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-   Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies) (https://www.pprune.org/professional-pilot-training-includes-ground-studies-14/)
-   -   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)

Gomrath 4th Dec 2011 17:13

If the course of study - even a 'short' course results in some form of certificate or qualification etc then it requires the appropriate visa. If the study is such that it does not result in a certificate/qualification then the status quo applies. However, as you see, Flight Training is specifically called out as an example in that letter and makes no reference to what is deemed a short course. The fact that it results in a qualification is what matters.

I fail to understand why folk make such a big deal of getting a visa - it costs around $300 which in the grand scheme of flight training is a drop in the ocean.

selfin 4th Dec 2011 18:34

I have no argument with the requirement made of an alien to enter the US under the appropriate nonimmigrant academic or vocational visa for a non-trivial "course of study." The language used in the INA at 101(15)(B) states clearly that a person must not be coming to the US under a B-class visa for the purpose of undertaking a course of study and the memorandum references 8 CFR 248.1(c) which now requires anyone on a B visa to change status to an M- or F-class visa, as appropriate, prior to beginning a "course of study."

The problem lies in the explicit interpretation given to "full course of study" as mentioned in the above post. While 8 CFR 248.1(c) does not discriminate between a "full course of study" and "course of study" and therefore applies generally to all non-trivial courses, the INA at 101(15)(M) explicitly states "full course of study" and a definition of it is provided for in 214.2(m)(9)(iii).

1. An alien intending to embark on any non-trivial "course of study" must do so under an M- or F- visa.

2. An M- or F- visa requires the alien to engage in a "full course of study."

3. A "full course of study" precludes short courses such as a night qualification.

Why doesn't the DOJ seek an amendment of the wording of 214.2(m)(9)(iii) to reduce the threshold minimum studying hours to permit a short course such as a night qualification to fall within the definition of a "full course of study" as mandated by the INA? None of that changes the fact that an M- or F-class visa is required for a short course but the "terms and conditions" of an M-class visa do not allow for them.

Gomrath 4th Dec 2011 20:47

An alien intending to embark on any non-trivial "course of study" must do so under an M- or F- visa.

What they are saying is that Flight Training leading to a qualification requires the visa - period. The letter that I pointed to above makes no reference to the distinction between "short" or not - simply that a vocational course that leads to a qualification requires the M1 visa.

An M- or F- visa requires the alien to engage in a "full course of study."
For an F1 visa - yes because those folks are attending one of the handful of academic schools for 2 years or so - but not for an M1.
Plenty of folk come to the US to attend one of the Florida based schools and get their Private in 21-28 days. Even allowing 55 hours to complete - it only averages 14 hours or so a week - but they still require a M1.
It is still a "full course of study".

selfin 6th Dec 2011 18:12

The memorandum does not need to specify every detail pertaining to those visa classes.

The primary M-class is established under the INA at 101(a)(15)(M)(i) with the following language:

INA 101(a)(15)(M)(i) an alien [...] who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study at an established vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution (other than in a language training program) in the United States [...]

The definition provided for "full course of study," at 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9) as aforementioned, states "A 'full course of study' as required by section 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act means [...]"

It's a fine point but a night qualification falls short of the threshold meaning it cannot in the overwhelming majority of cases, on its own, be pursued under an M visa. Unless one argues that the minimum time requirement can be pro-rated. The rule should be modified.

Gomrath 6th Dec 2011 21:33

Suffice it to say that anybody considering coming to the US for the purpose of getting a JAA night qualification that takes maybe 2 days at most - must be certifiable.

I am not arguing about whether various material should or should not be modified.
I am simply stating that training leading to a certification is considered 'more involved' and treated as a full course of study - as per that letter. The fact that Flight Training was specifically called out as such is itself indicative.

felixflyer 5th Jan 2012 15:09

After reading this and other threads on here there seems to be a difference of opinion.

I have found a flying school that I would like to attend in order to gain my FAA/IR. They are not SEVIS approved. They have told me they could train me.

Does not being SEVIS approved completely rule them out for me or do I just need to get a different kind of VISA?

Gomrath 7th Jan 2012 16:12

To be SEVIS approved the Flight School has to first be a FAA Part 141 School. That shows that they meet certain criteria laid down by the FAA including having fully audited training plan for every course that they wish to undertake. The FAA also make visits to ensure compliance etc. As a result, the Student is given certain privileges in terms of a reduced number of hours to attain a certificate etc. Also a student can immediately on completion of a FAA private cert- go immediately into a Part 141 Instrument rating without the need for the pre-req flight hours that would be required under the lesser Part 61 course etc.

Once a School has Part 141 approval - they can if they wish then go and apply to the USCIS for SEVIS approval which allows them to train overseas schools who need a visa for Flight Training typically a M1 visa. Although there are a small number of Flight "Academies" who area able to sponsor a F1 visa.

Getting Part 141 and then later getting SEVIS approval costs a Flight School many of thousands of $$ in time, effort, training of Instructors etc and FAA auditing. That's why some Schools don't go to the effort.

Long story short - if you are a foreigner and wishing to train for a FAA cert then you really need a M1 visa. Some Flight Schools may tell you otherwise but if you are 'caught' and found to be in breach of your immigration status you are responsible not the Flight School.
The TSA also require that you specify the visa type/number when applying for TSA clearance and they also provide the statement on their own website that if you are later found to be in breach, they will terminate the TSA approval etc.

To be honest - for the sake of $200-$300 for a visa - why take the risk and why go to a non SEVIS school who have not proven themselves able to meet the requirements?

