Going to Flight School in the U.S. for Overseas Students

This is a guest post by pilot and aircraft enthusiast Andre Maye.

There are more than 800 flight schools in the U.S., and the availability of state-of-the-art technology and training makes coming to the U.S. a very attractive option for many overseas students. If you’re looking to come to the U.S. to get your commercial pilot’s license, there are multiple requirements you must meet.

Application for Admission

You must fill out an application for admission before you’re eligible to sit for any exams and get your pilot’s license. This can be done online (i.e.  pea.com/admissions/#Admission Form) and transmitted over a secure server for immediate processing.

Copy of Passport

You must send in a copy of your passport to the flight school. You must also have a copy of your private pilot’s license from your home country or state. If you don’t have a private license, you’ll have to obtain one (in the U.S., if you want an FAA license).

Proof of Health Insurance

You must show proof of health insurance coverage. You should also have accident insurance which covers training while in the U.S. and which will cover private and commercial flying. Ask your health insurance provider about coverage limitations and a declarations page for proof of coverage.

The Fee

You must pay an admissions fee of $350. Additional fees may also be required by the U.S. Government for background checks. These checks are done prior to the issuance of a visa and associated fees.

Proof of Financial Ability To Pay

You must provide proof to the school that you can pay for flight instruction. Send a letter from your bank showing proof of funds for pilot training. You must also show that you have enough money for living expenses during your training. Finally, the letter must be signed by an official representative of the bank.

You Must Have a Visa

You must have a U.S. F-1 or M-1 visa for flight training. If you do not have either visa, you cannot train in the U.S.

Private License

You must hold a private license before you can obtain a commercial license in the U.S. If you don’t have a private license from your home country, you must study for one, pass an exam, and take the required checkride to get your certification. If you do have a pilot’s license, but it isn’t issued by the FAA, and isn’t in English, you should have the aviation authority from your country provide you with an English translation that can be furnished to you flight school.


To get a commercial license, you must pass a written exam. This exam will test your knowledge on more advanced maneuvers, and provide you with a better understanding of your aircraft as well as more complex aircraft that you’ll be flying.

Flight Time

You must log 250 flight hours before you can obtain your commercial certificate. During this flight training, you’ll practice advanced flight maneuvers, travel 250 consecutive nautical miles in one leg, with a total of 300 nautical miles for the trip. You’ll also log 100 hours of “pilot-in-command” hours, 50 hours of cross country flight, 10 hours of instrument training, and 10 hours in a complex aircraft. Once you’ve mastered your flight training, and finished your checkride, you’ll get your commercial certificate.

About the Author: Andre Maye is an amateur pilot and has been an aircraft enthusiast since he was small. He enjoys sharing his insights and flying stories on various aviation blogs. Visit Pheonix East Aviation to learn more.

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