You, the UK CAA and EASA after 31st December 2020
A number of decisions have been made since we first published this page, which have resulted in changes to the content.
Nevertheless, the caveat still stands that, the following information is provided on the strict understanding that ongoing trade negotiations between the UK Government and the European Commission may further affect the content.
Also, please note that this information does not form part of the training or information services that we offer.
It is provided purely on the basis that Cat3C accepts no responsibility for the implications of your licensing decisions.
There are a number of possible scenarios, with students having medicals and PPLs issued by the UK or by other EASA member states, and having taken theoretical knowledge exams under the UK or EASA and wanting to apply for UK or EASA licences.
To this end, we have prepared a table below which attempts to cover most scenarios.
If you cannot find the information to address your particular circumstances, Cat3C students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. External students should refer their enquiry to their own ATO.
31st January 2020 – UK left the EU and entered into a transition phase during which the UK and EU would negotiate the arrangements for trade agreements following the transition phase.
31st December 2020 – Transition phase is due to end. UK is no longer subject to EASA rules.
30th June 2020 – Any extension to the transition phase was due by this date. No extension has been requested.
15th October 2020 – This was the original final date for determination of EU/UK post-transition future trading rules; although this has now been extended.
The current UK/EU trade negotiations have been limited to design, type certification and freedoms of the air. Flight crew licencing has not been under discussion.
The UK leaves EASA on 31st December 2020 and at the time of writing there will not be a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) in place for the purposes of flight crew licencing. The implementation of a BASA may be the subject of future trade negotiations between the EU and UK.
With effect from 1st January 2021, the UK CAA will be the only regulatory authority having jurisdiction over civil aviation matters in the UK.
To simplify matters so far as practicable, the UK is adopting current EASA aviation regulations into UK law and to enable this 18 x UK Statutory Instruments (SI) will be in force.
What happens to my UK CAA issued EASA licence on 1st January 2021?
Up to 31st December 2020 any UK CAA issued licence is an EASA licence.
On 1st January 2021 this automatically becomes a UK only licence and ceases to be an EASA licence.
From 1st January 2021 the UK CAA will issue UK licences only.
It appears that, licences currently being issued by the UK CAA no longer have the EU title or logo.
How is the operation of UK aircraft affected?
With effect from 1st January 2020:
- A UK licence is required to operate UK registered aircraft.
- An EASA licence is required to operate EASA registered aircraft
- A validation issued by the UK CAA is required to operate UK registered aircraft outside UK regulated airspace with an EASA licence.
EASA licences may be considered to be UK CAA licences until 31st December 2022, and UK aircraft may be operated within UK airspace on an EASA licence.
However, to operate UK registered aircraft outside UK regulated airspace on an EASA licence you will require a general validation (GV) form from the UK CAA.
The GV will be available on the UK CAA website in the near future.
There is no application process or cost associated with the GV – you simply download it and carry it with your EASA licence.
What licence should I apply for?
This is a decision for yourself.
You should consider all available information and decide for yourself what is best for your own circumstances.
You may decide a UK CAA licence is best for you, or you may decide that an EASA licence is better.
You can operate UK registered aircraft with an EASA licence plus a GV up to 31st December 2022 but after that you will need a UK CAA licence.
You need an EASA licence to operate EASA aircraft.
The limitations on UK passport holders residing, working or studying in EU27 member states is not fully known at the time of writing and the rules may differ between different states. In that respect, you are strongly advised to research this area for yourself.
What approvals does Cat3C hold?
Up to 31st December 2020 Cat3C is approved by the UK CAA for the provision of theoretical knowledge (TK) training for EASA Part-FCL examinations.
With effect from 1st January 2021 Cat3C’s EASA ATO approval becomes a UK CAA only approval, which allows it to provide TK training for the purposes of UK CAA licencing.
However, Cat3C has applied for and been issued with an EASA ATO approval, which allows it to continue to provide TK training for the purposes of EASA Part-FCL licencing. This EASA ATO approval comes into force on 1st January 2021.
How do I obtain a UK licence?
Assuming you have completed your TK examinations under the authority of the UK CAA, you will need:
- A UK CAA Class 1 medical
- Complete flight training at a UK CAA approved ATO
- Pass skill tests with a UK CAA approved flight examiner
However, if you have taken TK examinations under the authority of an EASA member state, with effect from 1st January 2021, the UK will only recognise those EASA TK examinations taken up to and including 31st December 2020.
