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-   -   M1 Visa or no Visa and SEVIS approved schools in the USA (https://www.pprune.org/professional-pilot-training-includes-ground-studies/418519-m1-visa-no-visa-sevis-approved-schools-usa.html)

MartinCh 19th Nov 2010 15:37

B2N2, you're reasonable, helping guy. Why this willy waving thing?

The cost you quote is more about the extortionate cost of UK CAA, plus overpriced 'JAA FTOs' in Florida. (IK CAA does most of the approvals for 'JAA' training in the US, especially the FTOs that aren't doing cadet schemes for some mainland continental Europe countries).
There are cheaper ways to do conversion to European CPL/IR, yet I'm not saying it would be as cheap as getting FAA CPL.

Regardless of TSA/SEVIS/M1/visa 'fee' stuff, the training cost he was quoted for the crash course conversion was the issue he had.
IF, I mean IF, he complies with all the XC PIC time, IR training etc, considering, say 200-250 bucks an hour dual in some complex SE aircraft. Hm.
How many individual checkrides would he need for FAA multi CPL with IR, if he doesn't need to build the ME and instrument ME hours? Sure, 500 dollars a pop or so, it can add up. That's why I am asking.

There isn't enough information as to what that quote includes and what it doesn't, so hard to judge the hourly pricing.

He obviously wants to be able to fly N-reg in Europe. He's got all the European papers sorted already. Some postsers don't read sambel's first post. I sent him PM about the FAA examiner guy in Europe - if he ticks all the boxes as per CFR/FARs, it'd be easier, avoiding dropping to US. He'd still need couple hours with FAA CFI and doing the TSA I presume (now that's one of the weird things, doing security clearance to train in the US, when collecting certificates outside US soil...)

TSA got plenty publicity in the media these days, for other reasons. :eek:

lollots82 16th Dec 2010 04:03

I'm sorry for re-opening this thread
but I found a lot if useful info here so I am asking here because it seems you guys know what you're talking about.

can anyone comment on this?

"Currently Learn To Fly San Diego is a flight school operating under Part 61 of the FAA code of federal regulations.
We can train nonimmigrant international students who are already in the USA with a valid visa.
Our instructors are registered with the TSA as providers for training of international students.
If you are already in the USA with a valid visa we can assist you in changing providers to one of our instructors.
The TSA charges a $130 fee for this process. "

I am already in the US with a valid VISA and was contemplating transferring from my current school (they're total jerks). I have talked to these guys and they seem like nice people, but I cannot find any validating info on their claim that they can actually train internationals even though they are not a part 141 school.


lollots82 17th Dec 2010 01:30

I'm on a M1 Visa
Thanks for the exhaustive answer.
Ok, I'm here on a M1 Visa.
I will not pursue the transfer to the above mentioned school as I think it's just too much risk and too much trouble.

But I will transfer to another part 141 approved school.
I talked to this new school today and apparently it's a routine task to get people transferred between schools (and apparently quite a few students at the school I am currently training had at do this!). They gave me an I-539 form to complete, and said that the 'old' school is legally REQUIRED to allow me to transfer and hand in all the documentation they have (unless they can prove I am not meeting the required standard but I don't see how they could simply make that up?).

I still have $500 in the account with the 'old' school so I will wait for the money to run out (2 flight lessons more or less) before mentioning the transfer, as I give for granted that they wouldn't reimburse me a cent..

Then I will tell them 'thanks for nothing', hand them the papers and wait for the paperwork to follow its course. I am not too much in a rush so even if I don't get to fly for a week is not going to be a drama.

They said the process will cost me $130 for TSA and $300 for SEVIS. Happiness comes at a cost.

The new school said that I could even enjoy the flexibility of training under part 61 if I wished to? And that most internationals at their school actually do that, as it allows you, for instance, to do at least touch and gos on a cloudy day while under part 141 if you can't do what the syllabus says you can't fly at all.
As in, the school is required to be approved for part 141 to issue I-20 forms and train international students but you as a student can decide to go for the part 61 route once in the US. But maybe I got this part wrong.

If I got something wrong, please correct me.

lollots82 17th Dec 2010 18:03

Brilliant answers, keep them coming!

Any Flight School can get FAA Part 141 approval. That in itself is not enough - the School must be SEVIS approved.
As the school train primarily international students and gave me forms to send to SEVIS, I am pretty sure they are ok in that respect, but thanks for the clarification.

Be aware that under Part 61 the minimum coursed is longer than the Part 141 course as it is less structured. The FAA give credit to Part 141 and allow a shorter syllabus.
I knew about the different requirements, but as I am only doing my PPL, 5 hours are not going to be much of a difference, especially considering that the average student (and I count myself as one) will take much longer to finish it off anyway.

