Enroll in the TSA FTSP for non-US citizens: How to submit your request

enroll in the tsa ftsp for non-us citizensIf you’re a foreign student intending to learn to fly in the USA, you’ll need to enroll in the TSA FTSP Flight Training Security Program before you begin training.

  1. Do all foreign students need to enroll in the TSA FTSP?
  2. Who doesn’t need to enroll in the TSA FTSP?
  3. Do I need to enroll in FTSP to take an intro flight?
  4. Do I need a visa to enroll in FTSP?
  5. When do I need to tell the school that I want to begin flight training?
  6. How will I know if my FTSP request has been approved?
  7. How do I enroll in the TSA FTSP?
  8. What category do I qualify for?
  9. How do I retrieve a lost password?
  10. How can I check the status of my FTSP request?
  11. How can I cancel a FTSP training request?
  12. What else do I need to do?
  13. How will I know when the flight school has confirmed my FTSP request?
  14. Can I begin training when I receive my “Preliminary Approval” email from the TSA?
  15. Why can’t I send fingerprints along with my initial request?
  16. Where do I get my fingerprints collected?
  17. What happens next?
  18. How long does my FTSP approval last?

Do all foreign students need to enroll in the TSA FTSP?

The chances are, if you’re reading this you’ll need to enroll in the TSA FTSP. You must participate in the Flight Training Security Program (and undergo a security threat assessment) if:

  • You are a non-US citizen or non-US national; and
  • You will be training either inside or outside the United States under 14 CFR for a US
    • recreational, sport, or private pilot certificate; or 
    • multiengine or instrument rating; or
    • initial or recurrent type rating training in an aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds
    • any initial US airman certificate issued by the FAA

Who doesn’t need to enroll in the TSA FTSP?

There are some exemptions from participation in the Flight Training Security Program. This includes:

  • Training to fly an airship, balloon, or glider; 
  • Recurrent training, such as a flight review, instrument proficiency check; or
  • The training described in 14 CFR 61.31, including high performance, complex, high altitude, and tailwheel endorsements; 
  • Ground training
  • A discovery, demonstration, or intro flight for marketing purposes;
  • Training provided by the Department of Defense or US Coast Guard (or their contractors);
  • Candidates endorsed by the US Department of Defense

Do I need to enroll in the TSA FTSP to take an intro flight?

No, intro or discovery flights are exempt from the Flight Training Security Program.

Do I need a visa to enroll in the TSA FTSP?

Yes, the TSA will deny applications if the candidate does not hold an appropriate visa or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card) status for flight training.If you do not yet have an appropriate visa, or you have questions about your visa status, you can check with the US Department of Homeland Security by calling (603) 339-0888 (from outside the USA) or (800) 375-5283 (from inside the USA).

When do I need to tell the school that I want to begin flight training?

Each enrollment is school specific, so you’ll need to let your school know before you begin the process of enrolling in the FTSP. Your flight school will need to be registered with the TSA, which they can do online if necessary.

If they are already registered with the TSA, and you are already in the US, you should consider bringing your documents to the flight school and completing your application with them. They can help make sure you complete the application correctly, while uploading and copying the required documents that need to be filed for the flight school’s record keeping requirements.

How will I know if my FTSP request has been approved?

The TSA FTSP will communicate with you via email. Make sure you have a valid email address.

How do I enroll in the TSA FTSP?

Visit the FTSP website and click Register Options below the Log In button. Select Candidate Portal from the dropdown menu and you will be taken to the FTSP Candidate Registration page. Here you will find a 6-step enrollment process:

  1. Personal information
  2. Passport information
  3. Create a User ID
  4. Create Security Questions
  5. Verify / Digitally Sign
  6. Submit

Once you have submitted the application a password will be emailed to you in 24–48 hours. Follow the instructions, including changing your password.

What category do I qualify for?

For most applicants, you will be a Category 3––candidates who seek flight training for an initial airman’s certificate (including private, recreational or sport pilot); an instrument rating; or a multi-engine rating, in an aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less.

How do I retrieve a lost password?

It happens. Sometimes we lose or forget our passwords. But don’t create a new account, because that can delay the processing of your request. Instead, visit the FTSP Candidate Registration page and click on the link in the third paragraph of the introductory text. This will will bring up a popup requesting your User ID or Email, and a Captcha-style verification.

How can I check the status of my FTSP request?

Your FTSP request status will be available on the FTSP candidate home page. If you have entered multiple requests (for different training options) all will be listed n the Current Flight Training Applications section of the FTSP home page after you login.

How can I cancel a FTSP training request?

You can cancel a training request that is still in the Draft status by going to Step 7 of the request and clicking the Edit link for that request. Click the Delete Training Request button to remove it.

What else do I need to do?

The next step is to wait for your flight school to acknowledge your training request before your application proceeds further. After your flight school has confirmed your request by responding to the email send by the TSA your application will continue.

How will I know when the flight school has confirmed my FTSP request?

Once your request has been confirmed by your flight school, you will receive an email from the TSA with instructions to pay the $130 processing fee. The fee can be paid by credit card on the TSA’s website.

Can I begin training when I receive my “Preliminary Approval” email from the TSA?

No. The email you received with the subject “Preliminary Approval” only confirms that they have received the application and the fee, but they still need to receive your fingerprints. If you have not received the preliminary approval email within seven business days, contact the TSA Help Desk at FTSP.Help@dhs.gov

If the application is missing details, you will be contacted by the TSA via email. You will then need to return to the FTSP website and edit the training request for which you received the email notification, making any necessary changes. You will not need to pay another $130 processing fee, or wait for your flight school to re-validate your request.

Why can’t I send fingerprints along with my initial request?

When the TSA is ready for your fingerprints, you will receive a “Fingerprint Instructions” email. DO NOT submit fingerprints before you receive the official FTSP fingerprinting instructions email, since your fingerprints will be invalidated and your associated training request(s) will be cancelled.

If you have been previously enrolled in the FTSP for a previous training request, the TSA will use the fingerprints already on file and you will not be required to resubmit fingerprints. For this reason, it is important to only use the same account (pin) number that was used for your initial flight training request.

Where do I get my fingerprints collected?

Your fingerprints will need to be collected at a location approved by the TSA, including:

  • a US federal, state, or local law enforcement agency
  • US government personnel at a US embassy or consulate (you’ll need to check if they have the appropriate equipment and can collect prints)
  • an airport or other entity approved by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or TSA

What happens next?

Before you begin your training you’ll now need to wait for the TSA to review your request. Once completed, you and your school will be notified via email of the TSA’s decision.

The next step is to contact your flight school and schedule your first lesson. On the first day of your training, your school will need to take your photo and upload it to the TSA’s website.

How long does my approval last?

Once the TSA has notified you that your request has been approved, you have 180 days to begin your training, and 365 days to complete the approved training. If you do not finish within 365 days of the day your request was approved, you will need to submit a new request.