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Department of Homeland Security

In compliance with 9 FAM 402.5  under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FlightSafety International has updated visa requirements for international clients attending training events at our U.S. learning centers.

*Please note to attend on an M-1 visa, the course must be SEVP certified.

FlightSafety is approved by the Department of Homeland (DHS) Security Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to host international clients on the M-1 visa and has a dedicated team of professionals who serve as Designated School Officials (DSOs) at each learning center, comprised of members from our customer support team.


At least 60 days before the client’s scheduled program start date, contact the customer support team at the U.S. based learning center the international client is planning to join for training. The international client will be connected to a Designated School Official who can best serve you. International clients are encouraged to visit Student Visa ( to learn complete details and necessary steps for the entire visa process. Additional information regarding necessary documents and learning center contact information can be found below.

Required Information

Before an international client can interview for an M-1 visa to attend training in the United States, FlightSafety International must collect pertinent information from our clients in order to issue a Form I-20 which is needed for the M-1 visa issuance. Your M-1 visa will be your entry document and the Form I-20 will be the legal form which permits you to train in the United States.

  • Copy of client’s valid passport (must be valid throughout length of training plus 6 months)
  • Client’s home country permanent address
  • Financial Proof – the M-1 visa requires the client to supply financial evidence for the cost of the training
    • If sponsored by an employer, a client may provide a letter from their company that states responsibility for the cost of the training and living expenses throughout the duration of the training in the United States at FlightSafety International. This letter must be on official company letterhead.
    • If sponsoring self, a client must provide a Certified Bank Letter that states funds are available to cover the cost of the amount needed for training at FlightSafety International. This letter must be on official company letterhead.
    • Please note: The interviewer at the Embassy has the potential to ask for any and all documents as it relates to the financial well-being of the client trying to obtain an M-1. We encourage clients to research the individual Embassy as policies vary.
  • English Proficiency is expected to be successful in your training, however, we do not require you submit evidence. You must attest to one of the following when working with a DSO:
    • I am proficient in English
    • I am not proficient in English and I will be using a translator
    • I am attending a course in my native language
DSO Contact Information

Please find Designated School Official (DSO) contact information by U.S. learning center below to begin your visa documentation process.


What is SEVP?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It ensures that government agencies have essential data related to nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors to preserve national security. SEVP provides approval and oversight to schools authorized to enroll F and M nonimmigrant students and gives guidance to both schools and students about the requirements for maintaining their status.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is a web-based system for maintaining information on nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors in the United States. It is the core technology for the DHS in this critical mission.

What is the purpose of SEVIS?

SEVIS tracks and monitors nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors. If accepted by an SEVP-certified school, foreign students may be admitted to the United States with the appropriate F or M nonimmigrant status. Further, SEVIS enables SEVP to assure proper reporting and record keeping by schools and exchange visitor programs, thereby ensuring data currency and integrity. SEVIS also provides a mechanism for student and exchange visitor status violators to be identified so that appropriate enforcement is taken (i.e., denial of admission, denial of benefits or removal from the United States).

Who is a M nonimmigrant student?

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for the admission of different classes of nonimmigrants who are foreign nationals seeking temporary admission to the United States. The purpose of the nonimmigrant’s intended stay in the United States determines his or her proper nonimmigrant classification. Some classifications permit the nonimmigrant’s spouse and qualifying children to accompany the nonimmigrant to the United States or to join the nonimmigrant here. To qualify, a child must be unmarried and under the age of 21.

M-1 nonimmigrants, as defined in section 101(a)(15)(M) of the INA, are foreign nationals pursuing a full course of study at an SEVP-approved vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution (other than in language training programs) in the United States. An M-2 nonimmigrant is a foreign national who is the spouse or qualifying child of an M-1 student.

What is a M-1 visa?

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need a M visa.

