Apply for an aeronautical or Unmanned Aircraft System licence

Published: 6 March 2024

Apply for an aircraft licence

You can apply for a new, or manage an existing aircraft licence through our online portal. If you require a paper application please contact us using our webform, or write to us.

Apply for an aeronautical ground station licence

To apply for a ground station licence, please fill out the relevant form and submit it to

OfW586a: Ground station application form (PDF, 1.2 MB)

OfW586b: Ground station payment contact form (PDF, 821.2 KB)

OfW593: Aeronautical radar ground station licence application form (PDF, 1.0 MB)

OfW594: Aeronautical navigational aid radio ground station licence application form (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Apply for an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) licence

To apply for an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operator radio licence for equipment on a drone, please complete the application form and submit it to

OfW605: UAS Operator Radio licence application form (PDF, 602.8 KB)

UAS Operator Radio licence guidance (PDF, 285.6 KB)

How the licensing process works

If you have questions about your aeronautical licence, find the answers here.

Wireless Telegraphy Act licensing policy manual (PDF, 305.2 KB)

EMF licence condition (PDF, 164.7 KB)

For aircraft and transportable licences, we normally issue a licence within 5 working days of receipt of a completed application form and licence fee. Aeronautical ground station and navigation aid applications will often take longer due to the need to assign a frequency, which may need to be coordinated internationally. Method of delivery (email or letter) depends on your preference as indicated in the application.

Furthermore, there are twice-yearly six-week freeze periods imposed by EUROCONTROL to allow for Europe wide frequency (Block) planning. The Block planning only affects air-ground communications (COM2) 117.975 – 137 MHz.

You will automatically receive a fee reminder approximately six weeks before your fee falls due. You can then send in payment or pay online. If you have set up a direct debit you need do nothing, we shall collect the fee.

If we do not receive a response to the reminder notice, we will issue a proposal to cancel notice on the licence fee due date and a cancellation notice one month after the licence fee due date.

You must notify us of any changes to the address details of the aircraft owner/radio licensee or to the classes of radio equipment (e.g. VHF, radio altimeter). For registered aircraft you should also notify your Aircraft Registry of any changes.

Changes to an Aeronautical Ground Station or Navigation Aid licence should be submitted on an application form. Your new equipment should not be installed or used until it has been approved.

No, licences are not transferable between licensees or aircraft and there is no pro rata refund.

For licence fees up to and including £5,000, the fastest way is to submit a credit/debit card payment through our online payment portal.

For payments over £5,000 a direct debit instruction is best. Direct debits cannot be set up in time to collect the first payment but will be used for future payments. However, payment can be taken by direct debit for a new licence if you are an existing licensee with a live direct debit instruction set up with your bank.

If you prefer to make a BACS payment, please quote your invoice number, so that our Finance team can identify your payment easily.

For International Banker’s Drafts, please quote your invoice number. You will need to add the charge on an international banker’s draft to the total requested.

Ofcom doesn’t provide an individual receipt after any payments. Ofcom considers the receipt of the licence document as receipt of payment.

Ofcom no longer requires details of the make and model number of aircraft radio equipment for licensing purposes. Approval numbers for  most equipment will be found on the EASA website. If you have difficulty locating the appropriate approval numbers you should contact either the manufacturer or retailer of the equipment.

We may revoke your Aircraft or Ground Station Licence if you don’t pay your fee. Additionally for an Aircraft Radio Licence, we may revoke your licence if we are notified that you have disposed of your aircraft. If you still wish to use the radio equipment you will need to apply for a fresh licence using the appropriate application form. It is an offence to operate aeronautical radio equipment without a valid Wireless Telegraphy Act radio licence.

You need the appropriate operator certificate to use aircraft radio. The CAA is responsible for the operator certification.

This is managed by the CAA. Please contact them directly (website or email) to request the appropriate forms.

By reducing the channel spacing between consecutive transmit frequencies in the aeronautical VHF bands, the 8.33 kHz channel spacing adds two additional channels for every 25 kHz channel. This is to overcome the frequency congestion in the medium to long term by providing more channels. For an 8.33 kHz channel the transmit frequencies will have at least four digits after the decimal. To reduce the potential for errors between the controller and pilot, the channel number has been allocated for each frequency which closely resembles the frequency. This is done in such a way that only three digits after the decimal are used. The purpose of this is to simplify the pronunciation of the frequency spoken over air and reduce the number of digits needed to be entered into the on-board radio.

For more information, please read our leaflet on understanding 8.33 kHz frequencies and their specific channel number, and use our converter to check the frequency/channel.

Understanding 8.33 kHz frequencies and their specific channel number (PDF, 349.3 KB)

8.33 kHz frequency to channel number converter (XLSX, 16.5 KB)

You will receive a licence document after the first invoice is paid, please keep this safe. We will no longer issue a copy of your licence after the periodic fee is paid. When a licence is issued it is in perpetuity, so is valid until it is surrendered or revoked.

For later licence fees paid, you will receive a licence fee payment confirmation per licence. Please keep this licence fee payment confirmation with your licence document. We have made this change to bring aeronautical licensing into line with our other licence products.

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