US License Verification

You can fly a plane with ‘TG’ registration to the US with your private pilot license issued in Guatemala. But when you are in the United States and want to rent a plane, you will need to get a US private pilot license. So I thought….

It is actually a relative simple process to request a US license verification that will allow you to fly as if you had a US private pilot license. Note that the verification will not give you US license privileges but the right to execute your Guatemalan private pilot privileges in the United States. The process involves mostly paperwork with an appointment at the FAA as final step.

Here are the steps to get your US verification:

  1. Mail Request to the FAA
  2. International Visitor Application process
  3. Schedule a meeting at an FSDO
  4. Bi-annual flight review with an instructor

Here in more detail!

  1. Mail Request to the FAA
    Read US License Verification Information.
    You will need to mail the following information:
    US License Validation Form
    – Copy of your Guatemala private pilot license (both cards both sides)
    – Copy of the Guatemalan medical certificate (both sides)

    I have mailed the papers with a tracking number and did not include any transcripts or translations. You will also need to choose a FSDO for your meeting. Chose a location where you travel frequently from the list of offices.

    The FAA will contact the DGAC Guatemala and request the verification of your private pilot license. After they have received the verification, they will send a verification letter that you need to schedule a meeting with the FSDO. In my case it took less than 3 weeks from application to verification letter. That is not the entire truth. I sent the original request 3 months before. When the FAA responded, my medical was about to expire. I had to resubmit the entire request again. But since they already had me kind on on file and the Guatemalan DGAC responded really quick, it took only three weeks, the second time. I would probably not send the request with at least 6 months time before any of the documents expire.

  2. International Visitor Application process
    Call the FSDO that you have selected in your application process and ask if you require this process. They asked me if I was a US citizen or resident and since I denied both, I was required to complete the process. Over the phone I provided my email address to the operator lady and she sent me an email with a link. I can´t remember what information was requested, but it wasn´t anything too personal and pretty easy. After submission I got an email that I was cleared after about two weeks.
  3. Schedule a meeting a an FBO
  4. With the license verification letter and the international visitor clearance I called the FSDO again. Again the lady at the front desk was able to schedule a meeting for me. I scheduled with a little over a week of advance notice and had several options. In my case I chose the Dallas FSDO. I have heard that Miami is kind of crowded and hard to get a meeting. I also asked to talk to the inspector and asked him to confirm the appointment and the required documents:
    – Current pilot license
    – Current medical
    – Verification letter
    – Passport
    – Completed Application for Certificate and/or Rating, 8710-1, if possible

    Note that the form 8710 does not require the hours to be filled out at the bottom. No aviation skill questions whatsoever were asked. The inspector does need to ensure that you understand and speak English well enough to participate in the airspace communications. If all goes well, you will walk out with your temporary airman certificate. The permanent airman certificate will be mailed to you and will replace the temporary one.

    The permanent airman certificate actully looks like a US private pilot license. The difference is a note on the back. The airman certificate requires the valid Guatemalan pilot licenses. If for you any reason your Guatemalan licenses is not valid any more, the paper becomes worthless. In my case the license arrived roughly 3 months after the interview at the FSDO.

  5. Bi-annual flight review with an instructor
    I find this one kind of tricky. Is it really necessary? Well, I will error on the side of caution. I was told by someone who had gone through the same process and had actually flown many times, that he was asked to show his log with bi-annual flight review sign-off. Two flight instructors from the US have told me yes and no. One made reference to 14.CFR.61.56 to explain that it is needed. Since in Guatemala the bi-annual flight review is also a requirement, I wonder if that wouldn´t be sufficient. Again, I will error on the side of caution and will do the BFR and would recommend everyone to do so also.

    Generally it states that all restrictions apply. For example, night flight is IFR only in Guatemala and night flights are not part of the private pilot pensum. My understanding is that you cannot do night flights in the US. Same restrictions apply. I have found an article in the Internet (need to find the link) that made emphasis that you cannot remove these restrictions by taking a couple of hours instruction. You can do your instrument rating on top of a foreign based private pilot license though. More a legal/regulations thing….

    Most schools will require 5 hours of instructions to allow for rental plane checkout. You might be able to negotiate the 5 hours in combination with the Bi annual flight review.

Hope this helps! Good luck with the process!

2 Responses to US License Verification

  1. Marc Gielissen says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for this very instructieve website.
    Is it authorised to fly a Guatemalan registered plane with a US licence?

    Kind regards,
    Marc

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