No cost licenses are available if you are:
- over 65 AND a Rhode Island resident
- a veteran with 100% disability status from the Department of Veterans Affairs
- a person with 100% total disability status from the Social Security Administration
You may obtain your no cost license in person at DEM, by mail, or through the online system if you are in one of these categories.
If you hold a 100% disability status either from the Social Security Administration or Veteran’s Affairs, you must hold a current ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). This document MUST be on agency letterhead, from the appropriate federal agency(ies) that issued the required disability decision (i.e. the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs). If you are unsure of your disability status, it is best to call or visit DEM.
People who are over 65 or who are a veteran with 100% disability status will be issued a permanent license for freshwater fishing, hunting or freshwater fishing/hunting combo licenses. People with 100% total disability status will be issued a new license each year after confirmation that the status is still 100%.
Special conditions apply for no cost saltwater licenses. Over 65 saltwater fishing licenses are free but need to be renewed each year. People with 100% disability status are exempt from needing a license for saltwater fishing but must have the original document of the final decision available while saltwater fishing in Rhode Island waters.
To apply in person at DEM, please bring a photo ID and an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (directions)
To apply by mail, please complete an application and mail the application and a copy of your photo ID and the ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Please allow two weeks for processing.
The address to obtain your license in person or by mail is:
DEM Licensing Office
235 Promenade Street, Room 360
Providence, RI 02908
To purchase online, you will be required to certify that you have an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). You will also be required to enter the date the decision expires. The Department will audit compliance with the certification and may, at any time, request a copy of the current DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Failure to submit the documentation by the date requested may result in suspension of your fishing and hunting license. Also, Rhode Island General Law 11-18-1 prohibits giving false document to an agent, employee or public official. Penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to one year.