We often get walk-ins from our foreign guests who want to rent our aircraft or receive flight training. Unfortunately, we sometimes have to turn them away due to a combination of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules. This doesn't have to happen to you! With a little bit of planning, it is easy to comply with most of the requirements before you even arrive in Las Vegas.
The key is to start early. Monarch Sky recommends that you start this process at least 90 days before you plan to rent a U.S. registered aircraft or start your training. Information is provided below based on two different scenarios. The first one applies if you already have a foreign pilot license of some type. The second scenario is if you want to receive flight training and you are not a U.S. citizen.
If you want to fly N-registered airplanes (U.S. registered), you can easily validate your foreign private pilot license into an American one issued by the FAA. As compared to the European validation procedure, the American one is simple. It’s only a matter of paperwork. See the respective 14 CFR 61.75 regulation (Private pilot certificate issued on the basis of a foreign pilot license) for complete details.
The simplicity sits in the fact that you do not need any extra flight tests, paper or exams, you do not need an extra medical certificate and the procedure is free of charge. All restrictions applicable on your foreign license do apply of course.
First, you should submit your data to the FAA via their website. Then you get a letter stating that the FAA is investigating the validity of your foreign pilot license. They therefore contact the foreign CAA. Once they get confirmation, you get an invitation letter for you to go to a local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). There is one in Las Vegas. Usually, you must visit one in the USA. At the FSDO (you need an appointment), you just show up with all relevant paperwork, and if all goes well you get a temporary pilot certificate (valid for 6 months) on the spot!
Before you can go flying, you must do a flight review (FR) as part of your checkout and takes a minimum of 2 hours (1 hour ground and 1 hour flight). Your temporary pilot certificate is later replaced by a real credit-card sized license and mailed to your home. With the validation done, you can have a great time flying in the U.S. Also, you can fly N-registered airplanes wherever in the world... and there are many spread around.
Of course, you do need to keep your foreign license and medical valid whenever you use your FAA pilot license.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, new rules have been implemented governing the training of individuals who are not United States citizens. These new rules have been implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and basically fall under the Alien Flight Student Program. In a nutshell, foreign pilots must submit to a screening process including fingerprinting and a background check. This process usually takes 2 to 6 weeks, but depending on where you live, you may be able to do most of it in your home country. Some U.S. embassies will even take your fingerprints for you. Every embassy has different policies, so your best bet is to contact the closest U.S. embassy and find out what level of support they provide. For a complete summary of the process, check out the AOPA's Guide to Alien Flight Training. It is an excellent resource that will describe the process from start to finish.
If you wish to apply as an Alien Flight Student Program candidate, click here. Be sure to select Monarch Sky as your flight school provider. Your approval for flight training is specific to whatever school you indicate in the application. If you put in the wrong school, you have to start the application process all over again and pay more fees. Good luck and contact us if you need assistance!
Part 141 schools are authorized under Federal Law to enroll Non-Immigrant Alien (International) students and Resident Aliens into flight training classes. An international student is defined as any individual who is a legally living in a country other than the United States of America at the time of admission to Monarch Sky Flight School. A Resident Alien (Green Card Holder) is defined as a Permanent Resident of the United States of America who continues to be a citizen of another country.
The M-1 Visa allows foreign vocational students to attend full-time, flight instruction in the United States. You may also apply for the M-2 Visa which will allow your dependents to accompany you to the U.S.
The United States has updated the visa policies to increase security for our citizens and visitors based on the events of September 11th 2001. The visa process will likely take longer than it used to, and you will find a few new security measures have been put into place. Please visit http://usembassy.state.gov to find any details that may apply specifically to your country.
Please be aware of the following information regarding International Flight Students: