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In this article, we will look at how to renew ham radio license and other relevant details that you will find helpful along the way.

Usually, it takes a maximum period of ten (10) years for your ham/amateur license to stay active or valid.

After this period, it becomes invalid, requiring renewal in the process.

Good enough, the renewal process is straightforward.

The icing on the cake is that it costs nothing (entirely free) to reactivate or revalidate your license.

It doesn’t matter if you are an active user or not/ if you have operated your ham radio recently or not.

Renewing your ham radio operator license is something you must consider.

There is not really a reason or excuse not to get a renewal done when you think through the ease of the process.

As you read along, you will discover the various methods or techniques about how to renew amateur radio license.

From the list of renewal options, you can then decide/choose the most convenient pick for you.

When & How To Renew HAM Radio License?

Getting your ham radio license renewal done can be achieved without stress.

You need to choose a preferred option from the numerous (4) available methods.

First, it is crucial to keep to the renewal date/schedule.

1. Renew Online

You can renew your amateur radio license online by visiting the FCC official website before it expires/becomes inactive or within the grace period.

This method is highly regarded as the easiest way to get your renewal done.

Also, renewing your ham radio operator license via the FCC License Manager System comes at no/zero costs.

2. Mailing Directly To FCC

If you decide to adopt this renewal method, you will need to have the FCC form 605 sent to the FCC via mail.


This method is restricted/limited to operators that own the ARRL membership.

4. At A VE Test Session

If you have an expired ham radio license (not more than 2 years).

You can get it renewed at the VE test session without undergoing any test or exam.

If the reverse is the case (renewing your license 2 years after expiration).

In this case, additional testing will be required.

Now that you have an overview of the possible methods you can adopt for your ham radio license renewal.

Let’s take a look at the renewal timeline or duration.

How to Renew Ham Radio License

If you own the amateur radio license, ensure you get it renewed 3 months (approximately 90-day) before it becomes inactive or expires.

Alternatively, get the renewal done on or before 2 years after expiration (the grace periods).

How To Renew Your HAM Radio Operator’s License Online?

This section discusses how to renew amateur radio license online.

To simplify this method and provide more precise details of what is involved.

We will break the process down into steps to guide you along the way.

1. Visit The FCC License Management System

Renewing your ham radio license through this method requires the use of a computer or smartphone.

All you need to do is visit the FCC website to access the License Management System.

2. Click on, Choose, Or Select Filing

The next step is to select “Filing.” Once this is done, click on “File Online.”

If you have an existing account, input your login info to gain access to your profile/account.

If you do not have an account yet, you can set it up.

3. Input The Necessary Details

Once you have gained access to your FCC online account.

The next thing is to fill in or input relevant information such as your FCC registration number, which is also known as FRN in short.

Afterward, type in your PIN in the provided box and hit the “Submit” tab.

4. Renew Your License

Once you click on submit (continuing from the previous step).

It takes you to a page that displays details/information about your license (this is called the “My Licenses” page).

Click on the link with the sentence, “Renew Licenses.”

Once you do this, you can then proceed to choose the license you wish to have revalidated or renewed.

How To Renew HAM Radio License Through FCC (Mailing)?

1. Downloading Form 605

If you choose or decide to get your ham radio license renewed or revalidated by the FCC via mail.

First, you will need to download the FCC Form 606 on the FCC’s website.

You can access this form by visiting

2. Fill The Form

Go through the different sections in the form and provide the requested details or information accordingly.

Ensure you make the relevant indications (fill the correct blocks).

For instance, you must state that you are renewing your expired license.

3. Send The Form

Once you have provided the relevant information or filled the document appropriately.

You can then package/send it to the designated/registered address (FCC, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg PA 17325-7245).

4. Wait For FCC’s Response

The response doesn’t come straight away.

Meaning your renewal request may not get immediate attention.

Usually, it may take a few weeks before the FCC eventually processes/approves your renewal request.

How To Renew HAM Radio License As An ARRL Member?

