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-   -   Moving to the USA (https://www.pprune.org/north-america/498809-moving-usa.html)

captain two-holds 24th Oct 2012 13:35

Moving to the USA
Hi Guys

I'm a JAA/EASA ATP holder, and I live in the UK, problem is I have an American girlfriend who lives in Michigan, and i'm wondering how easy it is to move over to the USA for a flying career?!

I'm not fussy about jobs, whether it's instructor, airline, turbo props, I'll take anything, just want to know my options.
I've heard that a lot of American pilots become an instructor first, as you need 1500-3000hrs for airline work, and also that regional airlines are crappy to work for?

Any advice would be great! Cheers

galaxy flyer 24th Oct 2012 21:40

I believe, if married, you're in like Flynn. Yes, the US has loads of pilot jobs! Unfortunately, it also has loads of pilots looking for them. Converting the ATP shouldn't be difficult, not sure of the exact process, but reasonably cheap and painless.

Regionals are the way to the mainlines, if the mainlines ever hire again. The regionals are progressively shrinking as 50 seat RJs are retired. It's hard to say when the next hiring boom will begin. Their are many foreign-born US airline pilots.

Michigan isn't the best of places to start looking, however. The economy there has been down so long, it looks like up.


MarkerInbound 25th Oct 2012 04:27

As the holder of a foreign ATP you'll just have to take the FAA ATP knowledge test (it's multiple choice) and the ATP checkride.

You'll need the right to work which means the girlfriend will have to become the wife.

Yes, even more for AA, Delta, SW and others at that level, yes.

Tinstaafl 25th Oct 2012 22:51

You'll have to jump through the TSA insecurity carry-on too. No requirement for training or an instructor recommendation for the ATP checkride but I strongly recommend some amount of training if you're not familiar with the US way of doing things. Bear in mind that it's a checkride each for multi land, single land, multi sea and single sea, although you can combine some things eg do the flight test in an amphibian with alightings & landings to get both land & sea (single or multi, as appropriate) from the one flight test.

You'll need to make sure your hours meet each & every minimum for the licence. The requirements are specified in Title 14 CFR, Part 61 (ie FAR 61). Be aware of specifics though - what's counted as cross country time for one licence level isn't necessarily the same for a different licence level.

There are lots of jobs - if you're prepared to move - but often with low pay.

captain two-holds 26th Oct 2012 16:19

Cheers for the replies guys!

I actually don't mind where in the US I am, infact I hope it isn't michigan haha.
I did most of my hours in Arizona so I'm fine with the US system, but not in an airline obviously.....

I'm not sure marriage is on the cards in the next year, so I may have to look into a Visa of some sort, but I'm guessing that'll be a pain in the ass too!?

It sounds like the possibility is there though, if I'm willing to take the leap......hmmm

MarkerInbound 26th Oct 2012 21:39

The right to work will be a pain. Given the number of unemployed US pilots it's almost impossible for a US company to justify sponsoring a foreign national. Now if you could find a company that says they need a Welsh speaking pilot and you happen to speak Welsh....

captain two-holds 26th Oct 2012 23:41

Thanks Marker Inbound

My welsh is only basic unfortunately, I do speak fluent Iranian though haha, but that's another story, and I'm sure keeping that quiet will be in my best interest if I want to emigrate over there haha

I have a feeling this is going to be difficult to say the least, even if I look other places than airlines.......?

Check Airman 27th Oct 2012 06:06

What does your current logbook look like? Many US pilots I know would be all to eager to go and work in the EU.

If you've got 1000 Turbine PIC, you'll qualify to apply to just about all of the major airlines (Delta etc).

With 3-4000 total time, including 1000-2000 turbine time, you should be able to apply to some of the LCC's (JetBlue etc)

With 1500 total time, including 100-300 multi time, you can get into a regional airline, but you really don't want to be at a regional airline.

MarkerInbound 27th Oct 2012 14:11

Back in the late 1970s when Iran was melting down and people read newspapers I recall help wanted ads along the lines of "CFI wanted, must speak fluent Farsi, min TT 648 hours, 38 ME w/ 17 in PA-34." You could tell they were building a job around the qualifications of one their instructors and who had to renew a visa.

You could always take up acting, drinking and getting married.

Rotorhead1026 27th Oct 2012 15:18


My welsh is only basic unfortunately, I do speak fluent Iranian though haha, but that's another story, and I'm sure keeping that quiet will be in my best interest if I want to emigrate over there haha
No, son, it isn't. Uncle Sam is always looking for people who speak <insert generic middle-eastern language here>. You might not be employable as a pilot, but you'd be employable. You'll be working overseas a lot, though (hint, hint).

