Whether you’re learning to fly for the first time, building flight hours, or converting a foreign license, our expert instructors at Precision Aviation Training have extensive experience working with non-US Citizens and are here to help you succeed.
At Precision, we make it a priority to work with our foreign students to achieve their individual goals in the time they have available. We’ll work with you to accommodate your needs, skill level, and schedule to ensure that you get the attention you need and that your course of training meets your requirements, in your timeframe.
Our bases in Newberg and Klamath Falls, Oregon offer the ideal terrain and conditions to learn to fly, acquire flight time, and hone your skills as a pilot. There are many advantages to training in the United States and earning an FAA license:
All of our airplane and helicopter training courses are available to foreign students, provided the prerequisite requirements are met. Precision offers Part 61 and 141 training, taught by knowledgeable, expert instructors who have experience working with foreign students.
We’ve included instructions below for converting a foreign pilot license to an FAA pilot certificate, obtaining an appropriate visa, and undergoing the vetting process of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This process can be confusing, so please contact us with any questions or if you need assistance.
Precision has lots of experience helping pilots convert their foreign licenses to FAA ones. We know how to jump through all the legal hoops involved in the conversion process. This frees you up to focus all of your attention on the training that’s required of you, which saves you stress as well as precious time and money.
The first step to converting your foreign license is to get it recognized by the FAA. When you arrive in the United States, you need to visit the Flight Standards District Office, where you’ll be issued a private license based on your foreign one. Remember, if you’re planning on taking a check-ride based on your foreign license, your letter of verification must not be more than three months old.
1. Visit the official FAA website for more information on the foreign license verification process, including the application forms.
2. Fill out the AC 8060-71 application form.
3. Note that there are additional requirements for applicants from Australia, Cyprus, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. In addition to the procedures stated under “Verify the Authenticity of a Foreign License, Rating, and Medical Certification” in the link above, airmen from these countries must contact their respective CAA to complete additional forms that are required prior to providing the requested information to the Airmen Certification Branch.
4. Once you have completed the forms above, send them to the appropriate locations. Form AC 8060-71 should be sent to the address/email/fax provided on the application. Malaysian forms should be sent directly to the country. The FAA Airmen Certification Branch should not receive additional Malaysian Forms. This process can take anywhere from 45-90 days. It’s important that you do not schedule any travel or testing until you have received a verification letter from the FAA Airmen Certification Branch.
5. Once you’ve received your verification letter, contact your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). When you arrive in the United States, you’ll need to set up an appointment with an FSDO inspector or a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) who will review all of your paperwork. Before this meeting, make sure you:
It’s important to realize this meeting is not a test; it’s simply a means to verify your identity and the validity of your documents. After this meeting, you’ll be issued a temporary airman certificate and will be able to exercise private pilot privileges in the United States.
You must obtain the relevant visa in order to enter the United States. Precision is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide M1 Visas to students who meet the following specific requirements:
For information on how the visa application process works, visit the DHS website and check out a summary chart of the International Student Life Cycle.
To apply, follow the steps listed below.
1. Email us requesting an application.
2. Once you’ve been accepted into the program, you’ll receive a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
3. Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee on the DHS website. Print and save your receipt.
4. Once you’ve received Form I-20, make an appointment at your nearest US consulate to apply for a student visa. You’ll need to take your I-20, your passport, your SEVIS fee receipt, proof of funding, proof of ties to your home country, and any other forms required by your consulate. It’s extremely important that you’re issued the correct visa – M-1. Check the visa placed in your passport before you leave the consulate. If there’s a problem, bring it to the consular’s attention. Please contact your local US embassy to ensure you have all the required documents.
NOTE: Do not make any travel plans to come to the United States until you have received the proper documentation from your embassy.
5. Once you’ve received your M-1 Visa, you’ll be allowed to enter the United States within 30 days of the start date on your I-20. It’s important that you don’t try to enter more than 30 days before your start date, as you’ll be refused entry and told to return home.
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Transport Safety Administration (TSA) took on the responsibility of ensuring that all foreign flight students, resident aliens, and tourists seeking flight training do not pose a security threat. Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States is considered an alien. This also includes resident aliens (green-card holders) and visa holders in the United States. Aliens are required to seek and obtain permission to receive flight training through a process of citizenship and background verification by the TSA. The Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) is mostly web-based and is usually completed in 14 days or less.
In general, unless you have an FAA-issued “stand-alone” pilot certificate, you’ll need TSA approval (although certain courses still require approval, even with a stand-alone certificate).
To get TSA approval:
1. Visit the AFSP website and create a user account.
2. Apply for training under the “Application Guide” tab.
3. Wait for us to acknowledge your request, which will be sent to us by the TSA.
4. Pay the processing fee.
5. Wait for a “Preliminary Approval” email from the TSA, which both you and your flight school will receive once your payment has been processed. This does not grant you permission to receive training; it’s simply a confirmation of your application and payment.
6. Submit fingerprints to the TSA. If the preliminary decision is favorable and your payment is verified, you’ll receive an email from the AFSP instructing you on fingerprint submission. Do not submit fingerprints prior to submitting your payment and receiving the official AFSP fingerprinting instructions. In most cases, we’ll suggest that you get your fingerprints taken upon your arrival in the US. We’ll walk you through the best option for you and your situation.
After you’ve arranged your training, secured a student visa, and gone through the TSA approval process, it’s time to make the necessary travel arrangements:
1. Inform us of your arrival flight information so we can make arrangements to pick you up from the airport. Don’t worry about planning transportation from the airport upon your arrival; we’ll be there when you land to take you to your new home.
2. Have the following documents ready when you arrive in the United States and present them to the immigration officer:
3. Before leaving US customs and immigration, please make sure that the duty officer has stamped your passport stating “M-1” status. Without this, you won’t be eligible to begin flight training. Once you’ve arrived in the United States, you’ll be assigned a flight instructor and can get started on your flight training!
Minimum license requirements vary between countries, so it’s important to understand whether you already have the necessary experience or if you need to obtain additional experience prior to your check-ride. The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Part 61 provides information on the experience requirements in the United States.