Facts On Attending US Based International Flight Schools for Aspiring Student Pilots
Do you plan on choosing a US flight school? If so, you will need to obtain a US visa to be able to come to the US before you can begin your flight training at any and all US flight schools.
International Flight Schools – Obtaining a U.S. Visa to go to a Pilot School in the USA
Aspiring pilots that are interested in enrolling in an approved USCIS institution to attend aviation college or to go to accredited flight schools must first go through the process of obtaining a U.S. Visa. Depending on what type of pilot license you would like to receive will be the contributing factor in figuring out what type of US visa you need. In most cases, student pilots have to apply for the F-1 or M-1 student visa. The F-1 visa is typically issued to students pursuing a University degree along with flight training, not focusing on becoming a pilot first. The M-1 visa is sometimes issued to students attending a short course at a university but more often for vocational students, allowing the student to stay in country for up to a year to complete their studies.
US Visa Application Process for Student Pilots
The very first step would be to conduct some brief research into the entire US visa application process for vocational flight schools. This will allow you to get all the information so you know exactly what is needed to apply for a US visa.
The second step would be applying at an approved USCIS pilot training school or aviation college. You will need to contact the institution of your choice and begin the actual enrollment process with said institution. Once you have been accepted by the aviation college, pilot academy, or flight school; they will provide you with a “Form I-20” for F-1 or M-1 US visa status, that needs to be filled out, signed by both you and the school, filed, and uploaded by the school into the online S.E.V.I.S. system. You will also need to fill out Form DS-156 Non-immigrant Visa Application along with the DS-158 Contact Information and Work History for Non-immigrant Visa Applicant. After you have successfully collected, filled out, and filed all documentation, you will need to submit the entire application package for approval and to schedule your interview at the closest US Embassy. Make sure you have all your paperwork, documentation, and anything else needed for the interview. You will need your educational records, standardized test scores, diploma or other comparable documents, etc. You will also have to provide proof of finances stating that you can afford to pay for your tuition and living expenses. Some examples of financial records that may be needed for your approval- bank statements, tax returns, proof of employment, business licenses, proof of other financial assets (if and where applicable).
It is also advisable to go to the interview dressed professionally as first impressions are everything along with the fact that they will also be taking a digital photo of you along with fingerprints for their official records. You will also need to obtain a US passport that is valid for at least 6 months past the date of when your schooling comes to an end, an additional photo similar to that of a passport, and you will also need to show that you have paid all application along with any other required fees.
After your US visa has been approved, you are eligible to travel to the United States no earlier than 30 days before your schooling starts. If you absolutely need to be in the US earlier than 30 days from the start of your schooling you will need to file for a visitor visa. Please keep in mind that if you get the visitor visa you will need to revise the status of your visa from visitor visa to student visa when your school year or semester starts. You will need to pay an additional fee for the revision of status from the visitor visa to student visa. Please be advised you will not be allowed to start school unless you have the student visa status.
Upon arrival to the United States you will have to provide all of your documentation, passport, visa information, ID, and the official “I-20 Form” before you can gain entry. A border official will then review all of your documents , approve your entry into the US, enter your information into the US-VISIT program system, and finally issue you a I-94 Arrival Departure Record. Congratulations, you are now legally able to enter into the United States to one of the accelerated flight schools you chose and start your pilot license training.
International Flight Training Programs for Different Types of Pilot Licenses-
- PPL- Private Pilot License
- CPL- Commercial Pilot License
- CFI/MEI- Certified Flight Instructors / Multi Engine Flight Instructor
- Dual FAA/EASA ATPL- EASA & FAA Certified Commercial Pilot
- IR Courses- Instrument Rating Courses
- English Language Aviation Course- This course assists international students with learning English as to be able to communicate clearly and concisely with FAA towers.
About FAA Accredited US Flight Schools
Epic Flight Academy stand out from other flight schools because we have been providing professional pilot training courses since 1999. Offering FAA approved part 61 and part 141 flight training programs for private pilot licenses, commercial pilot licenses, and airline transport pilot licenses. Our US pilot school offers 40+ state of the art aircraft, over 30 plus certified flight instructors, an established record of thousands of graduated pilots from over 70+ countries, a clean safety record, along with operating out of the New Smyrna Beach, FL municipal airport that has its own FAA controlled tower.