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Author Topic: License Requiremets for Non Citizens?  (Read 1094 times)

Posts: 7

« on: August 27, 2016, 06:38:09 PM »

I've been a VE examiner for several years in a small town, meaning we typically give tests to 1 or 2 applicants at the most each session.  We've always required ID which has always been a driver's license.  Well a questions just came up.  What if the applicant if from Bangladesh?  First, is a foreign applicant allowed to take the test and become licensed?  I've looked at the FCC website,  ARRL website, and our VE manual.  The best information so far is yes, someone from Bangladesh - or anywhere can receive a license.  If the person has a work permit, he/she is required to give their TIN in place of the SSN, and for all others, just write in FOREIGN in the SSN location on the NCVEC Form 605.  Also, in our VE manual, if one doesn't have an ID like a driver's license or passport, a library card or utility bill, or maybe even a letter from your mother is okay?. 

Any thoughts or helpful suggestions?

Edward Ivester, N7NSL

Posts: 803


« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 05:41:54 AM »

You are correct, there is no requirement for either US citizenship or even US residency status to obtain a US amateur radio license. The only requirement is to have a US address where they can receive USPS mail. In fact, there are many non-resident licensees who have never set foot on US soil, having taken a test given overseas somewhere. My guess is that this may be primarily to get a license that carries certain reciprocal privileges that their home country license does not.

As for ID, there aren't specific requirements, only that you can have confidence that the applicant is who they say they are. For adults, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a non-citizen who is here legally to have a passport or other ID issued by their home country. If they are here illegally, you may have to be more generous. (Note that I don't think it's required to be in the US legally, though I could be wrong.)

My own personal experience was with under-age children. My son was 9 years old when he was first licensed, and didn't have a government-issued ID or even a utility bill in his name. So he brought his birth certificate, his library card, and a copy of LEGO magazine (addressed to him at our address). Of course, he also had his dad standing off to the side if problems arose.

I'm not sure I would accept a "letter from his mother." I know that the ARRL VE manual in the past mentioned the "mail addressed to yourself" as a possible form of ID. (I think that's the generalization of the utility bill you mentioned.) Maybe in this current age, we may have to accept someone pulling up their Facebook page on their cell phone as substantially similar.

Posts: 458

« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 10:32:52 AM »

I can think of one other requirement: the applicant can't be the representative of a foreign government.  In fact, you certify that you aren't when signing the NC605.

Posts: 34

« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 05:07:39 PM »

Thanks a lot for this topic. I am a retired Norwegian expat that has permanently immigrated to Thailand. I do RF tinkering as a hobby and would very much like to get a license in order to transmit more than nanowatt leakage from oscillators  Grin

Unluckily, Norway does not have a reciprocal agreement with The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST). The USA has. ( - a bit down the page).

Furthermore, a Thai licence can only be taken in Thai (even more difficult then morse code, I would say). But there seems to be American tests given in Thailand (

I will now apply for membership in both RAST and ARRL and see what I can do. Concerning documents I have a valid Norvegian passport, a valid Thai retirement visa, a permanent address and so on. If necessary, I am able to bring original documents to the American embassy in Bangkok for verified copies.

If anyone on eHam has information or connections that could be of help to me, I would be very grateful.

Thank you.


EDIT It took only 5-10 minutes with a VISA card to become a (no call sign) member of ARRL. When I get my membership number, I will email them and ask what I will have to do to (hopefully) get an American license. I will report my findings.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 06:18:33 PM by MEKONGRF » Logged
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