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Before you may charter an aircraft in South Africa as “Pilot in Command” (PIC) – you must acquire a validation or conversion of your current foreign licence. Alternatively you may fly with an instructor.

South Africa is a Contracting State to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). ICAO does not issue any licences or engage in pilot license validation. Licences are issued by ICAO Contracting States on the basis of standards and recommended practices. Personnel Licencing, are habitually called ICAO licences. This has led many to believe that there is a specific ICAO or international licence.

There is not one single international licence issued by ICAO or any other organisation. Individual States issue their own licences, based on national regulations in conformity with specifications. They validate licences issued by other Contracting States on the basis of bilateral or multilateral agreements or the fulfillment of nationally legislated requirements.

ICAO is unfortunately not in a position to provide information on the details of the validation procedures established by each of its member States. The most reliable source of information is the Licensing Authority of the State in which the licence is to be validated, and at times Consulates and Embassies may be helpful.

To find the contact details of your nearest South African embassy or consulate to enquire about South Africans visas, click on this list of South African representatives by country.

To visit the ICAO web site, go to www.icao.int

Validation of Foreign Licenses

Validation of a foreign Licence in South Africa - private flying only (Regulations do alter from time to time).

A validation of the above licence will have to be to the level of proficiency of a South African private pilot licence.

The Pilot will be required to:

  • Pass a practical flight test with a flight instructor who is rated on the type of test conducted, who will also be required to assess the candidates cross-country, navigational proficiency.
  • Be a holder of a valid foreign radio licence.
  • Pass an examination in local Air Law at an approved training organisation.
  • Hold a current aviation medical certificate

The validation issued is for 12 month duration “or” the validity period of the license issued by the foreign authority, whichever period is the lesser.

For the conversion of your foreign pilot licence to a South African Pilot Licence, further written examinations may be required.

Learn to Fly will make booking arrangements with the flight school and your flight instructor will assist you in completing the necessary forms to send to S.A. CAA

To visit the S.A. CAA web site, go to www.caa.co.za

Validation of a South African pilot licence in the U.K.

You can hire and fly in the UK with a South African Licence. You would be required to take a check ride with the club or facility from which you wish to hire the aircraft, but this is standard practice whatever licence you hold, UK included. You can fly in the UK as long as your licence is valid.

An initial South African Licence is valid for 12 months. After the first renewal it is valid for 24 months. If you are over 40 you require an annual medical. Before your licence comes due for renewal you have the option of renewing your South African Licence (There are doctors in the UK who have been approved to do South African medicals, so all the requirements and the paperwork can be fulfilled in the UK if you do not wish to return to South Africa for this).or converting to a UK licence. Remember that, if you wish to convert to JAA/JAR, your South African licence must be valid at the time of conversion. But why not stick with your South African Licence.

You can keep your South African licence current in the UK. Irv Lee of Higherplane Aviation Training at Popham has, has been granted approval by the South African CAA, to do South African PPL renewals in the UK on G registered aircraft. Irv Lee has also been approved to do conversions onto a large variety of types for South African licence holders. So you are by no means restricted to those aircraft types on which you learned to fly in South Africa.

Irv Lee will instruct, mentor and guide you through the process of becoming accustomed to flying in U.K. airspace. This will help you learn any special local procedures. He also offers excellent and invaluable “one day seminars” aimed at all qualified pilots who have trained outside the U.K. These are highly recommended for South African trained Pilots wishing to fly in the U.K.

If you fly in the U.K. on a South African PPL, you can get your "SA PPL Renewal sign off" with Irv Lee. "SA Type Rating sign off" is also available.


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