How to Reinstate a Lapsed Amateur Radio Licence

We’re writing this short guide in response to a question from one of our members. Here in the UK, amateurs are required to validate their licence every five years, so that Ofcom knows you’re still active and the details on file are correct and current. If you hold a licence, see our guide to validating your UK amateur radio licence.

So what happens if you’ve let your licence lapse, or have taken a break from the hobby and are looking to return to amateur radio?

Reinstating your UK amateur radio licence

If your licence is no longer valid or has expired, you can’t use Ofcom’s online validation process to re-activate your licence and callsign. Instead, you have to complete an application form and post it to Ofcom to get your licence back.

There’s no longer a fee for an amateur radio licence in the UK (It used to be £15 a year) – However note that to reapply for a licence that has lapsed, there’s a one-off admin fee of £20 when applying with a paper form.

When you send off the application form to Ofcom, you will also need to enclose proof that you’re entitled to hold a licence and that you previously held the callsign in your own name. Proof can take the form of any of the following:

  • A copy of your old licence or validation document
  • A copy of your City & Guilds Institute certificate
  • If your callsign has appeared in one of the RSGB call books, then a copy/scan of your entry is also acceptable as proof  – The RSGB  hold a catalogue of old yearbooks – try contacting the RSGB to see if they can help with a copy

Link to Licence Application form: Ofcom Licensing Page (Link to actual PDF form:  Ofcom Amateur Radio Application Form OFW346)


About the application form

At the time of writing (May 2014), the form you need to complete is an 11-page PDF multi-purpose form that’s used to get a new licence, apply for a club callsign, update a licence, or surrender a licence – therefore not all sections apply.

Sample pages of the Ofcom Amateur Radio licence
Sample pages of the Ofcom Amateur Radio licence

The form states that you should allow 14 days for processing once it’s been sent in.

Payment: A fee of £20 applies. This can be paid by enclosing a cheque with the form, or by adding card payment details in Section 12 of the form. Visa, Mastercard, Switch/UK Maestro and Visa Debit/Delta card payments are accepted. BACS transfer, postal orders, Visa Electron / Solo cards, and cash payments are not acceptable.

If you have any queries, or require additional help with reactivating your licence and callsign, you can contact Ofcom’s amateur radio licensing team on 020-7981 3131

How to get a UK licence

If you have no way of proving that you held a UK licence, you may have to start again. The entry licence is Foundation, which you can obtain after undertaking a few short practicals and a basic 26-question multiple choice test – just easier than the old RAE days. It gives you 10 watts on most bands, including HF, with no requirement to learn Morse. See: Amateur Radio Foundation


What’s changed in amateur radio?

You might be interested in checking out our guide: Returning to amateur radio

Other Information

If you hold a valid amateur radio licence in another country, you may be able to operate here in the UK, or to apply for a reciprocal licence – See Ofcom: I hold an overseas licence


Related links


  1. Avatar Malcolm Granville GI8AFS 11 May 2014 Reply
  2. Avatar tony 3 July 2015 Reply
  3. Avatar tony 3 July 2015 Reply
  4. Avatar Richard Wilden 24 April 2017 Reply
    • Avatar David Shaw 21 November 2017 Reply
      • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 21 November 2017 Reply
        • Avatar Pete 5 January 2018 Reply
          • Avatar Clive Bloxidge 23 April 2018
    • Avatar Clive Bloxidge 23 April 2018 Reply
      • Avatar Darren 12 August 2018 Reply
  5. Avatar tim G7JPY 30 May 2017 Reply
  6. Avatar andrew o'connor 6 August 2017 Reply
    • Avatar Chris 5 September 2017 Reply
  7. Avatar Richard 7 November 2017 Reply
  8. Avatar Pete Evans 21 March 2018 Reply
    • Avatar Kevin 15 August 2018 Reply
      • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 15 August 2018 Reply
      • Avatar Karl 9 January 2021 Reply
  9. Avatar Tim G8RGQ/4X5TS 14 April 2018 Reply
  10. Avatar Simon 26 June 2018 Reply
  11. Avatar JRB 27 November 2018 Reply
  12. Avatar JRB 27 November 2018 Reply
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 27 November 2018 Reply
  13. Avatar Chris Hamlet 11 March 2019 Reply
  14. Avatar Pete musk 26 March 2019 Reply
  15. Avatar Robert P Roche 9 May 2019 Reply
  16. Avatar Barry 27 July 2019 Reply
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 27 July 2019 Reply
    • Avatar Darren Butler 14 February 2021 Reply
      • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 14 February 2021 Reply
  17. Avatar G6OVL 9 August 2019 Reply
  18. Avatar Derek G7TFZ 18 September 2019 Reply
  19. Avatar G6LFR 18 September 2019 Reply
  20. Avatar DAVE 3 October 2019 Reply
  21. Avatar Steve G7LVA 7 October 2019 Reply
  22. Avatar Keith Shone 11 November 2019 Reply
  23. Avatar Andrew Kinsey 28 November 2019 Reply
  24. Avatar Adam 14 March 2020 Reply
  25. Avatar abjq 15 March 2020 Reply
  26. Avatar Steve 11 June 2020 Reply
  27. Avatar ArchieTorrance 24 June 2020 Reply
  28. Avatar Dan 11 July 2020 Reply
    • Avatar Graeme Coultas 23 September 2020 Reply
  29. Avatar Jason Hulatt 10 August 2020 Reply
  30. Avatar Pete 12 September 2020 Reply
  31. Avatar Neil Tomlinson 19 September 2020 Reply
  32. Avatar Graeme Coultas 22 September 2020 Reply
    • Avatar Graeme G0TNU 25 September 2020 Reply
      • Avatar G0TNU 28 September 2020 Reply
  33. Avatar G7VDD 14 January 2021 Reply
    • Avatar G6URY 23 January 2021 Reply
      • Avatar G7VDD 13 February 2021 Reply

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *