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    Flight Training Security Program (formerly AFSP): 4 Common Errors Before Training Starts

    Posted by Clint Braswell on Tue, March 5, 2013

    Alient Flight Student Program
    ~ Updated January 11, 2022
    The rules and regulations pertaining to the Flight Training Security Program (FTSP), formerly known as the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) can be confusing. Our team supports this program and we often see common problems that occur during the fingerprinting process. Below, I have detailed the four most common errors that cause a foreign flight student's prints to be rejected or delayed.
    Mistake #1: Typing Errors

    This first mistake occurs early on. Students, when filling out their information on the website, should make sure the information is correct. Incorrect data will result in the Training Request numbers being sent back to ‘draft’ status, which means the whole process will have to be re-started. If you, or your student, has any questions on what to fill out, you can check out the flight school candidates website where they have an application guide, call the AFSP Help desk (571.203.8470) or send an email to AFSP.Help@DHS.Gov.

    Mistake #2: Visa / Passport Issues

    The student’s passport and visa numbers must be accurately submitted to the FTSP program during their initial enrollment. If any information is inaccurate, the student will need to work with the FTSP Help Desk to make the correction. This additional step will cause delays in receiving the Fingerprint Instruction email and/or the Initiate to Train clearance.
    If FTSP determines a student’s visa is not one that allows them to take flight training, FTSP will cancel the request immediately, and notify both the flight school and the student by email. Therefore, it is important to make sure the student has applied for and received the proper visa.

    Mistake #3: Getting Fingerprints Taken Too Early

    Foreign flight students cannot have their prints taken until they receive their fingerprint instructions emails. After the candidate has paid the $130 fee to the TSA, the TSA will send a preliminary approval email to the student which is just that, a preliminary approval. Once FTSP has gone through their documents acceptance phase, the student should receive a fingerprinting instruction email. If the candidate submits prints before receiving the official FTSP fingerprinting instructions, their training request number(s) will be canceled and both the flight school and the student will receive email notifications of this. To avoid this, ensure the candidate has their official email before their prints are collected.

    Mistake #4: Failing to Escort a Student When Using a Law Enforcement Agency for Fingerprint Collection

    This is one of the most common issues, if not the most common. Non-compliance is a dangerous move and can cause the student’s training request(s) to be canceled. When the candidate receives the fingerprinting instructions email, they are given an option of where they can have their prints collected. They can go to a Law Enforcement Agency in the United States or a TSA approved location.

    If the student chooses to go to anybody but a TSA approved collector, they must be escorted to the location by an employee of their flight training facility. This requires the flight training facility employee to accompany the student to the law enforcement agency, monitor the fingerprint process and provide a pre-addressed envelope to the FTSP in Springfield, Illinois, for the prints to be put into and mailed immediately after the completion of the printing process. If this process is not completed and FTSP becomes aware of this at any point, the prints will be rejected and the training request number(s) will be canceled.

    These four errors are the most common issues that will either slow down the foreign flight student's process or stop it altogether. Knowing which mistakes are common can help you avoid them. In my next blog post, I’ll show you how to speed up the process of getting prints submitted and accepted.

    Tags: Fingerprinting, FTSP, Blog, Flight Training Provider

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    I got a gold star from the TSA inspector who inspected our flight school last year, but that's because my company paid me ground time to research AFSP and make a new AFSP student checklist. Even so, I had one (of 3) AFSP applicants rejected initially due to some of the errors you talk about in the blog. I just wanted to shoot you an email and say thanks for making the effort to clarify the process for all of us. I get the impression that there are a lot of the CFIs out there in the small flight schools who haven't got a clue about the AFSP process. So go ahead and feel good about yourself for helping all us lost boys stay in business and out of the trouble.


    - The CFI