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TSA Agrees With NAFI Request to Streamline Fingerprinting Process
March 15, 2005 - The Transportation Security Administration, recognizing that its rules regarding the fingerprinting of alien flight students could deter some students from seeking training in the United States, has authorized the National Air Transportation Association Compliance Services (NATACS) to collect and certify fingerprints for alien flight training candidates. The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) suggested the change and applauds its implementation.

During his January visit to TSA headquarters in Washington, DC, NAFI Executive Director Rusty Sachs argued on behalf of NAFI members against an Alien Flight Training Interim Final Rule requirement that foreign students be fingerprinted within the U.S., then wait up to 30 days before receiving authorization to begin training. Sachs told TSA officials that the additional living and travel expenses would lead some to look elsewhere for flight training, shutting many US flight schools out of an estimated $1 billion market.

“This is enormous,” Sachs said. “NAFI is very pleased that the TSA responded so favorably to our request. This new procedure will streamline the process for legitimate foreign flight students to gain full US certification, and eliminate the need for repeated, extended trips to the United States to comply with the security regulations.”

Foreign flight students must receive TSA approval prior to obtaining flight instruction in the U.S., which is generally regarded as the best in the world. Fingerprinting is but one component of the screening. TSA’s new policy permits fingerprint collectors certified by NATA Compliance Services to take fingerprints from candidates who apply for training at the flight school.

TSA will closely monitor the new, streamlined process to determine its effectiveness.