Before you can start your helicopter flight training at Universal Helicopters there are a number of requirements to be met:
  1. You must be at least 17 years old to hold a Private Pilot certificate and 18 years old to hold a Commercial Pilot certificate or Instructor certificates
  2. You must hold an FAA Private Pilot Certificate to be eligible for a Commercial Pilot Certificate
  3. You must obtain an FAA Student Pilot medical certificate to train for a Private Pilot certificate or a Third Class medical certificate to train for Commercial Pilot or Instructor certificates. You can obtain details of the nearest FAA designee medical examiner at https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/medical_certification/. Alternatively, call us and we will put you in touch with the nearest Aviation Medical Examiner. If you are on medication, we require you to obtain your student pilot certificate or appropriate medical certificate before you can start your course since there is no point in starting training if there is any doubt about your ability to pass the FAA’s medical examinations.
  4. You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.

If you are a US Citizen or US National: You must establish this by presenting a current US Passport or your US birth certificate and a government issued photo identification before you start your training. Training may not commence until your citizenship has been established.

If you are not a US Citizen or US National even if you are a Green Card holder:

  1. You are subject to the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP). The mission of the Alien Flight Student Program is to ensure that Non-U.S.citizen candidates seeking training at flight schools regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) do not pose a threat to aviation or national security. You must be assessed by the Transportation Security Administration to establish that you are not a threat to aviation or national security (49 CFR Part 1552). Candidates seeking helicopter flight training must obtain TSA approval for their initial license (whether private or commercial) and instrument rating if the pilot does not already hold a full stand alone equivalent FAA fixed-wing license. Each training event requires a separate training request and fee payment. These are new requirements added to the regulations in October 2004 and candidates must go through the following steps:-
    1. Go to the web site https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov/ which details the process steps to be followed.
    2. Click on "Create New Student Account" and follow the instructions.
    3. In parallel, Universal Helicopters needs you to complete a UHI Flight Training Enquiry form at http://www.universalheli.com/finance.aspx.
    4. Once UHI has received your completed enquiry and accepted you as student, we will provide you with the details necessary to complete your application including course start and end dates, and we will be able to validate your training request with AFSP. It is important that you do not start your application until we have supplied the necessary application information. AFSP will keep UHI advised of the status of your application.
    5. After your documentation has been accepted by AFSP, you will be notified by e-mail that you have to submit your fingerprints. AFSP suggest using the web site https://secure.natacs.aero/afsp/find_location.asp to provide help on how and where to have your fingerprints taken.
    6. You will need to follow the fingerprint instructions carefully to ensure no delays in the process. If there is no convenient place to have your fingerprints taken before you travel, we can organize this on your behalf and at your risk after you arrive in the US.
    7. Once you and your Flight Training Provider have received a "Permission to Initiate Training" confirmation notice from the AFSP, you may begin training. You have 180 days to commence training from the date of notification.
    8. If the TSA subsequently determines that you are considered an aviation or security threat, or if it is determined that you do not have a suitable visa (see 3 below), they will withdraw approval. You and your training provider will be notified and you will have to stop training.
    9. There will be no refund of fees paid for training or training material already received if this should happen, and you will be required to settle any payments due on your account.
  2. Once you have received TSA approval, START FLIGHT TRAINING!
    Once you have permission to train, you have 180 days to begin training and 365 days to complete the approved training. Both of these time periods start from the day you receive approval. For example, if you begin flight training 30 days after you have been approved, you now have 335 days to finish. If you do not finish, a new training request must be submitted.
  3. You are required to have visa which enables you to flight train in the US. You may not take flight training on a B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa (business, pleasure or medical treatment), nor if you are on the Visa Waiver Program. These are not acceptable to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for flight training (8 CFR Parts 214 and 248).
    1. Students require an M-1 Visa, a "Green Card" or a visa enabling you to work in the US. http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
    2. UHI will issue an “I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” to qualified students with no Visa who have enrolled with Universal Helicopters, who are able to finance their training, and who have been validated under the Alien Flight Student Program. This enables the student to apply for an M-1 Visa at a US Embassy or Consulate.
  4. Documents that non US Citizens students under flight training are required to carry while in the USA:
    1. I-94 (arrival /departure record) shows proof of legal entry.
    2. I-20 proof of student status (includes expiration of status).
    3. Passport with visa M-1, M-2 dependent). (Visa not required for Canadians).

"Taking flight training without an appropriate visa could be a violation of your immigration status and could result in your arrest and removal from the United States. It is important that you have a visa that permits you to take flight training in the United States. If you do not possess the correct visa, or if you have questions pertaining to your visa status, please contact your local Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services at 1-800-375-5283 or at, http://www.uscis.gov or the State Department Consular Affairs Office for assistance. The AFSP will deny flight training requests from candidates who are present in the United States illegally or who do not have an appropriate visa for flight training. Fees paid for denied applications are not refundable."