In the question How do non-US pilots get the hours necessary for an ATP?, the question was raised of whether we have 250 or 500 hour foreign pilots flying airliners into major U.S. airports. DeltaLima's answer mentioned the ICAO Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL), which

allows a pilot to exercise the privileges of a co-pilot in a commercial air transportation on multi-crew aeroplanes.

Of particular interest is the large gap in the minimum experience requirement between this license and an ATP license that would normally be required to fly an airliner in the U.S. While the FAA normally requires airline pilots to have at least 1,000 flight hours (or 1,500 if they don't have a degree in aviation,) the requirement for the ICAO MPL standard is much less. According to ICAO:

The ICAO Standard for the MPL specifies 240 hours as the minimum number of actual and simulated flight hours performing the functions of the pilot flying and the pilot non-flying.

While the U.S. has no such pilot certificate, what I'm wondering is:

  1. Is a pilot who receives an MPL from another country allowed by the FAA to fly an airliner on normal scheduled passenger service routes into major U.S. airports?
  2. If so, are there any further restrictions on doing so? For instance:

    • Can they fly a route subject to ETOPS regulations into the U.S.?
    • Can they fly a 777 into the U.S. or are they limited to smaller aircraft (e.g. turboprops and the like?)

What is required for a pilot to fly in another country? and I have a European EASA license - what do I need to do to be allowed to fly in the US? cover some general points about the certification requirements to fly an aircraft in a country other than the one where the pilot obtained their license, but they don't address issues specific to flying airline routes.

Interestingly, ICAO seems to suggest that pilots with an MPL would indeed be able to fly in the right seat of an airliner into any ICAO country:

International recognition of flight crew licenses

The Convention on International Civil Aviation, often called the Chicago Convention, provides for worldwide recognition of flight crew licences issued by any member State of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) provided that:

1.the licence meets or exceeds the ICAO licensing Standards of Annex 1 – Personnel Licensing to the Convention on International Civil Aviation; and

2.the licence is used on an aircraft which is registered in the State which has issued or validated the licence.

If the licence is to be used on an aircraft which is not registered in the issuing State, the licence holder must obtain a validation of the licence from the State of Registry or alternatively obtain a new licence issued by the State of Registry.

Can someone provide a reference to the FARs (or something of similar authority) or cite personal experience to confirm whether this is indeed allowed and, if so, what restrictions are placed on such operations?

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    $\begingroup$ an emergency is all it takes $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Jan 6 '15 at 21:30
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    $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak Well I suppose you could answer that to just about any question that starts with "Can a pilot...", but that's not really what I'm asking about here. I'm wondering whether someone with an MPL (according to the ICAO standard) could fly SIC on a regularly-scheduled airline flight into the U.S. (which has no such thing as an MPL,) not whether they could divert to the U.S. in an emergency situation. $\endgroup$ – reirab Jan 6 '15 at 21:38
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    $\begingroup$ The questions you linked to deal with operating aircraft registered in the destination country. While the ICAO rule you quote covers flying aircraft registered in your country. So those pilots can fly to and from US with aircraft registered in their countries, but not fly aircraft registered in the USA. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Jan 8 '15 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ If your license and registration are from the same country, then that country's licensing rules apply in any ICAO member state that you fly to, rather than those of the country you're in. It's only when you mix countries that things get weird. $\endgroup$ – StephenS May 1 '19 at 23:25

The MPL doesn't allow the holder to fly as Pilot-in-Command, although in a pinch he probably could do it. It's a basic ticket to allow a non-ATPL pilot to fly as a fully qualified crew-member of an aircraft that otherwise requires the full ATPL ticket. Elsewhere the pilot would likely be accumulating only solo experience, and he won't be much use when transitioning to a multi-crew airplane. The MPL only allows the holder to act as copilot, 2nd officer (flight engineer) or cruise pilot, not as PIC, on any flight including to the USA. Where it's used, the MPL holder will be granted his ATPL when he completes any additional regulatory requirements and has accumulated the required hours. The MPL pilot is entitled to fly in his aircraft as co-pilot from anywhere outside the USA into the USA, although not in a USA-registered aircraft. Some pilots start their MPL training after completing A PPL or CPL beforehand.

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    $\begingroup$ I thought MPLs do not have a CPL $\endgroup$ – Radu094 Jan 21 '15 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, mostly they don't. A CPL is not required, but some MPLs start their training with a PPL or CPL in hand already. I edited my answer to make clear that MPLs don't always have a CPL (nor an Instrument Rating). $\endgroup$ – RJ Burke Jan 23 '15 at 22:32

A pilot with an MPL licence here. I've been flying in and out of the US for the past year with an MPL licence. In all fairness I've been flying around the rest of the world and amassed 2000hrs before I flew to the US for the first time.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome Maverick. Based on the other answer, what kind of flying? Were you PIC? Please provide answers with enough details. You can edit your post to add details. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Aug 18 '19 at 11:09

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