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Foreign Licences - which ones do you have?

EASA PPL, FAA PPL (stand-alone) and South African SACAA Foreign License Validation

The SACAA Foreign License Validation is a “piggy-back” on your EASA license and is valid for 5 years. The procedure is as follows:

  • take & pass South Africa Air Law Exam
  • perform local check flight (area familiarisation & procedures)
  • perform check flight with SACAA DE (Designated Examiner)

docs & fees to SACAA as follows:
– completed SACAA Form CA61.01.14
– copy of valid foreign license and medical (certified copy)
– copy of passport (certified copy)
– copy of last four pages of logbook (certified copy)
– 2 passport-size photos
– SACAA issuance fee of circa ZAR 340.00

At a minimum, plan for two separate half days for the exams and flights and then a following two days for the completion/receipt of docs from the SACAA – of course this is a best case scenario, so allow room for delay.

United Kingdom

Lapsed UK ATP, I/R; now EASA PPL, Kenyan PPL, resident 50/50 UK/Kenya. Recent project: delivering a C182P from S.Africa to its new base in Kenya (via Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania), with, for insurance purposes, an SA PPL with relevant route experience.

My main point is to confirm that the UK CAA is useless when it comes to licensing matters, at least, in my experience, for PPL holders. My Kenyan PPL was based on validation of my EASA PPL (plus abbreviated PPL exam & check-out), though it took over 18 months for the KCAA to establish email contact with the UK CAA.

The S.African CAA responded reasonably well by email, regarding validating my PPL (either UK or Kenya), but had a 10-day comms shutdown on my arrival last month. Contact with UK CAA was abortive, but Kenya CAA responded and confirmed my licence; end-result was extraction of a SA PPL licence no. but appeared too late for AirLaw exam/check-ride.


1) UK CAA totally impossible to deal with (last email to them resulted in an immediate robotic answer, stating delay of 4 weeks to reply – that was over 9 weeks ago). Rumours that personal visits can be made at £200/shot.

2) S.African CAA – plan at least 2 months to arrange anything by email – anecdotal feedback on the web of getting validated-in-a-day are fantasy. Documents need to be ‘certified’ (local post-offices, police, or airport fire-station).

3) Kenyan CAA – disorganised (at one stage all my past records disappeared, including exam results, never to re-appear, plus a complete departmental staff cull), but at least you can walk-in to their HQ and talk to them. Make sure everything you give them is copied, get all documents ‘certified’ by a local ‘lawyer’ (particularly log-books), arm yourself with a rubber stamp with licence number and use liberally, check correct size of ID photos (minute) and communicate soley by WhatsApp. Any ‘venting of your frank opinions’ will result in your application finding its way back to square one.

Reply to my 7th Feb.’19 email to UK CAA:

The standard turnaround time for licence applications is 10 working days, however we are outside this SLA at the moment. Our current turnaround time is roughly 4 weeks. We kindly ask that you do not chase your query or licence application within the stated timeframe as we are experiencing a high volume of emails and applications and are responding as quickly as we can.

Please note that due to the high workload we are only accepting expedite requests in extreme circumstances. We will not accept any requests from pilots, these must be submitted by an operator. All other applications will be assessed in strict date order

Last Edited by 2greens1red at 26 Apr 09:59
Swanborough Farm (UK), Shoreham EGKA, Soysambu (Kenya), Kenya

I was talking yesterday to a UK guy with EASA PPL, who’s been building hours for his CPL in the US earlier this month.

He had his UK EASA licence validated in 5 days earlier this year, by the FAA, who had requested routine validation with the UK CAA.

Do FAA requests have priority?

Swanborough Farm (UK), Shoreham EGKA, Soysambu (Kenya), Kenya

Regarding dealing with the South African CAA (SACAA), I would suggest using a third-party to organise the process. I used:

Aviation Assist

For a small fee they made certain everything got done (I found dealing directly with the SACAA maddening). Further I would suggest you to use an international courier such FedEx for sending any documents. Mine were “lost” twice when I used the Royal Mail International from the UK for which I had to go back to a UK lawyer to get docs certified again.

United Kingdom

My original license was the FAA / PPL obtained at KBUR (Burbank, Los Angeles) many years ago. A few years later did the 100h (150h ?) conversion route to a standalone UK/CAA/JAR PPL. Later added a Namibian validation (lapsed) and an Australian validation (also lapsed). Now hold an FAA PPL/IR and an Austrian EASA PPL, obtained via SOLI to avoid the Brexit idiocy in the UK.

