Application Process for Medical Certification

General Information - Who May Be Certified

Age Requirements
There is no age restriction or aviation experience requirement for medical certification. Any applicant who qualifies medically may be issued a Medical Certificate, FAA Form 8500 9 (white), regardless of age. Examiners also have been delegated authority to issue the combined Medical Certificate and Student Pilot Certificate, FAA Form 8420 2 (yellow), which is age restricted because it is an airman medical and student pilot certificate (student license and medical certificate). For issuance of the combined certificate, the applicant must have reached his or her 16th birthday.

Minimum age requirements for the various airman certificates (i.e., pilot license certificates) are defined in 14 CFR part 61, Certification: Pilots and Flight Instructors, and Ground Inspectors as follows:

  • Airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate: 23 years
  • Commercial pilot certificate: 18 years
  • Private pilot certificate: powered aircraft - 17 years;
  • Private pilot certificate: gliders and balloons - 16 years;
  • Student pilot certificate: powered aircraft - 16 years;
  • Student pilot certificate: gliders and balloons - 14 years

Language Requirements
Effective March 5, 2008, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) (Annex 1 Personnel Licensing) standards require that all Private, Commercial or Airline Transport pilots as well as Flight Engineers and Flight Navigators operating internationally as required crewmembers of an airplane or helicopter have an airman certificate with an endorsement of language proficiency. In the case of persons holding a U.S. airman certificate, the language proficiency endorsement will state English Proficient. An applicant for an Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate must meet the ICAO definition of English Proficient, which is equivalent to the FAA's long-standing basic English standard.

At each exam, the Examiner must observe the applicant's ability to understand and communicate in English. This may be accomplished by observing the applicant reading instructions, answering questions, and conversing with the AME.

If there is any doubt regarding the applicant's English proficiency:

  • Providing Part 67 Medical Qualification Standard is met, applicants for Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate may be issued the Airman Medical Certificate. The AME must NOT issue the Student Pilot Certificate.
  • Providing Part 67 Medical Qualification Standard is met, applicants for an Airman Medical Certificate may be issued the Airman Medical Certificate.
  • In all cases:
    • The AME must notify the applicant of their concern, document the notification in block 60, and advise the applicant to report to the local FSDO for further testing.
    • The AME must also notify the FSDO and or the RFS and document this in block 60. If the AME notifies only the RFS, then the RFS must notify the FSDO closest to the examining AME¬ís office. The AME must also document in block 60 the name of the person contacted.

The ICAO Standard rates individuals from Level 1 (pre-elementary) to Level 6 (expert). Operational Level 4 is considered the minimum for proficiency. The standard focuses on Pronunciation, Structure, Vocabulary, Fluency, Comprehension, and Interactions. The ICAO Standard (PDF) is provided as information only.