Foreign pilots can no longer obtain a U.S. private pilot certificate based on a foreign pilot license. The FAA on Tuesday sent a notice to all of its flight standards divisions instructing them to stop immediately issuing private pilot licenses under FAR 61.75. Security officials prompted this restrictive action, which the FAA considers to be temporary while the agency develops new security screening procedures. The FAA has issued a total of 40,000 private certificates since this rule was implemented. Currently, about 2,800 foreign pilots per year earn U.S. certificates under 61.75.
"The FAA would not identify specific security concerns, but AOPA was told that the current restriction is limited to issuance of a private certificate based on a foreign pilot license only," said Lance Nuckolls, AOPA director of certification. "The notice does not preclude foreign students from taking flight training and testing in the United States. However, we anticipate that restrictions on foreign student training could be implemented in the near future."