There are two types of U.S. visas available for international students’ flight training: The M-1 Visa and the F-1 Visa. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires all international students to conduct all their flight training only at a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight school which has been approved under Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 141. So be sure the U.S. flight school you are considering is an approved FAR Part 141 school.
The M-1 Visa is recommended for students interested in taking individual flight courses. The M-1(I-20 form) allows you to stay in the U.S. for up to 12 months; it can be extended, if needed for training. NOTE: The U.S. tourist visa is NOT allowed for flight training in the U.S.
The F-1 Visa is recommended for students interested in careers as professional pilots and who desire to complete a professional training program, which typically starts with study for a Private Pilot Certificate and progresses through the Commercial Certificate with Instructor Ratings. The F-1 (I-20 form) is 12 months in length and can be extended, if additional time is needed for training. Upon completion of a full professional flight training program, an F-1 Visa enables students (upon application and approval of DHS for your work authorization) to be eligible to work as flight instructors to build additional hours; this allows pilots to build up to 1,000+ hours of flight experience, which is advantageous when applying for employment with airlines.
U.S. colleges and universities and a few flight training academies – Phoenix East Aviation is one of only eight of them – are authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for F-1 I-20 form.
To apply for a visa, prospective students must first complete the Phoenix East Aviation application and submit all required documents to a PEA Admissions Officer. Upon receipt of the completed application, admissions fee and required documents, a PEA immigration specialist will personally contact you. He will guide you through the visa process with detailed instructions to prepare for the U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy interview.