Using your amateur licence in other countries on a temporary basis
In recent years, great progress has been made in the “portability” of national amateur radio licences 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 comment 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 you IARU Member Society or national spectrum regulator for information. Even if there is no bilateral agreement, it may be that a direct approach to the spectrum regulator of the country you propose to visit will allow you to obtain a national licence for the duration of your stay.
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 licence 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, a visitor has to:
- Check that his national licence class qualifies as a CEPT Licence and that his/her national licence document confirms this. If not, then confirmation that the licence held is equivalent to the CEPT licence is needed from his national licensing authority.
- Check what national licence class in the country to be visited is equivalent to the CEPT Licence.
- Check what are the operating privileges and regulations covering the use of that national licence class in the country to be visited and use the appropriate prefix which has to be appended before his own national call-sign.
- The key point is that the operating privileges for the visitor operating under the CEPT Licence are defined by the COUNTRY BEING VISITED, NOT THE PRIVILEGES IN THE HOME COUNTRY.
- The German society, DARC, maintains a list of licence 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 licence 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 licence 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, which 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 Licence — ECC/REC 05 – 06
Following the success of the CEPT Radio Amateur Licence detailed in CEPT Recommendation T/R 61 – 01 in 2005, a CEPT Novice Radio Amateur Licence was developed. The CEPT Novice Licence as it is usually known is detailed in CEPT ECC Recommendation 05 – 06 and has a lower standard than the CEPT Radio Amateur Licence. 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 licence privileges by CEPT country. It can be downloaded from here
Licensees intending to operate abroad should therefore acquaint themselves with all the requirements including the notes for T/R 61 – 01 above prior to taking their equipment to another country.
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 accepts unilaterally 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. Any CITEL Member State may issue permits to its citizens to operate in another Member State. 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 bi-lateral agreements between administrations, which facilitate amateur operations, and licensing in other States. 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.
More and more countries allow foreign amateurs to operate during a temporary stay of less than three months. Visiting amateurs are encouraged to behave as a guest and to obey the rules applicable in the country they are visiting.
Using your amateur licence 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.
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.
Whilst every effort was made to ensure that the information given herein is accurate, no responsibility is accepted by IARU Region 1 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.