If you are the holder of a current and valid licence, medical and rating or endorsement, you can fly for pleasure/privately in UK airspace, in accordance with Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions. The airspace of the States of Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, whilst Crown Dependencies, are excluded from the area considered UK airspace. You will need to contact them directly if you wish to fly in their airspace.
Due to the terms of the Withdrawal Act, pilots with a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) licence are considered International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Third Country licence holders.
Your licence/certificate must have been issued in accordance with ICAO Annex 1, this should be stated on the licence document.
The type of activities allowed are explained in the section on this page called 'Operations and activities allowed with a non-UK licence'.
Getting permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) before flying
A 'visiting pilot' is a pilot who is not a resident in the United Kingdom and holds a pilot’s licence issued by an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Contracting State other than the United Kingdom.
Visiting pilots who wish to fly for pleasure in the UK, in an aircraft of the same registry of the State of their licence issue, do not need permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
For example, this would be:
- You wish to fly an N reg - aircraft in UK airspace, that you are entitled to fly with your Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman certificate and the aircraft or operator is not based in the UK (see note 1).
- You wish to fly a Bermudian reg-aircraft in UK airspace that you are entitled to fly your Bermudian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) validation certificate, and the aircraft or operator is not based in the UK (see note 1).
- You wish to fly an aircraft registered in a State within the European Economic Area (EEA) in UK airspace, that you are entitled to fly with your EASA Part-FCL ICAO Annex 1 compliant licence issued by the same State of registration and the aircraft or the operator is not based in the UK (see note 1).
Note 1: Aircraft on non-commercial, or private flights, (the operation is not commercial air transport (CAT), public transport or aerial work and the pilot is not receiving remuneration) and where the operator of the aircraft is neither resident nor established in the United Kingdom. Visiting pilots who wish to fly for pleasure in the UK, in a G- registered aircraft certificated to Part 21, need permission from the CAA.
For up to 28 days per calendar year:
Permission is required and must be retained. Your International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) licence/certificate needs to be validated for a limited duration. You will need to make a “declaration” following one of the processes below.
You need to follow the declaration process below before flying in UK airspace.
This can allow you to fly for up to 28 days per calendar year, from 1 January until 31 December, as stated in the UK Certification of Third Country Pilots Regulation (UK (EU) Reg No. 2020/723). Pilots should try and declare as early as possible in the calendar year should they want to use the full 28 days permitted.
You will need to:
- Be in current flying practice on the class or type of aircraft you wish to fly in UK airspace.
- Be flying purely for pleasure, private flying, not receiving remuneration. The flight can only be conducted in non-complex motor-powered aircraft, and do not allow fo flight instruction or examination.
- Meet the requirements of, complete and submit forms SRG2141and SRG2142.
- Please note there is a fee associated with SRG2142, more information can be found in the related information section at the bottom of this page.
- Hold a valid Licence/Certificate (that is a licence that is not subject to suspension, limitation or other enforcement action by the issuing authority).
- Hold a valid, current rating relevant to the aircraft to be operated, and the privileges to be exercised, demonstrable by reference to appropriate logbook and licence evidence.
- Hold at least a valid Class 2 Medical issued by the issuing authority.
- Hold an “English proficient” endorsement on their ICAO licence, to meet the minimum level 4 proficiency, or have their proficiency confirmed by a UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Approved Language Proficiency Assessment Centre if no such endorsement applies or the candidate wishes to be credited with proficiency levels 5 or 6 (Form CAA5003 applies).
- Complete an acclimatisation flight which is a check flight conducted with a qualified UK instructor, the aim of the flight is to demonstrate that you are safe to fly the aircraft in UK airspace.
You must keep the declaration you have made to the CAA. Once you have received email confirmation from the CAA, you can fly in UK airspace. Please note the expiry date of your declaration is stated on your confirmation email from the CAA.
For more than 28 days per calendar year:
You need to hold either a UK short- term validation or a UK licence.
Visiting pilots flying aircraft of the same registry as their licence or G-registered aircraft where the operator is based in the UK (where the operator's Principal Place of Business is in the UK)
For example, this could be:
- You wish to fly a N reg - aircraft in UK airspace, that you are entitled to fly with your Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman certificate and the aircraft or operator is based in the UK as it is maintained by a UK based company (see note 1).
Note 1: Aircraft on non-commercial, or private flights, (the operation is not commercial air transport, public transport or aerial work and the pilot is not receiving remuneration) and where the operator of the aircraft is neither resident nor established in the United Kingdom. Visiting pilots who wish to fly for pleasure in the UK, in a G- registered aircraft certificated to Part 21, need permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) refer as a pilot who either lives in the UK, or where the operator of the aircraft is resident or established in the United Kingdom, or where the operator Principal Place of Business is in the UK.