How long were you planning to be in the US for this training and what training were you considering? Take a look at EASA, EFT etc - they all provide the ability to handle the visa paperwork. (This is not a recommendation for these Schools) - plus you can get a JAA license in parallel. Especially with the new Euro regs indicating a JAA license will be mandatory for Euro citizens.

felixflyer 7th Jan 2012 19:47

Thanks for the reply.

I have done some IR training in the UK towards my FAA IR and wanted to go and finish the training and do my test. I don't mind paying the fees for the VISA etc. The reason I want to use the school I have seen is I would have free accomodation nearby with family and the school have also quoted me a good price.

Gomrath 8th Jan 2012 02:08

You should review FAR 61.65 regarding training towards an FAA IR.
Whether you choose to use the non approved Flight School is your call . You are at least aware.
This other recent thread on the subject of legalities points out what can happen. http://www.pprune.org/professional-p...ml#post6941529

Will you have access to a N reg when back in Europe in order to exercise the FAA IR? (until EASA change the regs for Euro residents).

felixflyer 8th Jan 2012 09:12

Thanks, so is it legal to finish my IR at a school, that is not SEVIS Part 141 etc. Does this only apply to full courses of training. It would be useful to use this school but I dont want to do it if I risk getting into trouble.

Is there a definitve answer to this or is it a grey area?

Gomrath 8th Jan 2012 17:15

It is not really a grey area - I think you are trying to make it so.
You are coming to the US for flight training leading to a certificate/rating. You need TSA and officially need a M1 visa and hence require a Part 141 and SEVIS approved school.
At the end of the day it is entirely up to you if you choose to go some other route.
Did you read this link further up this thread?

The fact that you have done some training in the UK is irrelevant and presumably that training was not done with a FAA Authorized Instructor (as defined in FAR 61.1) because officially you should have got TSA clearance before starting any FAA related training - even if it is undertaken outside the US.
You need to review 61.65 to determine how much training you need to complete with the FAA Authorized Instructor as some of what you have done may not qualify.

What are the longer term intentions of the FAA IR? Are you planning to go on to Commercial etc with the view to trying to work in the US?

felixflyer 8th Jan 2012 18:51


I have no plans to work in the USA and will be converting it to a JAR IR eventually.

G550-PIC 13th Jan 2012 02:03

Hi , thinking of applying to PEA in Florida this year...from you thread you sound displeased. I've been to their web site and they kinda looks cool and all.What is your experience so i don't fall into issues.Its a lot of investment.

What other flights schools in the USA can you recommend to me that can give me a reliable and affordable training to become a successful airline pilot.


Gomrath 14th Jan 2012 00:55

What other flights schools in the USA can you recommend to me that can give me a reliable and affordable training to become a successful airline pilot.
To answer that you need to indicate what authorities license/certificates you are looking to train for. FAA, JAA etc. and that is somewhat determined by where you are able to live and work etc.

uniformpapa 27th Jan 2012 11:30

Visa requirements for IR doing accellerated flight training
I'm new and maybe my question has still found an answer:
having a JAA PPL, converted to FAA PLL a wishing to do the FAA IR in the US, I decided to do the training with AFIT. It's a 10-day programm (part 61). They state that it's a accellerated programm and that none of their clients (from Europe) have attained an M1 visa.
Does this sounds right?

rossauk 27th Jan 2012 13:15

Go with what Proudprivate says below as it sounds like he's speaking from experience. Great advice!

Good luck on your IR

proudprivate 27th Jan 2012 14:40

check with the embassy !
Best advice : check with your local US consular officer and ask, preferably in writing (e-mail), so that you have something on paper in case an immigration officer asks.

My personal experience with short accelerated programs is that US immigration requires either an M1 or a B1 or a B2 VISA. However, to get by on a B1/B2, it should be made credible that you 're not going to be longer in the US than about 2-3 weeks (at least not for training).

The more it sounds like a complete flight training programme, the more likely the need for an M1 is (to be obtained, at an extra cost and some hassle, through a SEVIS approved school sponsored application). A 10-day instrument rating without any previous training sounds ambitious.

The flight school obviously has a conflict of interest, and some of them are unethical in their advice. Being in the wrong immigration status is not a light matter. But for a short (finishing up ?) programme like that, it is not unlikely that all their European students came in on B1 or B2. Please note that the VISA waiver programme would not do the trick here (both the us govt website and correspondence with the US Embassy in Brussels confirm this).

Also don't forget the TSA category 3 application, which is mandatory for the instrument rating.

Gomrath 28th Jan 2012 15:44

Any FAA Part 61 School who is not Part 141/SEVIS approved will have no clue as to the USCIS regulations on immigration requirements.
That is why they are NOT SEVIS approved to issue I0-20 paperwork for a visa.

What are your longer term intentions once you have a FAA certificate - back in Italy if and when the new EASA rules come into force - when the FAA certs may become 'worthless'?

proudprivate 30th Jan 2012 11:17

Any FAA Part 61 School who is not Part 141/SEVIS approved will have no clue as to the USCIS regulations on immigration requirements.
I beg to differ. Whilst they will not be in a position to issue an I-20 form and might not offer flight training as a normal pilot factory would, some (if not most) of them are very well informed about immigration requirements.

Not all are entirely honest, though, and there have been that deliberately give erroneous information to get more business. That being said, I believe in your case, the flight school is credible.

new EASA rules come into force - when the FAA certs may become 'worthless'?
That is a bit of an overstatement, at best. A thread drift, for sure. Clearly FAA certificates will retain their value after EASA rules come into force.

737-NG 30th Jan 2012 13:26

From what I remember from my own experience, you need to have an M1 visa to train full time, meaning more than 17hours a month.
Man, hit the books in order to be ready for the written, take a month off, and go do your IR with a part 141 school. I don't believe much in that part 61 10 day thing. (unless you already have your 50hour cross country done, and some instrument time,but the again

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