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Need-to Know Information About New TSA Rules
October 7, 2004:

NAFI recently participated in a forum meeting with officials of the Transportation Security Administration to discuss the mechanics of rules announced by the Department of Homeland Security on 20 September. The rules, mandated by Public Law 108-176 Vision 100 - Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, focus on two areas: flight training of aliens and security awareness training for flight school personnel. NAFI considers it critical to provide our members an outline of the new rule.

The table below highlights relevant information regarding the rollout of the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP). Additional details can be found in the Interim Final Rule on Flight Training for Aliens and Other Designated Individuals; Security Awareness Training for Flight School Employees (49 CFR Part 1552).

The overview below focuses on Group III, flight training in aircraft or flight simulators for aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less.


Alien Flight Student Program Overview


Vision 100 – Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, signed on December 12, 2003 transfers background check requirements for aliens seeking flight training in the US from DOJ (FBI) to TSA (CPO).

Time Frame

Vision 100 requires TSA to issue an Interim Final Rule (IFR) detailing the specifics of the program, which will be launched within 15 days of publication of the IFR.

• September 20, 2004 – AFSP IFR Published

• October 20, 2004 – AFSP begins accepting applications for aircraft 12,500 lbs or less (Category III)

Key Definitions

• Alien: Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States

• Candidate: An alien or other individual designated by TSA who applies for flight training or recurrent training. It does not include an individual endorsed by the Department of Defense for flight training.

• Flight School: Any pilot school, flight training center, air carrier flight training facility, or flight instructor (italics added) certificated under FAR 61, 121, 135, 141, or 142, or any person who provides instruction in the operation of any aircraft or aircraft simulator.

• Flight Training: Instruction received from a flight school in an aircraft or aircraft simulator. Flight training does not include recurrent training, ground training, a demonstration flight for marketing purposes, or any DOD/Coast Guard flight training.

Category Descriptions

There are four categories defined in the Interim Final Rule:

Category I: Regular Processing for Flight Training on Aircraft More than 12,500 Lbs

• Candidates for aircraft above 12,500 lbs and who are NOT current and qualified to fly that aircraft that they are requesting to train on

Category II: Expedited Processing for Flight Training on Aircraft More than 12,500 Lbs

• Candidates that hold a foreign airman certificate that is recognized by the FAA

• Candidates that are employed by a foreign air carrier that operates under 14 CRF part 129 and has an approved security program permitted under 49 CFR part 1546

• Candidates with unescorted access to the SIDA

• Candidates that have successfully completed a criminal history records check in accordance with 49 CFR 1544.230

• Other officials designed by the Secretary (none at this time)

Category III: Flight Training on Aircraft 12,500 Lbs or Less **includes Sport Pilot training

• Candidates for aircraft 12,500 lbs or below and who are NOT current and qualified to fly the aircraft that they are requesting to train on

Category IV: Recurrent Training on All Aircraft

• Candidates who are current and qualified in the aircraft in which they request training

Program Changes

• TSA authorized to implement fee structure; $130 per candidate in FY’05

• Background checks must be completed within 30 days for Category I; within 5 days for Category II

• Background checks will be done on pilots of aircraft less than 12,500 lbs (Category III), but Category III candidates may begin training before security assessment is complete; this section of the rule becomes effective October 20, 2004

• Candidates requesting training on aircraft for which they are current and qualified to operate will not be required to undergo security assessments regardless of aircraft weight (Category IV)

• For all four categories, flight schools must submit a candidate’s photograph to TSA when the candidate arrives at the flight school for training

• Schools will provide security training for appropriate staff (overseen by TSA Office of Operations Policy)

• Flight training must start within 180 days of the candidate’s submission of information to TSA.

• If no response is received from TSA, Category I flight training may begin on the 31st calendar day after submission of all flight school and pilot candidate information to TSA. Flight training must be terminated immediately if TSA later notifies the flight school to terminate training.

