I know that non-US Citizens have to go through approval with the TSA before beginning flight training, however could one avoid that fee by waiting until after getting Citizenship to start flight training?

I am a Resident Alien and currently considering starting flight school, I'm just wondering if waiting until I apply for Citizenship in 2021 is worth doing or if I could start now.

My fear is that I am already 30 and would like to eventually get a position as a Part 135 pilot. I am worried that I am already too old to be making such a change and thus adding time would just be making the situation more hopeless than it may already be.


1 Answer 1


This page on the FAA website has details on getting your student pilot certificate.

• Resident and US citizen student pilots follow Student Pilot’s Certificate Requirements.

• Foreign student pilots (non-resident) follow the Alien Flight Student Program

It appears from your question that you should follow the same procedure as US citizens.

Refer to AC 61-141. Everyone must get a TSA screening before being issued a Student Pilot Certificate.

6.3 The Flight Instructor Verifies the Applicant’s Government-Issued Photo ID.

The flight instructor verifies the applicant’s identity and enters information from the applicant’s ID. If the applicant cannot present acceptable ID, discontinue the application process. Verify that the applicant has entered a correct date of birth. IACRA will not process an application unless the applicant is within 90 calendar-days of his or her 14th birthday or older. If the applicant is not of sufficient age, discontinue the application.

7.8 TSA Security Vetting and Temporary Certificate Availability of the Paper Method.

Provided the applicant is not deemed a security risk and is at least 14 years of age, the Airmen Certification Branch issues a permanent Student Pilot Certificate and mails it to the applicant. Applicants must also wait to receive a permanent plastic certificate in the mail.

  • $\begingroup$ What led to question is that the AFSP program linked to in the above document states "Who must participate in the Alien Flight Student Program? Persons seeking flight training must submit a request if they are not citizens or nationals of the U.S." and being a resident alien I am neither a National nor a US Citizen. However, this does answer the question that everyone has to go through the TSA check. $\endgroup$
    – Lady_A
    Apr 23, 2019 at 20:51

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