Would anyone have an idea how how long it takes for a licence to be posted out.

The airmen search tells me my ATP processing was completed at some point last week. So the licence has been finalised.

Do they post the licences straight away and do they use Fedex or DHL, normal or priority?

I live in Australia. And need to present this licence at an interview in a weeks time which is why i ask. Are there means of expediting or tracking the licence in the mail?

Between the flight school and the fsdo losing my paperwork and forgeting signatures and corrections being sent to the wrong FSDO offices, its taken me about 5 months to get this licence processed. Ive missed out on some job offers already because the companies would not accept temporary licences. Id rather not miss out on this one.

If anyone has a clue, it would be most appreciated. I know fedex says its about 5 working days economy mail and UPS says 7 working days economy mail. But i have never delt with either.

Thank you kindly

  • $\begingroup$ Your transit times seem like they assume continental United States, I'm guessing if they are sending something to you overseas it would take a few days more. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Feb 9, 2017 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your response. I used their online calculators, from Oklahoma to Melbourne AU. I dont suppose there is anything i can do about it except wait and hope for the best. Im getting quite the work out checking the mail box exery 2 seconds in any case lol.But thank you again Ron 😊 $\endgroup$
    – Chi Chi
    Feb 9, 2017 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ According to the most recent Information it takes minimal of 30 days and maximum of 60 days and above. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2017 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ You should have received a temporary certificate after your checkride $\endgroup$
    – Steve Kuo
    Oct 24, 2017 at 15:11

3 Answers 3


The FAA has, at least in the recent past, been backlogged with some forms and certificate issuance has been one of those items. My private pilot certificate took nearly 3 months to arrive (hence, my temporary certificate almost expired). I had to make several calls to my DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner), who then reached out to the FAA in Oklahoma City to see what was wrong. It turned out a computer glitch had erased my knowledge test report. After several times around, this was fixed and my certificate showed up within several weeks. In the USA they always send it via First Class Mail (uncertified, no tracking number). Last August (2016) my new certificate showing my instrument rating showed up just a month or so after the checkride, so much faster. If you have a question, don't hesitate to reach out to your DPE - they are very helpful and can get things moving again if they're stuck. Also, make sure you keep all test reports and other documents until you receive your certificate in case they somehow get lost in the system. And when you get your new certificate - don't forget to sign the back or it is not legally valid!

Regarding your interview - your temporary airman certificate is valid for all purposes until the expiration date. You can bring this to an interview as it is as valid as the plastic card. I don't know if a company is allowed to reject you because you only have a temporary certificate while your plastic one is being prepared - I'd look into this and maybe ask an attorney as that doesn't seem like it would be legal to me since the certificate is valid.


  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Pugz. I think with the employer its not a choice. But the regulator demands the licence to be verified with the FAA. And the FAA said to me they will only accept verification requests from the regulatory body only, in my case CASA, not from the employer or the airmen. However CASA will not send a verification request until they see the permanent licence card. God knows why. They can easily verify without it. Mind you the longer they hold on to your application here the more money you pay. Its 180 dollars reprocessing fee each time the application goes past 14days unfinalized. $\endgroup$
    – Chi Chi
    Feb 9, 2017 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm sounds like typical government extortion... that must be a foreign thing. It doesn't work that way here. $\endgroup$
    – Pugz
    Feb 9, 2017 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ I found the FAA quite a breath of fresh air to deal with. My american freinds give me a look of horror when i say that. Its worse out here. Lol. $\endgroup$
    – Chi Chi
    Feb 9, 2017 at 14:59

In recent times, it’s taken about 45-60 days from issuance of the temporary airman certificate. The FAA does list what license applications are being processed on their website under airmen Certification so you can get a general idea of when you will receive your license in the mail. Again, as mentioned, your temporary airmen certificate is valid for all practical and legal purposes until the permanent one arrives.


The temp certificate is useful only in the USA, for those of us needing validations it's useless. The FAA use the cheapest mail they can find therefore sending a license by mail can require up to 60 days which is about how long it took in the 1920s. One would have thought by now they could have taken an online payment to use FEDEX which would reduce this to just 3 days.


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