Mandatory Updates for International Section 214 Authorization Holders Due January 22, 2024 | Lerman Senter PLLC

The FCC has announced a January 22, 2024 deadline for all international section 214 authorization holders to provide a one-time update to the FCC’s records regarding their foreign ownership. The FCC’s Office of International Affairs has issued procedures for submitting this information using an online portal at https://fccgov.gov1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8pRWfOK9suOxy86. This portal is available for submissions through 11:59pm on Monday, January 22, 2024.

An authorization holder whose ownership has not been reviewed within the past three years, that is, during the period beginning January 22, 2021, either through the grant of an initial authorization or of a non-pro-forma transfer of control or assignment, must submit:

  • the name, address, citizenship and principal businesses of any non-U.S. person or entity that directly or indirectly owns 10% or more of its equity or voting interests (“Reportable Foreign Interest Holders”), and
  • the percentage of shares owned or voted by each Reportable Foreign Interest Holder to the nearest 1% as of 30 days prior to the filing deadline, or December 23, 2023.

The foreign ownership information must be divided between two categories:

(1) Reportable Foreign Interest Holders From Foreign Adversary Countries (that is, China (including Hong Kong), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela’s Maduro Regime), including any 10% or greater direct or indirect foreign interest holders in entities from these countries that are domiciled outside the relevant foreign adversary country.

(2) Reportable Foreign Interest Holders From Countries That Are Not Foreign Adversaries. Where there are no interest holders that are entities or individuals domiciled in a foreign adversary country listed above.

For each category, the authorization holder must:

  • identify each interest holder and the foreign country or countries, and
  • disclose whether any interest holder has dual or more citizenships and identify all countries where citizenship is held.

All information must be input online using an electronic FCC form. Please note that the form does not allow a user to return to a page after it has been completed or to retrieve a complete copy of the submission until after it has been certified and submitted, and that any errors may only be corrected prior to the filing deadline, after which there is no opportunity to submit corrections. Accordingly, authorization holders are strongly advised to review all instructional materials that the FCC has made available prior to uploading the required information on the website, as follow:

The information to be collected includes disclosure of any prior applications that resulted in a mitigation agreement (for example, a national security agreement or letter of agreement/assurance) entered into with Executive Branch law enforcement and national security agencies.

After completion of the online form, the accuracy of the information provided must be certified by an officer of the authorization holder. Even if an authorization holder has no disclosable foreign ownership, it still must respond to the information request and submit a certification affirming that it has no 10% or greater foreign interest holders.

Authorization holders will qualify for the three-year review exemption noted above if their initial authorization application or a non-pro-forma transfer of control or assignment application was granted on or after January 22, 2021, and any foreign ownership disclosed in that application was reviewed by the Executive Branch prior to grant. In addition to having been reviewed within the three-year period as described above, these authorization holders must:

 

  • have no additional Reportable Foreign Interest Holders other than those previously disclosed in the qualifying application, and
  • there must have been no changes to the previously disclosed Reportable Foreign Interest Holders as of December 23, 2023. This means that there cannot have been any changes that:
    • Modified the citizenship or domicile of any stakeholder;
    • Removed any stakeholder from ownership; or
    • Reduced a stakeholder’s ownership interest to less than 10% equity and/or voting

If an authorization holder meets these requirements, the holder will still need to submit information using the designated portal, including disclosure of any mitigation agreements, but will only be required to identify, on an aggregated basis, all of the countries of citizenship or organization of their Reportable Foreign Interest Holders. Foreign countries must be identified according to the two categories described above – foreign adversaries and all others. Filers subject to the exemption will also need to provide the file number of the application that meets these requirements and certify that the information in the application remains accurate.

The FCC proposes to cancel the authorizations of carriers that fail to respond, and to impose forfeitures or other measures where a carrier fails to respond in a timely or complete manner.

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