The two validations were interesting, as was the SOLI:
- Namibia: I validated my UK JAR license and the problem there was not in Namibia, but with Gatwick. The email addresses were wrong, as were the fax addresses. I wasn’t aware that you had to sign a consent form for the CAA to release the info to a foreign CAA, so the whole process was a mess. After several phone calls (I was already in Namibia and this had become a matter of urgency), I finally got through to the manageress of the whole process who proved extremely helpful (honor where honor is due!) and got it sorted in a couple of hours. In-country requirements were two written exams (air law and radio, the latter being very different from Europe / US) and a flight test.

- Australia: with the above in mind, I decided to validate my FAA ticket. The actual validation process was easy, the FAA take about 3 working days to turn these requests around, and accomplished from Europe, BUT the security card (called ASIC) which you need to access any Australian airport that has regular CAT proved to be a nightmare. It can only be issued once you have legally entered Australia and physically obtaining the thing took a couple of weeks. Luckily I had non-aviation plans for the first part of my trip, so while annoying, it didn’t derail the trip (an airplane that died in the middle of Oz did that, but that’s another story…) Local requirements were written air law and a flight test.

Ah, and there was also the SOLI!
Here the CAA excel at coming up with the most harebrained idea ever: in this process you need to send a notarized copy of your license to the CAA. Now, just to be clear: this is a copy of a license the CAA themselves have issued ! Anyway, so far,s o annoying, but it gets better: if yiou think that any old notary public can certify this document, you’d be thinking clearly, something that must be in short supply at the Belgrano. Only the head of training of an EASA certified ATO can do that! Living in the US, this wasn’t too difficult to achieve, albeit at some cost – you need to go there in person. I hate to think of people who live in some of the more far-flung parts of this planet….

chflyer wrote:

Agree for the stated situation. However anyone wanting to fly N-reg around Europe would be well-served to get a full FAA licence rather than a 61.75 since the full licence is not dependent on a valid EASA licence.

Is the validation (61.75) sufficient to legally fly an N-reg in Europe (outside the US)?

always learning
LO__, Austria

Yes. It is valid worldwide.

The 61.75 PPL has advantages:

  • easier to get than a standalone FAA PPL, obviously
  • can use a non US (ICAO compliant) medical (where a US medical is not achievable*)
  • can get the FAA IR via the Foreign Pilot Exam route

and its chief disadvantage is that it is a “house of cards” via its dependence on the original license. This dependence has caused huge problems for European pilots in past years. These were not widely reported but from emails I got were connected with the one guy in Europe who was then able to issue a 61.75, being hard to get hold of on a timely basis, especially for large numbers of holders in certain countries, notably Germany where the 61.75 is very popular. IIRC, when EASA took over FCL from the NAAs, every 61.75 holder had to get his 61.75 reissued. This should not happen again but you never know.

The only downside AFAIK of a standalone PPL is the medical angle.

* I am not an AME but scenarios like some type of cancer under surveillance

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

172driver wrote:

It can only be issued once you have legally entered Australia and physically obtaining the thing took a couple of weeks.

This is no longer so. Mine was done entirely from outside Australia, but via an agent, so it was waiting for me on arrival. It can be done!

I would allow about 2 months in total for an Australian licence from start to finish, although it is probably possible to do it in less. CASA are actually helpful and it is possible to reasonably easily speak to someone who appears to know what they are doing.

I got an Ukrainian PPL license more than 10 years ago. Based on this one, I organised an FAA 61.75 as I fly a N-registered experimental plane. Then 6 years ago went for a FAA IR in Florida. At the next Ukrainian PPL revalidation, the IR right was transferred to my Ukrainian PPL. That was straightforward!
On the medial side, I only maintain the Ukrainian one proactively. Only when I fly in the US, I get a US medical as the typical local renting facilities don’t get the concept of using a non FAA medical on a 61.75.


Fuji_Abound wrote:

This is no longer so. Mine was done entirely from outside Australia, but via an agent, so it was waiting for me on arrival. It can be done!

Interesting and good news – the old system was a nightmare.

Fuji_Abound wrote:

CASA are actually helpful and it is possible to reasonably easily speak to someone who appears to know what they are doing.

Agree. CASA really helped me along, also with the ASIC, although that process was largely outside their control. The two months timeframe sounds about right. Who did you use as agent?

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