For new license applications, it is strongly recommended that you visit the FCC ULS Website to obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) before you appear for examination, which is an approved substitute for your SSN, for dealing with the FCC. Otherwise you will need to provide your Social Security Number on your application, which will be visible to everyone who processes your application.
US government agencies, like the FCC, are required to have a taxpayer identification number (Social Security Number for individuals) on file, in order to process requests. Effective 2003, if you enter a TIN other than your SSN, or an approved substitute (FRN), the FCC will reject your application, without any notice to you. If you fail to enter a TIN, or approved substitute (FRN), on your application, the FCC will dismiss your application, without any notice to you. (You may hear from the VEC processing your application if it incomplete. No guarantees!) If you choose to put down your SSN, on your application, the FCC will issue new licensees an FRN, when processing your application. NOTE: Some VE Teams require an FRN in order to process your application. (It is permitted under VE rules.)
It only takes about ten minutes, online, to apply for, and receive an FRN, on the FCC’s secured website. __ Apply for a FCC Registration Number
Individuals holding a current or expired (issued since 1975) FCC license in any service, already have an FRN, which should be used on your application. The FRN should be printed on your license. If you do not know your FRN, you can do a name or call sign search on the FCC ULS Website License Search page to retrieve your FRN.
FCC regulations require applicants to supply a valid US mailing address on their applications, for processing by the FCC. 47CFR 97.23, where applicants can receive mail from the FCC. Returned mail from the FCC will cause your license to be suspended or cancelled.
In addition to registering, the ULS system permits licensees to provide administrative updates (ie: change of mailing address) and to renew their Amateur license, up to 90 days in advance of the expiration date. You need your FRN and your password to access your record to renew or change the record.
[NOTE: The FCC ceased automatically mailing license copies in February 2015. Never the less, applicants are still required to present the original, for inspection by examiners, and a copy of their license to submit, when taking an examination to upgrade. See: FCC Goes Paperless]
It should be noted that the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) database is a public record, accessible by everyone to view. ULS users can search by call sign, FRN, name, service, or address. [YOUR SSN information is not displayed.]
Go to: Apply for an FRN