High Flight Academy welcomes foreign nationals to join us for your flight training needs. We have established the following steps to make your introduction to HFA as smooth as possible.


Please contact us at (724) 481-1359 or contact us online to discuss and document ALL of the levels of flight training you would like to accomplish during your stay. This step lets us know you want to fly with us, and is necessary to obtain TSA clearance. Please keep reading through this entire page to ensure you have finished every necessary step.

Customers without a US or foreign license

If you are in the US now on a Green card, work permit, F-1 visa, B1/B2 tourist visa, or similar authorization, we will simply need an enrollment application, and an indication that you can complete your training within the period of your current authorization. You will also need authorization from the TSA to being your training (instructions listed below under “TSA application.”)

If you are outside the US and will need a visa to enter, see the appropriate section below.
If your sole purpose is flight training, we can generate an INS form I-20, application for an M-1 vocational visa, valid for one year and renewable. See M-1 visa below.

If you already have an F-1 visa for academic studies, and will continue your studies in the US, you can return under that visa. You can then begin flight training in conjunction with your academic pursuits.
Training under a B1/B2 tourist visa has some restrictions regarding weekly hours devoted to training, but can be used for shorter periods of training (3 – 6 months maximum).

Customers holding foreign licenses

In order to serve as PIC of a US registered aircraft, a person must hold at least an FAA Private Pilot certificate. A person who holds a current foreign license issued by a contracting state to the Convention on International Civil Aviation may apply for and be issued a Private Pilot certificate with the appropriate ratings based on that certificate, as long as that license remains valid.

If the foreign license authorizes instrument privileges, those may be added to the FAA certificate if the applicant passes the appropriate knowledge test within the 24 calendar months preceding the application, and the person is able to read, speak, write and understand the English language.

Customers wishing to add an instrument rating, or apply for a Commercial or ATP certificate, must first possess an FAA Private Pilot certificate to meet the eligibility requirements. They must then meet the knowledge and experience requirements for that rating, and pass the applicable practical test.

Foreign License Conversion

The Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760 must have your country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) verify the validity and currency of the foreign license and medical certificate or endorsement before you apply for an FAA certificate or authorization. The processing of the Verification of Authenticity of Foreign License, Rating, and Medical Certification form takes approximately 45 to 90 days to complete. Do not schedule any travel and/or checkrides, etc until a valid Verification Letter has been obtained from AFS-760.

Foreign applicants who require a visit to a FAA Flight Standards District Office (the office which will issue your Private Pilot certificate must contact their selected Flight Standards District Office upon receipt of this verification letter to schedule an appointment with a FAA Inspector or authorized certifying official. Do not anticipate an appointment earlier than two weeks after this initial contact, due to enhanced security procedures.

In order to begin the verification process, follow the instructions contained in advisory circular AC-8060-71.

Customers requiring an M-1 visa to travel to the US

All international clients requiring an M-1 visa must complete an I-20 information form and pay an administrative fee. There is no fee for applicants renting or training under a B-1/B-2 tourist visa, or if you are already in the US under a work visa (Green Card), an F-1 or other visa.

HFA is authorized to assist with M-1 student visa applications as we are registered with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. You will apply for an M-1 visa, which is specifically for students. We will ask you for detailed information regarding your contact information, citizenship status, financial status and other details. Two requirements to remember:

  • You must be able to provide verification that you have the ability to pay for your tuition and living expenses (as you have listed in your I-20 information form) while in the United States. You will be asked for this at the US Consulate or Embassy when you apply for your visa.
  • You must be proficient in English.

Once we have this information, we will complete and submit an I-20 form on your behalf, which you will need to have with you when you apply for your visa. M-1 Visa administrative fee:

  • $350 for any applicant requiring an M-1 visa
  • $50 for each additional dependent requesting an M-2 dependent visa

To pay this fee, we will accept cash, personal or corporate check drawn on a US Bank, or a credit card (Visa or Master Card only) payment by telephone. Please call or visit us to arrange payment.
(This fee does not include any additional fees that you may need to pay for your TSA or MassPort badge applications).

TSA application:

You may start this process now or when you arrive in the United States.

All non-US citizens who are planning to enroll in a flight training program (Private, Instrument and Multi-engine only) are required to register with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). All other training (Commercial, Certified Flight Instructor, Airline Transport Pilot, Unusual Attitude, Aerobatics, etc.) may be conducted without TSA approval.

The TSA application will ask you to supply the course name, number, description, aircraft type, and a start date. Please reference the following guidelines when completing your application:
Course Name:
1. Private Pilot
2. Instrument Airplane
3. Multiengine
4. Initial (this is used if none of above apply, it is required for all foreign trainees attending their 1stcourse in the US)
Course Number (corresponds to course name)
1. PPL
2. IA
3. MEL
4. 01
Course Description: PPL training, Instrument training, Multiengine training, Commercial training, etc.
Aircraft Type: Cessna 172 or Cirrus SR20/22 (Private or instrument training), PA28R (commercial); PA34T-200 (MEL), etc.
Start Date: enter planned arrival or starting date
Expiration Date: one year later (automatic)
Next, register on the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) website. The application fee is currently US$130.00, payable on the TSA’s website.

To complete the TSA process, you will also need to provide copies of your fingerprints.
If you are currently in the United States, you may get your fingerprinting done at the local police station in your town.
If you are currently outside the United States, fingerprinting services can be found through https://secure.natacs.aero/afsp/.
If there are no locations near your country to get fingerprints taken, you may get them at the police station in your residence location (town) or a state police office after you arrive in the United States.

Short Term Housing

Contact High Flight to discuss your options.