GMRS Licensing Information
As a way to regulate frequencies that are used by two-way radios, the FCC requires you to have a license to operate a GMRS radio. In 2017, any radio using the shared FRS/GMRS frequencies that transmits 2+ Watts of power was reclassified as GMRS and requires a license.
The FCC website is a bit confusing, so here's our attempt to explain the licensing process and simplify it for you. It's a bit long, so think of it more as a marathon than a spring. Let's get into it:
GMRS LICENSE CRITERIA
- Applicant must be 18 years old or more
- Cannot be a representative of a foreign government
- Only available to individuals (not businesses)
- License costs $35 and lasts for 10 years
- License covers you and your immediate family
- If you have been convicted of a felony, you will need to disclose more information as to the context of the charges (this does not mean you will automatically denied)
- Lastly, you must obey the following FCC rules
THAT'S RIGHT; YOU GOTTA BE A RULE-FOLLOWER
- If an authorized FCC representative request to inspect a GMRS station (this means anything GMRS: handheld, mobile unit, base units, etc), the operator must make the station and any station records available
- No messages in connection with any activity that is against Federal, State, or local law
- No false or deceptive messages
- No coded messages with hidden meanings (“10 codes” are allowed)
- No music, whistling, sound effects or material to amuse or entertain
- No ads or offers for the sale of goods or services
- No ads for political candidate or political campaign
- No international distress signals (i.e. Mayday) unless in a vehicle in immediate danger
- No communicating with stations in the Amateur Radio Service, any unauthorized station, or to any foreign station
- No continuous or uninterrupted transmissions (unless communications have to do with the immediate safety of life or property)
- No messages for public address systems
- Must identify using FCC-assigned call sign at the end of transmissions and at periodic intervals during transmissions
THIS SEEMS HARD... WHY DO I WANT GMRS AGAIN?
GMRS provides increased power & have repeater capability, but here’s the real deal: you’ve gotta run what your buddies are running or else it’s gonna be pretty lonely out on the trail. So if your crew has already chosen GMRS as their radio of choice, we recommend following suit.
OKAY OKAY, FINE. HOW DO I APPLY?
*Important! You must first register for an FRN (FCC Registration Number) as a Domestic Individual, letting you pay the FCC for the license. Once you receive your FRN, which typically happens moments after submitting the form, you are able to fill out the online application and purchase your GMRS license. Information directly from the FCC on how to do so below.
*DIRECT FROM FCC HELP DESK*
NEW GENERAL MOBILE RADIO SERVICE (GMRS) FILING INSTRUCTIONS
Per Public Notice DA 15-72, the FCC no longer mails license authorizations. If you provide an email address on your application, an official copy of your license will be automatically emailed to you after the application has been granted.
Steps to Filing an Application for a new GMRS Station license in the Universal Licensing System (ULS):
- Log in with your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password. After entering your password, proceed to Step 2 below to begin filing the application.
If you do not have an FRN, you can register for one here or by clicking the “Register with the FCC” link under the Submit button on the Log In page.
NOTE: You will be prompted to register and verify a username account prior to obtaining your FRN.
If you do not know your FRN, you can search for it by entering your call sign here or by clicking the “Check your licenses” link under the submit button on the Log In page.
GMRS Licensing - FCC Forgot Password Icon
If you do not know the password:
- Click on the Contact Tech Support link under the Submit button on the Log In page.
- On the next page, click the link and follow the prompts for resetting the password.
- After receiving confirmation of a successful password reset, click the link for Universal Licensing System (DO NOT click the CORES Public Interface link.)
- Click the yellow ULS License Manager button to return to the Log In page.
- Enter the FRN and password and click the Submit button.
GMRS Licensing - FCC Login Page
- On the left side of the page, click the 'Apply for a New License' link.
- Choose “ZA – General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)” from the radio service drop down list.
- Click 'Continue'
- On the Summary page, review your application and click the 'Continue to Certify' button.
- On the Certification page, sign your application by typing your name in the boxes provided and click the Submit button (the Title box is optional).
- ULS will calculate the fees. Fees for online filing MUST be received within 10 calendar days of the filing.
- Click the 'Continue For Payment Options' button to choose the method of payment.
Further information can be found on General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) on the FCC website.
The GMRS license rules are found in Part 95, Subpart A of the Code of Federal Regulations. The rules are available at the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations website.
DOWNLOADING AUTHORIZATIONS IN ULS
After your application has been granted, you may also download an official copy of your license from the License Manager by following the steps below:
- Log in with your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password.
- Click the “Download Electronic Authorizations” link on the navigation bar on the left side of the License Manager home page.
- In the 'My Authorizations' box at the bottom of the page, select the call sign(s) you wish to download.
- Add the call signs to the 'Authorizations to Download' box by clicking the 'Add' button.
- Click the 'Download' button in the lower right-hand corner of the page.
The download will be automatically converted to a PDF file, and you can choose to Open (to print) or Save (to save to a desired folder).
If you have any further questions on a GMRS license or need additional information, please submit a help request online to the FCC Licensing Support Center or call (877) 480-3201.
FCC Licensing Support Center: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST, M – F