In accordance with 9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(7) (U) Aviation Training, all flight training for initial training or subsequent training that will result in a certificate or rating must be undertaken on an F or M visa. FlightSafety International requires all international Clients attending training in the United States at our SEVP certified learning centers to enter the U.S. using a M-1 visa.

Which FlightSafety learning centers are SEVP certified to host international clients on M-1 visas?

1. Atlanta
2. Columbus
3. Dallas / Ft. Worth North
4. Dallas / Ft. Worth South
5. Denver
6. Greensboro
7. Houston
8. Lafayette
9. Long Beach
10. Orlando
11. San Antonio
12. Savannah
13. Seattle
14. St. Louis
15. Tampa
16. Teterboro
17. Tucson
18. West Palm Beach
19. Wichita Cessna
20. Wichita East
21. Wichita Maintenance
22. Wilmington

Are all FlightSafety courses approved SEVP courses?

No. FlightSafety International goes through a rigorous recertification process every 2 years to maintain SEVP/DHS approval for our courses. A majority of our pilot initial and recurrent courses, maintenance, cabin safety and dispatcher courses meet the criteria. A DSO will be able to alert you if your course is not certified and you will be encouraged to obtain a B visa instead.

Who is a designated school official (DSO)?

A DSO is an employee of a SEVP certified school that is approved to access SEVIS and assist international Clients with the M-1 visa process. FlightSafety has a team of Designated School Officials at each learning center in the United States ready to assist you with your M-1 visa needs. Our DSOs are housed in our Customer Support departments and will work with our international Clients to ensure they receive the necessary documentation in order to obtain a M-1 visa.

When can an international client use a B visa or ESTA (visa waiver program) for a training event?

In accordance with 9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(7) (U) Aviation Training, Recurrent or refresher training (training related to an aircraft for which the applicant has already received certification) may be undertaken on a B. Recurrent training is the training required for crewmembers to remain adequately trained and currently proficient for each aircraft crewmember position, and type of operation in which the crewmember serves. It often consists of flight simulator training but may also entail classroom training to update pilots on such things as recent safety issues, trends in aviation, and modifications to aircraft configuration or operating procedures. This assumes that the applicant’s employer is covering the recurrent training costs, incidental costs, and that the applicant does not receive a salary or perform labor in the United States.

What is ESTA (Visa Waiver Program)?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries* to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel and meet all requirements. If you prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa. For complete details visit Visa Waiver Program (

How does an international client apply for a M-1 visa?

The first step is to contact the Customer Support team at the U.S. based learning center the international Client is planning to join for training. The international Client will be connected to a DSO who can best serve our Client. International Clients are encouraged to visit Student Visa ( to learn complete details and necessary steps for the entire visa process.

What is a Form I-20?

The Form I-20, or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status is a 3-page document generated by the DSO in SEVIS. The Form I-20 is provided to the international Client so they may attend a M-1 visa interview and/or travel into the United States on a valid M-1 status. The Form I-20 contains specific program start and end dates. The Client cannot train before or after these dates unless the Form I-20 has been adjusted by the DSO. A client can enter the United States up to 30 days in advance of the program start date and may exit within 30 days after the program start date, also known as a grace period. During this time, no training may take place. The Form I-20 program start dates cannot be deferred to a later start if the client has already entered the United States. An extension with required fee can be filed with USCIS no later than 15 days prior to the Form I-20 program end date if more time is needed to complete training. A DSO will work to ensure ample time is provided on the Form I-20 to avoid extensions where possible.

When should an international client start the process for the M-1 visa?

We encourage our international clients to start the M-1 visa process no later than 60 days ahead of the scheduled program start date, if not sooner. This allows ample time for document collection, the Form I-20 to be prepared and sent to our clients so they may schedule their interview with the U.S. Embassy in their home country for the M-1 visa. Starting this process early allows for our clients to be organized and have time to travel into the country for the training event on the M-1 visa. It is highly encouraged for an international client to interview for the M-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy in their home country.

What if an international client already holds a valid M-1 visa? Can it be used for training?

