I've been living as an expat for a decade, and my extra class license expired a little more than a year ago. I'm currently in Taiwan.

Is it possible to renew my license while staying here? Can I do it completely electronically? Or do the exams still need to be issued by an examiner or some proxy? This answer suggests everything is now electronic, but is that really true for the exam?

I don't think there is a code test any more, right? It was still required when I took the test but I think it was about to disappear. I do have a mailing address in the US with people who can open and/or forward things for me.

  • $\begingroup$ It is true, but not for an exam. There is a grace period after expiration during which you can still just renew. I don't recall if "a little more than a year" qualifies. If not, then you aren't renewing at all. You'd be starting over. Is there an expat ham radio club where you are? If so, someone there would know for sure. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Jun 18 '17 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ See my answer below. There is a two-year grace period, and it looks like he can renew it online. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jun 18 '17 at 22:26

You CAN renew online, and you have a two-year grace period.

From http://www.arrl.org/renewals:

Amateur applications can be filed manually using paper forms or electronically via the web. Amateurs may electronically renew their FCC-issued licenses online using the FCC ULS . FCC permits online renewals at 90 days or less before a license will expire, and when the license has expired but is still within the two-year grace period for renewal. Licenses that have been expired for more than two years are not eligible for renewal or reinstatement.

Amateurs may renew their licenses within 90 days before the license expiration date, or within the two-year license grace period after expiration, by using FCC Form 605 by mail to: FCC, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg PA 17325-7245. Licenses that have been expired for more than two years are not eligible for renewal or reinstatement.

For a complete list of FCC filing instructions and filing fees go to http://www.arrl.org/call-sign-renewals-or-changes.

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    $\begingroup$ OK this is good news! That's quite a pretty generous grace period. It looks like if I'm able to renew within it, I will not need to schedule a new test. Thanks for looking into this. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 19 '17 at 1:28

Ordinarily, you do need to take a test in person.

What you need to do is contact a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) organization to ask if they have or can arrange a testing session you could attend, or do a test over a video conference, or some such arrangement. It's up to the particular VEC to decide what they can do for you.

The VEC is also responsible for informing the FCC that they should grant you a license, so you don't need to do anything else, electronically or otherwise, than arrange for the test. (If you haven't already, you may wish to obtain a FRN beforehand to avoid disclosing your Social Security number to the examiner, but you can do that using the FCC's web site.)

There is no code test for any license level.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the speedy reply! I have my expired license here filed away here somewhere but I can also see myself on wireless2.fcc.gov, and there is an FRN displayed there. My status is shown as active though the expiration date has passed. Do you know if I can I just continue to use this FRN? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 18 '17 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh FRNs are permanent as far as I know. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jun 18 '17 at 16:55

Amateur Radio operators licensed in Taiwan find they cannot use their license outside their jurisdiction so they are eager to be licensed where there are reciprocal agreements for maximum flexibility during their overseas travel.

To that end, there appears to be an active VE group in Taipei that administers FCC licensing exams as well as providing VE services. The exam that was conducted earlier this year may be found here and one may be able to find out whether an upcoming session is scheduled or provide VE services upon request: http://www.arrl.org/exam_sessions/taiwan-fg-00000-3

Hope this helps!

73, BM2NHC

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. Many years ago I was strongly encouraged here to become a VE. It seemed quite strange at the time, and nobody explained why. Now I understand the context better. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 5 '19 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ I will omit salutations in future posts. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – BM2NHC Nov 5 '19 at 21:41

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