Notes About Applying
For most people, the total cost to take the exam is $493. If you have a criminal background, a higher fee is required. Of the $493, $320 is paid to the Patent Office when sending the application, and $173 is paid to Thompson Prometric when taking the exam. The $320 paid to the Patent Office consists of a $110 application fee and a $210 registration fee. If your application to take the exam is denied for some reason, the $210 registration fee is refunded. Application processing takes about 3 weeks for a Category A application (Bachelor’s degree in an accepted subject) and 4–6 weeks otherwise.
Once your application is accepted, you have a 90-day window to take the exam, starting about a week after the letter is mailed from the Patent Office (so that your window is not elapsing while the letter is in the mail). We recommend that you apply about 1 month before you plan to take the exam, so that you’re taking it near the start of the window. If you do it this way, and something comes up that requires you to postpone the exam (or if your studying takes longer than you thought), you’ll have plenty of extra time and won’t be rushed.
Required documentation includes an official original transcript and possibly some supporting information; see the General Requirements Bulletin for more information. Note that you can send the transcript yourself; it need not be sent directly from your school or sealed and signed. The transcript is the only acceptable proof of a degree or other coursework; a diploma or degree, or a letter from the registrar of your school, is not acceptable. The transcripts must show the same name as the application; if your name has changed you’ll also need to include documentation such as a court order or marriage certificate.
You must use your full name on the application, including your full middle name.
If you’re applying under Category B, you must include course descriptions from the year the course was taken; these are available from the registrar of the college or university where you took the courses.