Telecommunications Service Providers: Do you Need an FCC International Section 214 License?

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All providers of telecommunications services (regardless of whether they are domestic or international carriers) that provide international outbound services to the general public from the United States to any foreign destination must obtain the prior approval of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) before offering or providing such services.

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Does My Company Require an FCC International Section 214 License?

The definition of “telecommunications services” is very broad and includes private line, switched long distance, prepaid calling card, Voice Over IP (VoIP”) services and many similar services. Whether you resell the telecommunications services of another company or provide services using your own facilities, you are required to obtain International 214 Authorization.

What is Involved in Obtaining a Section 214 License?

An online application must be completed and electronically submitted to the FCC, which must include the following information:

  • the company’s state of incorporation;
  • tax ID number;
  • d/b/a, if any;
  • the names, addresses, citizenship, principal business (if other than telecommunications) and percent ownership in the company for anyone (individual or entity) who has ten percent (10%) or greater interest in the company;
  • whether the company is affiliated with any foreign entities or has any ownership in any foreign company;
  • whether the company is affiliated with any dominant U.S. Carrier whose international switched or private line services the company intends to resell;
  • whether any other company or subsidiary is associated with the application;
  • whether the company is applying for Facilities-Based or Non-Facilities-Based authority, or both; and
  • the destination countries for the company’s telecommunications services (i.e., all international points, all international points except Country X, only Countries X and Y, etc.).

There is also a filing fee of $1,050.00 that is generally paid at the time that the application is electronically filed with the FCC.

How Long Does 214 Licensing Take?

It depends, particularly on whether there is foreign ownership of the company or any affiliation with a foreign country or company.  If there is no foreign connection, often the application will qualify for “streamlined” processing, sometimes referred to as the “Rocket Docket,” and the application may be granted within twenty days.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, or if you require FCC licensing or that of a state Public Service Commission, please e-mail us at, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.  Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

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David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

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