All TK examinations taken for UK licence issue after that date must be taken under the authority of the UK CAA.
Nevertheless, the UK will accept both full and partial EASA TK exam credits for UK licence issue up to and including 31st December 2022.
But, you do not need to transfer your EASA PPL to the UK beforehand.
How do I obtain an EASA licence?
Assuming you have completed your TK examinations under the authority of an EASA member state, you will need:
- An EASA Class 1 medical
- Complete flight training at an EASA approved ATO
- Pass skill tests with an EASA approved flight examiner
But, under these circumstances you do not need to transfer your CAA PPL to an EASA member state beforehand.
However, if you have taken TK examinations under the authority of the UK, with effect from 1st January 2021, EASA no longer recognises TK examinations taken under the authority of the UK for EASA licence issue.
If you want to obtain an EASA licence on the basis of TK examinations taken under the authority of the UK you need to transfer your EASA member State of Licence Issue (SOLI) from the UK to another EASA member state, by transferring your medical records to that member state, before 31st December 2020.
This is an administrative process and the costs and time taken vary between different states.
The UK CAA has stated that, provided you commence the transfer process with both the transferring authority (UK CAA) and the receiving (EASA) member state by 31st December 2020, it will recognise and complete the process, even if it extends beyond that date. No such guarantee has been offered by EASA and as such at the time of writing it should be assumed that the process must be completed by 31st December 2020.
In this respect, the final date for submission of any UK CAA applications is 20th December 2020. Enquiries should be directed to individual EASA member states for their own processes.
You will no longer have any valid UK records; any subsequent application for a UK licence on the basis of an EASA licence may be subject to processes explained later.
Furthermore, in order to revalidate or renew your transferred EASA Class 1 medical certificate you will need to visit an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) who has retained EASA privileges.
I have been taking my exams under Austro-Control. What will happen after the UK leaves EASA?
Austro-Control should be permitted to host EASA examinations in the UK after 31st December 2020. We do not see any reason why this cannot continue.
Cat3C has enabled a timetable for Austro-Control exams throughout 2021.
Will my Austro-Control exam passes be valid for UK licence issue?
A statement released by the UK CAA on 6th October 2020 states that:
- Only EASA exams taken before 31st December 2020 will be acceptable for UK CAA licence issue;
- After 31st December 2020 all exams for UK CAA licence issue need to be taken with the UK CAA;
- After 31st December 2020 any exams taken under an EASA member state will not be valid for for UK CAA licence issue.
- EASA exams taken before 31st December 2020 will only be acceptable for UK licence issue for a period of 2 years, until 31 December 2022.
The UK CAA stated on 7th October 2020 that they will accept mixed EASA and UK CAA exams for UK licence issue.
For example, a UK citizen intends to apply for a UK licence but has taken and passed 8 exams under Austro-Control prior to 31st December 2020 – provided the remaining exams are taken under the UK CAA these ‘mixed’ exams will be acceptable for UK licence issue until 31st December 2022.
If you take any EASA exams after 31st December 2020, your ATPL TK exam credits will not be valid for UK CAA licence issue. This may include any subsequent application for a UK CAA licence on the basis of a third country approval using your EASA licence. You may be required to retake the ATPL theory exams with the UK CAA, as required by any UK regulations in force at that time.
Therefore, you should consider whether you wish to hold an EASA licence or a UK CAA licence. If you want a UK CAA licence, all exams from 1st January 2021 onwards must be taken with the UK CAA.
Will my UK exam passes be valid for EASA licence issue?
This is simple – no.
There is one exception to that statement – if the UK CAA TK exam credits have been transferred to the authority of another EASA member state as part of a SOLI before 31st December 2020, they become part of that member state’s records and as such would be acceptable for EASA licence issue.
Licence Conversion for Holders of CPL MEIR
How do I obtain a UK licence on the basis of an EASA licence?
After 31st December 2020 and up to and including 31st December 2022, a UK CAA CPL MEIR may be issued on the basis of an equivalent EASA licence, without any further training or testing under an administrative process, but only if that EASA licence and associated ratings was issued on or before 31st March 2021 (extended from 31st December 2020).
