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Background checks now required for some foreign pilot certificate applicantsBackground checks now required for some foreign pilot certificate applicants

The FAA has distributed a new procedure to its field offices. It requires all foreign pilots to submit to background checks before the agency will issue a U.S. pilot certificate based on a pilot license issued by another country. The new regulations lift an emergency suspension imposed just over a week ago because of national security concerns, which barred the FAA from issuing pilot certificates to foreign pilots.

The policy establishes new procedures for FAR Part 61.75, issuance of an FAA pilot certificate based on a current foreign pilot certificate. Non-U.S. pilots will be required to submit an application directly to the FAA's office in Oklahoma City and, upon approval, will be directed to the appropriate FAA flight standards district office to receive the U.S. certificate. According to the FAA, the entire process could take up to 60 days.

The FAA sent a lengthy, detailed explanation of the new procedures to flight standards regional and district offices. Paragraphs "R" and "S" of Section 4—Background explain the rationale behind the decision and the pre-application process. Section 5—Procedures outlines in great detail what the FSDOs will require before they can issue a U.S. certification for a foreign-licensed pilot.

In addition, the last page answers several frequently asked questions about the pre-application process.

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