Like I said, your existing Fight School can make it as easy or as difficult as they want to make the transfer.
Have you read your Contract with your existing School? If you booked a course with them and they reserved a space for you on that course - they may be quite within their right to charge you a fee for early termination as they will now have an empty slot and unable to fill it. For example, if that Flight School had arranged accommodation for you, you may well have to cover that expense etc etc.
It all depends what you signed.
Call me stupid, but I don't remember signing anything at all??
Actually it was one of the reasons I chose them at first, them being informal etc.. but now this has turned into them being rude, unprofessional and simply just not a good environment to train into.

Probably not a wise move. Remember you have to be in good standing with your School - they 'own' your visa.
Eeerm.. the reason why I'd transfer is because I am NOT getting along with the person responsible for my account AT ALL. Does that count as 'not in good standing'?

Just to give account of the last two encounters:

1) I told them they got the math wrong and was overcharged once by $50 --> was told not to complain because I was already getting a good deal --> made them notice they set their market rates freely and it is only as good as what you get, and that it's not the $50 but the principle that if we agree on one price you cannot change it at will --> was told they have had "people like me" before at the school and that the way they deal with them is just ignoring them :confused: --> asked them if they knew the concept of customer satisfaction and that I was not happy about the way I was treated --> was told "I don't care, now get the hell out of my office"

2) After the last encounter I was told I had $700 in the account, and since then I had only done 3.5 hours of ground school, so when I was told I had no money in the account I said "there must be an error", and asked to see the breakdown of charges --> within 10 seconds of looking at the monitor, it was clear they had simply got the sign wrong on two transactions, meaning that something that should have been down as a credit on my account was instead charged to my account: this would restore my account to over $500 positive, as easy as that --> was told "let me see" and then they proceeded in getting out all invoices for my account, going through one by one and double checking against the computer, while it was obvious what had happened :ugh: --> ten minutes later "ooooh I have charged for something that was a credit, now how do I correct that" --> told them it really wasn't that hard, they just had to reverse the charge and then finally credit the same amount --> was thrown the invoices at and told "do you know how our invoicing system works?" --> told them it's none of my concern and definitely isn't my job, even though it really isn't a complex problem --> was told "then quit telling me how to do my job".

Now tell me if I can keep training with people like this, or simply grace them with my money they don't deserve.

The transfer process may well take quite a bit longer with the USCIS than a week or so.
The new school said this normally takes from 4 days to a week. Either way, I am not in any sort of rush and Christmas is approaching so if they want to take longer, I'll take a longer holiday.

How many hours have you completed to date?
Done only about 9 hours, so it shouldn't be much trouble transferring I would think?

Have you completed your written?
Nope, not even stage 1 or anything.

How long is your Duration of Stay as denoted in your passport?
I have the whole 12 months max as allowed per M1, and about 11 months left

How long are you planning to be in the US before you depart?
Not sure what you mean, but I am assuming I will finish the PPL much earlier than 12 months, probably at the end of February or beginning of March? Might throw in IR as well, but not anything else, I wasn't planning to go commercial.

lollots82 19th Dec 2010 00:23

I am surprised that you have signed nothing with your existing school.. I would have expected you to have signed something e.g. agreeing to them to get your visa, TSA fees etc. Did they arranged your accommodation etc.
They simply sent the I-20 then I had to do EVERYTHING on my own: TSA, fingerprinting, SEVIS, Medical etc..
They arranged accommodation which I took for the first two weeks, then moved out to a nicer place (and that's when they short changed me on the refund).

You are right in saying that they are not explaining anything to me in detail.
I found out so many things just by going to speak to the new school and clearly I still don't have the full picture. The problem with the old school is that the person in charge (who is not the owner btw) is so rude that I am avoiding having to deal with him, and I trust none of his words, he makes false claims just to make do what he wants. For instance, I am sure that if I had asked if a transfer was possible (without consulting this forum or the other school), they would have said no, the same way they have already said I can only follow a part 141 course even though I told them I was sure of the contrary.

I know it is drastic after only 9 hours, but as I said and as you can read, it really isn't a nice environment to train in and it's making me hating the whole flying experience.

If you have taken 4 weeks so far (implied if you say you have 11 months left on a 12 month max stay) and only got 9 hours done - that is extremely slow progress.
Typically, many folks are close to completion at that stage with 45+ hours.

