• Before providing an Air Traffic Control (ATC) service, an individual must be appropriately qualified and licensed.

    They must hold an Air Traffic Controller (ATCO) Licence that includes a rating and rating endorsement, where applicable, appropriate to the task.

    ATCO licences are issued by the CAA to holders of Student ATCO licences following successful completion of the appropriate approved unit endorsement course and assessment.

    Requirements to be granted an ATCO Licence

    Applicants for an Air Traffic Controller Licence must:

    • hold a valid Student Air Traffic Controller Licence
    • have successfully completed the Unit Endorsement Course
    • have successfully completed Training in Abnormal and Emergency Situations (ABES) and Human Factors
    • hold a current UK issued Class 3 medical certificate

    How to apply for an air traffic controllers’ licence

    What happens next?

    • A CAA Licensing Assessment Officer will assess your application.
    • After checking that the application is in order, the application will then be processed, and the licence produced and dispatched to the applicant’s unit address.
    • As this is the first issue of the ATCO licence, the licence will be held by the unit until the successful completion of the initial unit endorsement has been carried out or supervised by a CAA Inspector ATS.
    • CAA Licensing Assessment will contact you if there are any queries regarding your application.

    Processing time

    • CAA ATS Licensing Assessment endeavours to process all applications within the shortest possible time however; CR Regulation (EU) 2015/340 allows for a maximum processing time of eight weeks. Information about the eight-week grace period can be found on this page.
    • An ATCO Licence will be issued as soon as possible following receipt of the application providing the application is complete and correct.
    • Regulation UK (EU) 2015/340 AMC1 ATCO.AR.D.001(a) Procedure for the issue, revalidation and renewal of licences, ratings, endorsements and authorisations states that the CAA may allow the privileges of a licence to be exercised for a period of eight weeks after successful completion of the applicable examination(s) and assessment(s), pending the issue of the licence, rating or endorsement.
    • The CAA may allow this grace period to be used subject to approval by the units assigned ATM Inspector ATS (Operations).
    • Units wishing to use the eight-week grace period must contact their ATM Inspector ATS (Operation) in advance.
    • The eight-week grace period will commence from the date that the applicant has received an acknowledgement of their licence, rating or endorsement application from the CAA ATS Licensing Assessment section, subject to such approval being obtained.

    • This section relates to a process available with a limited time period of two years until 1 January 2023.
    • Following EU withdrawal, EU ATCO licences issued under CR (EU) 2015/340, after 31 December 2020 will not be recognised by the UK CAA.
    • EU ATCO licences issued by an EU competent authority before 1 January 2021 will be recognised by the UK CAA for the grant of a UK ATCO licence, following a process of verification of such documents with the associated EU competent authority.
    • Such recognition will be limited to the Ratings and Licence endorsements. Rating endorsements will not be included.
    • Ratings and Licence endorsements contained in an EU licence that were obtained after 1 January 2021 will not be recognised unless evidence is provided, and verified with the relevant competent authority, that the course from which the rating or licence endorsement was obtained, was approved before 31December 2020.
    • EU medical certificates will no longer be recognised and applicants should obtain a class 3 medical certificate from a UK CAA Approved Aeromedical Centre before making application.
    • Holders of EU Member State issued ATCO licences who wish to work in the UK must have a place of employment in the UK prior to making an application.
    • Holders of EU Member State issued ATCO licence wishing to obtain a UK CAA Issued licence must make application to the UK CAA on form SRG 1411F.
    • ATCOs who have exchanged their UK CAA issued licence for that issued by an EU Member State may obtain their UK licence back, and application for this is also made on form SRG 1411F.
    • ATCOs wishing to obtain their UK licence back do not need a place of employment in the UK or a valid class 3 medical certificate.
    • All applicants must complete the appropriate sections of the application form. Be sure to read the guidance notes attached to the form to ensure that it has been correctly completed.
    • You must include the appropriate fee. The charge for the issue of a UK ATCO Licences is shown in the CAA Scheme of Charges (Personnel Licensing).
    • Various methods of payment are detailed on the SRG 1411F application form