Applying for a Vanity Call

How to Apply for a Vanity Call Sign

Applicants have two ways in which to apply for a Vanity call sign. FCC accepts the required forms by mail, or applicants can apply on line using the FCC's web site. Unless paying by credit card, the required filing fee must be mailed to the FCC's Bank Contractor (the fee is not sent to an FCC office).

The FCC allows the applicant to submit up to 25, desired call sign choices in the order listed by the applicant. The FCC will not honor any request where the applicant may write on the application "please give me the next W1??? call sign that is available". The applicant must tell the FCC exactly which call sign(s) is/are being requested for FCC to consider the assignment.

Applicants seeking a regular Systematic call sign change can apply on line at the FCC's web site or can use the FCC Form 605 “Schedule D” and FCC Form 605 (Form 159 is NOT needed). Mail the two required forms directly to the FCC in Gettysburg PA


Applying for a Vanity Call Sign...

  • By Mail

    Obtain, complete and forward FCC Form 605, FCC Form 605 “Schedule D”, FCC Form 159 (Fee Remittance form) and the required application fee to the FCC Bank Contractor address at: Federal Communications Commission Wireless Bureau Applications PO Box 979097 St. Louis, MO 63197-9000 Need to obtain Form 605, Form 159 or any other FCC forms? Connect to the FCC's web site forms page at:

    or contact the FCC's Forms Distribution Center toll free at 1(800) 418-FORM(3676) to obtain the forms you need. ARRL can supply FCC forms as well--please supply a SASE with your request.
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  • Electronically (online)

    You can find information on how to apply on line for a Vanity call sign by connecting to the FCC's web site.

    Click on the icon entitled “Online Filing LOG IN” to access the FCC's interactive, online application system. For complete instructions visit the FCC’s Obtaining a Vanity Call Sign page.

    After submitting the application form, you will receive a file number and the filing fee will be displayed. Click on View Form 159, select Form 159 button, and then choose to pay by credit card online.

    If you are not paying online, print out and mail the FCC generated Form 159 along with your payment by check or credit card to: Federal Communications Commission, Wireless Bureau Applications, ULS Electronic Filings PO Box 979097 St. Louis, MO 63197-9000

    If paying by Check or Money Order, your Form 159 and Vanity Fee must arrive at the Bank Contractor within 10 calendar days after the date you filed on line. Remember to sign the form where prompted.

    If the fee does not arrive in ten days, the bank will still deposit the payment but the FCC will later dismiss the application and you will need to reapply. You may seek a refund of the fee following the procedure as described above.

    If you file online but are not able to print out the completed Form 159, you must obtain through a different means a blank Form 159.

    Remember that when completing Form 159, the following special boxes must be completed (in addition to those that must obviously be completed):

    Item 1 - FCC Lockbox #: this is the PO Box number you are mailing the fee payment to.

    The lockbox number is "979097".

    Section A - Complete the routine items numbered 2 - 11.

    Item 11 is the payers’ Federal Registration Number (FRN). An FRN is assigned by the FCC as soon as your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) which is the Social Security Number (SSN), or an IRS issued Employer Identification Number (EIN) is registered in the FCC COmmission REgistration System (CORES). If you are not a US Citizen and you do not have a TIN you must still register in CORES.

    Where the FCC requests your SSN leave it blank and select the “reason for exemption - the individual is a foreigner”.

    Section B - Skip this section (items numbered 13 – 21), unless you are paying the fee for someone else; or if the payer and applicant names are different; or if paying for multiple applications. Frequently application fees for a club vanity call sign will be paid for by an entity other than the club itself -- the club licensee trustee, for instance. In such cases, the information provided in Section B applies to the applicant, whereas Section A would apply to the payer.

    Section C - Complete the items as follows:

    * 23A - Enter the applicant's current FCC call sign (do not enter any of the Vanity choices here)

    * 24A - Payment type code is "WAVR"

    * 25A - Quantity is the number of applications you are paying the fee for--typically just "1"

    * 26A - Enter the current Amateur Radio Vanity License Regulatory Fee. * 27A - Enter the product of the current Amateur Radio Vanity License Regulatory Fee times the number of applications.

    * 28A - This item is generally left blank.

    * 28B - For on line filers who fail to print out the Form 159 that appears on screen during the online-filing process, enter the multi-digit FCC reference number in this box (this is the number that appears after you submit your Form 605 on line). This number should read similar to the following example: "0000012345" Section D – On the first line print your name, then sign your name on the Signature line provided. To the right side of the signature, fill in the date the form is signed.

    Section E - If you wish to pay by Credit Card (check MASTERCARD, VISA, AMEX or DISCOVER), enter your credit card number (all 16 digits), expiration date and sign and date the form. Payment can be made also by personal check (in US funds) or by Bank Check or Money Order. Applicants paying by credit card must also sign and date in the block provided for credit card authorizations.
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  • What Happens After I Submit My Hardcopy or On-line Application?

    Assuming your fee reaches FCC as required, the FCC processing time for Vanity applications is 18 days. If you have not heard anything from FCC in 30 days, you should contact the FCC regarding your application. You can call FCC weekdays toll free at 888-225-5322 (wait to speak with a live person); or fax FCC at 717-338-2696; or write to them at: FCC, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg PA 17325-7245.

  • When Can I Begin Using my New Vanity Call Sign?

    Once you have learned, through any FCC data source, that you have been granted a new Vanity call sign, you can immediately begin using the call sign. A hardcopy license will follow from FCC by mail in 7 to 10 days after the FCC license grant date.

  • What if, After I'm Granted a Vanity Call Sign, I Decide I Would Like My Old Call Sign Back?

    Some amateurs find that no one knows them under their new vanity call sign identity, and they don't desire to wait to let the new identity sink in. In such cases the applicant would like to get the call sign back that they gave up when they applied for their vanity call sign. Is there a way to accomplish this? The answer is yes, so long as the call sign they surrendered has not yet been reassigned to someone else (surrendered call signs are available only to former holders; or members of a deceased amateur's family, or to a club where the deceased amateur was a member--with permission of the family; within the first two years after the call sign was surrendered or cancelled). The solution is to submit another vanity call sign application, and the requisite fee, and a Form 159. On the Form 605 “Schedule D” list that the vanity call sign being chosen is your former call sign. Yes, this means you get your former call back--and it becomes a vanity call sign (but that's the small price you pay for being able to get your former call sign back). Some vanity call sign holders use this same mechanism to obtain a vanity call sign that they consider even more desirable than their current vanity call or former call sign (choices like a call sign that includes their initials is common).