How to Renew Your Ham Radio License? – 3 Methods


Written by

Rafeal Hart


Fact-checked by

Norris Howe

how to renew your ham radio license

Having a ham radio license is crucial in ensuring continued participation in the dynamic radio world. However, like any other radio license with an expiration date, hams radio is no exception.

Maintaining a valid and active license is crucial for the responsible use of radio frequencies, even if requirements and procedures differ across countries. Whether you’re new to it or an experienced user, keeping your radio license up to date is essential.

For a deeper insight, read on and understand how to renew your ham radio license, the requirements, renewal duration, and more. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Renewal Process


You can renew your ham radio license in three ways: through the Federal Communication Commission(FCC) website, by mail, or via American Radio Relay Legacy (ARRL).

However, the renewal can only happen 90 days before the expiry date or before a two-year lapse. Let’s take a closer look at each method:

1. Through the federal communication commission website

FCC ham license renewal gives you the simplest way for renewing your ham radio license online through their License Manager. Here is how you can do it.


  • Step 1. Go to the Federal Communication Commission website.
  • Step 2. Choose “Filing.”
  • Step 3. Log in to your account. If you don’t have one, create one.
  • Step 4. Use the search bar to find and submit your registration number.
  • Step 5. Click “My Licenses” and select “Renewal Licenses.”
  • Step 6. Choose the license you want to renew.
  • Step 7. Pay the renewal fee of approximately $35.

The fee is for a new 10-year term. You have ten days to pay unless your renewal application is removed.

  • Step 8. Finally, renew your license.

2. Via mail


To renew the amateur radio license via email, download two forms from the FCC Forms Webpage. The first is Form 605 for the renewal information, and the second is Form 159 for making your payment.

After completing both forms, please review them carefully and email them to their address. It takes some weeks to process the request.

Note: You must complete Form 159 and include a payment of $35. The renewal process is not free. FCC began charging renewal costs in April 2022.

3. Through ARRL


To maintain the validity of your ham radio license via ARRL, you must present the required documentation, Form 605, to the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (ARRL VEC). It is important to note that forms sent directly to FCC will not be accepted.

AARL members can renew their licenses for free, but non-members must pay the current license renewal fee. Failure to pay, your renewal application will be declined.

Compared to other methods, license renewal via ARRL can take only a few days once they receive it. Once done, you will receive a link to your official license copy.

Note: Renewing your license through the W5yi License renewal option is also a viable method, in addition to the three critical ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

The requirements for renewing a ham radio license


Before renewing your Hams license, you may need some information. Here are some of the requirements:

  • Personal information. When renewing your license, it’s important to provide your personal information, such as your unique identification code, address, or password, regardless of the renewal method you choose. Ensuring the accuracy of this information is necessary to access your account.
  • Old license. To renew your radio license, you have to be eligible. That means you must be a previous license holder nearing the expiration date or expired. This is necessary to validate your documentation.
  • Renewal fee. In order to maintain the validity of your license, you must pay a renewal cost determined by your service provider. The exact cost will be displayed during the renewal process, so simply fill out the renewal form and pay the stated fee.

Tips to know when your license will expire

You can use various ways to know when your license will expire. Firstly, you can request a notification from ARRL. Secondly, you can visit the Federal Communication Commission website. Lastly, you use Read on for a detailed explanation of each method.

1. Notification from ARRL


As an AARL member, you can request that ARRL notifies you when your license is close to expiration. To do this, you will need to update your information on the ARRL website. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Step 1. Go to the ARRL website.
  • Step 2. Click on “Edit your profile.”
  • Step 3. Choose the “Edit Email Subscriptions” tab
  • Step 4. Select “Notification of License expiration date.”

After this, ARRL will send you email notifications on your license expiry ninety days before the due date.

2. Visit federal communication commission website


The Federal Communication Commission is tasked with storing license information on its Universal Licensing System. So when you need to know when your license will expire, you must do a License search. Here are the steps:

  • Step 1. Open the Federal Communication Commission  website on your browser.
  • Step 2. Navigate to the search bar and click “License Search”
  • Step 3. Key in  “Your unique identification code” in the search bar
  • Step 4. Start the search.
  • Step 5. Check your license expiration on the displayed page.

This page will only appear if you enter the correct call sign.

3. Use

To check if your license has expired, visit the QRZ page connected to the Federal Communication Commission. The information available on the page should be similar.

However, to check your information, you must have a QRZ  account. Thankfully, the registration is free. Here is how you can do it:

  • Step 1. Open QRZ Website.
  • Step 2. Key in your unique identification code in the search bar and start the search.
  • Step 3. Pick the Tab with Details on the next page.

Here, you will find your license expiry date and other relevant information.

How often do I need to renew my license?

Before understanding the frequency of your license renewal, knowing how long a ham radio license lasts is crucial. Usually, the license can last 5 -10 years, varying in countries.

Thus, the frequency of your renewal will depend on the country where you hold the license. For instance, a hams radio license is valid for ten years if you are in America. However, you can always renew your license 90 days before the expiration date.

But, in the event your license expires without any justifiable cause, you have a two-year grace period, during which you may reapply. If you don’t do so within the time limit, your expired ham radio license will be removed from the FCC system.

Can I renew my ham radio license if I have changed my address since my last renewal?


Yes, you can renew your radio license even if you have changed your address. Changing your address will not have any impact on the renewal process. Moreover, you are free to change your address whenever you wish to.

Additionally, The FCC does not charge for administrative updates such as changes to your name, mailing address, or modifications to your address.


Knowing how to renew your ham radio license to stay actively involved, and use radio frequencies responsibly, is crucial. Whether you prefer to renew in a particular way, it is crucial to comprehend every step to avoid disruptions and ensure timely renewal.

Remember that you can renew your license without difficulties, even though the requirements may differ. So, by keeping your license up to date, you can continue enjoying the fascinating realm of amateur radio.

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