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Canadian Citizen wanting to become an American Commercial Pilot

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Canadian Citizen wanting to become an American Commercial Pilot

Old 11th May 2020, 19:38
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Canada
Posts: 3
Canadian Citizen wanting to become an American Commercial Pilot

My fiancee is a Canadian doctor, practicing in the USA, and I'm looking to do a career change to becoming a pilot in the USA. I know COVID messes everything up, but does the idea of going to flight school in the USA and trying to get a green card or a job otherwise make any sense?
nutlord is offline  
Old 30th May 2020, 17:59
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Sky
Posts: 19

It depends on your preference.

There are a number of flight schools in America and you can find a job as a flight instructor in schools.

Some of flight schools based in Florida are still hiring.

However if you want to become an airline pilot and work in the big companies like United Airlines, we can not say that it will be easy.

Keep in mind that it is difficult to get hired as a first officer unless you have ATP licence in the United States.

Therefore you are supposed to make at least 1500 hours as a instructor in flight schools with very low salaries like 2500 us dollars or maybe even less.
Bjornolf is offline  
Old 31st May 2020, 05:12
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: White Waltham, Prestwick & Calgary
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If you are Canadian there should be a one-year work visa available - but if you get a Canadian licence it can be exchanged directly for a US one with one law exam. Just an option.

paco is offline  
Old 3rd Jun 2020, 15:10
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 403
If you are Canadian there should be a one-year work visa available - but if you get a Canadian licence it can be exchanged directly for a US one with one law exam. Just an option.
That's right! Probably the best way to go, because in the end you would have two licenses, US and Canadian. I believe as a Canadian citizen you would have the better carrier opportunities in Canada anyway?! For more details see link below.


Last edited by Transsonic2000; 24th Jun 2020 at 17:08.
Transsonic2000 is offline  
Old 4th Jun 2020, 17:30
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Augusta, Georgia, USA (back from Germany again)
Posts: 193
Does your fiancé live in the US or drive across the border (daily?) for work?

The FAA and Transport Canada have a really good reciprocal arrangement. Even if you train in the US the effort to get matching Canadian licenses is minimal.

To fly for a US Carrier you will need to have the right to work in the US. "Fiancé" implies eventual marriage, hence my question above. If you are married to someone who lives/works in the US, then that gives you a leg up on being able to move.

I have a lot of friends in my glider club who fly for Delta. They are hardly flying. Two of Atlanta's runways have been turned into parking lots for jets. Until three months ago, if you had a degree, no criminal record, a commercial certificate, and 1,500 hours you were pretty much guaranteed a shot at a regional right seat. I think it will be at least a year before we see that again. Even decent starting pay and a signing bonus. Now...

You can train in Canada or the US. You can get certificates in either or both countries. I suspect there is more of an industry in the US to do "90-day wonder" or "zero to hero" type training programs where you walk out in 4-6 months with a commercial certificate and flight instructor rating at the end. Many of these programs hire their graduates to instruct the wave behind them. I believe there are "training for an ATP" visas that let you instruct for a year after graduation.

The time it takes to get through the paperwork, flight school, and accumulate 1,500 hours to be eligible would fit right in with the aviation industry needing a couple years to recover.

It's expensive training and time consuming, with no guarantees. But if you are sure it's what you want and you can get the right to work in the US then you can likely make it happen. Good luck!


Most schools are legit. Most want to get as many people trained as possible. My one suggestion is DO NOT PREPAY more than a couple thousand dollars at a time. If the place locks its doors it doesn't have your $100,000, and they have to keep you flying if they want you to keep paying them. (If you prepay, they already have your money, but owe you flying. They may spend faster than your fly, then the priority becomes the next paying customer!)
LTCTerry is offline  

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