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.
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.
Once you have visited your local flight school, and have determined that you want to begin training, you will need to create a candidate account through the Alien Flight school candidate’s website. The entire process generally will take about 3-4 weeks to complete; however, this depends on the current work load of the agency.
STEP 1 : Visit https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov
STEP 2: On the upper right hand corner, click on “Create New Candidate Account”
STEP 3: Follow the instructions to create yourself an account on the AFSP website, once you have completed the steps and verified your email address, log back into your account on the website.
STEP 4: Click on “Begin a new training application”
STEP 5: Enter all the required information. You will need to provide information on past address history, employment, copies of all and past visa’s and passports.
STEP 6 : When you reach part 2 of the form “Step 7” training details you will need to fill out the “New Category 1-3 training request.” All of our aircraft are in this category as they are all under 12,500 pounds. If you need a security clearance to train on aircraft over 12,500, your training facility or employer would assist you here.
STEP 7: You should now be able to submit the form.
STEP 8: Inflight will receive an email from the AFSP website asking us to confirm that you are seeking training through our school
STEP 9: Once we have accepted your request, you will be given instructions to submit a payment to the AFSP. The cost covers your background check and is currently $130.
STEP 10: Wait for instructions from the AFSP to complete fingerprinting. Your local police station or embassy can take your fingerprints and mail them to the AFSP. You can also submit your fingerprints electronically at a NATA compliance center, however there are currently no sites in Minnesota. The link below will help you find the nearest center for this.
STEP 11: Wait! Once you have submitted your fingerprints, if you are cleared to start training, you will receive an approval email from the AFSP granting you permission to begin training.
CONGRATULATIONS! You can now begin training. Bring your approval email as well as your passport/visa for your first lesson to show your flight instructor. They will have to take copies of all the forms as well as take a photograph of you to submit to the TSA.
Besides the hurdle of going through the TSA, there are thousands of foreign successful flight training candidates who have gone through to obtain their pilots license. Many students come from abroad as well as the cost of training is significantly cheaper in the USA compared to other countries.
Inflight pilot training has experience in dealing with such cases, and we are here to help with any questions or concerns regarding TSA clearances or how a foreign flight student can get started on their training.
Contact us today to get started at (952) – 698 – 3000. We hope to see you soon!