Are a foreign student (non U.S. citizen) and you have decided to study in the USA to become a pilot? SkyEagle Aviation Academy will make it as easy as possible for you! These are your step-by-step instructions for starting your studies – this section is for candidates who do not have a foreign flight license and would like to start their education in the US from scratch:
- Step 1: make sure that you have an American visa – this may be a B1 / B2 and not an M1 visa. Yo will arrive in America as a tourist with this visa. If there is no visa – contact your embassy and open a visa. Typically in the US, tourist visas are valid for 1 to 10 years (depending on your place of residence and citizenship). If you need help with opening a visa, please contact us and we will help.
- Step 2: Apply in advance for the TSA. To do this, register your account at https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov create a new application. Adddionally, follow the instructions on the website and in our document titled “Instructions for completing the application for TSA approval”. Please note that the application will be considered for at least 4-5 weeks!! Do not plan your arrival, and preferably do NOT book tickets, hotel and cars until you receive a approval from the TSA!
- Step 3: Fingerprinting – After receiving approval from the TSA, you must submit your fingerprints in the nearest convenient place. We fingerprinting services at our school once you have arrived in the United States. It takes only one day, costs $90 and the next day (maximum every other day) you will have permission to start training! Before you can get permission from the TSA, you can study aviation theory in an unlimited number of classes, but you may not start flying any aircraft until permission is granted. So if you arrived in the United States, but have not yet received TSA permission do not waste time – study theory, read text books, watch videos, and get educated!
- Step 4: Medical commission – Unlike in Russia or other countries, getting a medical certificate in America is relatively easy. Passing of the examination for the third class certificate takes 20 minutes. The third class certificate is required for a private pilot license and the second class for a commercial pilot license. In order to earn your medical certificate, you need to do two things: register on the MedXpress website, get the application number and then make an appointment with the doctor. We have worked for a long time with Dr. Graff. Dr Graff’s office is located only 10 minutes from our school. You can find his contact information here. The cost of medical examination is from $75 for the third class to $120 for the first class. Medical requirements are minimal for the third class certificate; it will be necessary to show satisfactory vision and good overall health. Only in rare and infrequent cases does a candidate fail their medical examination.
- Step 5: Starting your training and Issuance of student license – Since 2016, the issuance of a student pilot license has become more complicated. Prior to 2016 the student’s license was issued immediately with a medical certificate. Now it is a separate process, in which your flight instructor is involved. We will not elaborate on this issue, your instructor will help you, but we want to note that it is also lengthy and takes up to 3-4 weeks.
Since the FAA requires a student license prior to the first solo flight, consult the school administration or instructor and they insure you have all required materials in order to get flying! In any case, plan to apply for a student license on the first day of school.
We prefer at SkyEagle to get all the required materials within the first 10 days of your education and of course we will assist you in all matters.
Do not underestimate the importance of each of these items, especially if you have a limited stay in the US. Any of these points can adversely affect your time in the US, the duration of the training and, as a result, the successful completion of the program!