- you wish to fly an N reg- aircraft in UK airspace, you may do so with your FAA airman certificate and the aircraft provided that the pilot and the aircraft are not resident in the UK. If you live in the UK (or the operator is based in the UK), you need to hold a UK issued validation or Private Pilot Licence (PPL).
- you wish to fly a Bermudian reg-aircraft in UK airspace, you are entitled to fly the said aircraft with your Bermudian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) validation certificate, provided that the pilot (or the aircraft operator is not resident in the UK (if the operator is based in the UK, you need to hold a UK validation or PPL).
You will need to hold a UK Part-FCL PPL or a short-term private validation.
Outline of requirements
The full detailed requirements are in UK (EU) Reg 2020/723.
UK Part FCL Licence
UK Validation Certificate
Total hours flight time
100 in the relevant category applied for
Theoretical Knowledge Assessment
2 PPL exams - written
2 PPL exams - verbally
Valid UK Part-MED medical certificate Class 2 min for PPL
Valid ICAO Class 2 medical certificate
English Proficiency Assessment
To be completed
To be completed
Skill test with examiner
Skill test with examiner
£220 (and £51 for verification)
£366 (and £51 for verification)
Pilots must show relevant knowledge in Air Law, Air Traffic Control (ATC) procedures, and Human Performance.
These subjects can be completed as written examinations, using the current PPL Theoretical Knowledge examinations, or as oral examinations with a UK examiner.
If assessment is by oral examination, examiners should consider covering the following areas:
- aircraft documents to be carried
- altitude/height/transition altitude: definitions and appropriate altimeter settings
- questions on UK chart interpretation: In particular MSA/airspace types/ATZ/Danger Area/prohibited/restricted airspace and so on
- Holders Pilot licence privileges in UK
- Any Rules of Air questions - SERA changes
- UK Accident/incident/occurrence reporting requirements
- illness/injury-reporting/stop flying requirements/return to flying
- PIC with passengers' requirements: take off/landings and so on
- transponder codes: key codes
- UK Air traffic Services and ATSOCAS: Service types and what they mean
- position reporting
- awareness that CAP 413 Radiotelephony manual exists
- where to find appropriate UK radio frequencies: for example, charts, AIP, flight guides and their limitations
- emergency states and emergency phraseology: Mayday/Pan/Message relay
- types of ATC service available and differences between A/G Radio, LARS, AFIS, full ATC etc
- 'Pass your message' requirements
- ATC RT calls and appropriate PIC flight management to transit different types of UK airspace structures. In particular: Class D, MATZ, Danger Area, ATZ etc
- comms failure procedures
- SAFETYCOM: 135.475MHz
These can also be completed as written examinations, using the current PPL Operational Procedures Theoretical Knowledge examination or as oral examinations with an Examiner.
- alcohol and flying: UK limits and how to manage
- common illness, self-medication and flying risks
- stress and fatigue: risks and mitigations
- spatial disorientation: how to identify and manage
- avoiding and managing errors: cockpit management
Legal responsibility of Examiners
Examiners are reminded that they have a responsibility to ensure standards; this process is reliant on their integrity.
Not all operations are covered here, if in doubt, please email PilotValidation@caa.co.uk.
You can only fly privately/for pleasure. This means that you cannot receive remuneration or do aerial work (parachute dropping, crop spraying, banner towing, aerial display or flight training in the UK) for example. So, if you are flying an aircraft owner (private operations) but are paid for this (commercial activity), you need a validation or Part-FCL licence to legally fly.
You can only fly G- registered aircraft in Visual Flight Rules conditions, whether you hold an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) compliant class 1 or class 2 medical certificate.
If flying an aircraft of the same registry as your non-UK licence/certificate, you can fly Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) as long as you are in current flying practice with a valid Instrument Rating (IR) and ICAO compliant medical certificate.
To fly a G registered aircraft IFR, you will need to contact us at PilotValidation@caa.co.uk with pdf copies of your ICAO licence, rating, medical and details of the nature of the flying that is intended.
Your licence/certificate will either need to be validated (short term) or be converted into a UK issued licence if you wish to:
- exercise more than private privileges
- do a specific activity such as aerial photography
- fly complex powered aircraft which fall under Part-NCC
- ferry an aircraft under IFR
- any other specialist activity
Please note that if wishing to operate on a non G-reg aircraft for longer than 28 days or for other than non-commercial activities, you may require permission for the aircraft as well as for the pilot.
For any of the below:
Operating a complex aircraft
- Operating Non-UK permit to fly
- non-compliant ICAO licence/medical
- Contact us at PilotValidation@caa.co.uk for more information