Using your amateur license in other countries on a temporary basis
In recent years, great progress has been made in the “portability” of national amateur radio licenses across national borders. For many radio amateurs there is now an easy route to operate in other countries through so-called “reciprocal” licensing arrangements.
The sections below describe the most common facilities available but the situation is ever changing. If you are considering operating abroad, do check the authoritative document from the relevant national administration or Regional Telecommunications Organisation. Links are included below.
Where there is no general reciprocal agreement in place, it is quite possible there is a bilateral agreement between your country and the country you intend to visit. Check with the IARU Member Society or national spectrum regulator in the country you plan to visit for information. Even if there is no bilateral agreement, it may be that a direct approach to the spectrum regulator will lead to a license.
CEPT ECC Recommendation T/R 61 – 01
The 1985 initiative by the European Regional Telecommunications Organisation CEPT, which resulted in CEPT ECC Recommendation T/R 61 – 01 has made it possible for radio amateurs from CEPT countries to operate during short visits in other CEPT countries without obtaining an individual temporary license from the visited CEPT country. The Recommendation was revised in 1992 to make it possible for non-CEPT countries to also participate in this licensing scheme.
In practice, as a visitor you must:
- Check that your national license class qualifies as a CEPT License and that your national license document confirms this. If not, then confirmation that the license held is equivalent to the CEPT license is needed from your national licensing authority.
- Check what national license class in the country to be visited is equivalent to the CEPT License.
- Check what are the operating privileges and regulations covering the use of that national license class in the country to be visited and use the appropriate prefix which has to be appended before your own national callsign.
- The key point is that the operating privileges for the visitor operating under the CEPT License are defined by the country being visited, NOT by the home country.
- The German society, DARC, maintains a list of license privileges by CEPT country. It can be downloaded from here as a pdf file.
CEPT ECC Recommendation T/R 61 – 01 was revised in October 2003 to reflect the outcome of the 2003 ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-03) concerning the revision of Article 25 of the ITU treaty status Radio Regulations. At WRC-03 the mandatory Morse code requirement for amateur operations below 30 MHz was removed. Consequentially the number of amateur license classes in T/R 61 – 01 was reduced from two to one. Other changes to T/R 61 – 01 were the removal of an ambiguity concerning portable and mobile operation and the freedom to use any amateur station in the country visited, not just the visitor’s ‘own’ station.
The full text can be found here.
Annex 2 contains the information on national license equivalence. In a similar manner, Annex 4 provides information on non-CEPT countries.
Implementation status by country can be found here.
- Not all of the countries that implemented previous versions of T/R 61 – 01, may have implemented a revised and current version.
- Not all CEPT administrations have implemented any version of T/R 61 – 01.
- Any country can add extra conditions to T/R 61 – 01. Such conditions are shown as footnotes in T/R 61 – 01 Annex 2.
- The definitive website is that of ECO, referenced above.
- Please also note that special conditions often apply to overseas territories such as those of France. Local permission will often be required at such locations.
- T/R 61 – 01 bears no relation to the import and export of amateur radio equipment, which is subject only to relevant customs regulations.
CEPT Novice License — ECC/REC 05 – 06
Following the success of the CEPT Radio Amateur License detailed in CEPT Recommendation T/R 61 – 01 in 2005, a CEPT Novice Radio Amateur License was developed. The CEPT Novice License as it is usually known is detailed in CEPT ECC Recommendation 05 – 06 and has a lower standard than the CEPT Radio Amateur License. As the provisions of Recommendation T/R 61 – 01 allow non-CEPT administrations to join this licensing system a similar approach has been taken for the CEPT Novice Licence as described in Recommendation 05 – 06. The criteria for the corresponding CEPT Amateur Radio Novice examination are described in ERC Report 32. Many of the regulatory requirements mentioned above for T/R 61 – 01 equally apply to Recommendation 05 – 06. Again, the German society, DARC, maintains a list of license privileges by CEPT country. It can be downloaded from here.
Status of implementation can be found at the ECO-website.
Note that Finland has no national license class equivalent to the CEPT Novice Radio Amateur License, but unilaterally allows visiting operators to use their CEPT Novice class license under certain conditions.
More information from CEPT on the amateur service is available here.
CITEL is the Regional Telecommunications Organisation for the administrations of the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) in ITU Region 2, which are responsible for administering and licensing the Amateur Service and Amateur-Satellite Service. The Inter-American Convention on an International Amateur Radio Permit is a convention having treaty status that provides for temporary operation (up to 1 year) of amateur radio stations in one Member State of CITEL by persons holding IARP permits issued by another Member State without need for further review.
This Convention does not alter or affect any multilateral or bilateral agreements that are already in force concerning temporary operation in the Amateur Service in CITEL Member States.
The General Secretariat of the OAS is the depository for its instruments of ratification, acceptance, and accession.
Other Licensing Arrangements
There are also numerous bilateral agreements between administrations which facilitate amateur licensing and operations abroad. A separate external site by OH2MCN also has useful information although some of this information is now out of date and must be checked before relying on it.
Visiting amateurs should behave as guests and must obey the rules applicable in the country they are visiting.
Using your amateur license in other countries on a more permanent basis
CEPT Recommendation T/R 61 – 02 was first approved in 1990. As a result CEPT administrations could issue a Harmonised Amateur Radio Examination Certificate (HAREC). The HAREC document shows proof of successfully passing an amateur radio examination which complies with the Examination Syllabus for the HAREC. It also facilitates the issuing of an individual licence to radio amateurs who stay in a country for a longer term than the ‘short stay’ mentioned in CEPT Recommendation T/R 61 – 01 as well as easing the issue of an individual licence to a radio amateur returning to his native country. In this case the showing of a HAREC certificate issued by a foreign Administration should facilitate the issue of a Home Licence. The Recommendation as revised in 1994 made it possible for non-CEPT countries to participate in the HAREC scheme.
T/R 61 – 02 has been implemented by a number of countries. The full list is here
Questions and Answers
Q: I am an entry-level licence holder. Can I operate abroad?
A: If you have an entry-level licence like the UK foundation licence or the Belgian base licence, you CANNOT operate from another country. However, former Belgian ON2 stations with a CEPT Novice marking on their licence have the same privileges as a novice licence holder.
Q: I am a novice licence holder. Can I operate abroad?
A: If you have a novice licence issued by an administration mentioned under ECC/REC 05 – 06 (The CEPT Novice Licence) above, you can operate from any of those countries. This does not apply to the Novice license formerly issued by the FCC in the United States which is not considered to be equivalent.
Q: If I operate from another country, do I obey the rules of my own country or the rules of the country I am visiting?
A: Always obey the rules of the country you are visiting. It is the same in traffic: When in Germany you drive on the right hand side of the road, when in UK on the left hand side of the road.
Q: I am a CEPT class license holder, but never passed a CW test. In my home country, I can operate on HF. Can I do the same from another country?
A: If the country you are visiting has adopted the 2003 version of T/R 61 – 01 and does not specifically ask for Morse proficiency you can operate on HF. If the previous version of T/R 61 – 01 applies in the country you are visiting, you can only operate above 30 MHz.
Q: I still have questions about operating in another country. Where should I look for additional information?
A. The definitive source is the radio regulator in the country you are visiting. The IARU member-society in that country is also a good source.
While every effort is made to ensure that the information given herein is current and accurate, no responsibility is accepted by IARU for any errors, omissions or misleading statements in that information by negligence or otherwise, and no responsibility is accepted in regard to any subsequent action based on this note.