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TSA to upgrade Alien Flight Student Program web portalTSA to upgrade Alien Flight Student Program web portal

The Transportation Security Administration announced that the web portal it uses to process flight training applications from non-U.S. citizens will be offline from May 31 to June 3 for a software update.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

The software platform for processing training requests and security threat assessments under the Alien Flight Student Program was created more than 10 years ago, mandated by the Aviation Transportation Security Act of 2001 and Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act of 2003, the TSA said.

Alien flight training applicants must participate in the Alien Flight Student Program and undergo a security threat assessment if they are seeking flight training inside or outside the United States for a U.S. airman certificate under 14 CFR. The rule applies to flight training toward a recreational, sport, or private pilot certificate; multiengine or instrument rating; or any initial U.S. airman certificate issued by the FAA. Flight training in the operation of airships, balloons, and gliders is exempted from the TSA security threat assessment. The program is detailed in this AOPA fact sheet.

The TSA has posted a notice about the portal upgrade on the Alien Flight Student Program page on the agency’s website.

When the new system goes live on June 3, it will have the same web address and provide the same functionality as the old portal but promises “a modern ‘look and feel’ and improved security, navigation, document upload capability, and other updated features.” The related Application Guides and Frequently Asked Questions have also been revised.

According to the TSA, the portal serves more than 35,000 flight training candidates from more than 190 countries, with lawful permanent residents of the United States making up approximately 11 percent of participants.

“Countries such as Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela each had more than 1,000 candidates participate in the program over the past year,” the TSA said, adding that in the past five years, the portal served more than 5,000 flight training providers in the United States and more than 150 providers in 35 countries.

AOPA was among the TSA’s industry partners to test the new web portal at the agency’s request.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Safety and Education, Pilot Training and Certification

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