What is a medical certificate?

Under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 1, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a medical certificate as "acceptable evidence of physical fitness on a form prescribed by the Administrator." The primary goal of the airman medical certification program is to protect not only those who would exercise the privileges of a pilot certificate but also air travelers and the general public.

A person who meets FAA airmen medical standards, based on a medical examination and an evaluation of medical history, is entitled to a medical certificate without restriction or limitation other than the prescribed limitation as to its duration. Individuals required to hold a medical certificate must have it in their personal possession at all times when exercising the privileges for which they are licensed.