"The U.S. flight training school must be authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue the M-1 student visa form, called the I-20. This I-20 plus additional information (detailed below) must be presented to the visa officer at the time of the student's visa interview at the U.S. Consulate. This M-1 visa will allow the student to study for and achieve a private pilot certificate, commercial pilot certificate, instrument rating, multiengine rating and/or the three flight instructor ratings.
"Additionally, colleges and universities and some flight-training academies are authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for an F-1 student visa. The F-1 visa allows the student to complete a professional pilot-training program and work as a flight instructor in the United States to build additional hours — and make money as an employee of the flight school. If the foreign student wishes to work in the United States as a flight instructor, he or she must have an F-1 visa.
"Because the process of obtaining a visa can seem complicated, I recommend that foreign students apply at a U.S. academy that offers assistance and support with visas. A school that welcomes foreign students will likely also help the student become acclimated to American life and assist with housing, banking, medical exams, TSA requirements, etc."
Maye advises that the international student should be prepared to do the following. (Note: There might be some variation of application requirements by flight training schools, so be sure to adhere to the requirements of the specific school you plan to attend. The U.S. Consulate also has its own procedures on how to apply for the I-20, which is defined on the U.S. Embassy's website.)