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Step 2: Obtain Approval from the TSA

Step 2: Obtain Approval from TSA

All foreign pilots, resident aliens, and tourist seeking flight training are subject to receiving approval by the Department of Homeland Security before starting. Any person who is 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 U.S. Aliens are required to seek and obtain permission to receive flight training through a process of citizenship and background verification by the TSA. The Alien Flight Student Program of AFSP is mostly web-based and is usually completed in 14 days or less.towards your flight training.
1. 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. Please make sure you have obtained the correct visa. If you believe there is an error with your visa or if you have been issued the wrong one, contact your local Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services immediately for assistance.
2. Notify your flight school that you want to begin flight training
Notify your flight school in advance because they also are required to contact TSA before you begin flight training. Where possible, bring all the required documents and information for the application to your flight school and register on the TSA site with staff present, as you may need assistance in filling in training details. This will ensure the process is done quickly and smoothly.
3. Create a user account on TSA’s AFSP website
Visit TSA’s AFSP website at and create a login account by clicking on “Create New Student Account” and follow 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.
4. Apply for training on TSA’s AFSP website
Log into the TSA site at and continue the application process. You will be required to submit various information including background information, passport and visa information, and training details. 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 fix any errors or complete any missing information. After making any changes, click on “submit” application”. Select “I agree/I disagree” to proceed with the application. Your training request status will be available on the website.
5. Wait for your flight school to acknowledge your training request
Your flight school must acknowledge your training request with TSA before you application proceeds further. From there TSA will request confirmation of your training from your flight school.
6. Pay the $130 processing fee per training request. Allow 2-10 business days for processing
Once your request is confirmed, you will be instructed to pay the $130 processing fee by credit card on TSA’s website.
7. Look for a “Preliminary Approval” email from TSA
Upon receiving payment, TSA will send you and your flight school a “Preliminary Approval” email. This does not grant you permission to receive training. This is simply a confirmation of application and payment. If you do not hear from TSA within 7 business days, contact the TSA Help Desk at [email protected] If the decision is NOT favorable, you will be provided details regarding any information that may be missing or required. Make any necessary changes, and resubmit your training request. For resubmission, your flight school does not need to reconfirm and you do not need to pay the $130 processing fee again.
8. Submit fingerprints to TSA per instructions your flight school will provide you
If the preliminary decision is favorable and a successful payment has been verified, you will receive an email from AFSP instructing you on fingerprint submission. Do NOT submit fingerprints prior to paying for you training request and receiving the official AFSP fingerprinting instructions. This will result in the invalidation of you fingerprints and the cancellation of your associated training request(s). If you have previously submitted fingerprints and received confirmation of fingerprint receipt for a prior AFSP training requests, you are not required to re-submit fingerprints. TSA will use the fingerprints already on file, if possible.
9. Wait for TSA to notify you and your flight school of its decision
In most cases, students will receive their training request and final decision within 14 days or less. However, there are several factors that affect the amount of time between training request submission and response; please be patient, they will process your application.
10. 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. On the first day of flight training, you will have your photo taken by your flight school, they are required to upload a photo (not copied from identification documents) to TSA’s website.
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