• Flight schools will maintain all pilot security related records for a minimum of 5 years.

Category III Pilot Training Requirements

NAFI and EAA have reviewed the Category III requirements and have been in contact with TSA officials concerning this section of the new TSA rule. These rules become effective October 20, 2004.

Flight training for US citizens, US Nationals, and Department of Defense (DOD) personnel:

• There are no flight school, pilot, or student pilot TSA reporting requirements.

• The flight school must physically see one of these document combinations before beginning flight training

• Original or government-issued certificated birth certificate (US) for the US, for American Samoa, or Swains Island, plus a photo ID; or

• Current, valid (not expired) US Passport (contains photo); or

• Original US Nationalization Certificate w/ raised seal, plus a photo ID; or

• Original US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) or Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) form N-550 (or N-570, Certificate of Naturalization), plus a photo ID; or

• Original certification of birth abroad w/raised seal or US Department of State Form FS-545 (or Form DS-1350), plus a photo ID; or

• Original certificate of US citizenship w/raised seal, USCIS or INS Form N-560 (or Form N-561 or Form N-581, with photo ID; or

• DOD or Federal Agency written certification attesting to the Federal employee’s US citizenship or nationality, plus their government-issued photo ID.

• The flight school must copy the appropriate documents and maintain them on file for a minimum of 5 years.

• Flight training (aircraft or flight simulator) may begin immediately after the pilot or student pilot presents the appropriate documents.

• Pilots or student pilots do not need to present the above appropriate documents if only ground training takes place.

• These steps apply to all types of pilot training in aircraft 12,500 pounds or less.

Flight training for all other candidates -- foreign pilots, foreign student pilots, and other non-US citizens (e.g. green card holders):

• Flight schools may not start flight training (aircraft or flight simulator) until the following have been accomplished:

• Photo of the pilot or student taken “when the candidate arrived at the flight school for training” must be submitted to TSA.

• Pilots and students must submit required background check information on a form available on-line at https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov. This may be submitted from their overseas location prior to entering the US for training.

• Pilots and students must submit fingerprints (10-fingers) to TSA. The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is the clearinghouse for all fingerprint submissions to TSA. Information on their procedures can be obtained at 703-797-2550. There are currently no procedures in place for pilots or students to have their fingerprints taken at a foreign location.

• Flight schools will obtain a web access code from their local FSDO, then submit to TSA information that the pilot or student wants to start flight training and the type of training requested.

• Pilots and students must provide the flight school with a current and valid passport and visa, if appropriate.

• Flight training (aircraft or flight simulator) may begin immediately upon submission of all required items to TSA and AAAE.

• Flight training will be immediately terminated TSA notifies flight school to cease training.

• Flight training not started within 180-days from submission of required items to TSA and AAAE voids all submitted information and the applicant must resubmit all the information.

• The flight school must maintain a copy of the appropriate documents on file for a minimum of 5 years.

Contact Information

For questions on the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP), please contact the AFSP Help Desk at (703) 542-1222. E-mail questions are also being accepted at: [email protected]

NOTE: NAFI and EAA have contacted TSA to further define the term “current” and qualified. Your association feels that if a pilot holds a valid FAA issued category and class rating, a type rating, or an equivalent FAA issued Letter of Authority (LOA), then the individual should be considered current and qualified. We feel that a pilot should not lose aircraft “currency” under the AFSP simply because the pilot has not:

• Flown passengers for 90-days (14 CFR Part 61.57); or

• Obtained a flight review within the required 24 month period (14 CFR Part 61.56); or

• Maintained instrument proficiency within the required 6 month period (14 CFR Part 61.57); or

• Completed the required proficiency check within the required 12 month period (14 CFR Part 61.58); or

• Completed Flight Instructor flight renewal requirements within the required 24-month period (14 CFR Part 61.197).

Renewal of the above currency requirements is a FAA recurrent flight check requirement; it does not involve the reissue of a pilot certificate or aircraft rating.