The $35 fee for new and upgraded amateur radio license applications that the FCC announced earlier this year likely will not take effect until early next year. According to the ARRL, FCC staff recently told a meeting of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs) that work still needs to be done to prepare the Universal Licensing System to process fee collection from hams, and that it probably will not be ready to go live until early 2022.
The $35 fee will apply to all applications for new or modified licenses (such as upgrades or changes in non-vanity calls), as well as renewals and vanity call applications. This will apply to both individual and club licenses. There will be no fee charged for administrative updates, which include changes of name, mailing address or e-mail address, or cancellation.
Once the system is functional, the League says, the new fees will not be collected by Volunteer Examiner (VE) teams, although they will still collect current exam fees. Once a license application subject to the fees reaches the FCC, the Commission will email the licensee/candidate a link through which the fee may be paid via the FCC Pay Fees system. The applicant will then have ten days in which to make the payment. Once the payment is received and the application is processed, the FCC will e-mail the applicant a second link which will provide access for 30 days to view, download or print their official license. After the 30-day period, hams will be able to access their license documents (as they can now) by logging into their FCC ULS account.