A pilot’s license is issued by the FAA. Sort of.

by | FAQs for Beginners, Learn to Fly

A Pilot’s License is issued by the FAA… Sort of. 

Anyone who drives knows that US driver’s licenses are issued by the states. Each state has its own license and process for training, examining, and issuing the license. Moving to a different state requires exchanging your old license for a new one.


A pilot’s license is issued by the FAA. Sort of. A pilot’s license consists of three documents: the pilot certificate, which never expires, the medical certificate, and a government issued photo id. 
The pilot certificate is good in all fifty states, and can even be used internationally when flying a US-registered airplane. Pilot certificates don’t have an address or expiration date, so they don’t need to be replaced if you move.

The medical certificate is also an FAA document, but your doctor will hand it to you when you’ve completed your examination. Your medical certificate doesn’t have an address on it either, so you can get your medical from a doctor in one state even if you are resident in another.

The final document you need when flying an airplane is a photo id. Most people use their driver’s license, since they are probably carrying it anyway. You probably already know how to get your driver’s license, and as I already mentioned, each state has their own procedures anyway!

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