FCC Bureaus and Offices are authorized to issue a Special Temporary Authority (STA) for those subject-matter areas falling under their respective jurisdiction. An STA is the authority granted to a permittee or licensee to permit the operation of a communications facility for a limited period at a specified variance from the terms of the station or service authorization or requirements of the FCC rules applicable to a particular class of station or service. Bureaus and Offices may issue STAs for emergency situations, such as natural disasters, restoration of communications, or other short term operations and whereby the applicant has made a showing that, due to extraordinary circumstances, it cannot wait for the normal licensing process to conclude.
STAs are granted with a fixed expiration date, usually six months. STAs for testing purposes are generally limited to two weeks. STAs do not have grace periods and are valid only through their expiration date.
The Commission may grant extensions of STA for a period of 180 days, but the applicant must show that extraordinary circumstances warrant such an extension. Such requests should be filed electronically using FCC Form 601 Main Form with a purpose of Renewal/Modification.
All STAs are issued on a secondary non-interference basis. Because an STA is secondary, if the facilities operating under an STA cause interference, the applicant would be required to discontinue operation.
STA requests must be complete and cannot rely on pending applications. Lack of information or adequate justification may result in delays in processing the application or even denial.
Normally, the FCC will not grant STAs for operations that require Canadian coordination. The FCC coordinates with Canada most frequencies allocated to Land Mobile Services for use above Line A and East of Line C, as defined in Section 1.955 of the FCC's Rules.
- Licensees eligible in the Industrial/Business pool under Rule 90.35(a) (other than an applicant who seeks to provide commercial mobile radio service) utilizing an already authorized facility (FB4), may operate the station for a period of 180 days, under a temporary permit. The permit must be evidenced by a properly executed certification made on FCC Form 601, after filing an application for a station license together with evidence of frequency coordination, if required. The temporary operation of stations, other than mobile stations, within the Canadian coordination zone will be limited to stations with a maximum of 5 watts ERP and a maximum antenna height of 20 feet above average terrain. Note Section 1.931(b) (9).
- The following applications may operate the proposed station during the pendency of its application for a period of up to 180 days under a conditional permit: 1) applications for an itinerant station license, as defined under Rule 90.138; 2) a new private land mobile radio station license in the frequency bands below 470 MHz and in the one-way paging 929-930 MHz band (other than a commercial mobile radio service applicant); and 3) an application seeking to modify or acquire through assignment or transfer an existing station below 470 MHz or in the one-way paging 929-930 MHz band.
Conditional operations may commence upon the filing of a properly completed application that complies with Rule 90.127 if the application, when frequency coordination is required, is accompanied by evidence of frequency coordination in accordance with Rule 90.175. Operation under such a permit is evidenced by the properly executed Form 601 with certifications that satisfy the requirements of Rule 90.159(b). Rule 90.159(b) requires that a minimum of ten business days must pass between submission of an application to the Commission and the onset of operating under a conditional permit. Note Section 1.931(b)(11).
Forms & Fees
Applicants are strongly encouraged to file electronically via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). Applicants for Special Temporary Authority should apply on FCC Form 601 and appropriate schedules. All applications for STA must also include an attachment that justifies the need for an STA. For forms and information on fees, see Forms & Fees.
DO NOT SEND CASH. Payment of fees may be made by check, bank draft, money order, or credit card. Payment by credit card typically results in faster processing of an application. If paying by check, bank draft, or money order, your remittance must be in U.S. dollars and drawn on a U.S. financial institution.
No fee is required for governmental entities or non-profit applicants in the Special Emergency and Public Safety Radio Services. Non-profit eligibles must submit a current determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service documenting their non-profit status. An applicant filing electronically should submit this information as an attachment. For applicants filing manually, submit your fee exempt request to: FCC, 1270 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245.
Applicants can manually file for an STA by completing a Form 601; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to file electronically via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). If assistance is needed in completing a form or for filing information, please call the FCC Hot-Line at 1-888-225-5322 and select option 2. Applicants who wish to file manually: submit your request, a completed FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice), and the appropriate fee, if applicable, to:
Federal Communications Commission
Wireless Bureau Applications
P. O. Box 358130
Pittsburgh, PA 15251-5130
In emergency situations only, STA requests may be submitted by telephone: 1-888-225-5322 and select option 2; or telegram; or fax to (717) 338-2696; provided an application is filed within ten days of such a request. Emergency situations are defined under Section 1.915(b)(1) of the Commission's Rules. These situations involve danger to life or property or potential damage to equipment; a national emergency proclaimed by the President or declared by the Congress; during the continuance of any war in which the United States is engaged, when such action is necessary for the national defense or security or otherwise in furtherance of the war effort; or an emergency where the Commission finds that it would not be feasible to secure a renewal application from existing licensees or otherwise to follow normal licensing procedures.
No remittance advice should be sent to the FCC with emergency requests for STA. Applicants will be billed for the amount due and should remit payment to the address shown on the bill within 30 days of the date of the invoice. Timely payment will avoid the assessment of interest and penalty.