Complete Guide to TSA Application for Flight School Candidates in the US.

Flight School Candidates Requirements

If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you might be interested in the TSA’s alien flight training/citizenship validation rules established in 2004. These regulations are applicable to foreign pilots, resident aliens, and tourists aspiring for flight training, and they involve obtaining approval from the Department of Homeland Security prior to commencement. Individuals who are not citizens or nationals of the United States fall under the category of aliens, which includes resident aliens (green-card holders) and visa holders. To pursue flight training, aliens are required to seek and obtain permission through a process that involves citizenship and background verification by the TSA. The Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) is a user-friendly, web-based platform with minimal fees, typically completed in a swift 14 days or less.


In pursuit of a U.S. airman certificate under 14 CFR, aliens seeking flight training within or outside the United States are mandated to partake in the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) and undergo a comprehensive security threat assessment. This directive encompasses flight training applicable to recreational, sport, or Private Pilot Certificates, Multi-Engine or Instrument Ratings, and any initial U.S. airman certificate issued by the FAA.


As an alien, you are NOT required to participate in the AFSP and undergo a security threat assessment if:

  • You are seeking recurrent training, such as a flight review, instrument proficiency check, or flight training listed under 14 CFR 61.31; or
  • You are seeking ground training; or
  • You are participating in a discovery or demonstration intro flight for marketing purposes; or
  • The Department of Defense or U.S. Coast Guard (or a contractor with either) is providing your training; or
  • You have been endorsed by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Tsa Application For Flight Training


Notify 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.

Create a User Account on TSA’s AFSP Website

Visit TSA’s AFSP website 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. You can learn more about creating and managing your account by visiting TSA login FAQ’sAs you complete the application you will be asked about the name of the school you are planning to attend, please choose Essence Flight Academy. Also for the course we offer please us the following: 

Private Pilot: 101

Instrument Rating: 102

Multi Engine Rating: 202

The Student ID is assigned to each individual student, please contact us directly at 818 514 2233 to Enroll in one of your courses.

Apply for Training on TSA’s AFSP Website

Log into the TSA 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 AFSP home page after login. Wait 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.

Pay 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.

Look 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 you do not receive the preliminary decision within 7 business days, contact the TSA Help Desk at 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 AFSP 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.

Submit Your Finger Prints 

If the preliminary decision is favorable and a successful payment has been verified, you will receive an email from AFSP with the subject “Fingerprint Instructions.” Although you may receive a notification from for successful payment, your training request will not be processed by AFSP 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 AFSP 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 AFSP. If you have previously submitted fingerprints and received confirmation of fingerprint receipt for a prior AFSP 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.

Wait for TSA to Notify You and Us of its Decision

In most cases our students have had an answer well within 7 days.

Once 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.