1. Submit Form 605 NCVEC

If you own the ARRL membership, this is an option that you may choose to explore or consider.

Start by filling the Form 605 NCVEC and send it to ARRL VEC.

The process comes at zero cost to all active members.

Remember, Form 605 NCVEC is strictly designed for the ARRL.

Not at any time should it be sent or submitted to the FCC.

2. Wait For ARRL’s Response

Once you have sent your Form 605 NCVEC and ARRL VEC receives it.

You will have to wait for a few days before your license renewal request gets processed.

Renewing Your HAM Radio License At A VE Test Session

Less Than 2 Years After License Expiration

1. Fill The Form 605

The process requires answering the necessary questions (filling out the relevant details or information) on Form 605.

Ensure it is clearly stated that you are requesting a license renewal.

2. Attach The Necessary Paperwork

In order for your renewal application to be processed, you must submit the relevant/requested paperwork alongside Form 605.

More Than 2 Years After License Expiration

1. Fill The Form 605

The process requires answering the necessary questions (filling out the relevant details or information) on Form 605.

2. Pass The Technician (Element 2) Exam

For someone trying to renew a license that has expired for more than 2 years, the renewal process takes some extra steps or procedures.

First, you will have to write the Technician (element 2) exam and get a good grade (pass) while at it.

3. Show Evidence/Proof of Higher Level License

After you have passed the exam, the next step requires you to demonstrate or show satisfactory evidence that you once held a HIGHER LEVEL license (General, Conditional, Advanced, or Amateur Extra Class).

4. Generation/Creation of A New License

The process involves generating or creating a new license.

Also, your old call sign will be revoked (It won’t be reassigned to you automatically).

In case you still want your old call sign.

It is expected/required that you generate a new one by applying through the right channel (vanity call sign program).

This is obtainable from the FCC by accessing their online filing measures.

Alternatively, you can reach out to an authorized/approved VEC to have your vanity call sign application processed.


You can easily renew/reactivate your license through any of the above mediums even after expiration, provided it is still within 2 years.

Processing Time And Requisite Charge For HAM Radio License Renewal

As discussed earlier, the processing time varies across the different license renewal mediums/methods.

For instance, while the mailing renewal method may take a few weeks, renewal through the ARRL takes a few days.

However, on average, the ham radio license renewal approval via the FCC website takes about 3 weeks (18 to 21 days).

Renewing your amateur radio license is free. However, for mail renewal, the postage rate may apply.

How To Check The Expiry of Your HAM Radio License?

1. FCC Website

Since the FCC keeps all ham radio licensing records in its designated database (Universal Licensing System).

You can easily access your license information or details to know when it is due for revalidation or renewal.

Pay attention to these steps:

  • Connect your computer to the internet and visit the FCC website
  • Click on the SEARCH link, which directs you to the LICENSE SEARCH. Click on it and insert your designated call sign in the provided text box.

Once you have successfully typed in this information, click the SEARCH button.

  • The previous step/command redirects you to a page. This page has the details of your ham radio license.

2. Com

You can also gain access to your licensing terms via QRZ Website.

This website is designed to gather necessary details from the Universal Licensing System (ULS).

Hence, the data displayed on this site is expected to be similar to what you have on the ULS.

Pay attention to these steps:

  • Go to First, you need to create an account with them. Good enough, account creation doesn’t have any price attached. You can open a QRZ account at zero cost.
  • Navigate through the website. Locate the search box and insert the required information (your call sign). Once this is done, tap on the SEARCH button.
  • The previous command will redirect you to a new page. On this page, click on the tab, “DETAILS.” This displays relevant details about your license, including when the last update was conducted, the license class, and the expiring date.

3. ARRL Mail

Another method or way to gather relevant information about your ham radio license expiration and next renewal is by asking the ARRL (if you are a member) to send you a notification a few weeks or months before expiration.

Pay attention to the following steps:

  • Go to the ARRL website and provide the relevant login details to access your membership account.
  • Once you have access to your profile, click on the “Edit Profile” tab/button.
  • Click on the “Edit Email Subscriptions” button. This authorizes the ARRL to send you a notification email 3 months or 90 days prior to your license expiration.


