I converted from Oz to FAA ATP-MEL about 6 yrs ago. To do so I:
1. Did a US Class 1 medical.
2. Sat the Part 121 ATPL exam. Could have sat Part 135 (or whatever the TP version is) if I wanted to.
3. Flew whatever amount of instruction *I* felt was necessary.
4. Did a checkride with an ATP examiner. I could have chosen to do a S/E Land ATP or a M/E Sea or a S/E Sea or whatever.
The medical is easy. Took all of 10 mins, 5 of which was With the Dr.
2. The exam is easy. Buy the Gleim &/or ATP books. Multi-choice & very simple problem solving. No climb or descent calcs, single fuel flow for the entire flight (given to you. Ditto wind.) Hardest part is memorising the US IFR rules, especially since it's all in S.M. & fractions.
3. The flight test consists of manoeuvres under the hood eg stalls, steep turns etc plus 4 approaches (two precision, two non-precision). There is a ground 'grilling' first, similar to the Oz system & unlike the UK seems to be. Don't pass the ground grilling, don't go flying...
The approaches can be any combination that is available on the ground & that the a/c is equipped to use. Some will be asymmetric. The precision approaches must be within 1/4 scale tolerance.
NB: The USA has a greater variety of non-precision approaches to Oz or UK eg Simplified Directional Facility, LLZ Type Directional Aid, Back course LLZ etc etc.
If the a/c is equipped & the aid is available you can be asked to do it.
It wasn't an 'IFR' flight for my test. Just go up & demonstrate the specific sequences as required by the 'Practical Test Standard' as published by the FAA. What's in this book (available at all good bookstores. Call now to reserve your copy...
) is what you'll have to demonstrate.
I stuffed up my 1st VOR approach. Wasn't expecting to be vectored direct to the FAF without at least being told that's where the controller was taking me. Spent a few minutes working that one out & by the time I did I'd already flown through the 1/2 scale tolerance & out the other side. Duhhhhhhh.
At the that point he recorded a fail & I had to resit just the 4 approaches. He said he was impressed with the other parts (Thank christ!).
Did those a few days later after appropriate remedial training as must be specified by the examiner.
The examiner is responsible for determining if you meet all the FAA requirements for the issue of the certificate. If s/he determines this to be the case then s/he issues you with a temp. certificate valid while waiting the couple of weeks to receive the FAA permanently valid one.
You immediately have the privileges of the certificate once the examiner signs the temporary bit of paper.
Compare this with the archaic & bureaucratic UK/JAR carry on...