International clients who are in possession of a valid, unexpired M-1 visa, may use that M-1 visa to attend additional training in the United States at a SEVP certified school as long as the initial training or study event the M-1 visa was originally issued for has in fact occurred. Department of Homeland Security requires the initial Form I-20 and M-1 visa to be used in the United States before the original M-1 visa can be used for secondary visits into the country for the purpose of study. In this situation, an international client is still required to work with a Designated School Official to obtain a new Form I-20 for the training event in the United States.

What happens when an international client has a training reservation, but needs to reschedule?

International clients simply need to contact their DSO so their Form I-20 can be updated to reflect the new program start date, prior to traveling to the United States. The international Client must travel into the United States with the correct Form I-20 within 30 days of the program start date, which can be obtained through the DSO.

What if an international client has multiple training events scheduled with FlightSafety International in the United States?

If a client is attending more than one course and an M-1 visa is required, the client should obtain the original Form I-20 from the first learning center. The DSO team will assist the client with a transfer from one SEVP certified school to another. International clients who transfer are required to complete Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status by visiting

What if an international client is currently in the United States at another M-1 school and needs to transfer to FlightSafety international for a training event?

International clients are permitted to transfer to another SEVP certified school that accepts M-1 classification of students within the first 6 months of the original Form I-20 program start date. The client should contact the DSO at the transfer out and transfer in school to complete this process. International clients who transfer are required to complete Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status by visiting If it has been more than 6 months or the international Client is out of status, the international client must exit the country and request a new Form I-20 from their DSO before re-entering the United States for training.

If an international client holds a current visa type that is not an M-1, what happens to the original visa while the M-1 visa is granted?

An international client may hold multiple visa types however they must be sure to enter on the M-1 visa with the correct Form I-20 for their training event. For specific visa questions, a client should contact the U.S. Embassy in their home country.

Can any other visa be utilized for training in lieu of an M-1?

In the event a course is not SEVP certified, and therefore a M-1 is not viable, a client should use a B visa or Visa Waiver Program for their training event. In some cases, there are exceptions which allow a client to forgo the M-1 visa process. For example, if a client holds a diplomatic visa (i.e. A visa) or is actively attending school in the U.S. on a F-1 visa. Clients may contact their DSO at the learning center for specific case-by-case guidance. Clients training on a F-1 visa in the United States are required to present a letter from the school they are attending to FlightSafety before they begin their training event. This letter is to ensure the school sponsoring the client’s F-1 visa is aware of the additional training they want to pursue while maintaining status with the F-1 school. A sample letter template can be obtained by contacting the DSO team.

Is it possible to expedite my M-1 or B visa appointment with the U.S. Embassy in my home country if necessary and if so, how can FlightSafety help?

Yes, it may be possible to obtain an expedited/emergency visa appointment depending on the circumstances of your case and the criteria set by U.S. Embassy or Consulate post you have applied to. FlightSafety encourages clients to apply for their U.S. Visa as early as possible, and to check current U.S. Visa Appointment Wait Times for their local U.S. Embassy or Consulates posts by visiting If you are unable to obtain a U.S. Visa Appointment in time to meet your scheduled training event, please contact the Training Center or your FlightSafety Account Manager and request that they obtain an “Expedited Visa Appointment Support Letter”, which you can submit to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with your request for an expedited/emergency visa appointment. Please note that each U.S. Embassy or Consulate post makes their own determinations on expedited/emergency visa appointments and FlightSafety cannot guarantee that an expedited/emergency visa appointment will be granted.

Are citizens of Canada required to obtain a M-1 visa for training in the United States?

Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a physical M-1 visa and are considered visa exempt. However, Canadian citizens will need to have a valid Canadian passport, obtain a Form I-20, and pay the SEVIS registration fee prior to entering the United States for training if attending a SEVP approved course.

Where can international clients learn more about studying in the United States?

Study in the States offers free government resources that explain the rules and regulations governing the nonimmigrant student process in the United States. Please visit