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Obtaining Permission

How to Obtain Permission to Operate in the US

The FCC allows amateurs who are citizens of their home country to operate in the US provided that there is a reciprocal operating agreement between the US and the foreign country. The foreign amateur must carry two items when operating in the US:

1) Proof of an amateur license issued by the country of citizenship;
2) Proof of citizenship in that same country.

The foreign amateur must maintain his or her citizenship in their home country and the individual must also hold an amateur license from that country. There is no time limit on how long a foreign amateur can operate in the US as long as the foreign amateur maintains home country citizenship and an amateur license from that same country. Operation under CEPT is limited to short visits of approximately three weeks. An IARP is valid for the term authorized by the issuing authority. The FCC no longer issues reciprocal operating permits to foreign amateurs in lieu of the above.

Foreign Amateurs who wish to operate in the US may do so if the country of which they are a citizen and amateur licensee has entered into a bilateral or multilateral reciprocal operating agreement with the US. Such agreements can include a reciprocal licensing agreement, CEPT license, or IARP. No additional permit is required -- simply bring your original amateur license, issued by your home country when you visit the US; and be sure to identify your station while operating by the US call district identifier (e.g., followed by your non-US call sign.W3/G1ABC). You can find a map of the US call districts here and a listing of the states on the FCC Web page.

If your country of citizenship and amateur license is not named in the list 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.

Operation in the US by any person is possible if you seek a US amateur license. Any person, other than a representative of a foreign government, can do so. Once a US license exam is passed, licensing is possible in as little as a few days to a week. A US mailing address is required for application purposes. Information about US licensing is available on the ARRL Web site. If a US license is held, no other reciprocal operating authority may be used. It is possible that you may have more privileges if operating under CEPT, IARP. or on the basis of a Reciprocal Operating Agreement if one has been signed with the US.


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