Do I Need an FCC License?

Radios are divided into 2 categories, GMRS and FRS. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requires that all two-way radios used in the United States that operate using GMRS frequencies obtain an FCC license.

GMRS stands for General Mobile Radio Service and is a radio that uses channels around 462 Mhz and 467 Mhz. GMRS is most commonly used for short-distance communication with hand-held radios, mobile radios, and repeaters.

FRS (Family Radio Service) is a radio, most commonly known as a walkie-talkie, and is used by consumers and families. FRS radios do not require an FCC license to operate.


Why Do I Need to Get an FCC License?

The FCC regulates the frequencies used on two-way radios. Having an FCC license gives you your own frequencies to operate on. Not licensing your radio runs you the risk of interfering with other channels, which could leave you without communication and potentially being reported to the FCC and possibly fined.

Let’s take this scenario. You run a business that uses portable two-way radios to communicate but you don’t have an FCC License. Since you don’t have a license to operate on those frequencies, the FCC does not know you’re using them.

This could mean at any point those frequencies can be assigned to someone else, leaving you without communication and scrambling to look for a replacement. If you keep using these frequencies, you’re interfering with other transmissions, leaving you susceptible to thousands of dollars in fines from the FCC.

Having a license will ensure your frequencies do not overlap with anyone else. Paying a small fee for a license is far less compared to the complaints and fees you might receive if you go unlicensed.


How to Apply for an FCC License

Now that you know your radio needs a license, it's time to apply for one. Applying for a license is a simple and easy process.

A typical business and industrial license take about 10 business days to process while a public safety license takes about 90-120 days.

First, you will need to obtain an FRN (FCC Registration Number) on the website. Registering online is the fastest way to receive your FRN and get you started right away.

Once you have received your FRN, log into your account and select “Apply for a New License” at the top right and follow the instructions presented on the screen.

The FCC requires you to fill out forms 159 and form 605. These can be located on their forms page.

Some things to have handy when applying for your license is your

  • Business Name
  • Address
  • Federal Tax ID (if applicable).

You will also have to tell them how many GMRS radios you own or how many you intend to purchase for the license. You do not have to have an FCC license before purchasing GMRS radios.

Once the application is submitted, it takes about 10 business days to be processed and can be found in ULS Application Search and entering the file number.

The following business day you want to be sure to check that your application has been successfully submitted by clicking on the Application Search button in your account.


How Much Does an FCC License Cost?

FCC License costs a $70.00 fee and is valid for ten years. Some government entities are excluded from paying this fee.

You can renew your license 90 days before the expiration date. Once your license is expired a new application will need to be submitted.


FCC License Step By Step Checklist

Getting Your FCC License Checklist

About First Source Wireless

At, First Source Wireless, we are committed to improving communications with headsets, antennas, routers, two-way radios and more from 3M Peltor, Pulse Larsen, Silynx, Cradlepoint, and more. For more information on what we can offer you, shop around or contact us at 800-991-4569.

TAYLOR THOMAS is a Marketing Manager at First Source Wireless. With her experience in critical communications, she helped public safety professionals enhance their communication through the help of two-way radios and headsets.

Two-way radio

1 comment

Carlos Galeas

Carlos Galeas

Hola, vivo en la ciudad de Compton y quiero poner una cabina de radio en mi casa, FM frecuencia modulada . Que es lo que tengo que hacer para obtener permiso de transmisión? Quiero que se escuché en barias Ciudades del alrededor. Gracias. Mi teléfono 3236177540.

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