At its Annual Conference in San Diego, USA in January 2001, the FAI International Parachuting Commission agreed on a world-wide standard of International Parachuting Certificates of Proficiency (commonly known as 'licences'). This agreement arose from the fact that the requirements for the FAI Parachuting A, B, C, D, etc. CoP's varied widely from country to country, and also because a large number of prominent parachuting nations issued no FAI Certificates or "licences" at all. It was concluded that, particularly the travelling parachutist and all drop zone operators, would benefit if one standard of FAI Certificate of Proficiency were applied throughout the world.
Although FAI member national parachuting associations will still be able to issue "national", as opposed to "international" Certificates of Proficiency" in parallel, thus enabling them to create their own 'licencing standards' applicable in their own country, the FAI International Certificates is intended to be the benchmark for world-wide recognition. FAI member nations are encouraged to meet or exceed the recommended FAI International Standards, and drop zones throughout the world are urged to welcome visiting parachutists whose level of expertise in sport parachuting is certified by their FAI member nation through the official FAI International Certificate of Proficiency.
The revised FAI Programme of the 'International Certificate of Proficiency' (CoP) was officially launched in August 2002 when the new certificates became available at the FAI Headquarters in Lausanne. The National Parachuting Associations and Aero Clubs of FAI Member nations, are now requested to place orders for the new FAI Certificates of Proficiency, and begin to issue these documents to their members.
The standards for each level of CoP (A, B, C, or D) are printed in the four official FAI languages (English, French, Russian and Spanish). Each CoP booklet will require a photograph of the applicant, and his/her signature. The issuing national association will certify the qualifications of the applicant by placing a 'sticker' for each level of Certificate in the appropriate space. The numbering system is based on the 'country codes' of the International Olympic Committee. Thus, for example, the CoP code for Kenya is KEN, for Ireland is IRL, etc. Only one number is issued for each person holding a CoP. Thus, applicant John Smith from Kenya would, for instance, hold CoP number KEN 0005. When he was issued his CoP, his A level qualification was signified by an appropriate sticker. Once he meets the qualifications for the Category B or higher level, his CoP booklet (No. KEN 0005) would be endorsed with a 'B' sticker, etc.
The FAI International Parachuting Commission encourages all member nations to support this programme and make an effort to either meet or exceed the standards agreed by the FAI member nations. All national associations are urged to make available the FAI International Parachuting Certificates of Proficiency to its members.
An FAI International Certificate of Proficiency is a ‘stand alone’ document, not dependent upon or tied to a national licencing system of a country issuing the CoP within its jurisdiction. An FAI/IPC CoP is NOT renewable, annually or at any other interval. When the holder of an FAI/IPC CoP attains a level, A, B, C or D, marked with the appropriate sticker, that parachutist retains the level for life, as it indicates the degree of experienced gained. Of course it does not indicate the currency of a parachutist, a separate matter which can be verified by consulting a log book. A national parachute association or federation may have its own national licencing system, within which renewal times and criteria may be set. That is strictly an internal matter for every national parachuting organisation, and it is not the concern of FAI/IPC. However, the FAI/IPC CoP may NOT be used in this way, with requirements for renewal at intervals, or with criteria, additional to that which appear in the FAI/IPC CoP, being added.