Any reason for the very slow progress? How many hours a week are you in the Flight School and training?
I have 10 hours of ground on top of the 9 hours of flying. I didn't really do anything on my first week or so because I was just settling in - you know, buying phones, looking for a nice place to rent, etc.. and as per I-20 my course was due to start on Dec 12th (so I assumed I was fine since you can enter the US up to 30 days before starting your course)
After that period, now I am going to school 5 times a week: flying 3 days, one day I watch the DVDs, one day I do ground - though I have only been able to fly once this week due to maintenance/weather.
So lets say this week I could have followed the normal schedule, I would have about 12/13 hours flying in 3 weeks.
The new school actually said that for them I would be fulfilling my requirements as a full-time student as long as I go there 4 days out of a 7 days period. No mention of hours.
So yes I am proceeding slowly but I don't think I'm doing anything unlawful?

Also - to expedite the whole process - you would have been better to have got your Written done and dusted before you left your home country thereby allowing you to focus on a Part 61 Flight Training course (which has to be conducted at a Part 141 SEVIS approved school).
True, unfortunately I did not do my research properly and now I am paying (in all senses) for it.

selfin 25th Dec 2010 21:51


Re your above posting 16th Dec. where you quoted,

"Currently Learn To Fly San Diego is a flight school operating under Part 61 of the FAA code of federal regulations.
We can train nonimmigrant international students who are already in the USA with a valid visa.
Our instructors are registered with the TSA as providers for training of international students.
If you are already in the USA with a valid visa we can assist you in changing providers to one of our instructors.
The TSA charges a $130 fee for this process. "
Notwithstanding the foregoing remarks in the interim it bears mentioning a rule codified under 8 CFR 214.3:

214.3 Approval of schools for enrollment of F and M nonimmigrants.

... (j) Advertising. In any advertisement, catalogue, brochure, pamphlet, literature, or other material hereafter printed or reprinted by or for an approved school, any statement which may appear in such material concerning approval for attendance by nonimmigrant students shall be limited solely to the following: This school is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.

1in1000000 10th Jan 2011 15:46

Hi all. I hope someone can answer my question as i have exhausted all other routes and still cant find a clear answer.

I would like to attend a flight school in Florida to complete the FAA IR/CPL/CFI/CFII courses.
I currently hold an FAA PPL.
I have flown over 100 hours since i did my PPL, all of which is relevant for the mins to obtain a CPL and IR.
I havent taken any other written exams for any other licences.
My question is, am i entitled to apply for an F-1 visa?
I would very much like to work as an instructor once i have completed all my courses and from my very basic understanding, i am entitled to apply for the F-1 visa as i currently only hold a PPL.
If someone could clear this up for me it would be hugely appreciated.

Many thanks.

1in1000000 10th Jan 2011 16:17

Thanks for the quick reply SoCal.

I wish to undertake every single part of the pro pilots course apart from the PPL which i already have.
I would prefer to do all my courses part 61, so that wouldnt be a problem for me.

Unfortunately i have contacted different schools and recieved different answers hence why i am looking for someone who either knows for sure or else some offical site which can tell me. I have spent a lot of time looking through the offical government websites and all i can deduce from them is that for an F-1 visa you need to be enrolled in a course which is mainly academic.
And seeing as i what i intend to do i mainly academic i can only presume that the flight schools are giving out f-1 visas to suit themselves despite the fact that the government has not set out the same terms and conditions as the flight schools.

Any other advice is very welcome

1in1000000 10th Jan 2011 18:13

You won't be able to.
This isnt really a major problem. as long as i can get the licences i need im willing to do whatever it takes.

It sounds to me as though you want to pick and chose what you want - and hence you would be better off with the M1 visa and do it under Part 61.
I never said or implied that i wanted to pick and chose so im not sure where you picked that up. the fact that i already have a PPL is not a problem in terms of applying for the F-1 so it really is a non issue.as i already said... i want to do all licences apart from the PPL.

The M1 visa would not suit my needs as it does not entitle a student to work as an instructor once the visa has expired so it is a no-go option.
I fully willing to pay for all my training but i would also like to have the opportunity to work as a CFI once i finish with any training provider.
I idea of forking out the big bucks for the training and not being able to get a job from my qualification doesnt sound like a good idea to me.

nh2301 15th Jan 2011 16:32

Here's a list of some schools which offer the F1 visa for flight training. It is incomplete.

