Members of the Society are called Fellows and are known as Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA). To be elected persons shall be 'excelling in the knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other nations' and be 'desirous to promote the honour, business and emoluments of the Society'.
Proposals for membership can only come from existing Fellows of the Society. The General Secretary and staff at Burlington House are not able to assist individuals in this matter. Elections are by secret ballot and it is possible for candidates to be rejected. The number of Fellows is limited by statute, and currently is around 2,900: current policy is to expand the Fellowship to 3,000.
A candidate for election as a Fellow of the Society has to be proposed by means of a certificate (known as a Blue Paper). This states the names, profession or occupation, qualifications and usual address of the candidate, along with a statement that the sponsor draws up detailing the reasons why the candidate is considered to be worthy of election to the Fellowship. The Blue Paper has to be signed by at least five and up to twelve existing Fellows certifying that, from their personal knowledge, the candidate would make a worthy Fellow.
The Blue Paper is then delivered to the General Secretary and is read at an Ordinary Meeting before being suspended for a period in the Meeting Room for Fellows to read. The candidate's name is then included in the next available ballot at which Fellows vote (online, by post or in person) for a list of ballot candidates. The candidate needs to achieve a ratio of four ‘yes' votes for every ‘no' vote cast by Fellows participating in the ballot to be duly elected as a Fellow.