LAPL privileges cut when UK exits EASA

The Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (LAPL) will have its pan-European privileges cut short for UK pilots following the end of the Brexit transition period.

Holders of the LAPL – introduced by EASA as an easier to obtain licence – will not be able to pilot flights into Europe from 1 January 2021 because it will become a UK National licence with UK-only privileges unless the EU agrees to recognise it.

Pilots flying with an EASA PPL but on a LAPL medical will be similarly affected.

Got a question about how Brexit might affect you? Ask your question here

The LAPL position was made clear in two seminars held last week by the CAA for General Aviation pilots. A video of the seminar:

Key points from last week’s seminar:

EU aviation acquis (accumulated legislation) will be brought across into UK law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Numerous secondary law instruments (Statutory Instruments) have been made under the Act to make the legislation operable in the UK.

At the end of the transition period, the UK will be responsible for the development of aviation safety policy and regulation. The CAA and DfT are establishing a capability to do this work from the start of 2021.

On 1 January 2021 the EU Aircrew Regulation will be adopted by the UK as the UK Aircrew Regulation. There will be no change to requirement to gain, renew or revalidate licences issued under EASA regulations.

However, all UK CAA issued EASA licences will become UK Aircrew Regulation Licences – no longer an EASA licence. ICAO has confirmed it will continue to recognise the licences as such without the need for them to be re-issued.

However, the LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence) will become a UK only licence as it is not recognised by ICAO. This is despite the LAPL being introduced by EASA with pan-European privileges. There is no change to current National Licensing system as per the ANO (2016) – NPPL etc.

After 1 January 2021, the UK will be treated as a ‘third country’ as will our licences. If there is no mutual recognition between UK and EU on 1 January 2021 (and the CAA sounded pessimistic about this):

  • The CAA will issue a general validation allowing EASA licence holders to fly G-reg aircraft within the privileges of the licence, ratings and certificates.
  • A two-year, or validity of the certificate, acceptance period will be implemented allowing the use of EASA licences, ratings, certificates, approvals and declarations.

This means:

  • An EASA licensed FI can work at a UK flying school and train students for UK licences.
  • A UK licenced pilot can receive training at an EASA* approved or declared training school towards a UK licence or rating. *Refers to an existing EASA member state, ie not the UK.
  • Any pilot holding a UK Examiner Certificate may continue to conduct Tests, Checks and/or Assessments of Competence for UK licence holders only.

CAA EU Exit Microsite
CAA YouTube EU Exit seminars


  1. Perhaps a bit anal, but for context the para: “However, the LAPL …… NPPL etc.”
    might be more accurately worded as: “However, the LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence) will become a UK only licence as it is not recognised by ICAO; it was introduced by EASA and will continue to provide pan-European privileges for EU citizens. There is no change to current National Licensing system as per the ANO (2016) – NPPL etc.”

    1. Whether you are an EU citizen or not has nothing to do with LAPL privileges, just the SOLI (state of Licence Issue – Ed). Any U.K. citizen can apply for SOLI transfer and maintain an EASA LAPL.

  2. Well there you go Brexiteers…now LAPL holders cannot fly outside UK airspace…which is a real downer for many LAPL pilots who enjoy flying their aeroplanes in Europe without a class two medical..The license has given many pilots a good few more years of flying enjoyment…very sad but not unexpected…Brexit is a “fool errand”

    1. Just remain in UK airspace until the politicians sort out the reciprical arrangement for EU LAPL holders. Its a bit of a Win Win really, despite remoaners protestations !

  3. So will the CAA be banning all EU LAPAL pilots from flying into the UK?
    I think not!
    The CAA should have done a deal with EASA.

    1. The CAA and EASA were not permitted to speak to each other, the negotiations were at government level.

    2. The CAA don’t need to ban. It’s a non ICAO licence so it will be up to whatever agreements are put in place after the end of this year.

  4. You forgot to say that any U.K. Issued EASA licence holder will have to pay the CAA £77 (private) or £146 (commercial) to get a new CAA licence issued within 5 years. If it’s an EASA licence issued by another state, it’s even worse £289! (All in the latest charges consultation document, perhaps we should all object and tell them it should be paid by the Government)

    1. Not sure how that aligns with their statement above:-
      “However, all UK CAA issued EASA licences will become UK Aircrew Regulation Licences – no longer an EASA licence. ICAO has confirmed it will continue to recognise the licences as such without the need for them to be re-issued.”

  5. I have a LAPL licence, can someone put it in plain English can I still fly G registered Aircraft and will the LAPL medical remain the same, will the LAPL licence remain a lifetime license.

        1. Not at present. The UK LAPL is not an internationally recognised licence. However, at some point in the future, the UK CAA and EASA may agree recognition.

  6. What about those of us who fly N reg aircraft based in UK on ‘piggyback’ FAA licences? When we converted to EASA, we had to get a new FAA one with ‘Part FCL’ on. I am assuming that we can just use our older ones that were issued on the basis of our CAA licences (which I still hold)?

    1. Slipway..
      EASA(EU) has just agreed a bilateral agreement (Nov 2020) with the FAA which will allow pilots of an EASA member state to use their Part FCL pilots licences to fly N reg aircraft in Europe…
      Due to Brexit the UK is no longer a member of the EU or EASA…
      The worry is that now the UK CAA isn’t part of EASA they can make things difficult for UK based operators of N reg aircraft.(which they have always disliked and tried to stop on numerous of occasions)…
      EASA have never really been that fussed about N reg aircraft being flown in Europe probably due to its good for business etc.

  7. For years I held an CAA then EASA ATPL. When it held no current relevance to my flying, I was cleared for a Self Declaration Medical. Daft question but which licence privileges am I now flying on ? LAPL or NAPL ? My ATPL has no expiry date.

    1. Sleeve… you are flying on PPL privileges which are embedded in you old ATPL.. however I would consider filling in the relevant CAA forms to have a PPL(A) issued which is valid in the UK and Europe but you will need to pass a class two medical.. Get a FE to help you with the application..check out one at your local flight training provider.
      Otherwise consider applying for a NPPL which can be used on a self declaration in UK airspace only again..

  8. What about a pilot holding an ex EASA-LAPL who wants to fly an EU-registered (e.g. D-reg) aircraft in the UK? How will that work?

  9. I’ve a easa license but also a uk ppl and a microlight rating I’ve been trying to get out of the easa bit because of the class 2 medical and the cost and use a self declaring but dispute emails a phone calls to caa never got a straight answer all I need to fly is permet aircraft and microlight

  10. I think as long as you have a licence and medical of somesort, no judge is going to send you to clink for some nuance of licencing issues for a while after Jan 1st !

  11. OK I get the idea that with my (EASA) LAPL licence I cannot fly to Europe (for occasional trips). However, the question is what can I do – in pilot licencing and medical to allow me to fly to Europe? John

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