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Applications filed to obtain Special Temporary Authority (STA) in the services described in 47 C.F.R. §1.913(d) must be filed electronically.   

Special Temporary Authority (STA)

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. Radio services 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. 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), are required to be filed electronically using ULS, selecting purpose of Renewal/Modification. Market-based services STAs must be filed manually.

STA applications do not need to be placed on Public Notice in the following cases:

  1. The STA is to be valid for a period of 30 days or less;
  2. The applicant needs the STA for a period of 60 days or less, pending the filing of an application for permanent operating authority;
  3. The STA is to allow interim operation to facilitate completion of authorized construction or to provide substantially the same service as previously authorized;
  4. The STA is made upon a finding that there are extraordinary circumstances requiring operation in the public interest and that delay in the institution of such service would seriously prejudice the public interest.

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 required to file electronically via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). All applications for STA must also include an attachment justifying the need for an STA. 



ULS will calculate the fees.  Click the "Continue to CORES for Payment Completion" button.  Application fees MUST be received within 10 calendar days of the filing.  Please see Individual Payment Process Instructions.  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.

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

See instructions for how to file an STA.