FAA  Medical Exams



Home Your FAA Medical AASI Process BasicMed CACI Color Vision Disease Protocols MedXpress Refractive Surgery-Flying Sport Pilot Information GLOSSARY


Your FAA Medical
AASI Process
Color Vision
Disease Protocols
Refractive Surgery-Flying
Sport Pilot Information







Table of Contents

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the FAA's Civil Aviation Medical Institute (CAMI) website

Capsular Summary of the Standards

If You Do Not Meet the Standards


Additional Information on this Website

Options to the Third Class Medical:  BasicMed

Your FAA Medical Exam

Special Issuance Protocols and the Airman Medical Examiner Assisted Special Issuance (AASI) Process

Conditions for which Airman Medical  Examiner Can Issue (CACI) 

Sport Pilot Information

LASIK and Refractive Eye Surgery

FAA Requirement since October 1st,  2012:    MedXpress




FAQs from CAMI

Note: By clicking on one of the following questions  you will be going to the FAA website page which addresses that issue. To return here use your Browser's back button

What is a medical certificate?

How do I obtain a medical certificate?

Who must hold a medical certificate?

What class of medical certificate must I hold and how long is it valid?

What medical standards must I meet in order to qualify for a medical certificate?

What medical conditions does the FAA consider disqualifying?

What are the minimum and maximum ages for obtaining a medical certificate?

Can I get my student pilot certificate at the same time I take my initial flight physical?

What does it cost to get a medical certificate?

Am I prohibited from exercising the privileges of my pilot certificate during medical deficiency?

I have some medical problems and would like to learn whether I can be issued airman medical certification. Where can I get further information?

Is a pilot required to report to the FAA that he or she has undergone LASIK or other laser eye surgery to correct vision?

Can I appeal if my application for medical certification is denied?

How does the appeal process work?

How can I contact the FAA about my medical certificate?

What should I do if I hold a foreign medical certificate or endorsement and I want to exercise pilot privileges in the United States?

I lost my medical certificate; how can I obtain a copy?

FAA Website publication date of this FAQ List was January 9, 2013.. There was no update as of August 8, 2016.
To see if there are revisions to the FAQ List visit the FAA website site by clicking on the blue button:   

back to top

Capsular Summary of the Standards

Please note: This was  from the FAA online version of the 
Airman Medical Examiners Handbook Version V; March 30, 2016  - 
No revision as of March 1,2020


Pilot Type


Airline Transport Pilot


Commercial Pilot


Private Pilot

20/20 or better in each eye separately, with or
without correction.

20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction.


20/40 or better in each eye separately (Snellen equivalent), with or without correction, as measured at 16 inches.


20/40 or better in each eye separately (Snellen equivalent), with or without correction at age 50 and over, as measured at 32 inches.

No requirement.


Note: If the above words look gray, you may have a vision problem!.

Requirements for color vision are more stringent for First ansd Second Class Certificates than what is reqired for Third Class Certificates. Visit  our COLOR VISION  Page   for details


Demonstrate hearing of an average conversational voice in a quiet room, using both ears at 6 feet, with the back turned to the examiner or pass one of the audiometric tests below.


Audiometric speech discrimination test: Score at least 70% reception in one ear.
Pure tone audiometric test. Unaided, with thresholds no worse than:


500 Hz

1,000 Hz

2,000 Hz

3,000 Hz

Better Ear

35 Db

30 dB

30 dB

40 dB

Worst Ear

35 dB

50 dB

50 dB

60 dB


No ear disease or condition manifested by, or that may reasonably be expected to maintained by, vertigo or a disturbance of speech or equilibrium.


Not disqualifying per se. Used to determine cardiac system status and responsiveness.


. The current guideline maximum value is 155/95.


At age 35 and
annually after age 40

Not routinely required.


No diagnosis of psychosis, or bipolar disorder, or severe personality disorders.


A diagnosis or medical history of "substance dependence" is disqualifying unless there is established clinical evidence, satisfactory to the Federal Air Surgeon, of recovery, including sustained total abstinence from the substance(s) for not less than the preceding 2 years. A history of "substance abuse" within the preceding 2 years is disqualifying. "Substance" includes alcohol and other drugs (i.e., PCP, sedatives and hynoptics, anxiolytics, marijuana, cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, hallucinogens, and other psychoactive drugs or chemicals).


Unless otherwise directed by the FAA, the Examiner must deny or defer if the applicant has a history of:

1. Diabetes mellitus requiring hypoglycemic medication
2. Angina pectoris
3. Coronary heart disease that has been treated or, if untreated, that has      been symptomatic or clinically significant.
4. Myocardial infarction
5. Cardiac valve replacement
6. Permanent cardiac pacemaker
7. Heart replacement
8. Psychosis
9. Bipolar disorder
10. Personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly  manifested itself by overt acts
11. Substance dependence
12. Substance abuse
13. Epilepsy
14. Disturbance of consciousness and without satisfactory explanation of cause
15. Transient loss of control of nervous system function(s) without satisfactory explanation of cause

Back to top


If You Do Not Meet the Standards

    No individual  is perfect, and most everyone will experience at some time during his or her career a significant illness or a disability.  This does not necessarily end flying activities and the FAA has procedures whereby individuals can re-qualify.  A disqualifying medical condition can be either static or possibly progressive, and the FAA takes a different approach in dealing with each one.

    A static condition is one that is not expected to change or progress over the years.  Examples include some degree of color blindness or an individual that has lost his leg from an injury and wears a prosthesis.  If the FAA makes a determination that when considering the adaptations the individual has made to compensate for their limitations that operating an aircraft can be done safely it will issue a Statement of Demonstrated Ability or SODA.  At times an actual flight test may be required with an FAA check pilot to obtain these waivers.  SODAs are permanent and do not have any expiration or reevaluation date.  Once you have one  it remains in effect as long as the condition does not change and you apply for the same class or lower class of certificate.  A SODA  needs to be re-issued if you go to a higher class of certification, and it becomes invalid if the condition for which it was issued changes. 

    Most medical problems are not static and may change or progress  over time.  Examples in this category are hypertension, glaucoma or heart disease.  Such conditions require an initial evaluation when the problem is first discovered. If the FAA determines that the condition does not preclude the safe operation of an aircraft one can generally obtain certification. Reevaluation is usually required annually or biennially.  If the condition has not changed then the certificate may be re issued, however if there is progression continued certification may become problematic.

Back to top

The AASI Process, Protocols, and Conditions for which the Airman Medical Examiner (AME) can issue  


    There are specific medical conditions the FAA considers disqualifying and which may progress over time, however if you meet protocol criteria the FAA can issue  you what is called  a Special Issuance medical Certificate.  The initial granting of the SI must be done by the FAA, however if you continue to satisfy the  criteria in the protocol for your condition your AME can reissue you certificate
.   A list of these guidelines can be viewed on the  AASI Pages of the CAMI website. 

    The FAA had also defined a group of medical conditions called  "Conditions for which Airman Medical Examiner Can Issue" or   CACI.  For these medical conditions if  meet the FAA protocol criteria your AME can issue you your certificate without pre-approval from the FAA.  

     For all medical certificates issued by the Special Issuance or CACI process you need to have the required protocol information. This is because when an AME is authorized to issue the certificate he/she must certify that the required documentation was reviewed and met criteria.  When the FAA has to issue your certificate it has been my consistent experience that they will not make a decision until the receive all of the protocol information. 

    Back to top

This page was last updated on 05/27/22