Examination Element Credit

The FCC Part 97 Rules:    47CFR97.505

EFFECTIVE 7/21/2014:

7. Section 97.505 is amended to read as follows:

§ 97.505 Element credit.

(a) The administering VEs must give credit as specified below to an examinee holding any of the

following license grants:

 Operator class  Unexpired (or within the renewal grace period)   Expired and beyond the renewal grace period
 Amateur Extra  Not applicable

Elements 3 and 4

 Advanced  Elements 2 and 3  Element 3
 General  Elements 2 and 3  Element 3
 Technician granted before March 21, 1987  Elements 2 and 3  Element 3
Technician Plus Element 2 No credit
Technician granted on or after March 21, 1987 Element 2 No credit

(b) The administering VEs must give credit to an examinee holding a CSCE for each element the CSCE indicates the examinee passed within the previous 365 days.

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What That Means:

      • (WHAT DID NOT CHANGE) 
      • Individuals with an expired license, within the two-year renewal grace period [730 days], get 100% of their operating privileges restored, without re-examination, upon appearing as an active licensee in the FCC ULS database. ( This can be done on-line, by individuals who sign in to the FCC ULS system {you will need your FRN and your password, to log-in}, or by turning a NCVEC Form 605 at a VE Session, or by mailed application to the FCC, submitted on FCC Form 605.) {Not to be confused with NCVEC Form 605!} [See our Licenses & Operating page for paper application forms.]  If paper forms are submitted, they should be received and processed by the FCC, within the grace period. Remember the FCC may take up to several business weeks to process paper applications. (The FCC may take up 15 days to process a mailed application.) Editor  Individuals also may choose to submit an renewal application, on NCVEC Form 605, at any VE Session. [Note: You may be charged a fee for this service by the VEC. It may take up to 10 business days for the VEC to process the application.]  
      • Individuals must possess valid current credit for Element 2 (Technician) in order to be issued a new Amateur License Grant by the FCC.
      • Element Credits from Valid CSCE’s are available for 365 days from the issue date.
      • Individuals may not transmit with an expired license.  It is a violation of FCC Rules.
      • Current licensees who submit documentation of holding a Technician Class license, issued before 3/21/1987, will be granted Element 3 credit. (The Technician written test prior to 3/21/87 was the General Element 3 test.)
      • There will be no credit issued for an expired CSCE (beyond 365 days from date of issue).  The rules do not make allowance for leap year.
      • The FCC usually does not release expired call signs for a two year period for re-issue.  If you renew within the two-year grace period, you may be able to reclaim your orginal call sign.
      • (WHAT CHANGED)
      • Some previously licensed individuals (beyond the two-year renewal grace period) can get credit for certain examination elements that were passed to obtain their prior license, based on their previous license class, as shown in the table above. 
      • Those individuals will need to pass the current Element 2 (Technician Class) exam, and appear as an active licensee in the FCC ULS database, to be re-licensed.  Applicants will need to provide documentation of their previously licensed status, and copies to be submitted with their application.  (Note: Not all VE Teams have copiers available at VE sessions.)  The VEC and the FCC will research and review any claimed exam element credit, based on the supplied documentation. [Note: The better the documentation, generally the the more quickly they will process a claim. ] Claimed privileges are not granted instantly.
      • Persons who held expired Novice licenses, will receive no element credit.
      • Persons who held expired Technician licenses, issued on or after 3/21/1987, will receive no element credit.
      • Persons who submit documentation of having held an expired Technician license, issued before 3/21/1987, will be granted Element 3 credit, and upon passing the Element 2 exam, and appearing as an active licensee in the FCC ULS database, after review, would be granted General operating privileges. (The Technician written test prior to 3/21/87 was the General Element 3 test.)
      • Persons who submit documentation of having held an expired General or Advanced license will be granted Element 3 credit, and upon passing the Element 2 exam, and appearing as an active licensee in the FCC ULS database, after review, would be granted General operating privileges.
      • Persons who submit documentation of having held an expired Amateur Extra license will be granted Element 3 and Element 4 credit, and upon passing the Element 2 exam, and appearing as an active licensee in the FCC ULS database, after review, would be granted Amateur Extra operating privileges.

