Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today
Menu

Student Pilot Application Requirements Frequently Asked QuestionsStudent Pilot Application Requirements Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the FAA changing the process of applying for and issuing student pilot certificates?

How long will it take for a student pilot to receive his or her student pilot certificate after applying?

Is TSA security vetting a new requirement?

What is the TSA security vetting process?

Does the final rule change the requirement in 49 CFR § 1552.3(h) for CFIs and flight schools to verify U.S. citizenship and make a logbook entry for domestic student pilots?

How does the final rule impact foreign student pilots?

Will the student be required to apply for additional ratings on his or her student pilot certificate before he or she can solo a different class of aircraft?

Will a student applicant be able to apply early so that he or she can solo on his or her birthday?

Why is the FAA changing the process of applying for and issuing student pilot certificates?

The FAA has reformed the student pilot certificate application process in order to comply with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA), which requires each applicant to be screened by TSA before the FAA issues him or her a student pilot certificate. Thus, the FAA’s rule was in accordance with a congressional mandate.

How long will it take for a student pilot to receive his or her student pilot certificate after applying?

A student applicant will receive his or her student pilot certificate upon successful completion of security vetting by the TSA, which the FAA estimates to take three weeks or less from the application date. However, AOPA is monitoring this time to ensure that the FAA processes the applications as expeditiously as possible.

Is TSA security vetting a new requirement?

No. Under the current system, the FAA already sends a student’s biographic information to TSA for vetting after an aviation medical examiner or other authorized individual issues the student his or her student pilot certificate. This final rule simply changes when the vetting occurs—TSA will now vet the student before the FAA issues the student pilot certificate.

What is the TSA security vetting process?

The vetting process consists of TSA checking an applicant’s biographic information against the terrorist watch lists maintained by the federal government. This is not a new requirement. The Jan. 12 final rule also does not change the nature of this security vetting.

Does the final rule change the requirement in 49 CFR § 1552.3(h) for CFIs and flight schools to verify U.S. citizenship and make a logbook entry for domestic student pilots?

No. The Jan. 12 final rule does not modify the TSA citizenship verification requirement set forth in 49 CFR § 1552.3(h).

How does the final rule affect foreign student pilots?

Foreign and domestic student pilots are affected the same way. Foreign student pilots must first proceed through the TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) before they can begin flight training. This final rule will have no effect on AFSP. Foreign student pilots must still complete AFSP. After completion and receipt of approval, foreign student pilots will proceed through the new application process in the same manner as a domestic student pilot (i.e., receiving a medical certificate and separately applying for a student pilot certificate before soloing).

Will the student be required to apply for additional ratings on his or her student pilot certificate before he or she can solo a different class of aircraft?

No. The final rule does not require a separate application to the FAA for additional ratings, but instead continues the current endorsement process. For a student pilot to operate an aircraft in solo flight, a CFI must endorse that student’s logbook (instead of the paper certificate) for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown.

Will a student applicant be able to apply early so that he or she can solo on his or her birthday?

Under the final rule, a student pilot must meet the minimum eligibility requirements (e.g., 16 years of age to solo an airplane) before the student can submit an application to the FAA and begin the process of obtaining a student pilot certificate. However, AOPA has requested that the FAA establish a method for allowing a student pilot to solo on his or her sixteenth birthday (or fourteenth birthday in the case of gliders).

Topics: Flight Training, Pilot Training and Certification, Advocacy

Related Articles