Online lifetime licensing for ships and amateur radio goes live

Ofcom today (1st December, 2006) launched an online lifetime licensing service for ships’ and amateur radio. The new system will ease administration and reduce costs for over 130,000 individual licensees.

The free online ships’ radio licence will be valid for the life of the vessel and licensees are required to confirm their details at least once every 10 years.

The free amateur radio licence will remain valid for life but licensees must confirm their details at least once every five years. The new system will enable users to apply for a licence as well as update and validate details online.

Ofcom will continue to make paper licences available for applicants who do not have access to, or prefer not to use, the internet. However, those applying via a paper-based application will be subject to a £20 charge. Amendments to lifetime radio licences will be free for both online users and those preferring to use paper based amendment forms.

From today Ofcom will take over the licensing process which was previously handled by the Royal Mail Radio Licensing Centre. Ofcom will replace all valid annual licences with new free lifetime licences from December 2006.

The online licensing website can be found at:

Peter Ingram, Ofcom’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “The new online licensing system will reduce the regulatory burden on 63,000 UK amateur radio users and over 68,000 maritime licensees. The system will make the licensing process faster, easier and cheaper for ships and amateur licensees.”

A comprehensive FAQ on the subject of ship radio licensing can be found here: