Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies)A forum for those on the steep path to that coveted professional licence. Whether studying for the written exams, training for the flight tests or building experience here's where you can hang out.
To be honest, I'm pretty much decided on the school in Florida. The school I am wanting to attend is SEVIS approved.
I'm just trying to figure out the best and most convenient way I am complete my HCPL here in the US, without having to return to my home country to apply for a new M-1 visa in order to complete 20-odd hours.
Thank you for your reply though. It is appreciated.
nsainesa - if you hold a stand alone FAA Private and are working towards a CPL and only need a few hours remember that you now don't need TSA. If you are entering for hour building and a CPL checkride that would not require a student visa as long as you have finished studying.
So I can leave and re-enter the US on my UK passport on the VWP (Visa Waiver Program)? Is the I-20 still required? SEVIS? Yes, I hold a stand alone FAA PPL. My attendance at the school will be to finish the minimum hours required and at the same time, fine tuning the manuevers, with the CFI, in preparation for the Check Ride. What constitutes "finished studying"? I have taken the FAA Commerical written exam already. The only studying I would be doing is "home study" in preparation for the Check Ride. I'm sure that the CFI will have a "ground" session too before signing me off for the Check Ride.
So I can leave and re-enter the US on my UK passport on the VWP (Visa Waiver Program)? Is the I-20 still required? SEVIS?
The I-20-M-N is required only for aliens seeking admission to the United States under an M-class visa. It is not therefore required of or available to aliens entering under the VWP.
My attendance at the school will be to finish the minimum hours required and at the same time, fine tuning the manuevers, with the CFI, in preparation for the Check Ride.
In the broadest sense you are proposing to embark on a course of study. Aliens are required to obtain the appropriate student visa if entering the US with the intention of pursuing any course of study. This point is addressed in a notice from one of the US government departments in a document linked to by a moderator some half a dozen pages back in this thread. In short it is not lawful, in terms of my personal interpretation of both the INA and the aforementioned notice (referencing an amendment to the CFR), to enter the US under the VWP to indulge in a course of study. SEVIS registration is required of persons entering under M-class (non-academic) and F-class (academic) visas.
What constitutes "finished studying"? I have taken the FAA Commerical written exam already. The only studying I would be doing is "home study" in preparation for the Check Ride. I'm sure that the CFI will have a "ground" session too before signing me off for the Check Ride.
In my opinion (the relevant federal agency may very well adopt a different one) this (and your remark I have quoted above) constitutes being instructed and thus because a course of study is sought you ought to be using an M-class visa.
There would seem to be no issue for admission under ESTA/VWP to take a cpl checkride, nor indeed cpl 'training' especially given that there is no formal requirement to enrol in a course for cpl training nor are you intending to nor do you need any formal training. It would seem to be considered in the same light as hour building / BFR/ rental check etc.Hour building is actually what you need anyway and that is clearly permitted. I had no problem entering for a vacation and a visit to friends this month which included 18 hours of CPL training in a week and was due to take the checkride but didn't as I ran out of time. I will be back to take the ride next time I have occasion to be in the usa. If you have a stand alone PPL FAA you are definitely exempt TSA for cpl training and thus no need for an M1 visa or the 120 form that preceeds it for that reason. Likewise you don't need a SEVIS school . In fact if you think about it you don't need a school at all. Just get your current instructor to endorse you now for the three hours training required within 60 days, rent an aircraft anywhere you like, fly the 20 hrs pic and make a booking with a DPE within 60 days. That is all you need.What is probably needed is to leave as you are out of status on your m1 visa and to reenter under VWP for a fortnight to get finished. You should seek advice about that, I am no expert on M1 out of status but I imagine you are under a duty to leave once you are out of status. Nothing to stop you applying for an ESTA and going to mexico/canada etc for the day and reentering under VWP although you would need to be ready to explain what you are doing in detail and back it up with the relevant paperwork to show I was honest and genuine and intending to return to my home country. In your position that is probably I would do and I'd have a return ticket home to uk already booked and printed out to show them. You could also seek advice on how quickly you need to leave once out of status and if less than say ten days you coudl get 20 hours and a checkride done in that time anyway.
There is plenty of advice about what is and isn't permitted on VWP type entry and short courses of study that are incidental to your vacation are permitted, but in fact you are not even studying, just undertaking a practical examination. The written does also fall into the same category, perfectly acceptable to sit a written whilst on holiday. Of course you may get a difficult immigration officer on the day but my experience is that if you are genuine, have a return ticket, solvent and genuinely intending to return home after your stay you will be welcomed. I'd leave and renter for a vacation and some hour building personally, nothing to stop you taking the ride if you then wish. You'll find plenty of advice across the internet from people who recirculate the same theories about visas but very few of them have actually been there or done it even once, you need to draw your own conclusions about what is right and only your own detailled study of the rules will actually work, tempered with common sense and honesty. Hope it works out for you.
If you have a stand alone PPL FAA you are definitely exempt TSA for cpl training and thus no need for an M1 visa or the 120 form that preceeds it for that reason.
The TSA security threat assessment required of certain persons prior to their receiving flying training is established separately to immigration regulations requiring aliens who seek a "course of study" to obtain the appropriate student visa. In all circumstances requiring a threat assessment it is irrelevant whether the training is received within the jurisdiction of the United States (Sec 612 of Vision 100 - Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act). The immigration and threat assessment requirements must therefore be viewed as distinct requirements imposed upon certain persons.
The case in point is whether an alien wishing to acquire a professional FAA airman certificate in the United States, which does not necessarily give rise to a requirement for a TSA threat assessment, is mandated by US federal regulations to seek admission under an appropriate student visa. The basis for determining this requirement comes down to the interpretation of the words "course of study." Considering the popularity of this thread I think it is important for us to explore the two possibilities as dictated by an individual's personal training requirements. I should first like to address this point:
There is plenty of advice about what is and isn't permitted on VWP type entry and short courses of study that are incidental to your vacation are permitted
In May 2002 the Office of Inspector General published a Special Report, Special Report , in which is it stated that training, incidental to a vacation, may be pursued by an alien admitted as a visitor (B-class visa). Footnote 10 to Ch. 2(III). Nevertheless on 12th April 2002 the Executive Associate Commissioner of the Office of Field Operations at the Department of Justice issued a memorandum on the subject of aliens being required to change their status from B-class to F- or M-class prior to commencing a course of study. The memorandum can be viewed here http://www.eandvh.com/engine/pubs/ge...spx?id=40&dl=1
The memorandum starts by stating:
On April 12, 2002, an interim rule was published in the Federal Register (copy attached) that eliminates the ability of a B nonimmigrant (both B-1 visitors for business and B-2 visitors for pleasure) to begin a course of study at a United States school without first obtaining approval from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Service) to change nonimmigrant status to that of either F-1 or M-1 student. The interim rule was effective upon publication.
Returning to the interpretation of "course of study" I refer to the second page of the memorandum under "Supplemental Guidance" which states (my underlining):
... The term "course of study" implies a focused program of classes, such as a full-time course load leading to a degree or, in the case of a vocational student, some type of certification. Casual, short-term classes that are not the primary purpose of the alien's presence in the United States, such as a single English language or crafts class, would not constitute a "course of study." Courses with more substance or that teach a potential vocation, such as flight training, would be considered part of a "course of study" and thus would require approval of a student status;
In the broadest interpretation of this memorandum it is necessary for an alien pursuing training in flying to be under an F- or, as will be more usual in this case, an M-class visa. Specific reference to the terrorist attacks of September 11th is made on the first page of the memorandum and it is therefore reasonable to be less lenient in interpreting "course of study" in connection with flying training.
The relevant federal regulations are:
8 CFR 214.2(b)(7) Enrollment in a course of study prohibited. An alien who is admitted as, or changes status to, a B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant on or after April 12, 2002, or who files a request to extend the period of authorized stay in B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant status on or after such date, violates the conditions of his or her B-1 or B-2 status if the alien enrolls in a course of study. Such an alien who desires to enroll in a course of study must either obtain an F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant visa from a consular officer abroad and seek readmission to the United States, or apply for and obtain a change of status under section 248 of the Act and 8 CFR part 248. The alien may not enroll in the course of study until the Service has admitted the alien as an F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant or has approved the alien's application under part 248 of this chapter and changed the alien's status to that of an F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant.
8 CFR 248.1(c)(3) A nonimmigrant who is admitted as, or changes status to, a B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant on or after April 12, 2002, or who files a request to extend the period of authorized stay as a B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant on or after such date, may not pursue a course of study at an approved school unless the Service has approved his or her application for change of status to a classification as an F-1 or M-1 student. USCIS will deny the change of status if the B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant enrolled in a course of study before filing the application for change of status or while the application is pending.
The individual above has stated,
My attendance at the school will be to finish the minimum hours required and at the same time, fine tuning the manuevers, with the CFI, in preparation for the Check Ride.
That flying which involves (1) refresher training, (2) aeroplane checkouts, and, (3) hour building, does not require a student visa because these components are not parts of a "course of study." Separately there is no TSA security threat assessment required to participate in those ventures. However, the individual states clearly that he will be "fine tuning the manuevers (sic), with the CFI." Since he has not provided detailed information about his flying training history it is unclear whether the manoeuvres should include, for example, ground reference manoeuvres for which a European pilot shall require training. If he has satisfied all of the formal training requirements then he may be exempted from the requirement to undergo a pre-test preparation flight (cf 14 CFR 61.39(c)(6)) if he holds a commercial pilot licence, granted by one of the ICAO Contracting States, conferring upon him privileges comparable to those of an FAA commercial pilot certificate.
The second possibility, namely the case in which a student visa is not required, is determined by the relevant FAA regulations which specify when "training" is required.
More on this topic on page 7 of this thread (post #126, 04-DEC-2011, et seq.)
Hi, I'm a little unclear about the visa requirements. I'm traveling to the US in the summer for business and a little sightseeing for 5 weeks. I also want to take a few flight lessons ultimately to get a FAA PPL but I won't get more than 20-25 hours in 2 weeks.
I know I need to get the TSA AFSP approval but what about the visa? (I'm eligible for the VWP program)
Short answer: you need an m1 visa. Longer answer, you might want to read the thread through again or in more detail, given that the title of the thread is what you are aking about and the answer to your situation is fully discussed within.
I did read the thread and even after your answer I'm not really smarter than before. The reason: all flight schools I have contacted are saying:
- I don't need a visa if I just want to do a few flight lessons
- I could take part in 141 training for which they could issue the I-20 form (and I could get a M-1 visa from a consulate), but in this case the training would need to be full time and strictly according to their syllabus.
Since my main purpose of travel is not flight training nor will I stay in one place during my visit, I don't think the M1 visa is right for me.
Your circumstances fit into the grey area of the poorly worded US visa rules. The INA defines the B- and M1- class visas as follows:
INA: ACT 101 - DEFINITIONS
Sec. 101. [8 U.S.C. 1101] (a) As used in this Act-
(15) The term "immigrant" means every alien except an alien who is within one of the following classes of nonimmigrant aliens:
(B) an alien (other than one coming for the purpose of study or of performing skilled or unskilled labor or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media coming to engage in such vocation) having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily for business or temporarily for pleasure;
(M) (i) an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study at an established vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution (other than in a language training program) in the United States particularly designated by him and approved by the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of Education, which institution shall have agreed to report to the Attorney General the termination of attendance of each nonimmigrant nonacademic student and if any such institution fails to make reports promptly the approval shall be withdrawn,
8 CFR 214.1 defines "full course of study" for the F- (academic) and M- (vocational/non-academic) visa classes. For the M-class of visa:
§ 214.2 Special requirements for admission, extension, and maintenance of status.
(m) Students in established vocational or other recognized nonacademic institutions, other than in language training programs —(1) Admission of student —(i) Eligibility for admission. A nonimmigrant student may be admitted into the United States in nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(M) of the Act, if:
(9)Full course of study. Successful completion of the course of study must lead to the attainment of a specific educational or vocational objective. A “full course of study” as required by section 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act means—
(iii) Study in a vocational or other nonacademic curriculum, other than in a language training program except as provided in § 214.3(a)(2)(iv), certified by a designated school official to consist of at least eighteen clock hours of attendance a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of classroom instruction, or at least twenty-two clock hours a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of shop or laboratory work; or
(v) On-line courses/distance education programs. No on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward an M-1 student's full course of study requirement if such classes do not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.