Central Oregon Community College - Bend, OR
Big Bend Community College - Moses Lake, WA
Salt Lake Community College - Salt Lake City, UT
Palm Beach State College - Lake Worth, FL
Embry Riddle - Prescott, AZ, Daytona Beach, FL
University of North Dakota - Grand Forks, ND
North West College of Aviation - Seattle, WA
Yavapai College - Prescott, AZ
Middle Tennessee State University - Murfreesboro, TN
Cochise College - Douglas, AZ
Chandler Gilbert Community College/UND Partnership - Phoenix, AZ
AIMS College - Greeley, CO
Portland Community College - Portland, OR
Indian Hills Community College - Ottumwa, Iowa
Westfield State College - Westfield, MA
Kansas State University
San Jacinto College Central-Pasadena, TX
Bridgewater State College
College of the Sequoias
The Community College of Baltimore County
Dodge City Community College
Florida Institute of Technology
Hibbing Community College
Liberty University
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Middle-Georgia College
Naugatuck Valley Community College
Wallace State Community College

flylars 17th Jan 2011 12:41

i did my training at air safety in colorado, they took care of all M1 requirments, so my view is it should always be the school to answer those questions and help, thats what they charge you for in the end to provide this service

1in1000000 17th Jan 2011 13:52

Big thanks for all the replies guys. Like i said before i have talked to different schools who are authorized to issue the F-1 visa and one school told me i was eligible for it while another school told me that i wasnt.
I would have gone with the school who told me that they would give me the F-1 visa but unfortunately they dont have the aircraft that i am looking to get type rated on in addition to my flight training.
I have spoken to my local embassy but they were even more clueless about my query than i am (cost me over $50 for the privilage of learning nothing about the two visas :* )
I have been reading about both visas for months and am fully aware of all the terms and conditions of all visas in terms of jobs and length of stay.thats not what i am enquiring about and apologise if that came across in my previous posts.

I still havent been able to find any offical source on what makes someone eligible for an F-1 visa or not.:ugh:

VJW 27th Jan 2011 17:53

Quick question, apologise if it's been answered before.

I'm a UK JAR CPL (A) holder with 2000 TT of which 1700 is on B737. I also have the FAA PPL piggybacked from my UK licence.

I'm wanting to obtain the FAA ATP, and I plan on doing it all on a light twin for which I have found a school.

I am a UK and Canadian Citizen, married to a US citizen (hence the reason for the conversion).

My question is, do I need TSA clearance to convert to FAA ATP? Or was that just for initial training?

In addition, once I complete the conversion, can the examiner put the 737 onto the new FAA ATP based on the verification letter I have from the FAA?

Kind regards

Capt.Rad 31st Mar 2011 07:09

Hello all ..

I need to know if it's possible to go for difeerent schools @ the same time ..

I'm planning to come to US for MBA , plus I want to join a flying school for building hours or maybe a type rating ..

please , explain about visa rules and what 2 do to be legal and free to go on with all requirements .

thanks ,,,

Johnny Bekkestad 31st Mar 2011 11:35

TSA is a requirement for all non-us citizens. There is a difference between citizen and resident/green card holder. A green card holder still needs TSA clearance. A US citizen still needs to provide proof of citizenship, by using a birth certificate, passport etc for more info on that read 49 CFR part 1552

Now my understanding is that TSA is only required for initial training on
ASEL/S, AMEL/S and Instrument. So my conclusion is that you would not need one for ATP as you would already have your instrument.


sonsal 22nd May 2011 08:48

hello all i need a little clarification regarding M-1 visa, i have M-1 visa valid till 2014. I went to US in feb 2009 for a month and that time my I-20 was valid for 1 year. Now i have to go back to US for further traning may be in different school or to same school, do i need to get a new visa or the same one will work with a new I-20?

Is there any time limitation that if i dont return to US within a specific time, i have to get a new visa?


corpus callosum 31st May 2011 23:29

Hi there,

This seems to be the place to ask about visa and such.

I'm about to go over to the states to do a type rating at FSI. From my own research I have come to the conclusion that you are able to enter the states and do the training on the Visa Wavier program? Is this correct?


corpus callosum 1st Jun 2011 08:55

Thanks socal,

I'm doing it as a private person, Your right thats the last thing I would need, to be turned around as soon as I got there.

I will try and get in contact with the USCIS today then.

As for TSA FSI has told me many times that because of the type I do not require TSA (The aircraft MTOW is 12,500), so that will be interesting.


*Edit* Just spoke to FSI and the US Embassy in London they both said the same thing. Since the UK and US have the VWP just fill out the ESTA form online and tell the Immigration Officer that i'm there for Simulator Based training. Now Lets hope its going to be that easy :} I'll let you know how it goes then.

corpus callosum 1st Jun 2011 14:10

Yep its 100% simulator based and to finished the JAA part I will do the touch and goes in the Uk.

Its my first type, But the women I spoke to said it was a category 3.

(Category 3 is for pilots training in any aircraft with a MTOW of 12,500 lbs. or less. (Note: in many cases Category 3 is waived and no TSA application is required. Check with your learning center).)


corpus callosum 1st Jun 2011 16:05

I'm going on what FSI has told me that the TSA is not needed. Its at 12,500 or less aircraft. It would be interesting to know why FSI say that its not required when the web site you linked says something different.

Its JAA PIC and I may have it put on FAA as SIC

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