TSA Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) & VISAThe Legal Paperwork For International Pilots
TSA Alien Flight Student Program
No TSA clearance is needed for
(*) Standalone FAA pilot certificate = NOT contingent upon foreign pilot certificate
Not Sure? Take Our TSA Alien Flight Student Program Test!
Please note: This test is NOT an official endorsement. Period. It is a self-service tool for future trainee pilots. In order to determine your status with the TSA we have to have copies of your certificates and logbooks!
If you are NOT a US citizen, the TSA’s alien flight training/citizenship validation rules enacted in 2004 will affect you. Any person not a citizen or national of the United States is considered an alien. This also includes resident aliens (green-card holders) and visa holders in the United States.
AFSP Process Step By Step
- Verify that you have an appropriate visa
The AFSP will deny flight training requests from candidates who are present in the U.S. illegally or who do not have an appropriate visa for flight training (fees paid for denied applications will not be refunded). Moreover, taking flight training without an appropriate visa could be a violation of your immigration status and could result in your arrest and removal from the United States. Note: Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) of the United States are not required to have a visa. If you do not possess the correct visa, or if you have questions pertaining to your visa status or the appropriate visas for flight training, please contact your local Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services at 800/375-5283 or www.uscis.gov, or the State Department Consular Affairs Office for assistance.
- Notify us that you want to begin flight training
You should notify us in advance that you intend to start flight training because we also need to contact TSA before you begin flight training. Where possible, we prefer students to bring all the required documents and information for the application to us and register on the TSA site with us present, as you will have to include training details on your application. This will allow us to easily upload the required documents to TSA and also to make copies for our own record-keeping requirements.
- Create a user account on TSA’s AFSP website
Visit TSA’s AFSP website at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov and create a login account by clicking on “Create New Student Account” and following the instructions. A user ID will be provided immediately after you submit the required information, and a password will be sent to you via email. Time may vary on receiving the password – possibly 24-48 hours. Follow the email instructions, including changing your password. You can learn more about creating and managing your account by visiting TSA login FAQ’s.
- Apply for training on TSA’s AFSP website
Log into the TSA site at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov and continue the application process. The TSA Application Guide describes the information you will be required to submit, including background information, passport and visa information, and training details. Follow these guidelines to ensure your uploaded documents are legible. Upon completion of the application, you will be prompted to click on the “validate and submit” icon. If any errors appear in the application, you will be instructed to make any necessary corrections or complete any missing information. After making any changes, click on “submit application.” For the application to proceed further, you must select “I agree” or “I disagree” after reviewing important information regarding your application. Your training request status will be available on www.flightschoolcandidates.gov. Each training request you have entered into the system will be listed in the Current Flight Training Applications section of the AFSP home page after login. Note: you may cancel a training request that is in the Draft status by going to Step 7 of the request, clicking on the Edit link for that request, and clicking the “Delete Training Request” button.
- Wait for us to acknowledge your training request
We must acknowledge your training request with TSA before your application proceeds further. TSA will send the us an email requesting confirmation of your training request after it has been submitted. We will acknowledge the request as soon as we receive it.
- Pay the $130 processing fee per instructions emailed to you
Once we confirm your request, you will be e-mailed instructions to pay the $130 processing fee by credit card on TSA’s website. Click here for guidance and information regarding the processing fee payment.
- Look for a “Preliminary Approval” email from TSA
Upon receiving payment, TSA will send both you and us an email with the subject “Preliminary Approval.” THIS DOES NOT GRANT YOU PERMISSION TO RECEIVE TRAINING. This email simply confirms that TSA has received the application and fee, but they still need to receive your fingerprints. If you do not receive the preliminary decision within 7 business days, contact the TSA Help Desk at AFSP.Help@dhs.gov. If the decision is NOT favorable, you will be provided details regarding any information that may be missing from your request. If your request was returned because of insufficient information, you will receive an email notification. You may return to the AFSP website, select the training request for which you received the email notification, and review the information for its accuracy and completeness. Make any changes needed, and resubmit your training request. On resubmission, the flight training provider does not need to validate your request again, and you do not have to pay another $130 USD processing fee. If the decision is favorable, see the next step.
- Submit fingerprints to TSA per the instructions emailed to you
If the preliminary decision is favorable and a successful payment has been verified, you will receive an email from AFSP with the subject “Fingerprint Instructions.” Although you may receive a notification from pay.gov for successful payment, your training request will not be processed by AFSP until the payment is verified by TSA and you have been sent the “Fingerprint Instructions” email. Do NOT submit fingerprints prior to paying for your training request and receiving the official AFSP fingerprinting instructions. This will result in the invalidation of your fingerprints and the cancellation of your associated training request(s). The fingerprints will not be applied to any current or future training request. You and the provider will receive an email notifying you that the fingerprints are invalid, the training request(s) is/are canceled, and what steps need to be taken to resolve the problem to complete processing through the AFSP. If you have previously submitted fingerprints and received confirmation of fingerprint receipt for a prior AFSP training request (i.e. you are applying for additional flight training), you are not required to resubmit fingerprints. TSA will use the fingerprints already on file for you, if possible. Fingerprints will continue to be transferred to new flight training requests only if you use the same account (pin) number that was used for the initial flight training request.
- Wait for TSA to notify you and us of its decision
There are several factors that affect the amount of time between training request submission and response. In most cases our students have had an answer well within 7 days.
- Once you have received TSA approval, START YOUR FLIGHT TRAINING!
Once you have permission to train, you have 180 days to begin training and 365 days to complete the approved training. Both of these time periods start from the day you receive approval. For example, if you begin flight training 30 days after you have been approved, you now have 335 days to finish. If you do not finish, a new training request must be submitted. On your first day of flight training we will take your photo. We are required to upload a photo we take of you – not one copied from your passport or other identification – to TSA’s website.