I don't know if US consulates have someone you could consult on green card issues, but it's worth asking.

captain two-holds 27th Oct 2012 16:53

Some equally useful and hilarious replies there!

Yeh maybe some kind of James Bond spy/espionage job would allow me to use my fluent Farsi....hmmmm

The embassies should be able to help but the lines are always slammed and cost about $6/min to call!

Check Airman: my logbook is pretty bad im afraid! I have 250 TT, and the only Turbine hours have been in a 737 sim, so they won't even count for most jobs.

Sounds like the best and easiest option would be to land my first jet job in europe and build hours with the aim of moving west after a year or two?

Japandwell: we have a different health insurance policy over here, it's free haha, so we don't need to pay per year, we get charged through the roof for other stuff but i'd have to start from scratch in the US, which would again be a pain and difficult.....

Maybe I should be asking if my girlfriend is worth this hassle? hahaha

Thanks for the constant input and replies, this is really good stuff.....

edie 27th Oct 2012 18:33

Just get married! Greencard is automatic after that. If you are not a UK citizen (sorry you don't qualify) you have until November 3 to fill out the application. https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

For DV-2014, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

To convert to an FAA ATP this guy has it down to a science!
Prairie Air Service, Inc

List of US Airlines
Airline Pilot Central


Pilot Jobs, Aviation Jobs, Aviation Employment, Job Fairs, Career Fairs (costs money)

AvCrew.com, Inc.

Find Jobs. Build a Better Career. Find Your Calling. | Monster.com

edie 27th Oct 2012 21:40

GoJet Airlines - Flight Crew


MAC Careers

Pilot Careers | Flight Express, Inc.

A Pandy 28th Oct 2012 01:17

Moving to the USA
First off as somebody who has made the transition from Wales to the USA let me assure you of one thing. Getting married to a USA citizen does not assure you of a green card or residency. People who tell you this are mistaken. After marrying my American wife it took over 3 years to finally get the green card. There is a lot of paperwork, documentation, background checking, immigration medical and interview to go through first.
Secondly if you are granted a temporary work permit, good for 1 year, after your initial application then you have the wonderful experience of entering the pilot pool and looking for a job. The pilot job market here is awash with pilots that have thousands of hours of jet time so beware of what you are getting into.
Thirdly living in the USA may or may not suit you. It is very different both in good and some not so good ways. Remember this is a land without pubs and fish and chip shops:(
Cymru am byth.

captain two-holds 29th Oct 2012 13:11

A Pandy:
Cymru am byth indeed! Reading that was a bitter pill to swallow....did you move there then have to wait for a green card? If so what did you do for work?
What would you do first if you were me? Living in the US wouldn't be a problem, I've spent months there in the past.....

Edie: thanks for the websites etc too

Cheers all

darkroomsource 29th Oct 2012 13:29

Marriage does not equal green card.
My son-in-law from Panama waited 2 years before permission to enter the US.
Then he waited 2 more years for permission to work.
Then he waited 2 more years for an actual green card.
There were numerous incidents during that time, like not being allowed to return to the US because his 2 year visa only had 3 months left, and he didn't have a return ticket, etc.
Point is, it is extremely difficult to migrate legally to the US.

zondaracer 29th Oct 2012 16:10

I don't know what happened to you guys, but my wife is European and we got married in the US, sent off the papers and had an interview three months later. Walked out of the interview with a stamp on my lady's passport and she got the green card in the mail two weeks later. The stamp was good enough to serve as the green card until the actual one came in the mail.

edie 29th Oct 2012 17:30


I don't know what happened to you guys, but my wife is European and we got married in the US
Bingo! And don't leave the country until you have your green card!

darkroomsource 29th Oct 2012 17:54

Interestingly, when your European (now) wife entered the US, were you planning on marrying at the time? And if so, did she indicate on her visa application that she was planning on getting married? there is a question on the visitors visa form to which you must answer 'No' regarding plans of marriage, or you won't get a visitors visa. However if you enter a country with the intent of marrying, but answer 'no' to said question, you can be accused (and have to prove otherwise) of violating immigration policy by not telling the truth on the visitor visa. And if you have lied on a visa application, you can be banned for 10 years.

Check Airman 29th Oct 2012 18:47


Sounds like the best and easiest option would be to land my first jet job in europe and build hours with the aim of moving west after a year or two?
I'd say stay in the EU until you have 1000 Turbine PIC. If you come here with 5000hrs on a 777, but no PIC time, you'll likely be looking at a regional carrier, flying a CRJ or an ERJ. You do not, I repeat do NOT, want to be at a regional carrier in the US unless you are at the very top of the payscale and seniority list. That's the only time it's worth it.

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