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Converting Overseas Licences
There are a number of options for pilots with foreign licences who wish to fly in Australia:
- Convert your existing overseas licence to the Australian equivalent (usually for long-term residence in Australia)
- Obtain a Certificate of Validation for short-term flight crew licensing up to 12 months
- New Zealand licence holders. The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMRA) may apply.
Ultralight aircraft and balloons
We don't issue licences or pilot certificates for ultra-light aircraft or balloons engaged in private flights. For information on these activities you should contact the relevant governing organisation.
CASA can recognise overseas commercial balloon qualifications. Please see below for information on conversion of foreign licences.
Australian flight crew licences and International Civil Aviation Organization differences
Currently there are differences between Australian legislative requirements relating to personnel licensing, and the Standards and recommended Practices (SARPs) laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Migration and employment
English Language Proficiency
ELP (English Language Proficiency)
All foreign pilots converting to an Australian equivalent licence or a Certificate of Validation (CoV) must be aware that they require an ICAO English language proficiency assessment. This should be either stated on their foreign licence or a statement from the issuing authority stipulating that the licence holder, at least meets, Level 4 for English language proficiency. A licence or a CoV will not be issued without the proper ELP assessment.
Identification, Security, Immigration and Police Checks
Photographs must be submitted with the first licence application. If an applicant does not already hold a security clearance, the licence cannot be issued until a security clearance is obtained.
Licences will not be issued until all requirements have been met and a security check completed. Police Checks are conducted for all applicants and an Immigration check for applicants who are not Australian citizens. This can result in a delay of up to eight weeks in issuing qualifications while the checks are being performed.
Further information about the Security checks.
Applying for an aviation reference number
You must have an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) to interact with us. Find out more about applying for an ARN.
Conversion of Foreign Licences
For information on how to convert your licence, please refer to the Flight Crew Licencing Manual for all information relevant to your application.
As a general rule, with the exception of private pilots, applicants seeking to convert a foreign licence to an Australian flight crew licence must:
- Pass a CASA exam. Details of the relevant exams for each type of licence conversion are included in the guidance documents listed above. Additional information on written examination/s is available on the CASA website.
- Obtain an Australian medical certificate.
- Possess or pass an ICAO required (oral) English language proficiency (ELP) assessment. CASA has sole prerogative to determine which overseas ELP to accept. A minimum of ELP level 4 is required.
- Gain an aviation security status, this is done by passing a security check for either an ASIC or AVID.
The examinations/tests mentioned must be completed only in Australia with a person/persons approved by CASA. CASA does not accept nor recognise any foreign theory examination credit.
Note that all licences and ratings will be validated with the aviation regulatory body that issued the original licence you wish to convert.
To commence the process, you’ll need to apply for an aviation reference number and submit Flight crew licence application on basis of overseas civil qualifications form 61-4A part A (pdf 305.91 KB).
For commercial balloon licence conversion, you will need to submit Form 1558 - Application for Flight Crew Balloon Licence on basis of Overseas Civil Qualifications.
Conversion of Aircraft Ratings
Please refer to the Flight Crew Licencing Manual for all information relevant to your application.
Certificate of Validation (CoV)
Under the Civil Aviation Act 1988, a person may not perform any duties essential to the operation of an Australian aircraft during flight time unless they hold a valid civil aviation authorisation. A CoV issued to the holder of an overseas flight crew licence (a foreign pilot) under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 is such an authorisation.
For the purposes of the aviation transport security legislation, a CoV is a security designated authorisation, requiring applicants to undergo an aviation security status check. In accordance with the Aviation Transport Security Regulations, CASA is not permitted to issue a CoV to an applicant who has not obtained an unqualified security assessment.
A CoV permits the holder of an overseas authorisation to fly an Australian registered aircraft for a specific operation for a period of up to twelve (12) months. The CoV has the effect of an Australian flight crew licence, with the proviso that the privileges transferred to the CoV do not exceed the foreign qualifications. This authorisation would best suit pilots visiting Australia for a short period or to undertake a specific operation such as holiday flying, or a specialist operation such as seasonal firefighting.
If you wish to apply for issue of a CoV whilst still overseas, please allow extra time to undergo a security check - a standard security check will take up to eight weeks to complete. This is in addition to the 20 business days CASA normally requires to process a CoV application.
If you wish to fly a complex aircraft in Australia, please ensure that you provide logbook evidence as proof of flight time accrued on this aircraft type, preferably adding logbook evidence of initial aircraft type endorsement training. Certification of documents can only be made by a Notary Public or an Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) in your home country. Alternatively, an Australian official at any Australian Embassy or High Commission can certify your documents.
Note that all licences and ratings will be verified with the aviation regulatory body that issued the original licence you wish to convert.
It is imperative that when filling out the CoV application Certificate of validation application on the basis of foreign civil qualifications Form 61-4COV (pdf 240.67 KB) that you state your intentions of your stay in Australia. Please provide reasons why the CoV is required. This must include details, as applicable, such as type of aircraft to be flown, registration mark; details of ferrying operation (name of organisation, dates, origin of flight, scheduled route, aircraft registration); details of commercial operations (line operations, charter, name of flying school / employer); details of Australian training to be completed (endorsement training, VFR or IFR course, duration of training, flying school).