How Exam  Element Credit Works

      • Applications and all supporting documentation for any claimed element credit must be submitted, in person, through the VE Session process, and may NOT be submitted directly to the VEC or the FCC.
      • See what to bring to a VE session at: What to Bring to an Exam Session
      • Three volunteer examiners must examine any documentation submitted to claim examination element credit(s).
      • Applicants are responsible for supplying acceptable documentation of their previously licensed status, and copies to submit with their application.  The VEC and the FCC may verify or deny any claimed exam element credit, based on the supplied documentation.   It may take several weeks,  to review and process the submitted documentation. This process will NOT result in an instant grant of license privileges.
      • NOTE: Usually, the VEC and FCC will process a successful Technician examination first, and then research any claimed element credit. Successful applicants may appear in the ULS database as holding Technician privileges, while their element credit claim is processed.
      • Individuals passing the Element 2 (Technician) exam will be assigned the next sequential call sign in the FCC database. Individuals who wish to regain their original call sign (if available) must apply through the Vanity Call Sign process after they are assigned a call sign by the FCC, and appearing in the FCC ULS database as an active licensee. See: How to get a Vanity Call

NOTE:

      • Individuals whose license has expired, and who submit an application received and processed, within the two-year grace period for renewal, get all their operating privileges and element credits back, upon renewal, and appearing back as an active licensee in the FCC ULS database. ( This can be done, without cost, either on-line, by individuals who sign in to the FCC ULS system, or by mailed application to the FCC on FCC Form 605.)  They must not transmit until their expired license has been renewed in the FCC ULS database.  Note: Paper Applications should be timed to be received and processed by the FCC within the two-year grace period for renewal.
      • Individuals who choose to submit an application for renewal within the two-year grace period for renewal at a VE Session may be charged an application or processing fee.  [See our Licenses & Operating page for paper application forms.]
      • Former licensees who have re-licensed, and hold at least an unexpired (or within the two-year grace period) Technician license, will not have to be retested, and are eligible for element credit, upon submission, and review, of documentation of their previously licensed status.  Claimed privileges are not granted instantly.
      • NOTE: The FCC ceased automatically mailing license copies in February 2015. Never the less, applicants are still required to present the original license, or an approved substitute,  for inspection by examiners, and a copy of their license to submit, in order to upgrade their license. See: 47CFR 97.21 and 97.509(i) for further clarification.
      • Note: Pursuant to FCC Rules (47CFR 97.23),  all amateur applicants for an FCC license grant must supply a valid US mailing address, where the FCC can reach you.  Mail returned to the FCC as undeliverable, may result in suspension or revocation of your license privileges.  Applications with foreign mailing addresses will not be processed by the FCC.

Documentation that could be submitted for Element Credit: (Examples)

      • Original (and a copy to submit) expired or current FCC Amateur license showing the previously held or current  license class.  (BEST)
      • Verification Letter from the FCC (and a copy to submit) showing previously held Amateur license class. (BEST)
      • Original unexpired (issued within 365 days) CSCE (and a copy to submit). (GOOD)
      • Reference Copy (to submit) of an expired FCC Amateur license from the FCC ULS database showing previously held license class.  (GOOD)
      • Copy (to submit) only of an expired license showing the previously held license class.  (GOOD)
      • Original and / or a copy (to submit) of a Call Book Magazine showing the previously held license class and year published. (GOOD)
      • Copy (to submit) of a QRZ listing showing the previously held license class and expiration date. (GOOD)
      • NOTE: If there is a change of address or name, the applicant should furnish an explanation, to be submitted.
      • (Editor’s opinion of what constitutes ‘BEST’ or ‘GOOD’.)  
      • COPIES OF ALL documentation submitted will be sent to the VEC, attached to the candidate’s application form , and will be reviewed by the VEC and the FCC.  The VE team will issue a CSCE for any test element passed by examination.  If there is any question about  any documentation submitted, it will be forwarded to the VEC for review. It may take several weeks for the VEC and FCC to research and process the element credit documentation.  However, the VEC and the FCC usually will process the Technician exam results, and issue a new license; normally within 10 business days.  This is NOT an instant re-licensing.  Individuals passing the Element 2 (Technician) exam will be assigned the next sequential call sign in the FCC database. Individuals who wish to regain their original call sign (if available) must apply through the Vanity Call Sign process after they are assigned a call sign by the FCC, and appearing in the FCC ULS database as an active licensee. See: How to get a Vanity Call

Compiled by KA6BQF

ARRL VEC Exam Element Credit Page

FCC Renewal Information Page

FCC ULS Page

See  FCC-14-74A1  for the complete rulemaking.