GMRS radios operate under high power (5W), therefore sending your communications further and wider. If you are looking for a radio system with a larger transmission radius (for your business or leisure), GMRS could be the perfect solution for you. And with licensing fees now as low as $35, there’s no better time to jump into this opportunity.
But how do you get a GMRS license? Well, that’s why we are all here, and we have all the answers. In this article, we’re talking about eligibility requirements, the application process, and all that good stuff. But before we get ahead of ourselves, what is GMRS?
GMRS is fancy talk for General Mobile Radio Service. It is a radio service in the U.S. that allows for communication over short and medium distances. GMRS is more of an outdoorsy service, perfect for hiking, fishing, or other outdoor activities. But it’s not just limited to people with cargo pants and fishing rods; you can also use GMRS to run your business.
The GMRS system offers so many wonderful benefits, including:
- An extended range over FRS (Family Radio Service) radios
- Higher power output (5W)
- Communication privacy and security
- Up to 30 channels
- FRS compatibility
- Operable when traditional communication systems are down
- No call charges
- Clearer communications
But only when you apply for a license can you enjoy all these benefits; it is necessary to obtain a license to avail of these features. And who grants this license? It’s the FCC, of course, the all-mighty Federal Communications Commission.
As such, the FCC issues two main types of GMRS licenses:
- Individual (Family) License: This permit is only granted to individuals and is strictly for personal use.
- GMRS License for Business: Only business entities and organizations can claim this permit.
Depending on how you intend to use your GMRS service, you can get an idea of which license to apply for. But before you put your papers together and face the FCC, you need to know who the FCC deems fit to hold a GMRS license; let’s talk about eligibility.
Eligibility and Requirements
Again, the FCC governs the GMRS service. A crucial part of governing involves deciding who gets to use the service.
Below are some of the minimum requirements as set by the all-mighty FCC.
- Age Requirement: Any person of any age can hold a valid GMRS license. But there’s a catch, applicants under 18 must seek approval from their parents or legal guardians.
- FCC Registration Number (FRN): You’ll need an FRN number to apply for a GMRS license. This is the number you use to conduct business with the FCC.
- Licensing Fee: The FCC demands a small fee (about $35) as you apply for a GMRS license. Without this fee, you can’t complete your license application.
- License Renewal: All good things do come to an end, and a GMRS license expires after ten years. To continue using the service beyond the expiration day, you must renew your license.
- GMRS Radio Equipment: You can only enjoy GMRS services on FCC-approved GMRS radio equipment. But this requirement is for your own good; the FCC wants your comms to be as private and secure as possible.
Who Can Apply for a GMRS License?
Anyone can apply for a GMRS license, but the FCC has different rules for everyone; let’s discuss.
U.S Citizens and Non Citizens
U.S. citizenship is not a requirement when applying for a GMRS license. Citizen or not, the FCC only cares about a valid mailing address.
In the past, GMRS licenses were only granted to individuals. But these days even organizations can have them. Although any person of any age group can apply for a GMRS license, applicants under 18 years old must seek approval from a parent or legal guardian.
Businesses, organizations, and other entities can also hold valid GMRS licenses. They, too, can use GMRS services to solve their communication problems.
Applying for a GMRS license is an entirely online process. This means there is no need for physical paperwork or waiting in lines. That being said, you need a reliable internet connection and access to two specific websites, which we will detail below.
These are the steps to applying for a GMRS license.
Step 1: Apply for an FCC Registration Number (FRN)
The FRN number is one of the ways that the FCC identifies you. Not only is this number useful for applying for a GMRS license, but it also facilitates various transactions that you will have with the communications governor. For example, you will need this FRN number to apply for an Amateur Radio License.
Long story short, you need an FRN number. And if you already have one, you can skip this step. If you don’t, let’s continue.
Creating an Account with the FCC
To get your FRN number, log on to the FCC’s Registration portal. From here, you’ll have to register a username with the website. To register, hit the “Register” button on the “Need a Username” tab. Fill out the form and create your new account.
Once you submit the form, hop onto your email inbox and verify your new account. If you run into any problems, troubleshoot with this page.
Registering Your FRN
Once your account is set up and verified, you’re free to register an FRN number with the FCC. Register with your new username and select the “Register New FRN” option. On the next page, select the options that are relevant to you or your organization. If the FRN is for you, select the “Individual,” and if it’s for an entity, go the “Entity” route.
Next, select whether your contact address is within the U.S. or her territories. Finally, complete the form on the next page and create your own password.
The FCC recommends that your password have 12-15 characters along with a mix of upper case, lower case, numeric, and non-alphanumeric characters.
Pro Tip: Save your password or at least write it down. Registering a new FRN is tedious as it is; I cannot imagine the process of recovering a forgotten password. So do your future self a favor and save that password.
Getting Your FRN Number
Almost immediately after registering for an FRN number, you will get your FRN number. Please write this number down or save it on your phone so you don’t lose it. This is the same number that you will need to do business with the FCC when applying for your amateur radio license or renewing your GMRS license.
Step 2: Apply for a GMRS License
To lay down your actual GMRS application, you’ll have to log onto FCC’s Universal License Manager site. Once there, log in using the password and username you created in the previous step.
Congratulations, you’re in! Now you just want to click the “Apply for a New License link on the upper-left side of the page. On the next page, you’ll find a drop-down menu; hit that and find the “General Mobile Radio” option. It should be under the unmissable “ZA-General Mobile Radio” at the bottom of the list.
With the option selected, hit “Continue.” Answer them truthfully before proceeding. More questions await us on the next page; this time, it’s for your contact information; fill it out and proceed.
Next, let the FCC know if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony. In my experience, it’s best to answer these things truthfully and honestly. Does your answer reduce your chances of getting approved? Any answer I give would just be speculation because the FCC does not clarify whether they discriminate against convicts.
The next page is a summary of your application; please go through everything to ensure all your i’s are dotted, and t’s crossed. On the right side of the summary is your total license fee. At the time of writing, the GMRS licensing fee was $35. Once you confirm your details, click the “Continue to Certify” button.
To certify, read through the legal jargon and fill out the rest of the form.
Step 3: Pay for Your GMRS License
And now it’s time to pay up. To do that, click the “Continue For Payment Options” button. To proceed beyond this point, the website will demand your log-ins. Hopefully, you haven’t lost them, and you can log in with ease.
Once in, you will land on the FRN Financial page. Here you can confirm the license fee amount. And only when everything is accurate will you click on the “Make Payment” option.
For payment, you have four options:
- Bank transfer
- Credit or debit card payment (American Express, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover)
- Wire transfer
- Check or money order
So pick your preferred payment method and complete the transaction.
Step 4: Wait for Approval
It doesn’t take long for the FCC to respond to your application. Approval takes about 3-5 business days, and you should get a response via email. If you can’t find it, try combing through your junk mail.
And just like that, you are a GMRS license holder. With your GMRS license, you are free to communicate with your buddies and employees without risking hefty fines. And as you know, GMRS radios offer a better range than FRS radios. So, embrace the better service and get yourself a GMRS license.