Applications for a UK CAA CPL MEIR to be issued on the basis of an equivalent EASA licence issued after 31st March 2021 shall be subject to a third country application process and you need to:
- Obtain a UK CAA Class 1 medical certificate
- Undertake training as required by a UK CAA ATO, approved for flight training
- Pass the UK CPL and MEIR skill tests
- Pass all UK CAA ATPL TK exams
- Apply for a UK CPL MEIR as a third country licence application
EASA ATPL TK exams taken prior to 31st December 2020 are acceptable for UK licence issue for a period of 2 years from the date of leaving EASA, i.e. until 31st December 2022.
Any TK exams taken after 31st December 2020, must be taken under the authority of the UK CAA to be valid for UK licence issue.
Any EASA ATPL TK exams taken after 31st December 2020 are not acceptable for UK licence issue.
How do I obtain an EASA licence on the basis of a UK licence?
After 31st December 2020, if you already hold a UK CPL MEIR and you wish to apply for an EASA CPL MEIR on the basis of your equivalent UK CAA licence, you need to undergo the third country licence application process :
- Obtain an EASA Class 1 medical certificate from your chosen EASA member SOLI
- Pass the EASA TK examinations, as required by the chosen EASA member state
- Undertake training as required by an EASA ATO
- Pass the required skill test(s)
- Apply for an EASA CPL MEIR from that EASA member state as a third country licence application.
Working for EU Airlines
Will I be able to work for an EU (EASA) airline after the UK leaves EASA?
Quite possibly but this will depend on the needs of the airline.
The right to work for an EU airline in the EU is nothing to do with UK CAA or EASA licencing.
Even if you hold both an EASA licence and a UK CAA licence, working for an EU airline in the EU is a matter of international law and not aviation law.
If you hold a passport for an EU member state you will have complete freedom of movement, including for residency and employment purposes, among all EU member states.
However, for those persons holding UK passports only, we do not know for certain what restrictions will be put in place by the EU member states on such persons from living, working, studying or even travelling in the EU. What has been previously stated by the European Commission is that such matters may be devolved to independent member states; therefore, while one state may place no restrictions another state may impose strict restrictions. It should be expected that, in order to work in any EU member state, you may require both a Work Permit and/or a Residency Permit and these may need to be sponsored by the employer. A further consideration is that an EU based employer may choose to employ EU citizens only, as employing non-EU citizens may create an unnecessary administrative burden.
You should refer to the various governmental news feeds for information relating to UK citizens’ rights in EU27 member states.
OBJECTIVE 1: TO BE ISSUED WITH A UK CAA CPL MEIR
- Up to and including 31/12/2022, a UK CAA licence may be issued for an equivalent EASA Part-FCL licence, issued by an EASA member state by 31/03/2021, under a simple administrative procedure, with no further training or exams.
- After 31/12/2022, a UK CAA licence may be issued on the basis of an equivalent EASA Part-FCL licence member state after 31/03/2021 only as part of a third country application, with training as determined necessary by the Head of Training at a UK CAA ATO, plus UK CAA skill tests and theory examinations as required.
- Up to and including 31/12/2020, UK CAA records may be transferred to another EASA regulatory authority under a State of Licence Issue (SOLI) transfer. This includes ALL records – partial transfers, e.g. pilot licence or medical certificate only, are not permitted. Only those licences, ratings and certificates transferred from the UK CAA to another EASA member state by 31/12/2020 may be re-issued by the UK CAA after this date under the administrative ‘exchange’.
OBJECTIVE 2: TO BE ISSUED WITH AN EASA CPL MEIR
- It is highly unlikely that anyone holding an EASA PPL would be undertaking UK CAA ATPL exams for the purpose of applying for an EASA licence.
- The transfer of partial UK CAA theory examinations to an EASA member state should be confirmed by the applicant with the EASA member state.
- EASA examinations being taken under the ECQB 6 syllabus must be completed by 31/01/2022. All EASA examinations after that date will be taken in accordance with the syllabus in force at the time.
- If you have completed your ATPL theory exams with an EASA member state you do not need to transfer your SOLI, as by obtaining a new EASA Part-MED medical certificate, that EASA member state will become your SOLI for the purpose of EASA Part-FCL licencing, while retaining your UK licence.