View Full Version : US Visa

14th Oct 2007, 18:03
A very quick question. I am looking to head out to the US between now & Christmas to do somewhere in the region of 30 to 40 hours of hour-building. Time to weigh up the options as to whether I have to wait for a visa to be issued or not.

Took a quick lok at the Embassy website & it appears I do not need one under the visa waiver scheme if I intend to be out of the country again within 90 days? Can this be backed-up by anybody recently? So, I just book my ticket, grab my passport & go?? I am mildly confused since this just doesn't seem bureaucratic enough for the Americans to allow you to do this?!?! I thought we were all treated as suspicious characters, tourists et al.

As an aside, would 40 hours be reasonable between November & mid December in Florida would you say?

Many thanks.

14th Oct 2007, 18:19
Sometimes they ask for special processing as well - which is a security clearance and takes around 3 months for a decision.

If this is the case then all the fees you have paid before you get an interview become irrelevant as the paperwork they relate to expires after so many months :ugh:. You have to pay them again when your security clearance comes through.

So probably worth phoning the embassy before doing anything - explain your intentions and ask for a preliminary assessment to assess whether special processing would be required then at least you would know before spending any money in processing fees.

14th Oct 2007, 18:24
Sorry - just to add - i am sure you may not need one if you are going out to hour build?

I think the M1 requirement is for training purposes the last time i checked.

I would go out under the visa waiver programme - just say holiday as your reasons for entry and do your hour building on the sly.

If you tell them hour building expect to be hauled aside for 4 hours and treated like osama's 2nd cousin.

Just a thought - save a lot of hassle - although things might have changed since.

14th Oct 2007, 19:31
You do not need a visa to hour buid in the USA.

You do not need to register with the TSA either.

You may enter under the Visa Waiver, you must leave within 90 days.

If you plan on doing ANY training, you will need a visa.

14th Oct 2007, 22:22
No visa required for the following:

Time building or recreational flying
Flight review or IPC
Differences training in same category and class of aircraft
Seaplane rating
Glider rating
Hot airship or balloon rating

In short (not 100% technically correct) you need a visa if you wish to substantially improve your skills in aviation.

Eg PPL, IR, ME CPL, type ratings etc.

15th Oct 2007, 01:23
you don't need a visa for CPL as they don't class it as significantly improving your flying skills.

initial PPL training, IR and multi and type ratiings will require visa

15th Oct 2007, 09:51
Many thanks for the replies!

I suspected you didn't need a visa for hour building, but I wasn't so sure if I still needed a tourists visa to go. The last time I was in the US ('05), I'm sure even tourists had to have a visa - that's where my confusion arised.

I must say though, I'm surprised you do not need one for the CPL since surely this is a course of study & you would be regarded as a student?

Anyhow, many thanks once again.

15th Oct 2007, 14:22
Just to add... You will need to get an FAA PPL based on your JAA PPL. This will involve a fee that you send the CAA authorising them to release your details to the FAA. Takes a few weeks to arrange, especially given that our postal system is on holiday at the moment.
You then have to book in with a local FSDO in the US and get a temporary FAA license and will have to do a Bi-annual review with an instructor when you get there... Allow at least 2-3 days to sort all this out, especially if you arrive on a Friday night as they aren't open at the weekend. You'll get your shiny credit card license in the post about 6 weeks after you get back home.
There are loads of posts regarding this on here, easily searched... I think the user SocalApp is pretty hot on all this stuff as well, might be worth PM'ing him/her (!)

15th Oct 2007, 17:57
you don't need a visa for CPL as they don't class it as significantly improving your flying skills

Well, we disagree there then, That would be the day....
If CPL training does not increase your skills, you've been to the wrong place.

A lot of people choose to do the Initial Commercial on a twin, which requires a visa.

Tell Immigration upon entry that you are here for recreational flying as not everybody is familiar with the term hourbuilding or timebuilding even though it is somewhat self explanatory.
Recreational flying does not imply any training.

15th Oct 2007, 18:38
Not my opinion, written in TSA guidlines, only 3 types of training are classed as significantly improving flying skills and require approval: Initial training (PPL, sport, recreational), Multi rating and IR.

15th Oct 2007, 21:22
and why don't you go to US with no visa (visa waiver) for tourism only, and once there, visit 2-3 schools and try to get a plane(if you need time building, get a guy with you who has a US ppl, and go fly with him)and log time.
one will be safety pilot, and the other pilot under the hood.
so both can log the time spent in the aircraft.

just an idea!

15th Oct 2007, 21:56
TSA clearance and visas are two different things handled by different branches of the government. (TSA - US Department of Homeland Security, visas - US Department of State)

TSA clearence is needed for initial licence (PPL), IR and ME. Seperate application is needed for each course of study even if they are to be undertaken at the same time (See https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov/ for more details)

M-1 visa is needed for any vocational course of study, including PPL, CPL. ATPL, CFI, etc. (See http://www.unitedstatesvisas.gov/ for more info).

As has been said, neither TSA nor M-1 visa are needed for hours building, BFR, etc. If in doubt contact your local US Embassy (theres a list at http://www.usembassy.gov/)

16th Oct 2007, 17:08
I doubt you local embassy will be clear on that, they will ask you to contact the TSA.
none in the USA knows the rules, it became very complicated!the best is to get a tourist visa and aim to USA.

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