The Basic FAQs of How To Renew Ham Radio License

1. How Do I Get An Amateur Radio License?

If you wish to become a licensed amateur radio operator.

You must pay attention to/follow some steps.

Since the FCC has three (3) forms/levels of ham radio license to choose from.

You have to select the level you desire, sit for the exam, pass the exam, and then receive your license.

Each level has an exam or test that you have to pass before receiving your license.

Also, you have to start from the lowest class/level and pass every test leading to the highest level.

For instance, to become an Amateur Extra License holder, you must first obtain the first two licenses (technician and general).

2. Which Organization Offers The Licensing Tests/Exams?

In the United States of America, the VEC is the only organization authorized by law to conduct or carry out the ham radio licensing tests/exams.

The tests/exams can either be taken at a physical venue or online.

However, the online test facility is not available to all VECs.

You may need to make the necessary findings before you enroll.

For an online test, you must meet the set requirements or conditions.

Some of the requirements include having a computer with a webcam, setting up a zoom account, and other details or instructions that are specific to your chosen VEC.

3. How Can I Get My Ham Radio License?

Once you pass your ham radio licensing test, an official paper (signed) will be sent to you.

In addition, your license has the call sign-in attached to it.

You will receive these details directly in your registered/active email address in PDF format.

If you are anxious to begin, especially if it takes longer than expected to receive your license.

You can visit the FCC website to see if you have a record already in the FCC database.

If you can find your name, you can start chatting with other licensed ham radio operators or learn how to communicate in case of disasters.

4. Can My Ham Radio License Renewal Or Reactivation Be Done Online?

Yes, anyone can renew/reactivate their ham radio license from the comfort of their home.

We have provided complete details/steps on how this can be done in one of the sections.

For more information, you can read the “How to renew your HAM radio operator’s license online” section.

5. Who Provides The Evidence of Expired Credit?

If you hold an expired license credit and you are visiting the VE exam session for a renewal.

It is your responsibility to provide necessary proof or evidence in this regard.

6. When Do I Need To Retake The Licensing Exam/Test?

If you fail to renew/reactivate your license within the grace period (2 years after expiration).

You will be required to take and pass the Factor 2 test (Technician Class) before you become entitled to a new license.

For instance, if you had a Technician Class license, you will get a similar license once you pass the exam.

The exact process is applicable to the other two (2) license classes or levels.

7. How Easy is it To Get A Ham Radio License?

First, you need to understand that getting licensed is not complicated.

While it may be relatively easy, it requires dedication and commitment since you need to take the necessary tests and pass them.

8. How Long Does Studying For The Ham Radio License Test/Exam Take?

If you plan to take your amateur radio licensing exam/test anytime soon.

You must devote a few hours to study.

On average, it takes between 10 and 12 hours to study and prepare for the test.


We hope you have been able to get all the information you need about how to renew ham radio license.

With the relevant details provided in this article, you can easily track your license expiration and get it renewed accordingly.

Go through the methods provided and stick to anyone that happens to be readily available or accessible to you.

The good news is that none of the renewal techniques require a reactivation fee.

To avoid rewriting your license level exam, we advise/recommend that you do not allow the reactivation to exceed the grace period.

Ensure you get to work and renew your license before expiration or on or before 2 years after it must have expired.

Lastly, since the FCC ULS database is accessible to members of the public.

You may be contacted by an independent entity before your license expiration date to have the renewal done on your behalf at a specific price (usually affordable).

While this may sound reasonable, it is never a great offer when you think about it critically.

The renewal doesn’t need the help of a third-party. It can be completed independently at no fee.

We advise that you bin these unsolicited emails or letters as the case may be.

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1 thought on “How To Renew Ham Radio License”

  1. There is a rumor that if you have a technician plus code ham radio license
    ( 1979 ) you are automatically upgraded to general class license. True or false ?


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