Alien Flight Student Program
The Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) requires background checks and other security screening for foreign flight candidates seeking flight training in the United States. We can help you easily comply by collecting and processing fingerprints as required by the AFSP.
Alien Flight Student Program Categories
Candidates are categorized into four distinct categories:
Category 1 Candidates (Regular Processing)
Prior to the start of flight training, a Category 1 candidate is required to provide the following information to TSA:
- The candidate’s full name, including any aliases used by him or her, or variations in the spelling of his or her name.
- A unique student identification number as a means of identifying records concerning the candidate.
- A legible copy of the candidate’s current, un-expired passport and visa.
- The candidate’s passport and visa information, including all current and previous passports and visas held by the candidate and all the information necessary to obtain a passport or visa.
- The candidate’s country of birth, current country or countries of citizenship, and each previous country of citizenship, if any.
- The candidate’s actual date of birth or, if the candidate does not know his or her date of birth, the approximate date of birth used consistently by the candidate for his or her passport or visa.
- The dates and location of the candidate’s requested training.
- The type of training for which the candidate is applying, including the aircraft-type rating the candidate would be eligible to obtain upon completion of the training.
- The candidate’s current U.S. pilot certificate, certificate number, and type rating, if any.
- The candidate’s fingerprints.
- The candidate’s current address and telephone number, as well as each address for the five years prior to the date of the candidate’s application.
- Other miscellaneous demographical information such as the candidate's gender.
This information is necessary for TSA to verify the identity of the candidate and to determine what type of training a candidate is applying to receive.
A candidate is required to submit his or her fingerprints to TSA as part of the identification process. The candidate’s fingerprints must be collected by either:
- A NATACS certified collector.
- A fingerprint collector under the supervision of, a U.S. Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency.
- U.S. Government personnel at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Another entity who would follow guidelines approved by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or TSA.
In order for TSA to match the candidate’s information with his or her fingerprints, the candidate must complete the online TSA form and submit it to TSA electronically prior to the submission of fingerprints.
The candidate must show his or her passport (if a non-resident alien), or resident alien card or U.S. driver’s license (if a resident alien), in order to confirm his or her identity to the entity collecting the fingerprints.
Category 2 Candidates (Expedited Processing)
Some candidates may be eligible for expedited AFSP processing. Submission of information for these candidates is identical to candidates in Category 1, set forth above. These are candidates who:
- Hold an airman’s certificate from a foreign country that is recognized by the FAA or a U.S. military agency, and that permits the candidate to operate a multi-engine aircraft that has a certificated takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds.
- Are employed by a foreign air carrier that operates under 14 CFR part 1546.
- Have unescorted access authority to a secured area of an airport under 49 U.S.C. 44936(a)(1)(A)(ii), 49 CFR 1542.209, or 49 CFR 1544.229.
- Are flight crew members who have successfully completed a criminal history records check in accordance with 49 CFR 1544.230 or are part of a class of individuals to whom TSA has determined providing flight training poses a minimal threat to aviation or national security because of the flight training already possessed by that class of individuals.
TSA requires Category 2 candidates to provide all of the information collected of Category 1 candidates, in addition to documentation, such as a copy of the candidate’s security identity display area (SIDA) badge, necessary to establish their eligibility for expedited processing. TSA will provide on the AFSP website, a list of acceptable types of documentation that establish a candidate’s eligibility for expedited processing.
Category 3 Candidates (aircraft weighing12,500 pounds and less)
Category 3 candidates are required to submit the same information required of Category 1 candidates, including their fingerprints.
Category 4 Candidates (Recurrent training)
TSA requires flight schools, prior to beginning a candidate’s recurrent training, to notify TSA that a candidate has requested recurrent training. Either the candidate or the flight school is required to submit to TSA the following information:
- The candidate’s full name, including any aliases used by the candidate or variation in the spelling of the candidate’s name.
- Any unique student identification number issued by the DOJ or TSA that would help establish a candidate’s eligibility for the recurrent training exemption.
- A copy of the candidate’s current, un-expired passport and visa.
- The candidate’s current U.S. pilot certificate, certificate number, and type rating(s).
- The type of training for which the candidate is applying.
- The date of the candidate’s prior recurrent training, if any, and a copy of the training form documenting that recurrent training.
- The dates and location of the candidate’s requested training.
This information is necessary to establish a candidate’s identity and determine whether he or she is applying for recurrent training and thus exempt from the security threat assessment requirements.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently issued an interpretation to clarify the requirement that flight training providers, under the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP), must provide the agency a photo of an alien flight training student prior to commencing his or her training. Under this clarification, flight training for a student under the AFSP may commence prior to uploading a photo to the TSA, provided the facility or flight instructor:
Verifies the student’s identity by means of a current government-issued ID.
Ensures that the Cat. 4 submission and a permission to commence training has been received.
Takes, uploads, and places in the student’s record a current photo of the student within five days of commencing training.
This clarification is applicable to all four AFSP categories and was issued to both meet the needs of industry, as well as the TSA inspection force.
More information about the Alien Flight School Program can be found on the TSA website at www.tsa.gov. For more information about AFSP and how to apply, go to www.flightschoolcandidates.gov.