Proteus Air Services

Foreign Pilots and Resident Aliens

TSA Flight Training Security Program

If you are NOT a US citizen, the TSA’s alien flight training/citizenship validation rules enacted in 2004 affect you. All foreign Pilots, resident aliens, and tourists seeking flight training are subject to receiving approval by the Department of Homeland Security before starting. Any person not a citizen or national of the United States is considered an alien. This also includes resident aliens (green-card holders) and visa holders in the United States. An alien is required to seek and obtain permission to receive flight training though a process of citizenship and background verification by the TSA. The Alien Flight Student Program or FTSP is mostly web-based, has very low fees, and is usually completed in 14 days or less.

Discovery Flights & First Lessons

The TSA rule does not apply if you are taking a discovery flight or first lesson with us. Should you choose to continue your flight training, you will then need to go through the validation process.

U.S. Visas

If you are planning on coming to the U.S. to train part-time with us for a new rating you may do this on a tourist visa with TSA authorization. You must leave the U.S after 90 days. If you wish to train here full-time and or will be in the U.S. for more than ninety days, you will need an M1 visa from a Part 141 school as well as TSA authorization. Please note that at this time Proteus is not a Part 141 school.


Please feel free to contact us with questions regarding flight training for aliens. It’s important to save time and money by making sure your visa and FTSP applications are correct. We understand the process can seem complicated – we’ll gladly walk you through each of the steps you need to take.


Time Building In The U.S.

If you currently hold a valid pilot certificate you do not need a special visa and you do not need to go through the TSA FTSP process. Many international pilots come to Proteus to build flight time. We are fortunate to have so many spectacular destinations close by – San Diego, San Francisco, and Las Vegas are just a few. We have 320 plus days of sunshine a year in Los Angeles! Don’t waste your time and money sitting on the ground due to poor weather for training. Let us know your schedule and the number of hours you are looking to build – we’ll be happy to suggest an itinerary and assist you in any way we can. The process of validating your foreign certificate to fly a US registered plane is quite simple:


Contact the FAA to get your license validated. You will need to visit the local FAA Flight Standards District Office where they will review your license. The FAA will then issue you a US certificate based on your foreign license. Please note that any and all limitations on your license (such as night flying) will carry over to the FAA certificate.


Contact us to set up a flight review. This is required to be conducted with an FAA certificated flight instructor for your FAA license. If you have proof of a US flight review in the preceding 24 months, you don’t need the flight review.


Contact us to arrange your rental checkout. This is generally a one hour flight with one of our instructors and a short ground session to ensure you are familiar with the aircraft, airspace, and local operating procedures. This step must be completed if you have not rented from us before.


Please bring your FAA license, foreign license, current medical (US or foreign is okay), and your logbook to Proteus Air Services on the day of your flight.

FTSP Application Info

You will need the details below to fill out your FTSP application:

  • Training Request Course Name: Initial
  • Training Request Aircraft Type: PA28-151 PA28-180 PA28-181
  • Training Request Category: 3

FTSP Process Step By Step

1Verify that you have an appropriate visa
The FTSP will deny flight training requests from candidates who are present in the U.S. illegally or who do not have an appropriate visa for flight training (fees paid for denied applications will not be refunded). Moreover, taking flight training without an appropriate visa could be a violation of your immigration status and could result in your arrest and removal from the United States. Note: Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) of the United States are not required to have a visa. If you do not possess the correct visa, or if you have questions pertaining to your visa status or the appropriate visas for flight training, please contact your local Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services at 800/375-5283 or, or the State Department Consular Affairs Office for assistance.

2Notify us that you want to begin flight training
You should notify us in advance that you intend to start flight training because we also need to contact TSA before you begin flight training. Where possible, we prefer students to bring all the required documents and information for the application to us and register on the TSA site with us present, as you will have to include training details on your application. This will allow us to easily upload the required documents to TSA and also to make copies for our own record-keeping requirements.

