To fulfill its responsibilities under the law, the FCC must often ask its applicants or licensees to fill out forms, maintain records, or disclose information to others. These are known as information collection requirements or, more simply, information collections. The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Part 35) requires us to get approval for our information collections from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). We obtain separate approvals from OMB for each of our information collections.
Approved information collection requirements must display an OMB control number and an expiration date. An approval usually expires within 3 years after OMB grants it, so the FCC must periodically ask for an extension of OMB approval until the collection is no longer needed.
We call our PRA submissions to OMB “clearance requests.” Most of our clearance requests are for extensions, but we also submit clearance requests whenever we want to change an information collection or create a new one. Here is a brief explanation of the types of clearance requests we submit to OMB.
Extensions – An extension of OMB approval for an information collection does not involve any change other than an extension of its expiration date. Most extensions must be granted by OMB, but in some cases the Commission can grant its own extensions based on delegated authority from OMB.
Revisions – A revision involves a change to an existing information collection. The change can involve the people affected by the collection or the specific information collected.
New collections – If we want to collect or have people maintain or disclose an entirely new kind of information not related to any of our current information collections we call it a new collection.