What is the validity of a temporary paper student pilot certificate printed from IACRA?

Recently, a student pilot wrote to AOPA and asked the following:

I applied through IACRA for my student pilot certificate. I received a notification several days later that a temporary certificate was available to print which I proceeded to do so. My question is to know if this temporary certificate allows a student pilot to solo? Or do you have to wait until the permanent plastic card arrives? I have not been able to get any straight answers from anyone including CFI's.

The straight answer is this - A temporary student pilot certificate, according to FAR 61.17, is valid for 120 days or until you receive the plastic card from FAA Airman Certification. Additionally, it is valid for all student pilot operations and privileges, including solo flying. You do not have to wait for the plastic card to arrive in order to solo.

Have a question AOPA can help with? Email us at pilotassist@aopa.org, or call 800-872-2672, option 1, then 2.

1 Replies

@Daddis At AOPA good question to throw out there, we get this one a bunch since this is the first exposure of student pilots to temporary certificates and they don't know the legality of the piece of paper vs. the plastic card.