The FCC collects regulatory fees and processing fees. Congress authorizes our authority to impose and collect such fees. Application processing fees are deposited in the U.S. Treasury and are not available to the FCC.

Types of Fees FCC Collects

  • Application Processing Fees for licenses, equipment approvals, antenna registrations, tariff filings, formal complaints (not ordinary complaints), and other authorizations and regulatory actions.
  • Annual Regulatory Fees collected from specific categories of regulated entities in the mass media, common carrier, wireless, international and cable television services.
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Fees for processing requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Auction Payments for upfront payments, down payments, and subsequent payments for licenses that the FCC auctions.
  • Forfeitures are penalties that the FCC may assess for violations of law or noncompliance with authorizations.  

Payment Methods

  • Online - This is the easiest way to pay annual regulatory fees, outstanding bills from the FCC, or application fees for electronically filed applications. Pay by credit card or debit from a bank account.
  • FCC Form 159 - This form can be sent by mail to pay any type of FCC fee by credit card or wire transfer. Some FCC bills include a version of Form 159 with most information pre-filled for you.
  • Forfeiture Order - If you receive a forfeiture order, it will include instructions on how to send payment.

Fees and Petitions Filed under Section 109(b) of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)

To increase the agency's financial efficiency, the Commission has begun migrating toward using an all-electronic payment system for all application and regulatory fees. Future payments for any CALEA Section 109(b) petition filed with the Commission are to be made through the Fee Filer Online System. To file Section 109(b) petitions electronically, parties should utilize the Commission's ECFS filing system for non-docketed proceedings, through Inbox-1.41, "Miscellaneous." Petitions filed in hard copy format are to be submitted according to the procedures set forth on the web page of the FCC's Office of the Secretary. All other payments and filings shall continue to be made in accordance with the Commission's published rules and each Bureau's fee filing guide listed on the FCC's Application Processing Fees webpage.

Before using Fee Filer for the first time, you must obtain an FRN, or FCC Registration Number, through the FCC’s Commission Registration System (CORES), accessible at If you are unable to register electronically, you may submit your application for a Registration Number (FCC Form 160) directly to U.S. Bank (along with your filing documents and payment) or fax the FRN registration form to the CORES Helpdesk at (202) 418-7869 for some filing procedures. U.S. Bank will register you and you will receive a confirmation letter from the FCC through the U.S. Postal Service mail.

Do you have outstanding debt to the FCC?

This may be holding up action on your application, under the FCC's 'Red Light Rule'. Check your status on the FCC's Red Light Display System and read more about Debt Collection Improvement Act Implementation.

Problem with a payment you made or a debt you owe to the FCC?

Contact the FCC's Financial Operations Group Help Desk at or 1-877-480-3201 (option 6).