• EU exit

    Please note that, in the event of UK participation in EASA and mutual recognition of licences and certificates ceasing, some CAA website content and application forms may continue to carry the EASA logo or reference the EU or EASA rather than the UK CAA in the short term.  These will be updated in due course following the outcome of the transition period negotiations on the long-term aviation relationship between the UK and the EU.  In the meantime, the guidance provided and the application forms accessed via the CAA website portal will continue to be valid.

  • A Student Air Traffic Controller Licence permits you to provide an Air Traffic Control service at an aerodrome or Area Control Centre, but only under the supervision of a fully qualified Air Traffic Controller who is an approved on-the-job training instructor. The service being provided must be in the ATC discipline in which you have successfully completed an approved course of initial training. You must commence unit training in that discipline within 12 months of having completed the approved course. Licence holders who fail to do this will be required to complete an assessment of previous competence as per an ATCO licence.


    The Student ATCO licence is valid indefinitely unless it is suspended, revoked or relinquished.

    Student ATCO licences are cancelled upon the issue of a full ATCO licence. The Student ATCO licence will be exchanged for the ATCO licence upon successful completion of the initial issue of a unit endorsement by the ATS Inspector.

  • Requirements

    You can apply for a Student ATCO Licence if you:

    • Are 18 years of age,
    • Hold a current medical certificate of the appropriate class,
    • Have successfully completed an approved basic and at least one rating course of initial training,
    • Have demonstrated competence to speak and understand the English Language to at least level 4 of the ICAO Language Proficiency Scale.


    • The cost of the grant of a Student ATCO licence is £147.
    • There is no fee for the amendment of, or the addition of ratings to, a Student ATCO licence.

    Processing time

    A Student ATCO Licence will be issued as soon as possible following receipt of the application providing the information provided by the applicant is complete and correct. Note that this process can take up to eight weeks.

    Further reading

    • The requirements and guidance associated with ATCO Licensing can be found in CAP 1251 'Air Traffic Controllers - Licensing'
    • CAA Form SRG 1421 (Application for a Student Air Traffic Controller (ATCO) Licence)

    What do I need to include with my application?

    • CAA Form SRG 1421 with the relevant sections completed (see below),
    • A copy of your English Language Proficiency Certificate (where required),
    • The relevant fee.

    How do I apply?

    • If you are applying for the grant of a Student Air Traffic Controller licence  complete Sections 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the application form.
    • If you are applying to add an additional rating to an existing  Student Air Traffic Controller licence, complete Sections 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the application form.
    • Be sure to read the guidance notes attached to the form to ensure that it has been correctly completed.
    • Send the form to the CAA as detailed in section 7 of the form.

    What happens next?

    • A Licensing Assistant or Officer will assess your application.
    • After checking that the application is in order, the application is then processed and the licence issued, signed and dispatched to the correspondence address.
    • We will contact you if we have any queries regarding your application and may keep your application pending awaiting any additional documentation to be submitted.
    • A refund fee may be charged if the application is found not to be in order, and results in the rejection of your application. This will also be applied if you choose to cancel your application.
  • Use of the eight week grace period

    Regulation 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 (which is only to allow the CAA processing time of the licence), however this will only commence once the applicant has received an acknowledgement of their application back from the CAA.

    It is not to be assumed that this will automatically be given. CAP 1251 will be updated in due course.