The next time you go for a flight physical, you will be required to fill out the application online at MedExpress.FAA.gov. The old paper application for an FAA medical certificate is no longer being used. The site is now also used by student pilots who wish to apply for a combination student pilot certificate and medical.
To apply for an FAA medical certificate, pilots must first create an account. To do this, go to the Med Express home page and click the button in the grey box that says “request an account.” This opens a page that asks for the user’s name and email address. After filling out the form, click “submit” and a temporary password will be sent to your email address.
The email from the FAA contains a link back to the site. Click the link and you will be prompted to select a new password. Once the new password is set, you will be taken to the home screen.
From the menu on the left side of the home screen, select “Form 8500-8” to access the medical application. The application screen asks for the same information that was required on the paper form. Note that the list of medical history questions covers your whole life, asking “have you ever had” any of the following conditions.
Any yes answers require an explanation. To provide an explanation, click the “add comment” button. This opens fields for each of the required explanations. If the condition has been reported on an older medical application and there has been no change, you can click the “PRNC” button at the right to indicate “previously reported, no change.”
As on the paper application, you must list any medications and doctor visits. It would be helpful to gather your medicines and doctor’s addresses when you fill out the application. The form requests dosages and the frequency of medicines. For doctor visits, the name, date and address of the visit are required as well as the reason. To add medicines and doctors, simply fill out the appropriate blanks and then click the “add” button.
When the application is completed, click the button at the bottom to validate it. The application will be checked for errors and unanswered questions. If any problems are found, the user will be directed to correct them.
A “save” button is also found at the bottom of the page. I recommend that you save the application frequently. When I completed my application, I was disconnected several times and had to start the application from scratch.
As you navigate through the application, there are question mark icons that are supposed to open help screens for different fields. In practice, when I clicked the help icons, they took me to the login screen. More helpful was the Med Express Users Guide, which contains step by step instructions for registering with Med Express and completing the application. A link to the user guide is on the home page.
When the application is complete and validated, enter your password at the bottom to submit the application to the FAA. No changes can be made to the application after you submit it until you are with your doctor. When an application is saved, the FAA will store it for 30 days. After the application is submitted to the FAA, you have 60 days to visit an Aviation Medical Examiner for your physical exam.
After the application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation number. Write this number down and take it with you when you go for your physical. The AME will use this number to access your medical application. An email will be sent to you with the confirmation number as well. If you lose the number, you can find it again by logging into Med Express and viewing your application. The confirmation number is at the top.
The FAA suggests that you print out the application and take it with you to your physical. Some doctors only want the confirmation number, so check with yours to find out what they want you to do.
If you have problems with website or the application, the FAA provides support via telephone and email. The telephone number, 1-877-AVS-NSD1 (1-877-287-6731), is monitored continuously. The email address for support, 9-NATL-AVS-IT-ServiceDesk@faa.gov, is only monitored from Monday through Friday during business hours.