How Do I Get a Student Visa To Take Flight Training in the U.S.?

By Brenda Keene, former flight school executive and aviation industry freelancer

Are you a foreign national looking for flight training in the United States? In that case, you’ll need to apply for and obtain a student visa. There are two types of student visas depending on the type of flight training school you attend, M1 and F1. Read on for all the details.

If you plan to attend a flight school that is not connected with a college or university, you will need to apply for an M-1 (I-20) student visa. Your flight school will issue you the I-20 (a fee is usually required). You will need to apply to the American Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Students are not able to work on the M-1 student visa. Please click here for more information on obtaining an M-1 visa.

If you plan to attend flight training at a college or university you will need to apply for an F-1 (I-20) student visa. Different universities have different admission policies. Your university will inform you what they need from you in order to determine that you are academically eligible. The big difference between M1 and F1 visas: students on F-1 visas are allowed to work in the U.S. during the term of the visa. Once the university has determined that your application is complete and you are academically eligible, they will issue an I-20 form to enable you to apply for your student visa.

Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Please click here for more information. For a list of flight schools that specialize in training foreign students, check out

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