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Pilot Training For International Students in San Diego

Join SOCAL's International Student Pilot Program!

How to Join our International Student Pilot Program

For international students seeking to receive training to become a pilot in San Diego, SOCAL Flight Training stands as one of the best options. As a leading flight school in San Diego, our international student pilot program is open to non-US citizens, offering a comprehensive program to become a certified commercial pilot. International pilots, with a valid visa or green card, are welcomed to join our international student pilot program.


From the initial steps of securing TSA authorization to the final moments before taking flight, we are here to guide you through the essential stages required to participate in SOCAL Flight Training's renowned program for international student pilots.

What Is Needed To Join An International Pilot Program In California?

To join any international student pilot program in the United States, candidates need a valid visa or green card. As an international student, securing TSA approval is the initial requirement. This involves creating an account on the FTSP website, paying the yearly application fee, and selecting the designated Flight Training Provider and location.


Additionally, candidates must undergo a medical certification process through the FAA MedExpress website, arranging an appointment with an Aviation Medical Examiner based on their flying intentions, and subsequently applying for a student certificate through the IACRA website.


Upon completing these necessary steps, individuals can commence their training journey with SOCAL Flight Training. We go into further detail in the step-by-step guide below.

Become an International Student at SOCAL's Flight School

Contact Us by email or phone to sign-up for SOCAL's International Student Program!

What are the steps to becoming an International Student Pilot in San Diego?

The first thing you will need is a valid visa or green card to enter the United States. After that you will be required to get TSA approval to begin your flight training.


International students can follow the steps below to get TSA approval in order to join an international flight training program with SOCAL Flight Training in San Diego.

Step 1 - FTSP (For non US citizens only)

  • Create an account at the Flight Training Security Program (FTSP) website 

  • Pay the $130 yearly application fee

  • Choose Ivan Cibrian (FlySocal) at the Flight Training Provider menu.

  • Choose training Location: Guillespie Field (KSEE)

  • Choose category: 3

  • Enter the following Aircraft Types: C172, P28A 

  • Training Request Date: One Year

  • After submitting your application, SOCAL will need to approve your request. Typically it will take between 2-5 business days to receive instructions for fingerprinting.

  • Upon successful submission of fingerprints and approval for flight training, your inaugural flight lesson will be scheduled. During the first lesson, we will make a copy of your Passport, Visa, or Green Card, and take your photo beside the aircraft.

  • It is important to remember that international students have to renew their TSA approval every year.

Step 2 - MedExpress


STEP 4 - Begin Your Flight Training

  • Once you complete all the steps listed above, we will take a photo of you next to your airplane (TSA requirement) and then begin your training!

Key Takeaways for International Pilots Wanting to Study in the United States

For international student pilots wanting to study and train in the United States, the process begins with TSA approval, followed by securing medical certification and applying for a student certificate. In order to begin the pilot training, international students will need to ensure they complete all steps in this step-by-step guide.


SOCAL Flight Training is a leader in San Diego when it comes to providing international pilots with an opportunity to become a pilot. No matter if you are new to flying, and starting from zero, or already have your private pilot license, Fly SOCAL will be able to assist you in the process.


Reach out to Ivan Cibrian, your flight instructor for more information about how to join his international student pilot program in Southern California!

FAQs: Pilot Training for International Students

Below are the most frequently asked questions about international flight students studying in the USA.

1. Can an international student become a pilot?

Yes, international students can become pilots in the USA. Students of all nationalities are allowed to begin flight training for a career in aviation in the United States.

2. What is the cost of flight training for international pilot students?

The cost of flight training for an international student pilot program varies on your previous experience. Whereas, from zero experience to an airline pilot is about $73,000 USD. However, if you are starting from the Instrument Course you can expect to pay around $44,000 USD. Finally, starting from the Commercial Course will cost international students about $26,000 USD.

3. Do I Need a Student Visa for flight training?

An M-1 student visa is necessary for non-U.S. citizens wishing to undergo flight training for a certificate or rating within the United States. The B-1/B-2 tourist/business visa is not adequate for such training in the U.S.


Permanent residents in the U.S. who are not citizens do not need to acquire an M-1 student visa but must secure approval through the TSA's "Permission to Initiate Training" before commencing pilot training.

Join Our Pilot Training for International Students!

Contact Us by email or phone to sign-up for SOCAL's International Student Program!

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