC are situations that you need to take care of, i.e. you or your equipment is malfunctioning and transmitting in a non-approved manner. $\endgroup$ – Claus Mar 28 '17 at 19:29
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Foreign nationals may get amateur radio licenses in the USA. The residency requirement was dropped many years ago. You do need a US address where the FCC can reach you with any official letters or other documents. This can be a Post Office Box.

You would need to apply for a FRN from the FCC as you would not have a social security number. FRNs are normally issued with your first license, but you can apply for before getting licensed.

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