Yesterday I began the process of getting an FAA license on the basis of my EASA license.
I will update the process here. Maybe it is useful for someone at a later stage. My goal is to get a FAA ATP AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND IR on the basis of my EASA ATP. Since 2014 it is about 15.000 USD to get the FAA ATP AIRPLANE MULTI ENGINE LAND IR, me being an unaware idiot I did not realize this until it was too late and the change was done. That’s what you get for always pushing things along and not just straight doing them. So now at least I want to get the FAA ATP ASEL as the requirements are still manageable and the cost is not too bad.
General overview of steps required to convert an EASA license:
A) Flight School: Find a flight school that is experienced and will handle your validation and conversion (most applicants require 10 flight hours to be fit for the practical exam).
B) FAA: Verifying the Authenticity of a Foreign License, Rating, and Medical Certification
C) Flight School: Validation and flight review at flight school of EASA PPL/CPL/ATPL to exercise FAA PRIVATE ASEL (IR) privileges in the USA
D) TSA Check (flightschoolcandidates.gov, 130$)
E) FAA Class 1 Medical
F) ATP theoretical exam, ATP practical exam on complex aircraft
G) IR theoretical exam, IR practical exam
H) FCC license (no test required) to be able to fly outside of the US.
The two distinctive parts are 1) the verification and validation and then 2) the FAA license acquisition.
1) Verification of foreign license in order to get an FAA validation.
Before getting standalone licenses I will get a validation based on my EASA license. The validation ist not an FAA license. It allows flying in the US based on your EASA license. The important thing is that no matter if you have an EASA PPL, CPL or ATPL, the validation on FAA territory is always only for PRIVATE AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE (LAND, IR) privileges. If you have an IR you can take the 50 question foreign pilot instrument exam and add IR privileges if you wish. Any type ratings on your EASA license will also be validated. You could stop right there any happily fly around in the US or on N-regs. My goal is to get a standalone FAA license, with all the advantages that brings.
I started the process by going to the FAA website and filling out the form for “Verifying the Authenticity of a Foreign License, Rating, and Medical Certification”.
It is Form/AC8060-71 located here (07/2018) https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Form/AC8060-71.pdf
Here is a sample form filled out (07/2018) https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/foreign_license_verification/sample.jpg
You can select any FSDO but it I suggest getting in contact with a US based flight school that can also take the BFR (flight review) and use the FSDO they recommend. In my case it is Orlando FSDO.
Do not fill in your mailing address in field 4b but use your email/or fax to receive the verification letter electronically.
Print, sign offline, scan together with license and medical and send as pdf via email to fv3 faa gov. No digital signatures accepted.
Once you have received the verification from the FAA (see step 1) you pay 50$ at your flight school and do a flight review with an instructor. If you want IR you do the 50 question foreign pilot instrument test (as I will get an IR later on for the standalone FAA ATP I will not get IR for my validation).
Holders of an EASA ATPL technically would not need a validation to convert their license. Any flying done with an instructor is considered familiarization and not training. However, actual flight training (not the case for me) on the other hand requires an M1 visa (e.g. if you do a standard US PPL). In order to act as PIC during flights with an instructor you need the validation to be on the safe side legally. An immigration officer might otherwise interpret your conversion as flight training and it could pose problems.
2) Converting EASA license and obtaining standalone FAA ATP AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND:
While waiting for the validation it is time to prepare some other required steps.
TSA Check: If you are pursuing your first FAA license you need a TSA check. This can be done online using flightschoolcandidates.gov. Sign up for an account and depending on your flight school you fill in the course number and category. It takes 5 minutes. Your flight school will be asked to confirm that you are a student with them. A day later you receive email with a request to pay the TSA a 130$ fee. Once you arrive on location you will go through the fingerprinting process which completes the TSA check.
Class 1 Medical: Required for FAA ATP. Can be done in Europe or USA. I plan to do this within the next two weeks.
Prepare for the theoretical tests (ATP and IR) as well as prepare for the practical tests by exposure to US atc, airspaces etc… (this should take 10+ hours to get up to test standard as the practical tests in the US take a few hours and include an oral test before the flight).
That’s it for tonight. I’ll chime in with any new developments.
Once you arrive on location you will go through the fingerprinting process which completes the TSA check.
One word of caution here: the TSA say this can take up to 7 business days. I recently did that for my IR and it took one day, but don’t count on it. Training cannot start until you have the OK from the TSA.
Snoopy ATP were very helpful when I did mine, I have both ME and SE – but this was before 2014 changes. Both add-ons took five hours in the aircraft plus flight test. Why are you taking a separate IR checkride? the ATP includes IR privileges.
What is new? Full motion SIM time? When does the upset recovery kick in, that will also add to the cost.
Since 2014 onwards you need the ATP CTP (https://atpflightschool.com/atp/ctp/) which runs at roughly 5000$.
The ATP ME is not worth it to me as the cost will be 15000$ total excluding travels/hotels. Most airlines currently pay the CTP for their prospective new hires to offset the cost. As my goal is a standalone license the ATP SE is fine.
Here is a good summary http://skyeagle.aero/2017/05/04/faq-for-foreign-atp-pilots/
Thanks for the note regarding the IR. I will verify this.
Regarding TSA and deadlines etc…thanks for the heads up. Fortunately I am currently flying to two Florida destinations and will match my schedule accordingly.
That was quick. FAA verification letter has arrived after two days.
Class 1 Medical next. Will be my first FAA medex – anything need to know? Thanks!
You just have to love the FAA letterhead emoticon:
I would recommend finding a flight school that is familiar with the process, maybe something on their website or emailing first? When I tried about ten years ago with the small local school they didn’t know what to do: “we can’t fingerprint you, try the police department”, local PD: “we can fingerprint you, but only under arrest”, FSDO: “we can send out the fingerprint card in two weeks”… I ran out of holiday. A few years later I did the 61.75 instead with a bigger school on an international airport who had a lot of Chinese students and it was ok.