Special Temporary Authority

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grants Special Temporary Authority (STA) to permit immediate or temporary operation of certain radio facilities during emergencies or other urgent conditions. Few radio services can file manually, most are required to file electronically, refer to 47 C.F.R. § 1.913 for electronic filing requirements.
  STA may be granted in the following circumstances:

  1. In emergency situations, such as natural disasters;
  2. To permit restoration or relocation of existing facilities to continue communication service;
  3. For a temporary, non-recurring service where a regular authorization is not appropriate;
  4. In other situations involving circumstances which are of such extraordinary nature that delay in the instruction of temporary operation would seriously prejudice the public interest. For more information on STAs, refer to 47 C.F.R. § 1.931.

STA Term

STAs are granted with a fixed expiration date, usually six months, or for the term necessary to cover a special event, etc. STAs do not have grace periods and are valid only through their expiration date. See instructions for how to file an STA.

The Commission may grant extensions of an STA for a period of 180 days, but the applicant must show that extraordinary circumstances warrant such an extension. Such requests, other than those for market-based service licenses (i.e., services where licenses are issued through an auction), should be filed electronically using FCC Form 601 Main Form with a purpose of Renewal/Modification. Market-based services STAs must be filed manually.  

STA Conditions

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 is required to discontinue operation.   In accordance with 47 C.F.R. § 1.931(a), an STA application must be filed 10 days prior to the date of the operation proposed in the application. An application for an STA must meet the conditions for grant outlined in 47 C.F.R. § 1.931. All STA requests must be complete and cannot rely on references to 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 coordination with FAA or other government users. STA requests to operate facilities requiring government coordination will be entertained only in extraordinary circumstances.  

Forms & Fees

Applicants in all services, except market-based services (i.e., services where licenses are issued through an auction), are strongly encouraged to file electronically via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). Applicants for Special Temporary Authority should apply on FCC Form 601 accompanied with the appropriate schedules. All applications for STA must also include an attachment justifying the need for an STA. For forms and fee information, see Forms & Fees which includes information on how to download forms, or to request forms by phone, fax on demand, or in writing.  


DO NOT SEND CASH. FCC recommends online electronic payment. If payment is made by credit card, it may allow for faster processing of an application. Credit Card payment can be accessed via ULS Pay Fees. Payment of fees may be made by check, bank draft, money order, or credit card and must be accompanied by FCC form 159 (Remittance Advise). If paying by check, bank draft, or money order, your remittance must be denominated in U.S. dollars and drawn on a U.S. financial institution. For information on STA fees, see the Wireless Fee Filing Guide.  

Fee Exemptions

47 C.F.R., Part 1, § 1.1114 of the Commission's rules explains who qualifies as fee exempt. The following are exempt from ALL fee requirements:

  • Governmental Entities
  • Non-commercial Educational Broadcast stations

The following are exempt from either application and/or regulatory fee requirements:

  • Non-profit applications in the Special Emergency and Public Safety Radio Services are exempt from the application fee, provided a current Determination Letter accompanies the application from the Internal Revenue Service documenting their non-profit status under IRS Code § 501(c)(3).
  • All Special Emergency and Public Safety Radio Service applicants are exempt from the regulatory fee.
  • Non-profit applicants in the radio services other than Special Emergency and Public Safety are required to pay the application fee. However, they are exempt from paying the regulatory fee, provided a current Determination Letter accompanies the application from the Internal Revenue Service documenting their non-profit status under IRS Code § 501 or current certification as a non-profit corporation or other non-profit entity by state or other governmental authority.

An applicant filing electronically should submit fee exemption information as an attachment. For applicants filing their FCC form 601 manually, submit your fee exempt request with your FCC form 601 to:

  Federal Communications Commission
1270 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245

601 STA filings that require no fee should also be sent to the Gettysburg address.

Do not send a fee or remittance advice to the FCC with an emergency request 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. Do not submit the fee payment for an emergency STA until you have received a bill. If a bill for an STA is not paid in a timely manner the Commission will consider the applicant to be in default and the applicant may be denied services.  

Instructions for Electronic Filing

Most services except market-based services (i.e., services where licenses are issued through an auction), are required to file electronically, via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). Using ULS to file an application for an STA, access the ULS homepage, select Online Filing. Log in to License Manager using your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and associated password. If additional assistance is needed in completing the filing information, please call the ULS Customer Support Hotline at 1-877-480-3201, select option 2.
Applicants that are eligible to file manually, including market-based service licensees (i.e., services where licenses are issued through an auction) are required to complete the FCC 601 main form and appropriate schedules, as determined by the radio service. Submit your request, a completed FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice), and the appropriate fee, if applicable, to:

Federal Communications Commission
P.O. Box 979097
St. Louis, MO 63197-9000

In emergency situations only, STA requests may be submitted by telephone by calling 1-888-225-5322 and select option 2, or fax to (717) 338-2696, provided an application is filed within ten days of such a request. Emergency situations are defined under 47 C.F.R. 1.915(b)(1). These situations include an emergency found by the Commission to involve danger to life or property or to be due to damage of equipment; a national emergency proclaimed by the President or declared by the Congress and 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 renewal application from existing licensees or otherwise to follow normal licensing procedures.  

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