I have an Air Traffic Controller license issued by the European union (compliant with ICAO standards).

Ratings for tower and approach radar with current validations for both.

How can I convert this to the FAA equivalent?

Together with that license I have a current European union Class 3 medical certificate, How can I convert this to the FAA equivalent (FAA class 2 medical I believe that would be?)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I am unaware of any conversion process. You would have to find an employer or school to sponsor your taking the Control Tower Operator exam, and get an over-the-shoulder checkout on live traffic, in order to work Local Control at a facility in the US. The radar ratings would similarly require training and a checkout at a specific radar facility. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Dec 30, 2021 at 17:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And you will likely not be able to "convert" a medical certificate. I suggest you schedule a consultation with an FAA designated AME. You will likely have to go through the FAA medical certificate process. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2021 at 17:52

2 Answers 2


To work as an FAA controller you must be a US citizen.

Certifications are not transferable. You would have to be hired by the FAA and go through the FAA academy in OKC. If you pass OKC, you would then have to go to your assigned facility and pass their training program.

Past ATC experience is not a predictor of success. In our facility, people with prior experience took longer to train and had a higher washout rate than those hired with no ATC experience.


ATC qualifications and medicals are not transferable between juristiction areas. Each area will require you to regain these qualifications.

In regards to the medical, these are renewed regularly so it should be no major issue or inconvenience.

The ATC licence is different where you will most likely have to do training and assessment, though the training can be shorten due to recogniton of prior knowledge.

Also some countries have citzenship requirements I am not sure if USA does, but see this question (Can non-FAA towers employ foreigners?) for some more information.

  • $\begingroup$ FAA controllers must be US citizens. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Feb 15, 2022 at 16:22

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