Regulatory and Certification Policy
AOPA’s Guide to TSA’s Alien Flight Training/Citizenship Validation Rule
If you are giving or receiving flight training in an aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds, whether you are a U.S. citizen or alien, TSA’s alien flight training/citizenship validation rule affects you.
TSA’s rule was initially issued in 2004, and TSA has clarified the rule several times since then as a result of AOPA’s advocacy. This page contains links to up-to-date, easy to understand information, customized to the various scenarios present in the rule.
Resources/Useful links and contact information
Below you will find links to useful resources and contact information you may need in order to comply with the TSA alien flight training/citizenship validation rule. You’ll also find links to these resources in the pages customized for aliens, U.S. citizens, and flight training providers.
AOPA Pilot Information Center: 1-800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) and firstname.lastname@example.org
Select the appropriate link below for information and step by step instructions to comply with the rule. I am a/an:
Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP)
- For general information about the AFSP, to apply for training, and to log in to your account, visit the TSA AFSP home page. Flight training providers should visit the AFSP Provider page.
- For more details on the AFSP application process, see the TSA AFSP Application Guide.
- For assistance in the AFSP application process, call or email the TSA AFSP Help Desk at 571/203-8470 or AFSP.email@example.com. You can fax the Help Desk at 571/227-4532 or 571/227-4534.
- For information on U.S. visas, see U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website or call 800/375-5283.
- To find the nearest FAA International Field Office, click here.
- To find domestic and international fingerprinting locations, click here.
Alien. Any person not a citizen or national of the United States. This also refers to resident aliens (green-card holders) and visa holders in the United States.
Aircraft Simulator. A flight simulator or flight training device as defined by 14 CFR 61.1.
Candidate. An alien or other individual designated by TSA who applies for flight training. It does not include an individual endorsed by the Department of Defense for flight training.
Flight School. Any pilot, flight training center, air carrier flight training facility, or flight instructor certificated under 14 CFR Part 61, 121, 135, 141, or 142; or any other person or entity that provides instruction under 49 U.S.C. Subtitle VII, Part A, in the operation of any aircraft or aircraft flight simulator. This also includes any individual or entity located outside the United States that provides such instruction. For example, a flight school located in Canada that provides instruction in the operation of an aircraft or aircraft simulator that would enable an individual to receive a U.S. airman certificate is subject to this rule.
Flight Training. Instruction received from a flight school in an aircraft or aircraft simulator that a candidate could use toward a recreational, sport, or private pilot certificate; multiengine or instrument rating; type rating; or any initial U.S. airman certificate issued by the FAA. Recurrent training, such as flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks, are exempt from the rule, as well as flight training listed under 14 CFR 61.31. Visit this link to view TSA’s letter clarifying the definition of flight training.
Regulations, clarifications, and exemptions
- Requirements for flight schools
- TSA clarification of the definition of “flight training” for aircraft with an MTOW of 12,500 pounds or less
- TSA clarification of the definition of “recurrent training”.
- TSA clarification regarding flight students enrolled in flight training prior to October 20, 2004
- TSA exemption allowing recurrent security awareness training to take place one month before or after the month in which initial training was completed.
- TSA’s initial interim final rule, issued September 21, 2004