TSA Lightens Up on Foreign Students' Vetting

Restrictions on foreign students receiving recurrent training could be easing up. This week, the Transportation Security Administration is expected to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles currently in place. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, foreign pilots with type ratings in aircraft more than 12,500 pounds MTOW (maximum takeoff weight) needed to complete a vetting process every time they re-entered the U.S. for recurrent training. The process was said to be onerous and time-consuming, involving a $70 fee and multiple forms to be filled out online. For pilots receiving training on a six-month cycle, or for those with multiple type ratings that needed to be kept current, it could mean going through the process several times per year. Not surprisingly, U.S.-based training providers were opposed to the process, since many foreign pilots chose to take their training business elsewhere. Following urging by TSA general aviation manager Brian Delauter, pilots may now process their vetting forms once annually, regardless of how many times they return to the U.S. for training.