(vi)Reduced course load. The designated school official may authorize an M-1 student to engage in less than a full course of study only where the student has been compelled by illness or a medical condition that has been documented by a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist, to interrupt or reduce his or her course of study. A DSO may not authorize a reduced course load for more than an aggregate of 5 months per course of study. An M-1 student previously authorized to drop below a full course of study due to illness or medical condition for an aggregate of 5 months, may not be authorized by the DSO to reduce his or her course load on subsequent occasions during his or her particular course of study.
There is some additional guidance in the Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 41.61 notes):
9 FAM 41.61 N9.2-1 B-2 Visa for Visitor Who Will Engage in a Short Course of Study
a. Aliens whose principal purpose of travel (see 9 FAM 41.31 N6.1) is tourism, but who plan to engage also in a short course of study (less than 18 hours per week) are properly classified for B-2 visas. You must determine whether the content of the course qualifies as a short course of study. If the student plans to spend a week or more of full-time study (more than 18 hours per week), and/or earns academic credit or completion of an academic program of study in the United States, then an F-1 or M-1 visa is required. You should annotate the visa as follows: "STUDY INCIDENTAL TO VISIT; Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-for Academic and Language Students NOT REQUIRED." (See 9 FAM 41.31 N13.6.)
b. An alien enrolling in such a school may be classified B-2 if the purpose of attendance is recreational or avocational. When the nature of a school's program is difficult to determine, you should request from DHS
([email address in original PDF]) the proper classification of the program and whether approval of Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic and Language Students, will be more appropriate. (See 9 FAM 41.31 N14.8.)
9 FAM 41.61 N9.2-2 F-1 or M-1 Visa for Visitor Who Will Engage in a Short Term Program
a. An alien may only qualify for an F-1 or M-1 if he or she is or will be engaging in a full course of study. If a student plans to spend a week or more of full-time study (more than 18 hours per week) in the United States, an F-1 or M-1 visa is appropriate. Currently these students would need a new SEVIS ID and new Form I-20 for each visit.
In summary a person admitted under a B-class of visa is not permitted to pursue a course of study (except trivial courses) and a person admitted under an M1-class of visa is required to pursue only a full course of study.
8 CFR 214.2(b)(7) requires persons pursuing a course of study to use an M- or F-class of visa, as appropriate, but does not attempt to define "course of study." The abovementioned DOJ memorandum simply states: "Courses with more substance or that teach a potential vocation, such as flight training, would be considered part of a "course of study" and thus would require approval of a student status."
There is an inconsistency in the visa regulations in as much as persons wishing to pursue short vocational courses which do not satisfy the "full course of study" requirement made in 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9) are offered no legitimate basis on which to be admitted.
The training you intend to pursue - 20 to 25 hours of flying for a US private pilot certificate - should really be done under an M1 visa. Given the choice it is better to fall foul of 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9) than 8 CFR 214.2(b)(7).
If a Part 61 school withdraws their Part 141 application or if their application is denied - then they will lose their interim SEVIS status. So that school may have interim SEVIS approval - but they won't retain it unless they get full Part 141 status.
I am going over to USA in June for 6 weeks to study for Flight dispatch licence. I hold a New Zealand passport and can stay in USA up to 90 days under the VWP. I have been told by jeppesen school in denver that i dont need to apply for any visa? But i am still kinda confused !! Can someone here tell me that if i can study in USA for 6 weeks under VWP without having to apply for any kind of visa?
You may study for 6 weeks under VWP, but you will have to register with TSA prior to your arrival in the US, as this is the requirement for all foreign nationals who intend to do any sort of flying in US.
Tjx If you are not flying you won't need TSA. You need to get it in writing from your training school that you do not need a visa. You should also check with the US Embassy in your home country. You are training for a professional licence - and they may want you to get a formal student visa.
