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$35 FCC Fee coming soon

posted Mar 20, 2021, 8:06 AM by Charles Boling   [ updated Mar 21, 2021, 5:56 PM ]
As many of you are aware, though FCC licenses for the Amateur service have always been free, the FCC decided to change that and begin charging a $35 service fee for every transaction. They are implementing it sooner than I expected, beginning April 19, 2021. We are therefore down to 30 days to file new licenses, upgrades, and vanity applications without having to pay the new fee.

Mike Ritz, the NW ARRL Div Director, sent the correction below. My previous source was wrong, and I'm sorry for propagating misinformation.
Contrary to what you may have heard or read, the collection of application fees
for the amateur radio service and certain other services will NOT begin on
April 19, 2021.

Although April 19, 2021 is the date the rules in the FCC Report and Order
adopted last December generally take effect – i.e., one month after the R&O
was published in the March 19, 2021 Federal Register – certain parts of those
rules, including collection of the application fees for the amateur radio
service, will NOT begin on that date.

The effective date for new amateur radio fees has not yet been established.
The FCC explicitly states in the published Notice that the fees will not
take effect until:
* the requisite notice has been provided to Congress; AND
* the FCC’s information technology systems and internal procedures have
been updated; AND
* the Commission publishes [FUTURE] notice(s) in the Federal Register
announcing the effective date of such rules.

The League’s counsel for FCC matters estimates that the effective start date
for collecting the fees will be some time this summer, but regardless of the
exact timing we will have advance notice. Stay tuned for further developments
on this.

Keep in mind that one can only renew their amateur license within 90 days in
advance of the expiration date. If you, or a club station license you are
trustee for, are within that 90 day window now, I'd renew as soon as possible
to avoid the new fee.

If you are thinking of switching to a vanity callsign, I'd also seriously
suggest you apply for that special callsign sooner rather than later. (Of
course, if you are an Extra class seeking a new shorter 1X2 or 2X1 callsign,
competition for those calls in the future MIGHT be a bit less due to the new
fees! We'll see...)


ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO