Fly in California

for Flight Training and Recreation

Pilots from Abroad

If you are a citizen of a country other than the U.S.A., you can still come and fly here or take flight training.

California offers great advantages to pilots wishing to train, build hours, or simply fly scenic tours. For a start, the weather is generally good for flying year-round, with only the odd day of down-time during winter. You can quickly build hours and experience at extremely affordable rates, significantly less than in Europe, for example, especially now, with the weak dollar! Airplane rental rates are low, and fuel is half the cost it is in Europe. And with California's extensive range of small airports and mostly no landing fees, you can have fun exploring this beautiful State while you work on building your piloting skills. Come fly in California!

Getting a Visa to visit and/or study in the U.S.A.

Our understanding is based on the US Immigration web site.

If your visit is mainly for tourism or business, and you'd like to fly yourself around this beautiful area, or take some flight lessons part time, then you should not need a student visa and you should be able to enter with a tourist or business visa or on the visa waiver program. Canadian citizens can enter without a visa under the bilateral agreement between Canada and the USA.

If you plan to enter the US primarily for flight training, in a full time course of over 18 hrs per week, and you are not a US citizen, you will need a student visa, which we cannot obtain for you. If that is your goal, then you need to search the net for schools that offer the I-20 visa program.

See the US Immigration web site and do check with your nearest US Consulate.

Pilot Certificate Requirements for Non-U.S. Citizens

It all depends what sort of pilot certificate you already have:

Have a pilot certificate from an ICAO country, including JAA? You can get a US VFR Private Pilot Certificate based on your certificate. You will need to apply at least three months in advance. For details see the FAA Web Page for converting a pilot license After you receive your approval letter make an appointment with the local Flight Safety District Office in San Jose.

The US authorities do not charge anything for the validation of your license, and the validation is valid as long as your non-US license remains valid. However, your own country may charge a fee. We are aware that the UK CAA charges such a fee. There may be others. If you know about it please let us know and we'll add this information.

Note that any restrictions you have on your country's license will also be valid in the US.

Already have a US pilot certificate? You can come and fly, take lessons to improve your flying, or add a tailwheel endorsement, or acrobatics with no further paperwork. However if you wish to add an Instrument Rating or a Multi Engine rating then you will need to go through the TSA Alien Flight Student Program background check. The process is fairly simple, follow the steps given here.

No pilot certificate as yet? Or wishing to add a U.S. instrument rating or multi-engine rating? You will need to go through the TSA Alien Flight Student Program background check. The process is fairly simple, follow the steps given here.

Medical Certificate Requirements

Your own country's medical certificate is also valid in the US. Also, if you plan to fly a Light Sport Plane, you don't need any medical certificate.

Conversion back to an ICAO or JAA License

Your hours flying in the U.S. will count for your own country license. When it comes to counting additional ratings and endorsements, or earning a pilot certificate in the US and then converting it bact to your own country license, requirements vary by country. The private pilot license can be easily converted back to an JAA or other ICAO license. More advanced ratings and licenses get more complicated. We'll add information for the different countries as we learn it.

Accommodation in San Jose

If you are coming over to build hours, we can help with budget accommodation in the area. Here's a list of local motels and extended stay places.

Payment in Euros or GBP

We are happy to accept payment from European customers in Euros or Pounds Sterling at the exchange rate current at the time of flying. Please ask about arrangements.


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