In general, you must complete an initial application the first time you want a permit of a particular type. After receiving an initial permit, you must complete a renewal application to renew it.
If you are permitting the vessel for the first time for a given type of permit, you need an initial permit of that type. Even if a previous owner of the vessel had permitted it, you must still obtain an initial permit of that type for the vessel as long as this is the first time you are permitting that vessel.
If you had previously obtained a particular type of permit for the vessel, even if that permit has lapsed, you must obtain a renewal permit. Once you have an initial permit of a particular type for the vessel, you may renew it as long as you still own the vessel, meet the particular permitting requirements, and pay any associated processing fees.
Note that certain states may have additional permit requirements, including special permits to sell fish. Please contact the appropriate state agency. See the "other links" at left for links to state fisheries agencies.
How to Apply
You may apply for an initial or renewal permit in one of several ways. Regardless of which way you choose, you may always check the status of your application from the NMFS Permit Shop using the permit number or order confirmation number.
- Apply Online
Applying for an initial or renewal permit using the NMFS Permit Shop is your best option. You will need a valid credit card to complete your purchase and will have the option of printing your own permit(s) or having them mailed to you. To complete an online application, you will need contact information for the permitholder (e.g., name, address, and phone number). You will also need either Coast Guard or State registration information (number or other ID), vessel name, home and principal ports, vessel length, year built, crew size, type of construction (e.g., fiberglass), gross tonnage, propulsion type, engine horsepower, and hold capacity. You may also renew permits by calling the automated voice response system at (888) 872-8862, where you can also receive your permit via facsimile if you desire.
- Download an Application Package
You may also download an initial or renewal application package from the NMFS Permit Shop. The download package is an Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) file, which you can print onto paper, complete by hand, and mail to NMFS at the address provided in the application. NMFS will then mail your permit to you. You must provide a credit card number or include a money order with your paper application using this option.
- Request an Application Package to be Mailed
You may request that an initial or renewal application package be mailed to you from the NMFS Permit Shop. Once you receive the package, complete it by hand and mail it to the address provided. NMFS will then mail your permit to you. You must provide a credit card number or include a money order with your paper application using this option. You may also request that an application package be mailed to you by calling the NMFS Customer Service Center at (888) 872-8862.
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You may contact Customer Service by dialing 1-888-872-8862, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm EST