Since 5 March 2008, in accordance with Annex 1 (Personnel licensing) the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has required that, for certain licence categories and permits, applicants must possess the necessary degree of proficiency in the languages used in flight radio telephony so that they are also able to communicate comprehensibly in situations which cannot be described solely through the use of standard phraseology.
For this purpose they are required to pass a Language Proficiency Check in the languages used for radio communication. In order to pass this test, candidates must attain at least grade 4 on a scale ranging from 1 to 6 (with 6 as the highest level). Candidates who attain grade 6 never have to repeat the test, while those who attain grade 4 or 5 are required to take it again on a periodical basis.
For Language proficiency checks conducted as from 1st of June 2012, the new validities according to EASA apply:
- Level 4: 4 years (VFR and IFR)
- Level 5: 6 years (VFR and IFR)
- Level 6: unlimited validity
For the record in a Swiss licence, language proficiency tests that have been passed abroad are recognized according to the information given in the document "Procedure for acceptance of Language proficiency tests taken outside of Switzerland "