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Photos on Pilot Certificates One Step Closer

November 18, 2010 —The FAA announced today (November 17) it is proposing that all pilot certificates include photos of the certificate holder. The proposal calls for all airman certificates to include a photograph. Existing private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate holders would have five years to comply with the new requirement. Existing pilots with a current commercial pilot certificate would have four years to comply, while a pilot with an airline transport pilot rating would have three years to obtain a new certificate with a photo. The new pilot certificate would cost $22.

The original FAA press release stated that all new flight instructor certificates would include a photograph, but EAA has confirmed that was an error. A CFI’s underlying pilot certificate would be required to have a photo, not his or her flight instructor certificate.   

Under the new FAA proposal, pilots would obtain new certificates on which their photograph would appear with a proposed expiration date of eight years. At the end of that time period, pilots would need to update their photo and obtain a new certificate. This action follows a requirement that all pilot certificates be made of plastic and contain security features, such as a hologram and an ultraviolet-sensitive layer, to prevent tampering, altering, and counterfeiting.

If finalized, the resulting final regulation will fulfill a provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which requires the FAA to issue plastic, tamper-resistant pilot certificates with photos.


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