Foreign Flight Training Students

Many students come from around the world to do their flight training in the United States. Some come specifically for training purposes, others are here on work or student visa’s and decide to do it simply as a hobby or have always dreamed of taking the controls of an airplane. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is the governing body for the aviation industry in the United States, and licenses issued through them are recognized in most foreign countries. The quality and standard of training provided under their requirements, can give you peace of mind to ensure that should you ever have the need to convert your license so that it is recognized in your native country, there should be no issues in doing so.

Although there are some extra steps to take before beginning your training, it is important to note that once you have gone through the initial TSA screening, the requirements and experience you need to obtain any license are the same as any U.S Citizen. If you are not a U.S Citizen, you are required to go through a security threat assessment through the TSA (Transportation and Security administration) prior to beginning flight training. Even if you are a Permanent resident or Green Card holder with a Form I-551, you still need to go through this process. If you are conducting your training in the United States, you will need to have an appropriate visa to do so. Most visa’s (Besides a B1/B2 tourist visa or an individual on the Visa Waiver Program) would allow you to begin the process.

If you are not a U.S. Citizen and are interested in taking flight training at Inflight Pilot Training we will help guide you through the process of achieving your goals. Due to the complex nature of the TSA application, fingerprinting, and other tasks involved we charge a one time administration fee and walk you through the entire process with a Certified Flight Instructor. This will take place over several meetings and we will be your go to contact regarding your application status, helping you get fingerprints done, and ensure that your application is processed in a timely manner.

The administration fee for this mandatory service is $1,000 and we guarantee you a sped up and professional process. This covers the many hours a Flight Instructor will spend with you guiding you through the application process, going to the fingerprinting center, and answering all of your questions. If you are interested in flying with us and want the most streamlined process to starting your training quickly this is the way to go. Please email us on our contact page if you are a foreign student who intends to take flight training lessons with our company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Aliens seeking flight training in an aircraft with a MTOW of 12,500 pounds or less qualify as a Category 3 candidate. A brief explanation of the four categories:

  • Category 1 – Candidates who seek flight training in the operation of aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight (MTOW) greater than 12,500 pounds, but who do not fall into Category 2.
  • Category 2 – Candidates who seek flight training in the operation of aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight (MTOW) greater than 12,500 pounds, and who: Are employed by a foreign air carrier that operates under 14 CFR part 1546;  Have unescorted access authority to a secured area of an airport under U.S.C 44936(a)(1)(A)(ii),49 CFR 1542.229;  Are a flight crew member who has successfully completed a criminal history records check in accordance with 49 CFR 1544.230; or Hold an airman’s certificate that is recognized by the FAA or appropriate US military agency, with a type rating for a multi-engine aircraft that has a certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or more.
  • Category 3 – Candidates who seek flight training in the operation of aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less for the following training event
    • Initial airman’s certificate, including a private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate.
    • If a private and/or commercial license is the candidate’s initial FAA license, it is considered an initial airman’s certificate and is not exempt.
    • Instrument Rating (IR)
    • Multi-Engine Rating (MEL)
    • Each of these training events requires a separate training request. Note: Category 3 Rotorcraft Requirements – Candidates who seek flight training in the operation of rotorcraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less are subject to the above Category 3 clarification. Candidates must obtain approval for the initial license, instrument rating or multi-engine rating if the pilot does not hold a fixed-wing equivalent.
  • Category 4 – Candidates who seek recurrent training in the operation of aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight (MTOW) greater than 12,500 pounds, and are current and qualified on the aircraft for which they are requesting training. These training requests are submitted by the flight training providers.

No.  If done correctly the first time, additional flight training for foreign flight training students does not require resubmitting additional fingerprints. However, you must use the same account (pin) number that you used for your initial flight training request in order for this exemption to apply.

Yes.  However, you should not need to submit fingerprints. You will have to pay the $130 processing fee again.  If you are training with an independent flight instructor who does not work for a flight school and want to fly with another independent flight instructor, you will need to file an additional training request.

TSA has clarified that getting a U.S. certificate based on a foreign license ( reference FAR 61.75) does not apply to the requirements of the rule.  However, if you choose to apply for a “stand-alone” FAA pilot certificate no longer based on your foreign license, you must comply with this rule. The TSA views this as receiving an initial FAA pilot certificate and qualifies under the TSA definition of flight training.

You are generally required to have a passport, but there are some people with very special circumstances of foreign flight training students who cannot obtain a passport. TSA will handle these situations on a case-by-case basis.  Contact AOPA’s Pilot Information Center at 1-800-USA-AOPA or the TSA Help Desk for further guidance.

Yes. The rule applies to the issuance of a U.S. airman certificate at any flight school located in or outside the United States that is providing flight training under 14 CFR for foreign flight training students.

The AFSP (Alien Flight Student Program) requires candidates to submit a request for each instance of flight training. Although some candidates have received final approval in the past through the DOJ’s Flight Training Candidate Checks Program (FTCCP), they must submit a request for approval of new training through the AFSP Web site. Please note that any user ID and password that was created for the FTCCP Web site will work on the AFSP Web site; you do not need to create a new account if you already have one from the FTCCP.

Yes. TSA has stated through correspondence with AOPA that introductory or “discovery” flights are exempt from the requirements of the TSA rule.

The TSA has further interpreted the definition of “flight training” for aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less to only apply to training for a recreational pilot, sport pilot, or private pilot certificate; multiengine rating (at any certificate level — i.e., does not apply to MEI); or instrument rating (does not include recurrent training).

No, TSA has interpreted the definition of “recurrent training” to NOT include any flight review, proficiency check, or other check required by 14 CFR § 61.57 or § 61.58 whose purpose is to review rules, maneuvers, or procedures, or to demonstrate a pilot’s existing skills. The TSA has further interpreted the definition of “flight training” for aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less to only apply to training for a recreational pilot, sport pilot, or private pilot certificate; multiengine rating (at any certificate level — i.e., does not apply to MEI); or instrument rating (does not include recurrent training)