US Security Procedures
 


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an "interim final rule" on "Flight Training for Aliens and Other Designated Individuals" September 20 without the normal public review and comment period. TSA said the "security benefits" of the rule justified bypassing the normal public process.

For flight training in aircraft that weigh 12,500 pounds or less, as currently written, the rule requires every student and certificated pilot to prove his or her citizenship status (including U.S. citizens) prior to taking any kind of flight training, including flight reviews. Foreign flight students must complete a background check process with TSA. Flight instructors are required to keep copies of pilots' personal information (which could include social security cards, birth certificates, or passports) for five years.

Congress directed TSA to issue the rule in Section 612 of "Vision 100," the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization act. Under previous legislation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) screened and approved all foreign applicants for flight training in aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. Vision 100 and TSA's rule shift the screening responsibility to TSA and require that any foreign flight student be cleared by TSA.

The rule directly affects more than 650,000 U.S.-certificated pilots, 85,000 resident aliens with U.S. pilot certificates, 93,700 flight students, 88,700 flight instructors, and some 3,400 flight schools. The rule requires every U.S. citizen student and certificated pilot to prove his or her citizenship status prior to taking any kind of flight training, including flight reviews.
The rule imposes new regulatory burdens on small flight schools and independent flight instructors. When training foreign flight students, these small entities and individuals must now register with TSA (through the FAA), determine the citizenship/nationality status (most usually for U.S. citizens, a birth certificate) and positive identification of each flight student, give the required notification to TSA, and must meet very burdensome record and record retention requirements. The rule also requires these flight schools and flight instructors to provide security awareness training to each ground and flight instructor and any other employee that has a direct contact with a flight school student (regardless of citizenship or nationality) and to issue and maintain records of this training.

Significant provisions for flight training in aircraft that weigh 12,500 pounds or less:

Impact to U.S. citizens:

  • Any U.S. citizen applying for training, including recurrent training, in an aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds must present the flight school or flight instructor with evidence of U.S. citizenship. Evidence may be shown by one of the following:
    • Valid unexpired U.S. passport
    • Original birth certificate and government-issued picture ID
    • Original U.S. naturalization or citizenship certificate with raised seal and government-issued picture ID
    • Original certificate of U.S. citizenship and government-issued picture ID

  • The flight school or flight instructor will retain a copy of the documentation for a period of 5 years.
    Impact to flight schools and freelance flight instructors:
  • Any flight school or a freelance flight instructor providing training in an aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds must comply with the following:
    • Determine whether an individual is an U.S. citizen. Evidence may be shown by one of the following:
      • Valid unexpired U.S. passport
      • Original birth certificate and government-issued picture ID
      • Original U.S. naturalization or citizenship certificate with raised seal and government-issued picture ID
      • Original certificate of U.S. citizenship and government-issued picture ID
    • Register with TSA if providing training to foreign students
    • Notify TSA when a foreign applicant requests training
    • Submit to TSA a photo of the foreign applicant after he or she first arrives for training
    • For recurrent training, the following must also be submitted to TSA:
      • Foreign applicant's full name
      • TSA/DOJ identification number
      • Copy of foreign applicant's current, unexpired passport and visa
      • Training details
      • Photo of the foreign applicant after he or she first arrives for training
    • Retain applicant information and TSA approval records for five years. The records are subject to TSA audit
    • Immediately terminate a foreign applicant's training if informed by TSA the applicant poses a threat to aviation or national security.
  • Ground school and demonstration flights are exempt from the rule and recurrent training is exempt from the fingerprints requirement.
  • Flight schools and freelance flight instructors, regardless of whether they are training foreign students, must provide initial and annual recurrent "security awareness training" for each flight school employee that has a direct contact with a flight school student (regardless of citizenship or nationality).
    • Flight school employees must receive the initial security awareness training by January 18, 2005. Employees hired after January 18, 2005 must receive the training within 60 days of being hired.
    • Schools must maintain a record of such training for one year after the employee leaves the school. Again, these records are subject to TSA and FAA audit.
    • TSA's initial online security awareness training program will be available on October 30, 2004 at www.tsa.gov.
  • Flight schools, including freelance flight instructors, that fail to comply with the rule's requirements may be subject to enforcement action.

Impact to aliens and resident aliens:

  • The applicant has to send TSA:
    • Applicant's full name, gender, current address and 5-year address history, date and country of birth, and citizenship information.
    • TSA identification number
    • Passport and visa information
    • Training details
    • Fingerprints
    • $130 application processing fee
  • The applicant must have their photo taken by the flight school when arriving for training.
  • If TSA determines that an applicant poses a threat to aviation or national security, TSA will inform the flight school to immediately terminate the applicant's training.
  • Any students who commenced training prior to the effective date(s) of the rule are "grand-fathered". However, if the student changes schools/instructors or begins training after the effective date(s), they must comply with the rule.

Enrollment Form

 
Why PBH? Courses Staff Location Enrollment Financial Aid Aircraft Sales FAQs