Foreign License Conversions to FAA Certificates
At FTI we frequently get calls from Non-US Citizens who have Licenses issued by aviation authorities outside of the US and in many cases, they would like to convert their Foreign Licenses to FAA Certificates. In this post we are going to go through all the options available to pilots so that you can do the same.
One of the biggest advantages to making this change is when you go to convert your FAA to another License or base a new license on your FAA Certificate. In most countries outside of the US a license will expire and need to be renewed through recurrent training and a fee. FAA Certificates on the other hand, do not expire, only currency expires. This may make it easier to maintain your foreign license without having worry about expiration dates.
For the most part the process is going to be the same for nearly all Foreign Aviation Authorities except for Canada. If you are a Canadian Citizen trying to convert your License to an FAA skip ahead to the section starting with “Canadian Licenses” For any other licenses, the process will take some time and require a few steps but after you complete this article and speak to an FTI Sales/Enrollment Officer you will be able to fly through the process.
The First and longest step for this process is to complete and send the FAA’s “Verification of Authenticity of foreign License and Medical Certification” page. You can find this Document HERE or you will also receive a copy during your enrollment process for training. In section 3 number 13 you will need to add the information for the North Texas FSDO so that the FAA Part 142 CMO is able to receive a controlled copy. Once this has been completed you will send it to [email protected] or FAX it to (405)954-9922. The process of sending the document is quick but unfortunately it can take up to 2 months.
The next step once that has been submitted (for all non-US Citizens) will be to complete the TSA Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP). This can be completed at flightschoolcandidates.gov and will take about 30 days. Note that all applications for the TSA are different and even though it may have only taken a few days the first time someone got approval, when you are going to take higher level courses the TSA can and usually will take their time during this process. Once you receive approval it is good for half a year before training and 365 days after you start training for the courses approved for.
Training Process: non-Canadian Licenses
Now that you have TSA and a Foreign License Verification you may start training. For all non-Canadian citizens, the process is very similar. The first step will be to complete the ATP/CTP course to start the ATPL conversion. After that you will have two options: 1 Complete the ATP with a Type Rating, or 2 Complete the ATP without a Type Rating.
Both options have their own advantages over the other. The biggest difference between the two is going to be Cost, and Time to train. Of course, a type rating is going to take longer to complete and cost more than just the base ATP, but a type rating is going to be the more marketable of the two certificates. The answer to this question is all based on preference, but both can be completed through FTI by taking either our ATP Practical Course, or a Type Rating Course.
In some cases, you may also elect to complete a type rating course based on your previous experience which can help both with cost and time training. In all these cases you will want to plan for at least 2-3 weeks of training time at FTI.
Training Process: Canadian Licenses
Canada is the only country that the FAA currently has a reciprocal agreement with. Meaning that whatever license you hold in Canada the conversion process to an FAA is much simpler. To convert to an FAA ATP you will still need to complete the ATP/CTP course, but after that you will complete the Airline Transport Pilot Multiengine Airplane Canadian Conversion (ACM) exam, take the results to an FSDO, and they will issue you your FAA ATP Temp Certificate with a hard copy coming in the mail. All your current type ratings will also follow your ATPL to the ATP making this process the smoother of the two.
Receiving Your Certificate
In all cases once your temporary certificate has been issued, you should receive your hard copy FAA Cert within 3-4 months. You may monitor your certificates progress via IACRA and FAA.Gov. once it has been issued you will see your certificate show up on the Airman Credentialling Search on the FAA’s Website and receive your certificate in the mail shortly after.