If you own, or plan to purchase a “GMRS” radio and you live in the United States, you will need a GMRS license from the FCC. A GMRS license is not the same as a HAM radio or Amateur Radio Operators license, and there is no test for a GMRS license – you simply purchase the GMRS license at the FCC website, much like purchasing a fishing license.
As of early 2021 the cost for a GMRS license is $70 – however the price will be dropping to only $35 sometime in mid-2021. The license is good for 10 years, and it covers your entire immediate family. The FCC will issue you a GMRS call-sign, which you, or your family members will use to identify yourself at the end of a transmission, or at least once every 15 minutes if you are in a long conversation. The only other “rules” are that you cannot transmit obscenities, you cannot purposefully interfere with other people or be a nuisance, and you cannot broadcast music – you may also only use a FCC Part 95E Type Accepted radio – all radios for sale in the united states that are labeled as a “GMRS Radio” are FCC Part 95E compliant. You may not transmit on GMRS frequencies using most ham radios – for example, a Baofeng UV-5R is not legal for use on GMRS frequencies. If you are a licensed ham radio operator you must also obtain a GMRS license – a ham license does not authorize you to transmit on GMRS frequencies.
Although there is no test to get your GMRS license, many people consider negotiating and finding your way around the FCC website a test in itself – some even say it is harder to find and fill out the forms for a GMRS license than it is to take the HAM-Radio Operators License Exam! The FCC website is a dumpster-fire that is probably the most difficult to use, least user-friendly website you will ever find – this is your tax dollars at work! Basically the FCC website sucks in every way possible – this is why I have put together this step-by-step guide to buying your GMRS license.
The FCC website is used for many things, obtaining other licenses, etc – so the first thing you must do is create a general FCC website login. This login is called your “FRN” or FCC Registration Number – you will use the FRN to log in to the FCC website.
How To Apply For A GMRS license:
This will take you to the new FRN form to enter your information:
After filling in and submitting the form the FCC will send you an email with a link to click on to confirm your email address – if you don’t see that email be sure to check your junk/spam folders. After confirming your email address you can then log-in to the FCC website with your “FRN” account here: https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do
After creating and logging-in to the FCC website with your new FRN, you can now purchase your GMRS license.
To request and purchase your GMRS license go to the License Manager page and sign-in with your FRN/FCC Registration number and password, then click Apply For a New License in the left-side menu section.
On the next page, in the drop-down list, select “ZA General Mobile Radio (GMRS)”
On the next page, “Applicant Questions”, most people will select “NO” for “Does this filing request STA (Special Temporary Authorization) ?
For “Fee Status”, answer “no” to “Is the applicant exempt from FCC application fees?” and “Is the applicant exempt from FCC regulatory fees?” (unless you know that you are exempt – if you don’t know, then you are not exempt)
On the next page, fill out your name and other information that you want associated with your GMRS license – remember that everything entered here is public information. Click the CONTINUE button when complete.
The next page asks if you have been convicted of a felony. Being a convict does not necessarily prevent you from receiving a GMRS license, but the form asks you to explain the circumstances of your conviction. When complete, click CONTINUE in the lower-right.
The next page will ask you to review your application information and allow you to change anything by clicking the “edit” buttons on the right-side of each section. After confirming that everything is correct, click the “Continue To Certify” (FCC speak for “give us your money”) button.
On the next page “certify” that everything is accurate and click SUBMIT. You will then be taken to the payment page. You may be asked to log-in again with your FCC ID/FRN and password.
Select your payment method and follow the on-screen prompts. Once completed and after your payment goes through the FCC will send you an email when your license has been granted – This usually takes between 2 and 5 days.
To check the status of your license or to view/update your licensee information, just log in to the FCC website here: https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp and click on the “My Licenses” or “My Applications” link on the left-side menu.