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Operating Abroad

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.


  1. Not all of the coun­tries that imple­ment­ed pre­vi­ous ver­sions of T/R 61 – 01, may have imple­ment­ed a revised and cur­rent version. 
  2. Not all CEPT admin­is­tra­tions have imple­ment­ed any ver­sion of T/R 61 – 01.
  3. Any coun­try can add extra con­di­tions to T/R 61 – 01. Such con­di­tions are shown as foot­notes in T/R 61 – 01 Annex 2.
  4. The defin­i­tive web­site is that of CEPT, ref­er­enced above.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 CEPT-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.

For more infor­ma­tion see the CITEL web site or the ARRL.

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.

Mov­ing Abroad

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.

Print This Page Updated on October 13, 2020

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