Once the CoV has been processed and issued, it will be sent by post to the current postal address according to CASA’s records. If you wish the CoV to be sent to an alternative address, please indicate at the time you submit your application.
Please refer to the Flight Crew Licencing Manual for all information relevant to your application.
English translations of documents
All documents must be in English or accompanied by an official English translation.
A registered translator must compile the translation. You should ask the Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in the country where the translation is to be made if you need details of translators. If the translation is to be made in Australia, contact the Australian National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). Information on the services that NAATI provides is available on their website.
EASA Licence Holders
For EASA licenced pilots, please note that the CASA regulations currently require that a Licence and Medical certificate submitted with a Certificate of Validation application must be issued by the same contracting state.
While EASA member states may agree to the adoption of uniform regulations, those arrangements do not and cannot supplant the legislative requirements under the Australian civil aviation legislation.
Applications from current European contracting state licence holders will be assessed on a case by case basis by reference to the specific European contracting state's licensing requirements.
CASA is the designated assessing authority to issue an assessment under the Skilled Migration Program. To qualify for an assessment under the Skilled migration program the applicant must have an Australian issued professional licence (may also convert an foreign professional qualification to an Australian equivalent).
Currently, CASA is specified by the minister for Home Affairs as the assessing authority for the following skilled occupations:
- ANZSCO 231111-Aeroplane Pilot (CPL & ATPL)
- ANZSCO 231114-Helicopter Pilot (CPL & ATPL)
For additional information: Skills Assessment for the Purpose of Migration - Aircraft Pilots
Should you have any further inquiries, please contact the Department of Home Affairs.
Employment in Australia
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority does not control the employment of flight crew in the Australian aviation industry; neither does it maintain details of available vacancies or aviation employment trends.
Persons intending to fly in a commercial operation or work in Australia will need to have the right to work in Australia (resident or appropriate visa) and should make their own inquiries about employment opportunities. Immigration requirements can be found on the Home Affairs website.
Delays in Verification of Overseas Qualifications
Verification of all overseas qualifications will be conducted by CASA before recognising an overseas licence or qualification. This involves CASA checking qualifications with the overseas regulatory authority who initially issued the qualification to ascertain its validity and authenticity.
If you wish to minimise delays you should check the requirements of your country's licensing authority for releasing your licensing details to CASA and make the necessary arrangements with that authority so that CASA can receive a timely response to a request for verification of your licence
Delays may be experienced in verification and issuing of Australian licences and certificates of validation. The additional time should be taken into account when applying for conversion of a licence or a certificate of validation. FAA qualifications are more easily verifiable.
New Zealand licence holders (TTMRA)
This information only applies to professional flight crew who hold qualifications issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.
The New Zealand and Australian Governments have entered into a Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act, 1997 (TTMRA) which allows for each other's regulatory standards relating to occupations to be recognised. What this means in aviation terms is that NZ professional flight crew, aircraft maintenance engineer and air traffic control licences may be considered under the terms of the TTMRA, and not under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.
TTMRA - Verification Letter
CAA New Zealand has changed the way they process verification requests. The NZ licence holder is now required to complete and submit an Application for Licence Verification form from the CAA NZ website along with some identification, requesting that CAA NZ release information regarding their licence details to CASA. You do not need to send a copy of the Form CAA602 to CASA. CASA only requires the Verification Report. The completed Verification Report is to be emailed to email@example.com by the CAANZ.
This needs to be completed before applying for a licence under the TTMRA.
Pilots must also allow adequate time for an issued licence to reach a NZ address.
Pilot licences posted by mail to NZ can take up to a month to reach their final destination (especially if an applicant lives in a remote part of NZ). If your licence is lost or damaged, there may be additional fees to provide a replacement.
Renewal of ratings gained through the TTMRA process
Where a NZ pilot converts any operational ratings (Instrument, Instructor etc) under TTMRA, you must complete an Australian proficiency check before you can utilise the rating. Validity of your NZ rating is not transferable.
Statutory Declaration Forms - Mandatory with all TTMRA Applications
Please be advised that a Commonwealth of Australia Statutory Declaration form must be submitted with all forms of a TTMRA application, whether it would be a full application or a single application for a rating. An example of a correctly completed Statutory Declaration is also included. CASA strongly recommends you follow this example to correctly complete the form and annex your documentation. A Statutory Declaration information sheet is also available on the Attorney Generals Department website.
The Statutory Declarations Regulations 1993 provides a list of persons (on the back of a Statutory Declaration form) before whom a declaration can be made. The persons listed are persons holding Australian qualifications or occupations so that, for example, a reference to a legal practitioner, is a reference to a legal practitioner registered as such in Australia. Therefore, a person making a statutory declaration in New Zealand must make it before a Commonwealth of Australia officer or Australian Consular Officer if they cannot find a person otherwise listed who has an Australian occupation or status.
A NZ doctor who is a CASA DAME ) may not be eligible to sign an Australian Statutory Declaration form. He or she must be licensed to practice medicine in a state of Australia and must also provide their Australian Medical Practitioners Registration Number in addition to their DAME number.
Need more information?
Licensing requirements may change from time to time and the information contained on this website should be treated as a guide only. If you have firm plans to come to Australia and wish to fly, it is recommended that you check these pages regularly before you arrive to ensure you have the latest information.