Just for context I’m currently sitting at about 250~ hours and applying to airlines back in South America. I did my training in the USA, therefore I have my instrument rating, MEL rating, and Commercial pilot certificate, from the FAA. I converted them back to be able to apply, so all good there.

Is there any chance I can come back to the US with more hours, as all aircraft are “N” registered, and be able to apply for a Job in the USA? If so, what are those options?


2 Answers 2


If I understand your question correctly, you received a Commercial Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, and Multi-engine Land rating issued by the FAA under 14 CFR Part 61. You want to know if flight time you acquire in South America in an "N" numbered airplane (an aircraft of U.S. registry), after having received FAA issued certificate/ratings in the U.S., can be logged and counted as flight time in accordance with FAA regulations?

The regulation below (14 CFR 61.51 (j) (a)(1)) states that you can count and log that flight time, as long as the aircraft involved have either a standard or special airworthiness certificate . Applying for a job in the U.S., with respect to a company's flight time requirements (logged in accordance with 14 CFR 61.51), should not be an issue.

I don't know what you mean in the last part of your question - "If so what can those options be."

14 CFR 61.51(j):

(a) Aircraft requirements for logging flight time. For a person to log flight time, the time must be acquired in an aircraft that is identified as an aircraft under § 61.5(b), and is—

(1) An aircraft of U.S. registry with either a standard or special airworthiness certificate;




(link to 14 CFR 61.5(b) above is mine)

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you are correct, thanks for the answer on the first question. What I meant in the last part was, if I do get employed and get my 1500~ hours in an South American airline, how can I apply back to a US airlines if i’m not a US citizen and got my training through a f1 school, or would it be easier to get hired in the US, if I stay and become CFI and whilst working under OPT. $\endgroup$
    – CES
    Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 4:18
  • $\begingroup$ @milo Sorry, but I don't have any knowledge regarding hiring rules and citizenship issues. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the Answer. Appreciate it. $\endgroup$
    – CES
    Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 14:48

FAA certificates do not expire.

You will need a work visa and a company that will sponsor the work visa.

You will need an FAA ATP certificate after you have 1500 hours in registered aircraft. The aircraft do not need to be registered in the USA with N-number, but they cannot be ultralight. If a company is willing to sponsor the visa then they will also organize the ATP certificate tests.

It will be much easier to find a job if you first have an ATP in your home state. This is proof of ability before they spend money to get you an FAA ATP.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I see yeah I will get my ATP at my home state, I just wasnt sure how were my chances being a foreign and applying back to the US. Thanks for the response $\endgroup$
    – CES
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 4:40
  • $\begingroup$ @CES I can only say if you want a job at a company in the USA then send them your application. I do not know your chances, I do know that they do hire some foreign pilots and other foreign employees but I do not know the fraction and it will change between companies and with the economy. The VISA partly depends on what you want; only working for a few years then returning home or becoming a citizen of the USA. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ Thx for the answers appreciate it $\endgroup$
    – CES
    Commented Sep 16, 2023 at 3:27

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