Remember, the onus is on you - not the school or anybody else.
Is a visa and tsa required to do time building in the states if I don't plan on staying overnight in the states?(living in Canada close to the boarder) I already have a Canadian commercial /w medical and a faa private w/ medical, just want to do time building part-time.
b2n2 - a couple more to add - commercial (assuming it isnt initial licence), and the private checkride or any writtens. And before any nit pickers start up, that is correct, and I have declared these on entry under esta on various (4 in total) occasions and been let in without any further questions. One could argue that signing up for a commercial course as opposed to adhoc commercial training might need an m1 but why do it that way anyway?
Also, class ratings as opposed to type ratings are often exempt if one has an initial private certificate already.
For what its worth, when I came through dallas this week, I asked the immigration officer what visa would be required for a two or three day type rating or multi course, the answer was B1, and I then said I presume that also means esta is acceptable if one qualifies for that and he said yes.
Many chose to study with a flight school abroad. To do this you are often required to obtain a visa from the country you wish to study in. In the United States everyone not holding a green card is required to have a student visa or higher. Listed below are different visas you can hold to fly in the Unites States.
M1- Vocational Visa – 1 year and on Many part 141 flight schools accept international students on M1 visas. This is strictly a student visa and is usually obtained for one year at the time as long as you undergo training. It gives you the privilege of living in the United States and studying with the flight school issuing the visa application. Meaning the school has made a guarantee for you to the INS and you can therefore only study with that particular school on that particular visa.
You cannot work on an M1 visa; this includes part time work to cover your living.
J1 – Foreign Exchange Visa – 2 years J1 is a visa offered by some flight schools through an exchange program. To you this means studying and later working as a pilot. The real difference from an M1 is that you can do practical job training; working in your trained profession to build more experience (building flight hours in other words).
Practically on a J1 visa you do flight training and are later intended to work as a flight instructor with the school. If you can’t get a job there you will be assisted in finding work elsewhere, but are still guaranteed for by the school issuing the visa and have to report all flying done on a regular basis.
The visa is issued for 2 years (24months) and can only be issued ones in a lifetime. Further to qualify you cannot hold any higher then an FAA private pilot license (PPL) and an instrument rating (IR). Not all countries are qualified for the J1 visa. If the flight school you wish to study with issue J1 visas they will tell if you qualify or not.
F1 – Academic Visa – 1 year and on This visa is issued by a college or university and covers the length of your study. The benefit this visa has is that after the first year you can work part time to cover your living as long as you stay a full time student. This is done on the discretion of the college/university guaranteeing for your visa. If you want to get a degree in aviation as well as doing flight training it may be an idea to look for a university offering F1 visas.
The visa is not renewed after you graduate and will therefore expire. So if you want to build hours flying you also need to keep studying full time. This can be expensive and you don’t build hours very fast. (source)
US Visas Required for Flight Training There are two types of U.S. visas available for international students’ flight training: The M-1 Visa and the F-1 Visa. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires all international students to conduct all their flight training only at a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight school which has been approved under Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 141. So be sure the U.S. flight school you are considering is an approved FAR Part 141 school.
The M-1 Visa is recommended for students interested in taking individual flight courses. The M-1(I-20 form) allows you to stay in the U.S. for up to 12 months; it can be extended, if needed for training. NOTE: The U.S. tourist visa is NOT allowed for flight training in the U.S.
The F-1 Visa is recommended for students interested in careers as professional pilots and who desire to complete a professional training program, which typically starts with study for a Private Pilot Certificate and progresses through the Commercial Certificate with Instructor Ratings. The F-1 (I-20 form) is 12 months in length and can be extended, if additional time is needed for training. Upon completion of a full professional flight training program, an F-1 Visa enables students (upon application and approval of DHS for your work authorization) to be eligible to work as flight instructors to build additional hours; this allows pilots to build up to 1,000+ hours of flight experience, which is advantageous when applying for employment with airlines.
All non US citizens planning to begin their flight training in USA should notify the flight school of their choice in advance that they intend to start flight training because the flight school also needs to register online with TSA before you begin flight training.