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To provide a path for a pilot holding a pilot certifi cate from another country to operate a U.S. registered aircraft, the FAA publishes Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 61.75. Within this FAR, based upon their foreign pilot certifi cate, a pilot can apply for and be issued a private pilot (PPL) certifi cate from the FAA. To receive this certifi cation, no additional testing is required as long as the foreign pilot certifi cate is valid and the applicant meets minimum English speaking requirements of ICAO Level 4 profi ciency.

In many cases, foreign pilots will use a 61.75 PPL to meet eligibility requirements for higher FAA certifi cates and/or ratings, such as the commercial pilot certifi cate. It is not uncommon for a foreign pilot to add several categories, classes, and ratings to a 61.75 PPL. Although the FAA permits this, there is a misunderstanding within fl ight schools on when a 61.75 PPL can be used for additional certifi cation. This can a be a costly issue to a student that has completed a fl ight training program, only to fi nd that their 61.75 PPL is not valid to apply for any additional FAA certifi cation.

When a foreign pilot applies for a 61.75 PPL, they will complete FAA Form 8060-71: Verifi cation of Authenticity of Foreign License, Rating, and Medical Certifi cation. Once this form is submitted to the FAA, it usually takes about four to six weeks to complete. The speed of this process is directly aff ected by the response time of the foreign pilot regulatory agency. Once the verifi cation is completed, the FAA will issue a letter to the foreign pilot applicant that will contain all foreign pilot certifi cates held by the applicant, both current and expired. This letter would be presented to an FAA representative to facilitate the issuance of a 61.75 PPL.

Many fl ight schools believe that once the foreign pilot certifi cate is verifi ed and the letter is received, no further verifi cation is required. However, this would be incorrect. The FAA verifi cation letter is only valid for a period of six months. Why is this important?

Randy Rowles has been an FAA pilot examiner for 20 years for all helicopter certifi cates and ratings. He holds an FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certifi cate, NAFI Master Flight Instructor designation, and was the 2013 recipient of the HAI Flight Instructor of the Year Award. Rowles is currently director of training at Epic Helicopters in Fort Worth, Texas.

50 September 2015

Training Musings By Randy Rowles

The 61.75 Foreign Pilot Verifi cation Process Verify! Verify! Verify!

If a person holding a 61.75 PPL that was issued more than six months prior wants to apply for an additional FAA certifi cate and/or rating…this certifi cate is not valid for application. To be eligible to use their previously issued 61.75 PPL, the foreign pilot certifi cate must be verifi ed again by reapplying to the FAA for verifi cation of their foreign pilot certifi cate.

It is important to note that whenever the 61.75 PPL or a foreign pilot certifi cate is being used as eligibility toward the issuance of an FAA pilot certifi cate, the applicant must have a valid foreign pilot verifi cation letter prior to making application. This includes application for an FAA airline transport pilot certifi cate when applying without holding an FAA pilot certifi cate. In this case, the applicant’s foreign pilot certifi cate is being utilized to meet eligibility requirements and must be verifi ed by the FAA with a verifi cation letter received before making application to the FAA.

It’s a pretty simple process: If you’re using a foreign pilot certifi cate, even if the FAA has already issued a 61.75 PPL for that foreign pilot certifi cate, the applicant must have a current verifi cation letter to apply for any additional FAA certifi cates and/ or ratings. Too many applicants are fi nding this out on checkride day and it’s not an easy fi x. If you forget to verify a foreign pilot certifi cate, you’ve just added weeks, or even months, to the foreign pilot applicant’s visit to the good ol’ USA.

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