3Create a user account on TSA’s FTSP website
Visit TSA’s FTSP website at and create a login account by clicking on “Create New Student Account” and following the instructions. A user ID will be provided immediately after you submit the required information, and a password will be sent to you via email. Time may vary on receiving the password – possibly 24-48 hours. Follow the email instructions, including changing your password. FAQ’s.

4Apply for training on TSA’s FTSP website
Log into the TSA site at and continue the application process. Upon completion of the application, you will be prompted to click on the “validate and submit” icon. If any errors appear in the application, you will be instructed to make any necessary corrections or complete any missing information. After making any changes, click on “submit application.” For the application to proceed further, you must select “I agree” or “I disagree” after reviewing important information regarding your application. Each training request you have entered into the system will be listed in the Current Flight Training Applications section of the FTSP home page after login. Note: you may cancel a training request that is in the Draft status by going to Step 7 of the request, clicking on the Edit link for that request, and clicking the “Delete Training Request” button.

5Wait for us to acknowledge your training request
We must acknowledge your training request with TSA before your application proceeds further. TSA will send the us an email requesting confirmation of your training request after it has been submitted. We will acknowledge the request as soon as we receive it.

6Pay the $130 processing fee per instructions emailed to you
Once we confirm your request, you will be e-mailed instructions to pay the $130 processing fee by credit card on TSA’s website. Click here for guidance and information regarding the processing fee payment.

7Look for a “Preliminary Approval” email from TSA
Upon receiving payment, TSA will send both you and us an email with the subject “Preliminary Approval.” THIS DOES NOT GRANT YOU PERMISSION TO RECEIVE TRAINING. This email simply confirms that TSA has received the application and fee, but they still need to receive your fingerprints. If the decision is NOT favorable, you will be provided details regarding any information that may be missing from your request. If your request was returned because of insufficient information, you will receive an email notification. You may return to the FTSP website, select the training request for which you received the email notification, and review the information for its accuracy and completeness. Make any changes needed, and resubmit your training request. On resubmission, the flight training provider does not need to validate your request again, and you do not have to pay another $130 USD processing fee. If the decision is favorable, see the next step.

8Submit fingerprints to TSA per the instructions emailed to you
If the preliminary decision is favorable and a successful payment has been verified, you will receive an email from FTSP with the subject “Fingerprint Instructions.” Although you may receive a notification from for successful payment, your training request will not be processed by FTSP until the payment is verified by TSA and you have been sent the “Fingerprint Instructions” email. Do NOT submit fingerprints prior to paying for your training request and receiving the official FTSP fingerprinting instructions. This will result in the invalidation of your fingerprints and the cancellation of your associated training request(s). The fingerprints will not be applied to any current or future training request. You and the provider will receive an email notifying you that the fingerprints are invalid, the training request(s) is/are canceled, and what steps need to be taken to resolve the problem to complete processing through the FTSP. If you have previously submitted fingerprints and received confirmation of fingerprint receipt for a prior FTSP training request (i.e. you are applying for additional flight training), you are not required to resubmit fingerprints. TSA will use the fingerprints already on file for you, if possible. Fingerprints will continue to be transferred to new flight training requests only if you use the same account (pin) number that was used for the initial flight training request.

9Wait for TSA to notify you and us of its decision
In most cases our students have had an answer well within 7 days.

10Once you have received TSA approval, START YOUR FLIGHT TRAINING!
Once you have permission to train, you have 180 days to begin training and 365 days to complete the approved training. Both of these time periods start from the day you receive approval. For example, if you begin flight training 30 days after you have been approved, you now have 335 days to finish. If you do not finish, a new training request must be submitted. On your first day of flight training we will take your photo. We are required to upload a photo we take of you – not one copied from your passport or other identification – to TSA’s website.

Los Angeles Fingerprinting Companies


Be sure to bring the following items to the fingerprinting appointment: a copy of the Fingerprint Instructions email; your passport, resident alien card and U.S. driver’s license (if resident alien); and the payment for the fingerprint collector.