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FOREIGN FLIGHT TRAINING STUDENTS

Many foreign flight training 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.

U.S. CITIZENS

Determine Applicability. The requirements for determining citizenship status for any student, whether U.S. or alien, applies only to flight training toward a recreational pilot, sport pilot, or private pilot certificate; instrument rating; or multiengine rating.

Proof of Citizenship. Evidence of U.S. citizenship must be shown by ONE of the following:

“I certify that [insert student’s name] has presented me a [insert type of document presented, such as a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport, and the relevant control or sequential number on the document, if any] establishing that [he or she] is a U.S. citizen or national in accordance with 49 CFR 1552.3(h). [Insert date and instructor’s signature and CFI number.]”

ALL OF OUR STAFF UNDERGOES SECURITY AWARENESS TRAINING

According to the TSA rule, each flight school employee or independent instructor must receive recurrent security awareness training every 12 months from the month of their initial training. A recent TSA exemption from 49 CFR 1552.23(d)(1) allows all flight training providers (flight schools and independent CFIs) to receive their recurrent security awareness training up to 1 calendar month before and 1 calendar month after the month that the individual’s recurrent security awareness training course is due. This exemption applies only to the requirements for recurrent security awareness training, not the initial security awareness training.

The purpose of the TSA recurrent security awareness training is to make flight schools, instructors, and flight school employees aware of security-related incidents, measures, and procedures that affect their local airport and flight school. This means they should be aware of any new security measures or procedures, new threats posed by or incidents involving general aviation aircraft, and any new guidelines or recommendations concerning the security of general aviation aircraft, airports, or flight schools.

AOPA has compiled easy to understand information concerning TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) for foreign flight training students who are looking to fly. Below you will find information on applicability, step by step guidance on submitting a request for flight training, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Information on this page applies to non-U.S. citizens who wish to conduct flight training in an aircraft weighing less than 12,500lbs.

For more information about foreign flight training students, contact AOPA’s Pilot Information Center at 1-800-USA-AOPA. Any questions about the AFSP may also be directed to the AFSP Help Desk at 571/203-8470 or AFSP.Help@dhs.gov. Please review TSA’s Help Desk guidelines before contacting the Help Desk.
APPLICABILITY
You must participate in the Alien Flight Student Program and undergo a security threat assessment if:

Exemptions

You must participate in the Alien Flight Student Program and undergo a security threat assessment if:

STEPS FOR NAVIGATING THE PROCESS

You should notify the flight school in advance that you intend to start flight training because the flight school also needs to register online with TSA before you begin flight training. Additional information about flight school registration may be found here .

If the flight school is already registered with TSA, it might be useful to bring all required documents and information for the application to the flight school and register there, as you will have to include training details on your application as a foreign flight training student. This will allow the flight school to upload required documents to TSA and also to make copies for the flight school”s record-keeping requirements.

AFSP will communicate with you primarily by email, so you should have a valid email address that you are able to check frequently.

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. We will talk more about the TSA process below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Aliens seeking flight training in an aircraft with a MTOW 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.

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)