Armed forces personnel

Find out how to check if you need a TV Licence when you’re on base, what it covers and how much it costs.

A TV Licence is not included in your monthly food and accommodation charges. In Ministry of Defence (MOD) living accommodation, on or off base, you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand. This applies to any provider or device you use, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorder.

Find out more about watching live TV.

It’s your responsibility to check if you need a TV Licence and buy one if you do. The Ministry of Defence fully supports us in applying the law regarding TV Licensing. If we find evidence you’re watching TV illegally, you risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000* plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay.

*The maximum fine is £2,000 in Guernsey.

A TV Licence costs £147. You can spread the cost with a Direct Debit or pay in one go.


All your questions answered.

 
What's covered by my base's TV Licence?

Your base’s TV Licence only covers communal and working areas. This includes the cookhouse, guardroom, classrooms and communal areas in junior ranks accommodation blocks.

What's NOT covered by my base's TV Licence?

Service family or single living accommodation

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies to any provider or device you use.

Multi-occupancy rooms

You need one TV Licence per room, no matter how many TVs, tablets or other devices there are.

Members of non-service organisations (e.g. contractors)

You must be covered by a separate TV Licence. One TV Licence is required for each room or office where TV receiving equipment is being used.

Members of the visiting forces who watch only non-UK satellite TV programmes

If you watch or record television programmes that are broadcast from outside the UK, you still need a TV Licence. The exception is if you are watching programmes that are only available to UK audiences on the internet and are not broadcast as part of a satellite or other domestic distribution service.

Does my home TV Licence cover me on base?

Your home TV Licence doesn’t cover you at your single living accommodation on base. You will need another licence for your room at your duty station if you watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand. This applies to any device or provider you use.

There is one exception – if you only use a device that is not plugged into the mains, and is powered solely by its own internal batteries, you will be covered by your home TV Licence.

When is a TV Licence not needed?

You don’t need a TV Licence if you never watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, and you never download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer - live, catch up or on demand.

This applies to any provider or device you use in your room, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorder.

If you only watch catch up TV or online video clips

You don’t need a TV Licence to watch programmes after they’ve been shown on TV, like those on YouTube or All4. If you’re watching programmes online at the same time as they are shown on TV, like BBC iPlayer live streaming, you’ll need to be covered by a TV Licence.

If you’re stationed abroad or posted overseas

If you’re stationed abroad, you do not need a TV Licence. If you’re posted overseas and won’t be coming back to the UK before your licence expires, you may be able to claim a refund.

If you only watch on TVs provided in communal areas

The unit, mess/club manager or contractor is responsible for licensing communal areas within messes, accommodation blocks, clubs or third party accommodation.

You can update your details at any time online – you just need your TV Licence number.


If you still have questions take a look at TV Licensing FAQs where you can find all the answers in one place.

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