I know a guy who has a medical certificate from an AME based in Dallas Fort Worth, and the front side of the paper has a side-by-side printing of the front and reverse of the FAA medical certificate (FAA form 8500-9) and the back side of the physical paper containing the front and reverse on one side has the AME's website, name and phone number with an airplane graphic.

In short, the back of the paper is a doctor's advertisement. I have heard rumor that a local DPE says this would make the medical certificate invalid.

Does anyone know of a regulation, LOI, etc. that would confirm or deny this stance on the medical's validity. Apparently, this AME is quite popular, so if this is true, then that would mean that many pilots currently hold an invalid medical certificate.

I personally find this hard to believe.


3 Answers 3


It's an interesting question...

The AME Guide gives the following "advice":

  1. Medical Certificates – AME Completion
    (Updated 07-26-2017)
  • Date the medical certificate to reflect the date the medical examination was performed, NOT the date of import, issuance, or transmission.
  • Limitations must be selected from the list in the Aerospace Medical Certification System (AMCS). Additional limitations may NOT be typed/written in.
  • Signatures: Each medical certificate must be fully completed prior to being signed.
    • Both the AME and applicant must sign the medical certificate in ink.
    • The applicant must sign before leaving the AME’s office.
  • Give only ONE certificate to the airman
  • Use AMCS generated certificates only.
  • Transmit the exam electronically to the FAA using AMCS within 14 days.
  • The following are NOT valid:
    • Copies of medical Certificates;
    • Typewriter or handwritten certificates;
    • Obviously corrected certificates;
    • Paper 8500-8 certificates (any remaining paper forms should be destroyed by the AME).
  • Replacement medical certificates must be issued by the FAA.

(Remember, the guide, like the Pilot Handbook, is a guide, not regulatory)

The AMCS also gives:

Certificates will be printed on standard printer paper as a single-sided document. Both the front and back sides will be printed on a single sheet of paper that can be folded.

But as far as I can tell in the FAR, the back side (inside when folded) does not have to be blank. As long as the medical certificate follows the 8500-9 and is in a "form prescribed by the Administrator", then it is a valid certificate.

Technically, even if it was against the rules, the medical certificate wouldn't be invalid, just the paper evidence of it would be. As long as the data was entered into AMCS, which it is required to be, the certificate can be reprinted in the proper format for showing anybody who asked.

  • $\begingroup$ The signature-related requirements might cause some difficulties for reprints. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 19:07

I doubt if it would invalidate the certificate. Some reasons:

  1. You can look up the validity of your medical certificate on the FAA website.

  2. The AME should be well aware if this was prohibited, since I'm sure any MD wishing to become an AME would have to attend some kind of formal training at which something like this would be mentioned.

Well that I have never received a medical certificate with anything printed on the back, I have received flyers from some AMEs.


I am a Designated Senior AME in the Southern Region. I have never seen this gimmick before, neither have I even seen or heard of a discussion of this modification. I would therefore say it is not a proscribed practice. I would go on to say that any airman holding a Medical certificate that I issued already is quite familiar with my office and contact info. I get lots of referrals by word of mouth and I do not see how a printed ad stuck in a wallet would help much. I would also go on to say that DPEs have a very large block of information but it does not overlap with the AME world. If challenged, point out that the certificate is original, doubled signed, and unadulterated since printing. Ask what Regulatory authority mandates a blank back.

Note well: This is not a statement of Official FAA AMCS policy.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 18:30

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