I have currently acquired permanent residency and want to continue my career in aviation. My private pilot license in the USA is foreign based, can I take the commercial pilot course normally or do I have to take the private pilot course again here in the United States, to get a "100% American" license and continue as a commercial pilot?


1 Answer 1


You can continue on to the commercial.

The only mention of a private certificate for the commercial certificate requirements is in 14 CFR § 61.123(h):

Hold at least a private pilot certificate issued under this part or meet the requirements of § 61.73

A private pilot certificate issued based on a foreign pilot license is issued under 14 CFR § 61.75. That is also part 61, so it fulfills the "under this part" requirements just as well as a "100% American" license.

  • $\begingroup$ In short... Yes, I can do a commercial pilot in the US with PP Foreign Based, and advance my career up to the ATP license without any problems. Or is there a chance that a future employer will look at it and say, "Hmm your PPL is foreign based...." $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @BrazilianGuy when you get your ATP it will be a separate certificate. You will (depending on the ratings you acquire on your unrestricted U.S. certificate while getting your commercial and then ATP) have a certificate that states something like "Airline Transport Pilot, Multiengine Land, Commercial privileges Airplane Single-engine land." Your restricted U.S. Private certificate based on 61.75 will still be a Private Pilot Certificate. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ @BrazilianGuy Indeed, your commercial and ATP won't indicate that your private was foreign-based. The commercial supercedes your private and is 100% American for all intents and purposes. If you look at the FAA's airman certification database, you'll notice that many pilots do not have a private certificate listed. This is because the commercial certificate replaces it. Though it is still possible to have both if you have commercial privileges in one category/class and not another. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ I think your comment above states this, but if @BrazilianGuy gets a standard U.S. (not based on his foreign cert) ATP certificate, he will actually hold two pilot certificates (he would not be required to turn in, prior to his commercial check ride, his Private Pilot certificate issued on the basis of his foreign certificate). This is one time that a person can actually hold two U.S. pilot certificates at the same time. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 16:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RTO I see, thanks for the clarification. Well in any case I don't see why any employer would care how you got your private when you have an ATP. Assuming it was done legally, of course. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 16:49

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