Armed Forces

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A TV Licence isn’t covered by your monthly food and accommodation charges.

In Ministry of Defence Single Living Accommodation (SLA) or Service Family Accommodation (SFA), on or off base, you need to be covered by a TV Licence to:

  • watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, or live on an online TV service (such as All4, Sky Go and YouTube), or
  • download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch-up or on demand

This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

A TV Licence costs £150.50.

You can pay in one go or spread the cost with a range of Direct Debit options. You can buy and manage your licence online.

The Ministry of Defence fully supports us in applying the law regarding TV Licensing. It’s your responsibility to check if you need a TV Licence and to buy one if you do.

You could be prosecuted if we find that you have been watching or recording live TV programmes on any channel or device, or downloading or watching BBC programmes on iPlayer, without being covered by a licence.

The maximum penalty is a £1,000* fine plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay.

*Up to £2,000 in Guernsey.

Still have questions?

When else will I need a TV Licence on base?

You need a TV Licence if you watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer in your room. You only need one TV Licence no matter how many TVs, tablets or other devices you own.

We share a room. Do we all need a separate TV Licence?

You only need one TV Licence per room no matter how many people share, so you can also share the costs if you want to.

I’m a contractor living on base. What about me?

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

I’m a member of visiting forces and only watch TV programmes broadcast from outside the UK. What about me?

If you are a member of visiting forces, you will still need a TV Licence if you watch or record live TV programmes broadcast from outside the UK. However, this is only needed for the period you are in the UK.

Am I covered by my home TV Licence on base?

The base or mess TV Licence doesn’t cover your living accommodation, neither in SLA nor SFA. It is possible you may be covered by your home licence, however most Armed Forces personnel are not. You will only be covered by your home TV Licence:

  • If you watch BBC programmes on iPlayer which you’ve previously downloaded at home
  • If you only ever use a device at the base that is not plugged into the mains and which is powered solely by its own internal batteries
When don’t I need a TV Licence on base?

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 (such as All4, Sky Go and YouTube)
  • You never download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand
  • You only ever watch TV (including online) in communal and working areas covered by the TV Licence in your mess or base. These would usually include:
  • The cookhouse
  • The guardroom
  • Classrooms
  • Communal areas in junior ranks accommodation blocks, such as a TV room
  • Messes or junior ranks club communal TV rooms

Tell us you don’t need a TV Licence

What if I’m relocated?

I’m being posted elsewhere in the UK. Am I still covered?

You’re only covered at the address on your TV Licence. But don’t panic. You can update the address to the new one when you move. Update your details to stay covered.

I’m being posted overseas. Can I get a refund on my licence?

If you’re leaving the country you can cancel your TV Licence and apply for a refund if you have a month or more left on your licence.

What if I’m living aboard an HM Ship?

When living aboard an HM Ship, you will be covered by the ship’s TV Licence.

Message to Administrators:

One TV Licence covers the whole ship and is a requirement if anyone living aboard watches or records live TV on any channel or device, or downloads or watches BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies whenever an HM Ship is in UK territories, including ports and internal waters.

For administrators

We have created a leaflet and poster to help communicate the TV Licensing message. You can preview these resources online here:

And order copies by calling 020 8752 6537.

General information about TV Licensing is available in other languages: