Relicensing for Former Holders of Expired Amateur Radio Licenses

The new rules:  

The Federal Communications Commission allows individuals who formerly held an amateur radio license but have allowed the license to lapse (not be renewed) to obtain a new license and credit for exam elements passed previously.  This provision applies primarily to those who held a U.S. issued license of General,  Advanced, or Amateur Extra Class.    Holders of Conditional class licenses (a General class license taken by mail) may take advantage of this program, but a FCC waiver is involved.  Contact the VEC Chairman for more information.  

Note that every applicant for a reissued license must take and pass the Technician class (Element 2) written examination.  There are no exceptions. The fact that a person once held a license of a higher class does not relieve the applicant from having to take (and pass) the Element 2 exam.  

If you once held a FCC issued amateur radio license, but that license has been expired for a period exceeding 2 years plus 1 day from its expiration date, you will need to use this procedure if you want to receive credit for elements passed at some other time.  

General provisions: 

Once the Element 2 exam has been successfully passed, if the applicant has proof of having previously held a General, Conditional, Advanced, or Amateur Extra class license, they can be upgraded to General or Amateur Extra class without the need to take those exam elements again. Persons who held a General, Conditional, or Advanced class license will be issued a new General class license, and persons who held an Amateur Extra class license will be issued a new Amateur Extra class license. Note that new Advanced class licenses are not being issued, so former Advanced class licensees taking advantage of this provision will be dropped back to General class.

Important!  (The affidavit requirement is applicable only to persons making application via the Anchorage VEC.  Other VECs may have different requirements.  Check with the VEC you are intending to use for this process to determine their requirements.) 

For individuals making application for relicensing via the Anchorage VEC:  All persons making application for a new or upgraded license under this new rule must complete the affidavit form that gives details of their previous license.  Signatures of 2 additional witnesses will be required if the applicant name and/or mailing address are different from that shown on the expired license.   

Affidavit forms may be obtained by clicking here.  

Acceptable forms of proof of previous license status include the following:

(1) An original license, or verified photocopy of an original license, of the requisite grade, showing the name, address and signature of the applicant. Also acceptable: A document from the FCC or FCC authorized contractor showing the applicant’s name, former call sign, and license class.

(2) If the applicant’s name and mailing address have not changed, we will accept either a photocopy or an actual page from a printed listing in a published call directory (example: the Radio Amateur Callbook Magazine) showing the applicant’s name (or previous name), call sign, license class, mailing address, and the publication date of the reference. Acceptable proof can also be a printout from an on-line list server, such as Photocopies are subject to independent verification.

(3) If the applicant’s name and/or mailing address have changed, then we will need, in addition to the above, a written affidavit from the applicant that he or she formerly resided at the address shown, and was licensed (including call sign and license class). We also require written and signed statements from 2 adult individuals, signing as witnesses who know the applicant, attesting that the facts as presented are correct. We prefer that these adults be licensed amateur radio operators, but this is not an absolute requirement. The signatures of the additional witnesses must include contact information, to include at least their name, mailing address and telephone number. If available, email contact information should be included. 

(4) You may be able to obtain a certified copy of your original license from the FCC.  

Note: The FCC says their records only go back to 1965.  If you are looking for verification of a license that was issued (or expired) before 1965, you will need to use alternate methods.  Please contact us for options if this is your case.  

Here is what the FCC said in a recent communication on this subject: 

“This is the information we send to callers who are requesting verification”  (continue, below)

If you do not have a copy of your old amateur license that shows when you were granted a certain operator class, you can request a verification of your license status at that time by sending a letter by regular U.S. Postal Mail (no emails please) to:

Attn: Amateur Manager
1280 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

You can also fax the request to 1 – 717 – 338 – 2690     Address the fax to: Attn: Amateur Manager on the cover sheet.

Additionally, you can also submit the request through the FCC website at this address:   FCC Website  

Information you need to include on your request:

1) The call sign you wish researched
2) Licensee name as it appeared on the license
3) Mailing address as it appeared on the license
4) Your current mailing address
5) Your date of birth
6) Class of license (Novice, Technician, Technician Plus, General, Advanced, Extra)
7) Approximate date the license was issued  

(Note: Individuals who held a Conditional class license (a General class license taken by mail) must use a waiver process.  Contact the VEC Chairman for additional information. 

You will be sent a letter verifying your license status, so please provide a current mailing address in your request. 

You will need to present either a copy of your old license to show proof of passing the tests, or the amateur verification that you have received.

If you have any further questions or need additional information, submit a request to the FCC for help.  Click here  for help

or call the FCC Licensing Support Center at 1 – 877 – 480 – 3201

These requests will take some time. Do not expect immediate response.

(5) You may be able to contact the VEC that administered your license exam.  Some VECs keep archived copies of exams taken by applicants.  If “your” VEC is one of these, you may be able to obtain a letter from them verifying that  you took and passed various exam elements.   Both the ARRL VEC and the W5YI VEC maintain such files.  The Anchorage ARC VEC does NOT maintain such information.  The policy of other VECs may be to maintain this information.  Check with them to determine whether or not they can help you.  We have a contact list for all VECs, and can provide you with current contact information.  Send us an email and we will try to help if we can.  Click here  to send us an email about finding your original VEC.  

Call signs:

Persons obtaining a new license via this procedure will be issued a new call sign from the pool of unassigned call signs appropriate for their license class. They will not receive their old call sign, and their old call sign should not be entered on the 605 form.

Persons wanting their old call sign must apply via the vanity license programs.  If the call sign is available (meaning that it has not been reissued to another amateur), they will receive that call sign. The Anchorage VEC does not process vanity call sign applications. Applicants may apply themselves, via the FCC’s web site, or go to one of the FCC approved vanity call sign administrators, who will (for a small added fee) process the application for them. Two such administrators are the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the W5YI Group. There is a fee for receiving a vanity call sign, approximately $22.00 as of Spring, 2014.

Questions? Direct all questions concerning this process to our VEC Chairman, Kent Petty, KL5T. Kent may be reached by email (which is the preferred method), or by telephone, or by regular postal mail.

Contact information:

Kent Petty, KL5T
Chairman, Anchorage VEC
21440 Falling Water Circle
Eagle River, AK  9957

via email:    kl5t (at)     or

via Telephone:   1 – 907 – 688 – 0660  

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