Operation in the US by Foreign Amateurs
Foreign amateurs who wish to operate in the US and are not US licensees or citizens may do so in one of three ways:
- If the country of which you are a citizen and an amateur licensee has entered into a multilateral operating agreement with the US, CEPT or IARP, no additional permit is required -- simply bring your CEPT or IARP documentation when you visit the US. Identify your station by the US call district identifier, such as W3/G1ABC. Use "W" and the number of the FCC call letter district in which you are operating followed by a slash and your home call sign (plus any other CEPT or IARP requirements). Amateurs must be a citizen of the country in which they are licensed. Check these links for a list of the US call districts shown graphically or for a text listing. And make sure to check the current information with the FCC. This is intended for short visits.
- Or, if your country of citizenship and amateur license share a bilateral Reciprocal Operating Agreement with the US, the FCC allows foreign amateurs to operate with no permit. Simply carry your foreign amateur license and proof of your citizenship in that country. Identify using "W" and the number of the FCC call letter district in which you are operating followed by a slash and your non-US call sign, e.g. W3/G1ABC). Amateurs must be a citizen of the country in which they are licensed. Check these links for a list of the US call districts shown graphically or for a text listing.
- If your country of citizenship and amateur license is not named in lists of countries that have such agreements with the US, then no operating agreement is in effect between the US and that country--and operation is not possible in the US based on your home license. Should you wish to seek such an agreement between your home country and the US for the future, you may want to contact your national Amateur Radio society to request that they contact the responsible government official to request such an agreement with the US. US citizenship is not required to obtain a US license, but a US mailing address is. Once a person is prepared to take the US license examinations, licensing is possible in as little as a few days to a week. If a US license is held, no other reciprocal operating authority may be used for operation in the US
Check the list of countries which have signed a reciprocal operating agreement with the US. If your country of citizenship and amateur license is not named in the list above, see if it is possible to obtain a CEPT license or an IARP from your home country. If none these are possible, then no reciprocal operating authority is in effect between the US and that country and operation is not possible in the US.
Foreign amateurs may, however, obtain a US license by taking and passing the appropriate license. Find information on obtaining a US license here. A US mailing address is required for application purposes. If a US license of any class is held by the foreign amateur, it supercedes any other operating authority when operating in the US. In that case, the US license MUST be used in place of any other operating authority. If the country holds no reciprocal operating agreement with the US and does not participate in CEPT or IARP, a US license is the only option.