Written by: Kent Petty, KL5T, Chairman, Anchorage ARC VEC
Date: March 24, 2022
The FCC held a conference call earlier today with the Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs) to provide more information regarding the rollout of the new $35 amateur radio license application fee. Some important information was provided, and some further details need to be worked out, but by and large, things are ready to go. Following is a list of important things to know. I’ll present these as questions with answers:
Q1: When will the $35 fee structure go into effect.
A1: The fee will be required for any applications (except for administrative updates….see question #11) received by the FCC on and after April 19, 2022. Depending on the VEC you test with, even if you take and pass your exam prior to April 19, 2022, it might not get submitted and received by the FCC until on or after April 19, 2022. The Anchorage ARC typically files with the FCC immediately following completion of each examination session so this should not be an issue with us.
Q2: When can I pay my fee? Can I pre-pay?
A2: You CAN NOT pre-pay. You can only pay your fee AFTER your application has been received by the FCC and an application file number is established.
Q3: How will I know that the FCC has established a file number and I can pay my fee?
A3: Once your application file number is established, the FCC will send you an e-mail (supposedly almost immediately) to let you know that it is time to pay your $35 fee. HOWEVER, if you never see an e-mail, see question 4 and log into the FCC CORES site.
Q4: How do I pay?
A4: You must pay via credit card on the FCC CORES site. You will log into your CORES account, select “Manage Existing FRNs | FRN Financial | Bills and Fees”, then select “ULS Pay Fees”. Once there, you will select your FRN then continue with the process. If you don’t have Commission Registration System (CORES) account, establish one here: https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do
You can also go here for help: https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/html/ULS%20Pay%20Fees.htm
Q5: How long do I have to pay?
A5: You must pay your fee within 10 calendar days of the FCC establishing your application file.
Q6: What happens if I don’t pay within 10 calendar days?
A6: Your application will be dismissed by the FCC.
Q7: When will my callsign be issued?
A7: Supposedly, your callsign will be issued promptly after payment, UNLESS your application has been placed in some sort of review status. You should receive an e-mail from the FCC once your callsign has been issued.
Q6: What happens if my application is dismissed by the FCC because I didn’t pay within 10 calendar days and I still want my license to be issued?
A6: You will need to contact a VEC (likely the VEC organization that you took your exam with), tell them what happened, and request that they resubmit your application to the FCC. Alternatively, you could approach another VEC organization, present your CSCE, tell them what happened, and request that they submit to the FCC on your behalf. For either of these options, you may be charged by the VEC for this action.
Q7: What happens if I answered “Yes” to the “Felony Question”?
A7: You must still pay your application within 10 days as indicated. If not, your application will be dismissed. You must ALSO provide the FCC with documentation regarding the felony within 14 days. If either of those items is not accomplished, your application will be Dismissed.
Q8: Is it possible to ever get a refund of my $35 fee from the FCC?
A8: No. No refunds, period, regardless of the outcome of any licensing decision.
Q9: What about my CSCE?
A9: There will be no changes to your CSCEs. Applicants who pass an examination must still be issued a CSCE which is valid for 365 days.
Q10: What about vanity callsign applications?
A10: When you apply for a vanity callsign, an FCC application file number is established. Before your vanity callsign application is acted upon, you must pay the $35 filing fee. So, be sure you have entered all the possible callsigns you are interested in! Even if you don’t get any of those callsigns, there is no refund of your $35 (see question 8).
Q11: What about minor updates to my license, such as address, e-mail, telephone number changes, name changes, etc.?
A11: The FCC stated that there are no fees required for these applications which are considered “AU” or “Administrative Updates”.
Q12: What is the deal with this updated CORES system?
A12: You must have a CORES account that associates FRN(s) you have with your name. This is ALSO where you will make payments to the FCC. If you have never established an account on the NEW Updated CORES System it is VERY important for you to do so as soon as possible. See Question #4 for the link.
Q13: Can I pay the VEC $35 and have them pay the FCC for me?
A13: No. This is completely impossible. You must work directly with the FCC yourself.
Q14: Does part of the $35 fee go to the VEC I took my exam with?
A14: No. This is an administrative fee used by the FCC to pay for administering the amateur radio license process/program. The fee collected by VECs (if any), is used by the VEC to help offset the costs of administering their respective VEC programs.
As additional information becomes available we will do our best to publish updates.