Felony Question Information
When Congress passed the Communications Act of 1934, it created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),
assigned the FCC certain duties and responsibilities, and granted specific legal authority to the FCC to
carry out those duties and responsibilities.
Congress also mandated that the FCC establish the qualifications for station operators to operate a station:
“All applications for station licenses, or modifications or renewals thereof,
shall set forth such facts as the Commission [The FCC] by regulation may prescribe
as to the citizenship, character, and financial, technical,
and other qualifications of the applicant to operate the station”.
In 2017, the FCC started requiring applicants in the Amateur Radio Service to answer a
"basic qualification question" (more commonly known as the "felony question") to determine
whether the applicant has the "requisite character to be an FCC licensee". The question asks
whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony in any local, state, or federal court.
If an applicant answers "Yes" to the felony question, they must provide an explanation of the conviction
to the FCC within 14 days after the application is received by the FCC or the application will be dismissed.
The explanation may include a statement as to why granting the application would not be against the
public interest, and may include character references.