While the deadline for flying with a paper pilot certificate was March 31, there is no deadline for applying for a plastic one. You will, however, have to wait to fly until you have the plastic certificate in your wallet--unless you request temporary authority to exercise the privileges of the certificate.
To request a replacement plastic certificate or a temporary authority, apply online through the FAA’s airmen online services. You’ll need to create an online account if you don’t have one already. Once you have logged in, check the box titled “Request Replacement Certificate” (for a $2 fee) to order a plastic certificate.
You also can check another box on the same page to request temporary authority, which will serve as a temporary certificate until your plastic certificate arrives in the mail. You’ll need to choose a reason for requesting temporary authority, so choose “Update to New Format.” The temporary authority will be delivered either by e-mail or by fax and is valid for 60 days. The plastic replacement certificate should arrive in the postal mail before the temporary expires.
You can call the FAA’s airmen certification branch with questions weekdays at 866/878-2498, 7:30 to 4 p.m. Central time. Press 1 on the first menu, then 0 to reach a person. If you run into problems, call AOPA at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672).